Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Vilnius, Lithuania
• Horses: 0
What a lovely horse :)
I have to agree - you are dropping your hands too low, and not enough bend in the elbow which can result in a very fixed contact because of the tension this creates in the shoulder and chest.
However, I wouldn't say your stirrup position is too bad - the widest part of your foot, just before your toes, should be fully supported by the stirrup as it seems to be in pic 3 (perhaps a tiny bit too far in). Otherwise you will end up either digging your heel down (which usually makes the leg stick forward) or not enough support to allow your ankle to be flexible enough to keep a good foot position.
I would, however, like to see you asking your horse to be a bit more active from behind as he is now very front heavy and not using his hindlegs nearly enough to carry himself. If you shortened your reins a little bit just to make him come up and seek contact rather than fall on his nose, and then ask him to move in a more active walk you would probably find it is not so easy for him to do so without the long rein. It is, however, what he needs to start balancing himself - stepping more with the hindlegs, into your contact.
A lot of transitions will help activate the behind and get more contact in front.
I would let your stirrup down by a hole as now they are a bit short, making your knee come up too high and putting you in an armchair position. The stirrup leathers show this as well since they are stretching forward and not down.
This would also allow you to open your hips a bit more and sit IN the saddle rather than ON it. I like to do quite a bit of lunge lessons for my students to develop and keep an independent seat.
For horses with this type of conformation I find it helps a lot if you begin with riding in a more long and round position, as this really gets them to lift their back and withers, open the hindquarters and relax the neck.