Picture to critique. Arabian hunt seat. Horses head to tight even with loose rein. - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 06-16-2009, 11:09 AM Thread Starter
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Thumbs up Picture to critique. Arabian hunt seat. Horses head to tight even with loose rein.

Please look at the picture and give me some ideas on how to have him relax his head and neck at a show. He does well at home but then tenses up at shows even if he reins are loose. I realize that he does not look like a stock horse but we show Arabian hunt seat which asks for a bit different look. Thanks in advance!!!!

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post #2 of 5 Old 06-16-2009, 03:04 PM
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Well for starters you could loosen your grip on his mouth. Instead of asking for him to come under himself and round his back that way you're just pulling his head in towards you.

Walk him around when you get to the show grounds and let him have a look at everything. That way he's not tense and trying to look around while you're in a class. Or add a little more time to your warm up routine.

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post #3 of 5 Old 06-16-2009, 08:29 PM
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here's what i see. first your reins are too tight, and your hands are too low. lift your shoulders up and back, and that will bring your hands up. your reins actually need to be shorter with more bend in your elbows and your hands higher and following your horse's mouth. all in all, your hands should be 3-6" apart, and about 3" above the withers.

next your back is very hollow and you are overarched, riding on your pelvic bone. that alone will cause a horse to hollow as it's putting your weight in the wrong spots and forcing your horse to drop his weight on the fore. once your horse is out of balance, there will continue to be resistance on the reins and he will have a hollow back and false frame.

in addition to correcting your hands/shoulders, you need to also relax your seat, open your pelvic angle (slightly different than your hip angle as i understand for hunters you want a more closed hip) and relax into your seat bones. you also need to ride from leg to seat to hand, not the reverse which you are doing here. you are riding hand to leg, and have lost your seat entirely.

to work on relaxing your lower back, try no stirrup and no rein work on a longe. then focus on where your hands should be sans reins so that you don't have to worry about trying to set the horse's head. one of the biggest faults i see these days is riders worried about headset, when they SHOULD be worried about footfall and driving the horse from behind. your horse's lagging back, hollow topline, and pinned ears all indicate that he's not liking his job in that picture, and i would also venture a guess that in addtion to you dropping your pelvis forward, you're also causing issues with the saddle pinching. be sure to have saddle fit checked by a professional, they can also evaluate how your position is affection saddle fit.

good luck - and relax your back otherwise your horse will never engage his!

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post #4 of 5 Old 06-17-2009, 12:02 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, I have been riding dressage for 11 years. I warm him up with alot of free walking and troting on a long rein. I realize my seat is off, this is somewhat my fault somewhat not. I had been taking lessons from a stock horse training who was telling me that this was the way I needed to ride. I will attach another pic of us doing dressage. What all you said makes complete sense. Thanks again!!!!

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post #5 of 5 Old 06-17-2009, 12:04 PM Thread Starter
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P.S. I want back to riding as I did in dressage. Nice straight, tall back. Hands up etc.

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