might need some advice

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might need some advice

This is a discussion on might need some advice within the Dressage forums, part of the English Riding category

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    11-08-2010, 12:04 AM
Green Broke
Question might need some advice

Soo I had my second dressage lesson today and my trainer said I did a good job.I ride a ..I am guessin 17 hand horse..maaaaybe a little more and her gait is very large. I feel like I'm going everywhere but she said I wasn't bouncing too bad..I felt like I was...when I post I lose my irons and since she is soooo bouncy I can't really post...I can't get any grip with my tighs and my legs swing....now when I post on my horse I don't lose my stirrups...I need to learn how to be incontrol..My trainer did say I have nice hands.

Any ideas?
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    11-08-2010, 12:49 AM
There was another thread on here about losing stirrups, I vaugely remember it being a problem of not having enough weight into your stirrups and onto the balls of your feet (don't let the heels come up too high of course). Maybe you could try sinking more weight into your lower leg and sort of gripping a bit with your calf to help it stop swinging?

That's just my far from expert guess.
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    11-08-2010, 01:32 AM
First thought that comes to mind is are your stirrups too long? Try shortening them a little to start with a see if that helps you.

From what I've seen in students that lose their stirrups constantly, it is because they are gripping too much with the thigh, knee or calf, rather than allowing their weight to flow down the leg and into the heel. Think of kneeling your weight into the heel, rather than pushing your heels down which often leads to a chair seat.
Take a deep breath in, hold it, and let it slowly out, and invisage your weight sinking down through your legs and seat. Take your thighs and knees off the saddle (by gripping with your thighs/knees you are blocking the horse's ribs and shoulders thus making the movement even harder to sit on), ensure that your toes are pointed forwards and let your calf sink down the horse's sides.
An analogy I was given by my own coach is to imagine your seat and legs as a slab of meat over a rolling pin. Let your legs drape down the horse's sides without gripping onto it's ribs to hold yourself on. Trust your seat, engage your core by thinking of pushing a swing in a park forward under you, and just allow your legs to hang.
Another one is to picture yourself being a foot taller, someone is stretching you out by pulling upwards on your upper body, and downwards on your legs. This helps to relax and straighten the upper body, while encouraging the weight to sink down the calf.

If you are still struggling, ask your trainer to put you on the lunge. Slip your little fingers under the saddle cloth, close your eyes and focus all of your concentration of feeling the way the horse is moving. Concentrate on her rhythm and match it with your rising/posting. It is easier with your eyes closed as you have taken away one of your sense and your brain will automatically sharpen the remaining senses and allow you to really focus on the rhythm. Allow her strides to 'bump' you out of the saddle on the upbeats rather than pushing yourself out of the saddle. Your rises should come no more than 1-2cm from the saddle if you just allow the horse to 'bump' you out, and you will be a much softer, more balanced and effective rider if you can master this.
    11-08-2010, 02:14 PM
Green Broke
I will try those. She did shorten my stirrups..I didn't lose them AS much. I was also on the lunge line and had to hold on to the pommel a lot of the time. I just felt like I was a bag of potatoes last night...felt like I didn't have much control. I also have not been given the reins while on the lunge. I have to put my arms out to the side,front,and do circles with them and my legs have to be in riders position,up over the back of the horse,scissors,and putting them forward while trying to touch my toes all while riding!...pretty intense stuff.
    11-08-2010, 03:58 PM
My thought was to shorten them too. Easier to get better balance and when the time is right you can try lengthening them. I would just say go one hole up. I change my stirrup length allllll the time. I'm never quite happy. They are either too short and my legs are too bent or too long and my legs are all over the place. There's got to be a happy medium for both of us somewhere =)
    11-08-2010, 07:36 PM
Any chance you're posting up & down instead of forward & backward? Sounds like you just may be not completely in sync with your horse. Maybe try playing with the how much and what direction of posting until you find a good match with your horse. If you keep all the posting action in your hips, it will allow your legs to stay relaxed on the horse's sides.
    11-08-2010, 07:43 PM
Green Broke
Thanks.I will try that. It's just a lot differently posting on this horse...she is MASSIVE! And it's really hard for me to get her rhythm. I'm use to riding just my horse. I will work on it.
    11-09-2010, 06:05 PM
1. Shorter leathers,
2. Do NOT grip with your thigh - relax thigh and allow horse to push you up then use thighs to gently lower your butt into saddle
3. Post straight up and down
4. As you post up open elbows so arms (and reins) don't come UP with you.
5. If you can relax you'll bounce a lot less.
6. To see if your body is in the correct position stand in the stirrups. If nothing moves, other than you come up off horses back, then you'll know your body is in the correct position.
    11-09-2010, 06:12 PM
Green Broke
I will let my trainer know that I feel more comfortable if I had shorter stirrups cause every time I went into a trot I lost control :( And it made me a bit nervous cause I thought that since she is a big mover I was going to fall off so that also made me not able to relax. I have my lesson this sunday and then on monday we will be riding too

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