Bouncy horse - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 21 Old 05-25-2012, 12:03 AM Thread Starter
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Bouncy horse

Hi everyone,

I'm a relatively new adult rider (I'm 38), been riding about 4 years but the first few were only 2-4 times a month. Now I quarter lease so ride 2-3 times a week with a lesson once a week. My instructor is not as detailed as I'd like and so I've learned lots via the internet (this forum!), but my progress has been slow because of a combination of not being corrected on bad habits (posture, etc), plus my own fears. It's a hunter/jumper barn and I'm terrified of jumping but am doing my best and recently hit my milestone of 2'6".

Anyway, I've been riding a 22-year-old spunky TB mare for most of this time and she is extremely bouncy so I'm pretty insecure in my seat (just in how I feel - instructor seems to think I look fine). I've watched other people on this TB and they bounce a fair bit as well, certainly aren't keeping their butts in the saddle at the sitting trot or the canter for that matter. My instructor doesn't bother much with making sure they're using their hind ends, so I'm sure that's not helping the bounciness. She does tend to keep her head pretty high (all the time, with everyone) and I'm guessing is quite hollow through her back but I honestly don't know much about stuff like that unfortunately aside from what I have learned through here....

Aside from the bounciness she's a dream TB, excellent work ethic, totally forward horse but perfect manners. She loves her job. However, I feel like I'm never going to get past where I'm at with her because of the incessant bouncing (plus I have to use an awful saddle that puts me in a chair seat - no choice on that saddle I'm afraid). I only jumped 2'6" because I rode a pony who I feel more confident on (I'm small too, only 5'1") and I'd never jump the TB at 2'6" as she jumps really big, even just crossrails, and like I said, I just feel so much more insecure on her due to the bouncing, plus she tends to get strong with jumping as she gets excited.

So, do you think this is something I should work on to overcome as I just need to increase my skills or will it likely never get much better? Her other horses are really stubborn push horses, though much more smooth gaits (Canadians), plus she has the pony which I do well on both position-wise, no bouncing, etc, and jumping, but I feel a little silly on her...

In case you're wondering why I'm at a hunter barn when I'm terrified, it's because I otherwise like the barn and haven't found anywhere else that works for me so this has to do for now. Interesting though I've found I wasn't nearly as terrified with jumping the pony so it might be more the TB and not feeling secure than the actual jumping...

Would love your opinions.

Thanks a bunch. Sorry for the novel.
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post #2 of 21 Old 05-25-2012, 12:25 AM
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Now keep in mind, I am a western rider, so my responses may not be exactly ideal for an english rider.

I think the biggest problem that actually needs correcting would be the way the saddle fits you. I know that a saddle with the proper angles and size can have a huge impact on how you ride and how secure you feel. There are saddles that I can ride in and feel absolutely secure, no matter the horse, then there are other saddles that are the exact same size but different style that I feel like I'll fall off if the horse stumbles just a bit. I feel more secure bareback than I do in those saddles.

But, you said you have no control over that, so it may just be something you have to learn to deal with.

I'm of a mind that a person can learn to look pretty on a smooth traveling horse but they will learn to ride on a rough traveler. When you learn how to sit her trot/lope and make it look good and feel good, then you'll be able to ride just about anything and make it look good. All those folks that learn to ride on those easy, smooth traveling horses automatically look like a ragdoll the first time they step onto a horse with big movement.

I encourage you to stick with her, she'll make you a better rider. Since the saddle is such a bad fit, have you asked your instructor about bareback lessons? Those will make your seat that much more secure and make riding her in the saddle much easier.

Always remember that feeling of looking at a big, open country over the ears of a good horse, seeing a new trail unwind ahead of you, and that ever-spectacular view from the top of the ridge!!! Follow my training blog:
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post #3 of 21 Old 05-25-2012, 12:45 AM
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Are your choices this thbd and the pony? none others? I agree with Smrobs that you will be a really good rider if you can master the rough mover, but I also think that you deserve the chance to ride an average mover, too. you would have the chance to relax a bit and feel less incessantly concerned with just staying on and be able to focus on things like the aids and other refinements.
Are these group or private lessons? I am a huge fan of private lessons, if you really want to learn something.
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post #4 of 21 Old 05-25-2012, 12:56 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the reply, smrobs! Yes, I always wonder how much is the saddle... Unfortunately it's the only one that's used for this horse, so short of buying my own it's what I'm stuck with.

As for bareback, OMG, that would terrify me on her!! I swear I'd be catapulted as soon as she broke into a trot. LOL

I totally agree though that if I can get confidence on her, I'd be able to ride anything. I just think I've been riding her for quite a while now (4 years!) and it seems I never get any better. Any tips, aside from bareback?!! I try to do no stirrup work but I can only do it at a trot, not canter as I just don't trust that I could stay on.

tinyliny, thanks for the reply! Yes, I think that's kind of what I'm wanting, the chance to work on other things. I think that's why I enjoy the pony. I can think about my position, how she's moving, etc, rather than just recovering from the bouncing every stride. lol The other horses are Canadians and while you don't have to worry about staying on, instead you spend your time fighting to make them go, or stay on the rail, so your position suffers due to that. They are very stubborn! I've stayed with the TB all this time as I find them more frustrating.

These are group lessons. I've done private with her but it's been on the same TB so not much different.
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post #5 of 21 Old 05-25-2012, 01:03 AM
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Well, you can always look to buy your own saddle for this horse. If you plan on riding her for a year or more, then it might be worth your while to get one that feels good to you and fits the hrose, too.
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post #6 of 21 Old 05-25-2012, 01:52 AM Thread Starter
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Ya, would love to get a saddle but not in the budget. I'm lucky to ride at all with how much my kids are costing me with all their activities! A lot of it is probably the saddle though as I know the current one is just not helping whatsoever. I find it frustrating that an instructor wouldn't realize this! I'm constantly trying to put by legs back, plus I'm short with short legs which probably doesn't help matters!
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post #7 of 21 Old 05-25-2012, 03:18 AM
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If you'd like, post some photos of the saddle on the horse, just out of curiosity.

And, feel free to post a video of you riding her, if you'd like a critique. you never know . . .
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post #8 of 21 Old 05-25-2012, 04:10 PM Thread Starter
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Hopefully this works - I've never put a photo up on here.

These are the only side pictures I have and unfortunately I'm in the saddle at the time doing a sad version of posting trot. These are from November and I've worked very hard to fix these issues, but I have a feeling I don't look much different despite knowing what I *should* look like. My position is horrific, I know but I can't seem to fix any of it no matter how much I try which is why I'm so frustrated and why I think maybe I need to try a different horse (with different saddle). I know I'm leaning forward, my leg has swung forward, and look like I'm using the reins for balance. I don't think I was but it was from last November so it's possible. I've worked a lot on a loose rein since this photo was taken, trying to make sure I'm not using the reins. And I also look incredibly tense. I'm a perfectionist so I'm constantly aware of my position issues. That is where I normally have the stirrups - looks like they might be a bit long in the picture, but going a hole up seems to aggravate the chair seat even worse. Let me know if you can tell anything from this.

I appreciate the help despite being horribly embarrassed! I've ridden far too long to still look like this so I'm hoping at least some of my issues are the saddle! Please be kind but honest!! Thank you!!
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Kim's iPhone Nov 2011 Riding 006.jpg (58.6 KB, 175 views)
File Type: jpg Kim's iPhone Nov 2011 Riding 007.jpg (46.4 KB, 167 views)
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post #9 of 21 Old 05-25-2012, 08:48 PM
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You look like you're gripping with your knees during the trot and your calves are kind of... going in and out, if that makes sense. You should grip with the sides of your calves and try to keep your knees relaxed. It also looks like your hands (and thus the reins) are going up and down as you rise and sit during the trot. Try thinking about keeping your elbows loose and relaxed, your hands stay in one spot and your elbows follow the motion of the posting. So they will straighten and bend, straighten and bend. You also may have an easier time keeping your leg in the correct position if you have the stirrup further forward on your foot. The outside of the stirrup should be on your pinkie toe.

Those three things should help a lot.

I'm not good at wording things prettily/in a really positive and encouraging manner, but I *do* mean them that way!

For what it's worth, I think that if you're 5'1" and the pony isn't crazy short, and you enjoy riding the pony... ride the pony!
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post #10 of 21 Old 05-25-2012, 09:05 PM Thread Starter
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thanks, ofroggit! I appreciate you trying to help me. Yes, my foot is definitely too far in the stirrup in the pictures so I do try and pull it back normally but it does tend to slide a bit. My boots are a bit big for me so it's not quite as bad as it looks though - the stirrups are on the ball of my feet even if it doesn't look it.

I have a really hard time gripping with my calves on her; I'm not sure if it's our conformation combined. It's like the where my leg falls on her my leg sticks out - so it's a real conscious effort to 'wrap' my leg around her. Maybe because I have short legs?

As for my hands, sigh, yes....I know... that's part of the bouncing that I'm struggling with. I'll keep trying....

What about the saddle though - do the stirrups look like they fall in the right place? When I take my feet out of the stirrups and let them hang as I would for the sitting trot, my feet are nowhere near where the stirrup is.

On a side note, I do have the Sally Swift, Centered Riding book, so I know what it should look like, just cannot seem to change these things for the life of me. I'm forever trying to lengthen my short legs (lol), point knees to the ground, etc, etc, and yet here we are!

Thanks again!
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