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Dressage Critique

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  • When should you drop your stirrups down a notch in dressage
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    09-03-2012, 11:51 PM
  #1
Weanling
Dressage Critique

Hey guys! Usually I refrain from critiques as my horse is still very new to eventing. And until recently, I felt as though a critique on here would have been slightly redundant to what I already know. However, I feel as though in the past couple weeks we've finally hit a point at which our progress is really showing, and we can move on from the basics.

This picture was taken from a lesson about a week and a half ago that I took with my trainer's trainer. Please critique both Demon and me. I believe at the point the picture was taken we were working on riding to four points on a circle, as he has the tendency to ignore and "push through" outside aids. Any critique is appreciated. Thanks!!

     
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    09-03-2012, 11:55 PM
  #2
Weanling
Sorry no critique, just wanted to say the you horse (pony? He looks smallish) is super cute!
Posted via Mobile Device
     
    09-04-2012, 12:06 AM
  #3
Super Moderator
Well, would you be able to post a video? Or at least a bunch of photos? It's hard to tell much from one photo.

What I can see is that you have your leg off the horse, and wondering why that is.
Also, the horse is twisting his head, so there is resistance there somewhere, right?

His head twist is mirrored by yours.
So, stay very upright all the way through your neck. If he start getting twisted, don't twist yourself in an attempt to "untwist" him. I know all about this becuase it's something I really, really struggle with. I find myself bent over and kind of looking at the side of his neck or face, as if that could affect a lateral move.

Dropping your stirrups a notch, sitting more on your seatbones, keeping centered over him side to side and your head over your shoulders all help.

You are an adorable pair!
     
    09-04-2012, 06:44 AM
  #4
Green Broke
From the one photo (and it is much much easier from a video), The horse seems to be coming along nicely however he is still quite downhill.
You need to work towards setting him back over his hocks some more and lightening that front end

For you personaly I would say:
You need to get your shoulders back,
LOOK UP!!! Not at the horse, you look down and that is where you will end up!
Thumbs on top!

Other then that I realy can't tell much from just one photo!
     
    09-04-2012, 06:00 PM
  #5
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinyliny    
Well, would you be able to post a video? Or at least a bunch of photos? It's hard to tell much from one photo.

What I can see is that you have your leg off the horse, and wondering why that is.
Also, the horse is twisting his head, so there is resistance there somewhere, right?

His head twist is mirrored by yours.
So, stay very upright all the way through your neck. If he start getting twisted, don't twist yourself in an attempt to "untwist" him. I know all about this becuase it's something I really, really struggle with. I find myself bent over and kind of looking at the side of his neck or face, as if that could affect a lateral move.

Dropping your stirrups a notch, sitting more on your seatbones, keeping centered over him side to side and your head over your shoulders all help.

You are an adorable pair!
Unfortunately I don't :[

I think my leg was off him in an attempt to make sure that there were no "mixed signals" as he likes to move sideways instead of forward. I'm not sure if that's the best way to handle that, so if you have any suggestions, that would be great!
There is quite a bit of resistance. Good eye :] He is a very opinionated horse! Haha. At the moment we still have quite a few discussions about it throughout our rides, but we have been moving in the right direction.

I'll have to really pay attention to the position of my neck and shoulders next time I ride. I realized that I was twisted, but actually missed that I was mirroring him. Interesting. Thank you so much for the critique!!


Quote:
Originally Posted by JustWingIt    
Sorry no critique, just wanted to say the you horse (pony? He looks smallish) is super cute!
Posted via Mobile Device
Aw thanks! I love him. He's a small quarter horse, probably around 15.1 hh but he's never been sticked.

Quote:
Originally Posted by faye    
From the one photo (and it is much much easier from a video), The horse seems to be coming along nicely however he is still quite downhill.
You need to work towards setting him back over his hocks some more and lightening that front end

For you personaly I would say:
You need to get your shoulders back,
LOOK UP!!! Not at the horse, you look down and that is where you will end up!
Thumbs on top!

Other then that I realy can't tell much from just one photo!

I've really been working on getting him working under himself. I suspect he has a bit of hock arthritis in his left hind, so my plan is to put him on a joint supplement and hopefully that will help him really be able to reach under himself and work through his back.

Bah, hands are something I've always struggled with! Thanks :]
     
    09-05-2012, 11:11 PM
  #6
Trained
Starting with the horse, he has head tilit - coming from crookedness at the poll. This mirrors rider inbalance, or unsteady contact, or a lazy hind leg. He could be a little more over his hind legs but at the moment he's working in a good prelim frame.

For you, the first thing I want to fix if your leg. Drop the stirrups a hole or two, and RELAX your knee. In this photo you are gripping with your knee like your life depends on it, taking the lower leg off which will in fact do the oposite of what you are intending. Your leg shoulder drape around the horse's barel like a wet cloth or slab or meat over a rolling pin. There should be no tension. Your leg is not there to hold you on and give you balance - that's your seat's job.

Your lower back is arched, as you are coming down on your pubic bone rather than seat bones. Sit back, roll your pelvis forward and feel your seat bones come into contact with the saddle, keeping your lower back straight. Right now, you're aiming to give yourself some back problems in the future. A rider's core should take the shock of the horse's motion, not the lower back. Release your lower back, and hold your core.

Your body is twisted to the outside, stemming from your pelvis and going all the way to your head. I'd go back to having a few lunge lessons with no reins or stirrups, eyes closed and really feeling where your body is. When we train a green horse, it is so easy to pick up bad habits ourselves, lose balance and get crooked. Its not doing anyone any favours, so we do need to give ourselves a regular tune up. I find lunge lessons are best for this. Try to picture that your hips are always on the same line as your horse's hips, and shoulders on the same line as your horse's shoulders.

I'd like to see your hands come a little more together, with the elbow allowed to hang. Think of having weights tied to your elbows, or sticking your elbows to your hips. The elbow works as a hinge, the upper arm should not be moving unless for extreme corrections, with only the lower arm, wrist and fingers giving any movement to the bit. Roll your hands up, so that your thumbs are on top and pointing towards the horse's ears.

While you ride, imagine yourself as a Grand Prix Dressage rider. I like to invisage Edward Gal when I ride and feel that I'm losing focus. I close my eyes for a moment, and picture Edward on Gribaldi, he sits so quiet in the saddle, his hands do not move an inch. EVERYTHING is with his seat.
If you can picture someone like Edward while you ride, I think you'll be surprised and find that you improve as you try to mimic that person's seat.
     
    09-06-2012, 12:59 AM
  #7
Super Moderator
What Kayty said. I will add that I would like to see your hands come up a bit. More on the level of your belly button than down the way they are. If you are keeping your hands down in an attempt to keep the horse's head down, it doesn't work that way. Relax that arm, bring the hands up so that the bit has a straight line to your elbow. Then that soft arm will have a much finer "feel" of the horse's mouth and movement.
     
    09-06-2012, 01:07 AM
  #8
Trained
I don't mind seeing the hands at wither level, if they come together a bit more, and sit on top of the wither, that is much preferable IMO than having them then too high, creating an unsteady contact.
If the rider had a stable enough seat then raising the hands can be of benefit but I think at this point, while trying to develop a more secure seat, allowing the hands to remain at the wither - so long as they are not 'pulling' the horse's head down - is an ok thing :)
     

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