Critique flat please - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 06-14-2011, 08:50 PM Thread Starter
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Critique flat please

These pictures were taken at our first show this season (we're a little late to the game this year because she was lame most of the spring ). We have at least 4 to 5 more so I want to know what to work towards. I know I have piano hands; I just can't seem to stop from wanting to play when I ride

In the one photo you can see her movement better, but it's taken from a weird angle to see my position. So I guess use that one to judge her movement and me, if you can.

The second and third are better shots from the side, but since it's through the rail you can't see my hands. I put them up though because they're a good angle to see my leg position and my posture. The second one looks awkward because I'm at the rise of my post.

And, please be nice in your critique. I want guidance to get better not mean words to make me feel defeated. I'm nervous about putting myself "out there", but I do want the feedback so I worked up the nerve.

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MissPhoebe is offline  
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post #2 of 8 Old 06-14-2011, 09:09 PM
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Your overall parts are lined up nicely. The second pic in the up phase of the trot shows you are balanced well over your feet. Heels are down and toes are turned out, another good thing. I think I see puppy dog hands in pic 1.

What stands out to me is you appear to be stiff, almost like you're really working to keep your shoulders open and it's locking up the rest of your upper body. It's hard to tell from still pics. It looks like you have the same overly curved back and rounded shoulders that I do from the pic in your avatar. If you don't correct the curve and just open your shoulders, you've decreased your upper body's ability to absorb motion. If you instead engage your core muscles, tuck your pelvis under and picture making a fist with your back muscles, it will open your shoulders up in a more natural way since your spine will be more straight and the tension will greatly decrease. As I said before, I could be completely wrong about this entire observation, but it's what I see. There's a lot of folks on here who are much better at critiques than I am. Looks great overall!

You just have to see your don't have to like it.
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post #3 of 8 Old 06-14-2011, 09:30 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks! You are right on the money about the back and shoulders. We seem to have a love/hate relationship (I love to hate them!) and, lately, I have become so self conscious about it that I feel like I'm doing exactly what you said when I'm in the show pen. I think the whole time shoulders back, shoulders back, shoulders back and then I get too stiff. Ugh! I have a hard time visualizing with words and not being able to see it. I think I'll take your description and talk to my trainer about it and see if he can help me sort it out. Maybe someone else will also have suggestions?!?

Thanks for your comments; I sincerely appreciate it.
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post #4 of 8 Old 06-14-2011, 09:37 PM
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I could only see it because I have the exact same problem. Here's a good visual. Sit in a chair in your "normal" riding seat. Put your hand on your lower back where it curves. While your hand is there, tuck your pelvis under and you'll feel your stomach muscles suck in and your back flatten or straighten out. That's all you really need to do to un-kink the hose so to speak. It's easier said than done if your muscle memory is defined as badly as mine is, but you can certainly retrain your body to do it. Core pilates are great at providing the necessary core strength to hold the position.

You just have to see your don't have to like it.
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post #5 of 8 Old 06-14-2011, 09:50 PM
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First of all Myboypuck has excellent critiques, however she wishes to demure.

Once she said that about hte back and shoulders , I realized that that was what I see , too.

The pictures are , sadly,, not so good to critique from. YOu are actually a tidy rider on a cute horse. I get the feeling that you are close to where you want to be. The over arching in the back , rolling too far forward on the pelvis , is part and parcel with piano hands. You give away forward the centererd strength that comes form keeping your elbows attached to your ribcage and using the single most powerful muscle group, your abs, to ride with.

I think if you ride really thinking about having your elbows in this will naturally casue the puppy dog hands to go away. And if you think of really bringing your hands and core together with each rise of the posting trot, this will help to keep you more uprgith, and help develop steady hands and a strong center.

Try really visualizing that you ride from you belly button area, and that is where your heart and brain reside. Let your core lead you.

Good leg position and like I said, overall tidy rider and very cute horse.
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post #6 of 8 Old 06-14-2011, 09:53 PM
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Originally Posted by tinyliny View Post
First of all Myboypuck has excellent critiques, however she wishes to demure.

Thanks tiny! Sometimes I feel reluctant to critique because my own body won't do what I know it need to do to ride well. My knowledge definitely exceeds my skill level in the saddle!

You just have to see your don't have to like it.
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post #7 of 8 Old 06-15-2011, 08:37 AM
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I agree with everybody else so far but just wanted to add to work on your piano hands imagine you are holding an icecream cone, if your hands turn in you and your horse will get covered in icecream. I know it sounds silly but it worked wonders for me! Hope this helps!
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post #8 of 8 Old 06-15-2011, 09:02 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks everybody!

MyBoyPuck - I tried the chair thing and I understand what you are saying :) Now, I have to try to translate it to the saddle when I'm moving. Thanks for that suggestion. I'm such a visual, kinesthetic learner that I usually can't just read and take advice so your suggestion really helped.

Tinyliny - I think she's pretty cute to (but I'm a little partial to my diva mare). I like your description of a tidy rider, that's exactly what I would like to be. I'm glad my leg position looks good. I had a really brutal knee surgery a little over a year ago and I have worked really hard to get it back to what it was prior to that, and I thought it was but it is nice to hear it from someone else. I'm finally back in regular stirrups!

LynnF- Thanks for the visualization. I don't know what is with the hand thing. I try and I know it's a really bad habit. I really focus on it during equitation patterns but then when I get her working for pleasure or any other class that is more about her and less about me, I seem to resort back to my evil ways. Ugh!

Thanks again. I guess if riding were easy, then it would be boring! It's always good to have something new to do and work towards. Hopefully I won't corrent my hands and back and lose my legs!!!!
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