Critique my riding please... - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 14 Old 05-20-2010, 12:56 PM
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: I am omnipresent (mostly Alberta...)
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I do like your straight back and square shoulders though :)

Where there's a bay, there's a way!
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post #12 of 14 Old 05-20-2010, 01:37 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Bristol, CT
Posts: 356
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Thanks anebel, that was a very constructive post. I know exactly what you mean. I was expecting more agressive instruction like that from the trainer, because I'm not really looking to be fooling around on the horse. However I didn't really experience her getting really in-depth about the mechanics of my seat or balance, which left me feeling somewhat unfufilled after the lesson. I'm not as interested with someone saying "good" or "better" I'm really aimed at getting schooled on a more cellular level! It's more about improving the horses way of going, and I already know I'm not helping much, lol. Although its my second ride since 2008, I'm interested in seeing what will happen when they take away my stirrups.

I understand what you are saying about impulsion too, but that seems to be a energetic change coming from yourself where the horse demonstrates a willingness to move forward with you, not just plodding about like others have described. I feel my energy is slightly hesitant and unsure in the videos, which is what I was! I'm sure even feeling this way would naturally slow the horse. When I feel confident enough to really feel as if I am riding with the horse in movement, I'm hoping this will change. Thanks. I've gotten more ideas from you than I did my trainer that day!
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post #13 of 14 Old 05-25-2010, 09:34 AM
Join Date: Jan 2010
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I'm late to the party as usual!

I think you have a very good grasp on the basics and someone has obviously preached position to you. Your leg is laying nicely in a dressage position and you're sitting upright with your shoulders back. The first thing a rider should learn is how to follow the horse and stay out of its way. I think you have that part down, so now you need to learn how to influence the horse in a positive way.

This stage is what I call the "being an effective rider" stage. We push the horse to do better work, developing the horse using the training scale. You are doing the right thing by having a trainer help your horse in this department. That way you can supplement his/her riding so your horse can continue to move forward in its training.

To help your horse the most, you need to stop trying to look perfect because you are trying to hold so still you are rigid.

Hands. Your hands are fixed and are not giving. Think of what it would be like if you were fishing and you hooked a big, heavy log instead of a fish. You need to start a conversation with her. Shorten your reins just an inch so you have a more consistent feel on her mouth. Focus on one rein at a time. This is what we call uni-lateral aids. Squeeze your fist on the rein and feel the corner of her mouth and let go. Like a leg aid, we pulse and never hold because that makes our horse's ignore us. Then do the other side.

Strengthen your shoulder girdle and really pinch your shoulder blades together so you can relax the rest of your arm. Shrug your shoulders with the rhythm of the trot to shake out some of the negative tension.

Move your hands and forearms with her head. Erik Herbermann says to keep your elbows "pointy", which means pointed down, but the horse owns the hand and forearm. You need to allow your elbow joint to open and close so the horse can feel that lively connection through your hand. The same goes for posting with your hands. The hands stay with the horse's head and the elbow joint opens and closes. Your hands should not move up and down with you. When you hold your hands still and fixed, the horse is easily able to pull you out of the saddle. So you are not anchored quite right into the saddle.

Seat and leg. Ride with your seat bones pointing forward, not back. They are sort of out behind you right now, which leaves you with a weak position and also blocks the horse's hind end from really coming through.

You have too much weight in your stirrups and not enough in your seat. Part of the reason, especially at the posting trot, is because you don't have enough energy and feel like you have to propel yourself out of the saddle just to get up. This is backwards. You need to propel the horse forward. Then the horse's energy will push you up out of the saddle and you simply allow it and then come back down receiving the energy. Think "squishy buns" to help relax your cheeks. The tension in your shoulders goes down through your back and to your seat.

Be careful not to push the horse too forward causing it to rush and come out of balance, but rather just to the edge. Try to feel the energy of the haunches moving under your seat over the back, moving forward into your hands.

Do not collapse forward through the middle in transitions. Think of yourself as a banana. Your head is the stem and the rest of you is the curve. You are curving with your seat furthest from the horse. Flip it around! Push your seat towards the front of the saddle (instead of sliding out the back) and get your shoulders and leg behind it. Over-exaggerating this image in your head and trying to feel it in your body should get you about straight where you need to be. Keep this image in your mind while you canter so you don't slosh to the back and then lean forward to try to keep up.

Don't worry about "framing her up" too much right now. Just keep that elbow soft and hands giving having that conversation with her. Ride her forward with energy riding her with a more influencing but relaxed position.
equinesalways is offline  
post #14 of 14 Old 05-25-2010, 01:17 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Bristol, CT
Posts: 356
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thanks equinesalways, I feel like printing it out and carrying it with me to my next lesson. Loved your analogies, especially the backwards banana, and your insight on the hands. Very helpful, thanks again.
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