What pretty horses!!! I love the paint - very flashy. Your poneh's are obviously well taken care of, and are very keen on doing their jobs :)
You look great together :) :) :)
The first thing I look at is the riders seat. Where is it in accordance to the saddle? Then, I look down at the riders legs - so I can see why the riders seat is where it is.....then I look down at the riders heels - to see why the riders legs are being effected - domino effect.
Think of everything on your body, being links on a chain. Each one has to be functional so that the others can be. One is effected - the others are.
1) Leather length
Yours is pretty good. There should be a 110 degree angle in your knees, and I have to say that your leathers are just as they should be. You don't want to go any shorter, because that will effect your position as well.
2) Iron Placement - your iron placement should be a bit more forward on your foot. The iron should be under the balls of your toes, where the outter iron is at your pinky toe, while the inner iron is at the ball of your big toe.
Right now, they are a bit too far back - which will effect the use of your heels.
3) Heels - they are not doing their job.
Lets ask why?
You are gripping your knees instead of trusting your legs to do their job.........somewhere along the line, you were either not taught how to use your lower leg correctly, which caused you to have no base of security in your tack - or you've come to rely on your knees for that base of security, not allowing your lower leg to do its job. Your knees cannot be your base of security when you jump.
What happens naturally while riding, is that the weight from your upper body flows down through your back, into your seat, into your thighs and down into your lower leg - then down into your heels. When you pinch your knees - you've now blocked that flow. You cannot block that flow - that flow is the key to security in your tack. Work on opening those knees up, and allowing your lower leg to do its job, and allow those heels to do what they are meant to do - which is anchoring you in your tack.
So what is going on here? You are gripping your knees for that base of security. You blocked that natural flow of weight to dispurse into your lower leg. Your irons need to move up, and your heels must be allowed to do their job.
So how can we fix this? Lots of two point work. LOTS of two point work. What are you going to do during this two point work?
You need to focus on 1) Opening your knees 2) Getting your legs at that girth 3) Wrapping your inner calf around the girth 4) Heels taking your bodies weight. Muscle memory. Teach those leg muscles as to where they must be - AT THE GIRTH at all times.
Sooooo - what happens when we loose our lower leg at the fence?
LOTS! We stop riding our horses. We are not giving our horses that base of support through our lower legs - leaving our horses that opportunity to loose impulsion, to stop, to veer. Annnd we stop aiding in lifting their backs and keeping them round.
So essentially, when you loose your lower leg - you've also stopped riding. So focus on training those leg muscles as to where they must always be - which is at the girth. Your heels must beable to do their job - but they cannot if your legs aren't at the girth. Which they can't if you pinch your knees, which then causes - negative effects over the fence.
The most common error - is knee pinching. The moment you pinch - your lower legs fly back and your upper body flings forward.
Happens all the time - because riders are not being taught essential basics before they are allowed to go over fences.
Your knee pinching - has also caused the fault in your upper body. Due to that, your upper body is being flung to far forward - because you do not have that base of security in your tack via lower legs.
Once you get your legs situated - then your upper body will be allot better.
When you fix your lower legs, we can then work on establishing your form over a fence.
When approaching a fence, it is our job to get them to the base in a safe, rhythmical, fluid motion. Our job is to remain secure in our tack, supportive through our seat and legs and then the rest is up to our horses.
It is their job, to get us over the fence and depart from the fence.
Most of us, as riders - want to interfear.
You cannot jump that fence for them - so why bother? Learn to ride your horse, and not the fence *my coach always says that*
Learn to focus on what is most important.....YOUR HORSE, who is under you.
You know that fence is there, your horse knows that fence is there - so why focus on it? Find your focal point beyond the fence...and ride your horses rhythm. Focus on the most important part in the whole picture.
ALLOW the fence to come to you. NOT you to it.
Learn to ride your horse to the base, and allow him to do his job. It is HIS job to lift you out of your tack, it is HIS job to close the angle. This is not yours.
Your job is to learn to sit there and stay out of their way once you get them to the base. Stop interfearing.
By you lurching yourself ahead - yes, your lower legs are a big factor here.....but you are also anticipating the fence. Stop. How can we fix this???? LUNGE LINE WORK!!
Yes, lunge line work does wonders if done correctly! You must have an educated eye on the ground to help you. While on the lunge, you can focus on yourself and not worry about controlling your horses direction.
Do reinless Lunge Line Work.
Really focus on riding your horses rhythm. Learn to feel it. Learn to control it through your seat - remember, your horse will come to the movement of your seat.
Start with the walk - learn to feel your horses movement and rhtyhm. Then merge to the trot.
Start with trot poles. Learn to ride your horse to the base of the trot pole and allow his movement to move you. Focus on legs - where are your legs. Focus on your seat and your upper body.
Focus on looking up and beyond the fence - remember, it is not there. Allow your horse to do his job.
Work on two point - work on allowing your horse to move you out of your tack while you remain over his center of gravity, while you are not interfearing.
Then - when you get that, merge to canter - same idea.
Once you've grasped that over trot poles - work on cavaletti's. Same idea.
Focus on rhythm of your horse. Focus on riding the rhtym to the base. Focus on allowing horse to do his job by lifting you out of your tack and closing the angle. Focus on your leg placement at the girth.
There is nothing wrong with lunge line work - don't think anyone is too good for it, because no one is. It does wonders for a rider. I do lunge line work often - puts one into check, re-establishes your seat and legs and balance.
- open knees
- leg at girth
- inner calf around girth
- proper iron placement
- heels taking bodies weight
- learn to ride your horses rhythm
- allow horse to lift you out of your tack
- allow horse to close the angle
Ride your horse, not the fence.
Hope that helps