Childrens Hunter Round Critique - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 05-21-2012, 02:30 PM Thread Starter
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Location: British Columbia, Canada
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Childrens Hunter Round Critique

Hi everyone! This is a childrens hunter round from last summer. Could you please critique both my horse and myself? I would really appreciate any feedback on our round. Thank you! PLEASE WATCH IN 480p!!

After watching the video, I see that I need to put my shoulders back because I'm really hunched over and I need to work on dropping more weight into my heels and making my leg more solid over the fences.

Thank you soo much!!!! :)
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post #2 of 9 Old 05-21-2012, 07:01 PM
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I'm really in no position to critique (no hunter experience - sorry!), but overall you look lovely together. I really like your horse by the way! Looks like a really fun ride and a nice mover!
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post #3 of 9 Old 05-21-2012, 08:02 PM
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Here's what I saw -

You have a tendency to carry your hand too low and break the straight line from bit to elbow downward. This interferes with your being able to follow the horses' head and neck, and also means sometimes you're taking back with the reins as the horse is taking off.

I also saw some inconsitent pace - not enough step to the first fence, and your smart horse fit in a stride on a angle to make it work rather than and obvous chip, just about the right pace in the middle, and then too much pace on the last outside line.

I like your horse very much - typey, kind, relaxed, cute expression. Good Children's Hunter type. Could be a little sharper/tighter with his front end, and you could be more precise about where you ask for the changes. If this horse auto changes, then you need to be better about holding your line into the corner to prevent the change until you change the bend.

I confess I wasn't paying a lot of attention to your eq as it's a Children's Hunter class, not an eq class.
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post #4 of 9 Old 05-21-2012, 08:58 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks so much for your kind words Hedgie - he is SO much fun to ride!

Thanks a lot for the critique Maura - I was hoping you would see this thread:)

My hands are my WORST flaw in my opinion. I struggle with them all the time, but every time we ride, I try to focus on bending my elbows and maintaining that straight line between hand and bit. It's a habit that is completely ingrained in by brain, but I'm working on it.

I just noticed that about him fitting in the stride on an angle - what a smart boy! haha! We will definitely be working on keeping more of a steady rhythm throughout the course. My eye for distances is not very good, but with practice, hopefully I'll get more of a feel for it.

He does have auto changes. By "be better about holding your line into the corner to prevent the change until you change the bend" do you mean maintaining a straight line away from fences instead of drifting in order to get the lead change?

Thanks so much for you're input, I really appreciate it!

Anybody else want to make a critique? :)
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post #5 of 9 Old 05-22-2012, 04:37 AM
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He does have auto changes. By "be better about holding your line into the corner to prevent the change until you change the bend" do you mean maintaining a straight line away from fences instead of drifting in order to get the lead change?

As far as youir pace; it's pretty typical for riders to be tentative to the first fence and then build pace as the course progresses. A very simple way to distinguish your trip and move up in the class is to really march up and attack the first fence. You can always back down a notch if you're a little strong or deep to the first fence; but this leaves a stronger impression in the judge's mind than the typical tentative first fence.

I really like your horse, and he seems like he has some show ring miles on him, so if you learn to recognize his best pace, you won't need to worry about your eye for distance, he'll take care of that for you.

When schooling (and showing if you're calm enough to think about it) any time you get a less than ideal distance, ask yourself what pace created the distance - too much? too little? and try to make an adjustment before the next line. On your opening hunter circle, concentrate on how your horse feels, ask yourself if this feels like the lick that makes the distances happen automatically. Once this clicks, I think you're capable of laying down some really nice trips, it's almost there.

I watched the vid again, and as far as your eq, I agree - you can stretch down a little more into your heel and you do have a bit of a hunch or roach in your shoulders. I think this is connected with the low hands - if you pick your shoulders up and back, you'll also get more bend in your elbow and your hands will likely come up.
The best way to fix subtle, tenacious position problems is to watch a LOT of video; and if possible, to watch the video ASAP after your trip so you can remember exactly what you were doing and what it felt like.

I really do like your horse, he can come live in my barn anytime, and your turnout is lovely - you make a wonderful first impression coming into the ring.

Good luck, and I'd love to see more videos as your show season progresses.

Last edited by maura; 05-22-2012 at 04:44 AM.
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post #6 of 9 Old 05-26-2012, 06:21 PM
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Something to check on: Is your right stirrup longer than the left? Something to work on , straightness in the lines. He really drifted in the left outside line. You two make a nice pair!
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post #7 of 9 Old 05-28-2012, 09:27 PM
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I think you need to put your stirrups up a few holes. Others, please correct me if I'm wrong there. But your knee angle seems to need to close more from what I have seen in George Morris's column in Practical Horseman. That will help your leg and your heels. If you're still having a problem, ride lots of jump position and do work without stirrups.

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post #8 of 9 Old 05-28-2012, 10:46 PM
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What did you place? I'm interested to know. You both are turned out beautifully. Your horse is a Hunter through and through.

Life seems mighty precious, when there's less of it to waste.
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post #9 of 9 Old 05-29-2012, 02:07 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks Maura, I really respect and appreciate your opinion and critique. I think that "attacking" the first fence is a great way to stand out and make a good impression on the judge! I can understand how being a hunter judge might get a little dull at times, so I imaging that seeing something a little more brave and confident would stand out. I think that the more I ride, the more I will get a feel for that "perfect pace." I'm very lucky to have London, he is a once in a lifetime horse, and he is teaching me so much and making me a better rider. Watching video of myself helps so much, I try to get my parents out to film my lessons, but they are very busy and have never to been to a show either. I will definitely be asking my friends to record my rounds this summer!

Amberish2002 - I just watched the video again and I think you're right! My right stirrup does look longer! I will have to check that they are not still uneven. I can't believe I didn't notice that before. Yes, straightness is something we need to work on, especially out of lines. It's my fault, I tend to "cheat" to get the correct lead by drifting into the corners. The funny thing is, I don't even need to do that because London has auto changes! It's just another one of those weird habits that I have in my head. Thanks a lot for the critique!

Corazon Lock - That is a great point! I will try shortening my stirrups, that will probably help with by leg stability and dropping my weight into my heels. My trainer gets me to do as much no stirrup work as possible, about 10-15 minutes per ride. Jump position is a great idea! I will have to work on that more, especially in the trot. That's funny that you mentioned Practical Horseman magazine - I've been saving up for a subscription to it for quite a while, mostly because I want to read George Morris's column! It's so informative and great to read!

Thank you very much Oxer! I don't exactly remember what we placed in this class, I think 2nd or 3rd. The classes were very small, only about 5-6 people. But we did end up champions of the children's hunter division! Here's a picture of us with our "swag" haha!

Thanks everyone, I really appreciate your help and advice. I will be posting more rounds for critique this summer, so keep an eye out! :)
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