Join Date: May 2010
Location: Queensland, Australia
I'll only comment on the first two pics as I'm not a jumper. :)
I would suggest raising your hands higher. There should be a straight line from the horse's bit, your hand and to your elbow. Do you see how that line is broken with your hands down? You look like you have slight "piano hands". Thumbs on top! This will allow you to be more forgiving with your hands, as well as allowing your elbows to come closer in to your sides. I do like that you have enough contact with the reins that you still have that straight rein, rather than having a loop in the rein.
Another thing I noticed is that you are leaning forward. Try sitting up straighter. You also appear to have your legs too far forward. Try keeping them underneath you more. Do you see how your body kinda makes a > shape? There should be a straight line from your shoulder, hip to heel - like in PintoTess' picture. Do you find in rising trot that you have to drag your hips forward and out of the saddle? If you sit with your body in that straight line, you should be able to just allow yourself to be pushed forward and up by the horse in rising trot. I find the best way for me to sit up straight is to imagine that I'm a top dressage rider (like Anky Van Grunsven, or Isabell Werth), or my coach tells me to imagine that I've got Pamela Anderson's boobs and I want to catch as many guys as possible so I need to show them off, haha. I like how you are looking up and don't drop your head down. :)
I do like that you have your heels down :) but they look in the first photo like they are forced down. Try turning your toes in more as well. When doing that, try not to roll your ankles outwards and put weight on your little toe as it becomes very painful. At the moment with your toes out like that, it appears that you are gripping with the back of your calf. I'll bet that when your put your leg aids on, you ask with your heel/squeeze strongly with your calf? What we want is a light squeeze from the inside of the legs (or a tap from your heels only if he doesn't respond to the squeeze). I would also suggest dropping your stirrups down a hole or two for flatwork (but I do understand that you had them up for jumping :) ).
I like your horse a lot - he looks like such a sweetie with a bit of character! :) And his trot looks nice to ride (especially in the second picture) You guys look like a really good team. I hope I helped and wasn't too picky (I tend to get carried away haha) :)
...Every rider has that one horse that changes everything about them...