I had a lesson this morning, and one later in the day also but no pictures from that one. So I would love a critique of my earlier lesson! I rode Morrie, a 17.3hh, spider-necked, 9-year-old Rhinelander gelding. In a clinic that my friend rode him in, the clinician said that she thought that maybe when he was in Europe they used that procedure (can't remember what it's called) where they remove all of the muscle off of the underside of the horse's neck, and that's why- she thinks- that his neck is so spidery and thin. He was imported from Germany when he was four or five, I believe. He has the BIGGEST trot and the strangest, lurching canter out of any horse that I've ever ridden. One of my friend's friends who is a professional dressage rider and trainer (and a very good rider- I believe that she competes at 4th Level) rode him and said that he had the biggest, bounciest trot that she had ever ridden. So here are the pictures:
^^HORRIBLE posture LOL^^
^^spider neck :)^^
^^hmm... not quite sure what happened here? Is that a one front/one back leg take-off??!!
Pretty horse! Boy, what a trot! You look good to me, but there were a couple of things I noticed....
In picture #4, your elbows look a little straight..you're bracing with your lower arms. Trust me, I know all about bracing with the lower arms - I've done it SO much, but it's not to hard to correct.
Picture #10 - there's somethin' going on with your knee and the saddle - almost like your knee could be farther back, but it may just be me.
Your jumping position looks good - looking up and ahead, legs maybe should be just a little more underneath your middle. I noticed the reins are slack - I've just begun jumping recently myself, and so has my horse! I'm trying to keep the reins slack and my hind end out of the saddle so he doesn't get discouraged while we both learn.
There are a couple instances where you're trotting along with a long rein - perhaps if the reins were a smidge shorter, the horse might collect a little more.
You look like you know what you're doing to me, and always remember - you can't be perfect, but we always love to think we are!
Again, beautiful horse - never heard that about removing neck muscles, though...eegh.
He may have a bouncy trot and spider like neck but he is very pretty. From almost the first picture I could tell your reins were really long, and then when you were jumping you had no contact what so ever with your horse through the reins, so you want to be able to "feel your horses mouth" through the reins. Don't pull or hold your horse really tight though. Im not sure how long you've been riding though...so I am not sure what type of advice to give you/expectations from where you are in riding.
It also looks like your horse is very stiff, and a way to make him smoother is to flex him and round him. It won't make him not bouncy but may help a bit. Don't pull his head to his chest to get him to collect/round. Just hold your inside rein steady and flex a bit with your outside rein. Some horses prefer their riders to collect them differently since my pony prefers if I flex him with both reins. It is a bit more complicated, but you have to move the horse forward into the bridle so that he is powerful (aka you want strength not speed). So you tell the haunches to go forward but with your hands you tell the horse to slow down and soften and take that forward motion and turn it into a (not super fast but powerful) smoother ride with a nicely arched and rounded neck. Don't do this just from my post, ask your instructor or coach to show you what to do and if you should be doing that right now.
I am not completley sure if you are bending your horse through the corners or not but to do so you need to flex with your outside rein and bend the horse around your inside leg, again ask your instructor for clarification. You have a fairly good starting position for jumping but maybe when you have shortened your reins stretch up the horses neck a bit more. The main thing I just wanted to point out though was shortening your reins, especially when going ove the jumps. This post got A LOT longefr then I expected. :P
Thanks for the critiques! I've been riding for 7 years, but just started jumping last year. Yeah, I've learned about collection and I'll work on that the next time that I ride him- I've been hoping to ride him in dressage in shows, so I'll probably ride him a little more often than now- the last time I rode him was about four months ago, so I'm not used to riding horses with such big movement! I agree with you guys now that I look at the pictures- I definitely need to shorten my reins. I'll ask him to bend more- I'm out of practice! LOL. Thanks again for the critiques :).
Ya, you do have a pretty good position on the flat so I was wondering how long you had been riding/jumping. I had ridden for a bit as well and after seven/eight years I started jumping (but it took me another year to actually start taking lessons) I just realized how much fun it was. I give a lot of credit to all the dressage/flat training I did before hand because it was a really good base, now I need to work on my jumping position more. :) Hope you and him have a good time doing dressgae/jumping/etc.
Oh, I have a lot of posts but I wanted to point something else out as well. Lol. Sorry. I just wanted to say that it doesn't look like your lower leg is swinging back (which is good) and I always look at that because I have that issue, and I congratulate anyone who is starting jumping and doesn't do that. good job.
Jumping pics look good, but in all the flat pics your line from elbow to bit is severly broken. You're never going to be able to collect him until you fix that line. Right now your half halts will have no chance of going through.
You say you've learned about collection, so I'll spare you the specifics. You need to shorten your reins about three inches in most of the flat pics. That and more lower leg (and possibly more seat if there is resistance) will help you get him collected. The more collected he is, the more comfortable (less bouncy) his trot will become. It will also help him build muscle and become less spider necked. Lovely horse BTW.
LOL yeah, I'm still working on having shorter reins- I have this weird inner-logic that if I lengthen my reins he'll go faster? I don't know where I get it from because I know that it's COMPLETELY wrong LOL. I'll work on that, and my line from the bit to my elbow.