This is the second time I've been on the back of a horse in about two years. I have a 5 year old mare in the process of completing her mounted training...by someone far more qualified than myself. I began taking lessons about two weeks ago in preparation to eventually ride her. I have a background in hunter/jumper, but as of right now I'm just concentrating on getting my seat back. Any constructive critique would be wholly appreciated. I don't get offended easily, but please provide suggestions for how to improve as well. My next lesson is going to be on the line without stirrups. Thanks! (the first link is part one) Uploading videos just seems to ruin the quality!
(That is a gorgeous horse, not that I'm biased with my own half Arab half Paint lol)
I actually think you have a pretty nice seat for not riding for so long. The biggest things I noticed were:
1. Your hands are very busy. It could be because your elbows tend to stick out just a bit and they seem somewhat stiff. Try to keep your hands as still as possible, moving just enough to follow your horses mouth.
2. Your legs are very busy as well. Try to keep your heel back just a bit more and really relax your muscles. Riding without sturrips should help with that.
Both of those things will improve with practice, though :) Good luck to you and your horse :)
You are a very good rider. The only thing I noticed is that, like horsea said, your hands are extremely busy. Try to keep them lower on your horse's neck and quieter. Right now they are up in the air and moving all over the place. Also, is it just me, or are your stirrups too long? It's kind of hard to see. But, try shortening them a hole or two and see what happens. Right now, your legs are wobbling. Shorter stirrups help you push down your heels and keep a firmer leg in place.
Other than that, you are an amazing rider. Good job, and keep it up!
Thanks alot ROTW. I'm thinking of riding with a ten inch dowel under my thumbs to remind me that when my legs feel as weak as they do now I can't overcompensate with my hands! Right now I feel like I'm driving a car with no power steering fluid, lol. I'm crossing my fingers hoping muscle memory jumps in quickly!
Your coach needs to take away your stirrups and your reins and find a lunge line. Jogging around the arena on a horse with its face in the air and back stiff as is not teaching you anything. I would way prefer to see you on a horse in properly fitted lunging gear and actually moving somewhere with you in less of a "poised" position than sitting there like a little statue on something that's plodding around. Anyone can sit on a horse that's not really moving and look OK. To "ride" we must be able to sit on and follow anything.
There is absolutely no difference in (a) what you're doing and (b) how you're riding from the beginning of the video to the end. And 7 minutes is a long time to be trotting around. There were a very few transitions, your figures were in-exact and the horse also never changed (not to mention your position, which is I assume the purpose of the lesson?).
Yes, you look fine on the horse, but it looks like an easy horse to look fine on. In order to improve your seat it must be isolated and exercised via lunge lessons. If you are allowed to rely on stirrups and reins to balance, you will not ever easily independently balance from your seat.
I was going to critique the hands and elbows, but everyone's already talked about that. Your horse needs more impulsion; don't be afraid to send her forward! It's easier to post to the trot and keep everything looking and working well if your horse is moving forward at an even, forward clip.
An excercise that might work to help with your hands is to go large around the arena and ride with one hand on both reins and the other behind your back. You want to keep everything steady and balanced, and this way you can't rely on your horse's mouth for balance.