Ballet and I - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 05-03-2010, 09:31 PM Thread Starter
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Ballet and I

Hey guys! I rode a 15 year old Thoroughbred mare named Ballet on saturday for the first time. My riding instructor really likes this mare, and really likes her for me. She's definitely going to challenge me! She doesn't have the muscle tone to be able to carry herself in frame for very long, so you'll see herself get in frame for a stride or two and then root out and not be able to hold it. She also has a lot of go, so she would take off a couple of times. But feel free to critique what you'd like. I'm not too sensitive. :]

I hadn't ridden in 9 months and hadn't had a lesson in about 2 years until recently! I've had about 5 or 6 lessons since my vacation, and here we are. Before now I was riding saddle seat and then just playing around on trails and such with friends(definitely not riding with the best eq.) I know at times I have a bit of a chair seat.

Also, do you guys think I look too big on her? I'm 5'10" and she's about 16 hands. I feel like she handles my leg well, but my torso looks disproportionate to her. Maybe I'm just weird.


EDIT: My instructor apologizes for the shaky shots in the first clip. Trying to instruct and film at the same time is difficult. haha. :]

Last edited by uhlysse; 05-03-2010 at 09:34 PM.
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post #2 of 14 Old 05-04-2010, 06:54 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: abilene,tx
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shes gorgeous and i dont think you are too big for her at all

just a small town girl with a big town dream :]
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post #3 of 14 Old 05-04-2010, 07:08 PM
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Here's a few things I see:
-you're arching your lower back, and that disrupts your ability to fluently absorb her movement.
-roll your shoulders back, at some points you look a little hunchy.
-similar to the lower back, try to bring your hips under you more. Your shoulder, hip, and heel should all be on the same line.
-try to loosen your shoulders and upper arms.
-keep your toes pointing straight instead of out. This will release the tension you are holding in your leg.
-lighten up on the inside rein when possible, the outside rein is traditionally the "dominant" rein.
-at the canter, you should be sitting deeper and leaning back more.

I'd like to see you focusing more on her hind end and shoulders than her head placement. Her hind isn't as active as it could be, and sometimes she looks blocked on her left shoulder. See if you can lift her off that shoulder by pressing with your left heel instead, or do a turn on the haunches. Remember that counter-bend can also be useful instead of just true bend and straight. Can't really tell, but sometimes it looks like she's getting away with whatever pace and gait she wants instead of you controlling it.

Those are the points that pop out to me, you have a strong point about keeping the line from her mouth to your elbow the same.

"The trouble with the world is that the stupid are certain and the intelligent are full of doubt"
-Bertrand Russel
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post #4 of 14 Old 05-04-2010, 07:18 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, guys! I totally agree with what you said about my position, Roro. :] My trainer is having me do some things with this mare that I've never done to get any other horse in frame before. She did most of this mare's training, and she really shuts down when you fuss with her head too much. So we are working on getting her to round in the spine, because then her front end will follow. Thanks for your help. :]
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post #5 of 14 Old 05-08-2010, 12:40 AM
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Just a couple things I noticed in watching-
First off, good for you for getting back into riding!
-Try to get your lower leg back under you so you are more balanced. When you are posting, it looks like you are using your hands/her mouth to keep balanced when you go up which is hard on her mouth. Might be a good idea to have your instructor lunge you w/ no hands so you can find your balance

-her trot speed varies quite a bit, fast, then almost stumbling in the dirt. Use the rate of your post to maintain her speed more consistently. Sometimes I'll count out loud to myself to help keep it even

-instead of pulling back on the reins, try just squeezing a little to help her slow down

-when you ask her to canter, stop posting for several strides so that she knows you are going to do something different, also allows you to get your legs in the right position

-as someone said, try to loosen up your middle a little so that when she canters you can sit it instead of bouncing. Get an image in your head that will allow you to picture what it is like to sit the canter, like washing the saddle or waves on the ocean or something like that. Sometimes dropping your stirrups and really pushing your legs down down around her sides will help you find that contact.

Goodluck to you and she looks fine as long as she isn't really narrow to the point where you feel like your legs are swinging around.

Riverside, CA
danastark is offline  
post #6 of 14 Old 05-08-2010, 11:13 AM
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A couple things I see...

You are holding your hands flat. I make that mistake all the time. :P

Are your stirrups too short? Maybe your just have a long upper leg like I do. Your leg swings around a little, but you said you hadn't ridden in a while right? If you're out of shape, that should improve with time. :) It seems to be worse when you are up in a half seat at the canter. Your position is much better when you sit your canter. Looks a lot prettier! :)

I don't think you're too big. She's a pretty mare!
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post #7 of 14 Old 05-08-2010, 12:27 PM
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I'm glad you got back into riding!!!!! I'm not sure if anyone added this but it goes hand in hand with your lower back issues. When you're cantering you bounce a lot and look real stiff. Try to relax your lower back muscles and let your abdomen absorb the shock/movement of the canter. Just let your hips flow with the movement and relax. Other than that, everyone else has got you covered. Great job too!!!! You look like you have a lot of potential to become the great rider you want to become!!!

- If today was your last day, and tomorrow was too late, could you say goodbye to yesterday?
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post #8 of 14 Old 05-09-2010, 12:03 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, guys. :] Riding her for the first time was pretty nerve wracking! My trainer has been wanting me to ride her because she challenges me, so I was expecting a lot harder ride. She does like to speed up on me, and that was pretty much her main problem in our lesson yesterday. We had a good lesson yesterday(no pictures so you guys could critique me more relaxed. :/ ) and then we went to the $100,000 Grand Prix! Very inspiring. :] But I'm really not having a connection with this mare. My instructor really loves her, but I don't see it yet. She's kind of aloof and has respect issues..we just haven't bonded yet! But I'll give it time.

Thanks a lot, guys. I'll try to work on everything.
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post #9 of 14 Old 05-10-2010, 10:25 PM
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I agree with the things others have pointed out, and actually think you look like a nice pair. It's hard if there's no bond but at this point that may be your nerves getting in the way so try to give her a chance :)

A horse is the projection of peoples' views about themselves--strong, powerful, beautiful--and it has the capability of giving us escape from our mundane existance.
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post #10 of 14 Old 05-11-2010, 12:10 PM
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Ahahaha, she looks all Thoroughbred all the way. How do you feel about her and what do you want to do with your riding? If you're ambitious to be a better rider and didn't find her scary, then I think she could teach you a lot. The difference between fast and forward, for one thing. How to be soft, above all. I can see a mighty fine dressage horse in there if she's ridden correctly. I don't see her as a casual trail horse for occasional riding.

Could you ride her again? Would this be your first horse? Are you willing to take your instructor's word, or do you have to be in love from first sight?
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