dressage critique - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 09-26-2009, 07:01 PM Thread Starter
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dressage critique

This is a video from a few months ago at a dressage clinic. I hadn't been riding much before hand, except about 2 weeks before the clinic to try and get him a bit fitter and ready for it.
The video went for about 45 mins but i cut it to about 5, it shows walk, trot (rising and sitting), leg yield and canter. By the time we got to canter he was quite tired and so its not that great.

background info: This is the first horse ive done dressage type stuff with, and he is pretty inexperienced also. Before i got him he was just a paddock ornament.
Before this i hadn't had a lesson in about 2 years and this was the first time we had been in an arena since then.

Things i see that need improving:
- Sit trot. I have ALOT of trouble sit trotting on shadow, on our other horses i can do a decent sit trot but this guy i have heaps of trouble with for some reason. The instructor had me sitting only a few strides on each lap of the circle so thats why i may look a bit funny.
- It looks like im rising a bit too high out of the saddle. I think it may be because im trying to keep him foward.
- He's comming heaps under the bit at the canter.

I'd say ive improved since then, definatly with the rising, but i havnt done much sit trot work

Any suggestions would be great thanks!

ThatNinjaHorse is offline  
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post #2 of 6 Old 09-26-2009, 07:33 PM
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The horse is not accepting the bit, sometimes he is going above it and sometimes he goes below. You need to be consistent with the contact, at points the reins are too loose and flopping around. Your stirrups may be somewhat long but it is hard to tell, and I am fairly sure your reins are too long. Try to put more weight in your heels. Lean back with your upper body and look straight ahead, not down. Make sure your elbows and wrists are moving with his movement at the canter and walk, instead of bracing against it. At the canter, keep your seat down and supple as you are coming out of the saddle.
roro is offline  
post #3 of 6 Old 09-26-2009, 11:58 PM
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Ok, well I might be used to a different kind of rider than roro.. I think that you are actually doing quite well. As far as your stirrup length, I think it's fine, your leg isn't swinging and it is "breathing" nicely especially in the canter. Dressage riders also don't need weight in their heels because we keep our butts in the tack, again, to get that nice h/j heels down look, you would need to shorten your stirrups. But I don't see any fences in the ring so....
I like your body position, and how you are keeping the contact. With an inexperienced horse it is important to stay a breath ahead (but in balance!!) and for a horse that can't keep a rhythm, we really shouldn't even care what the front end is doing anyways.
OK so time for critique:
You may or may not be looking down, I have a feeling it's your helmet that gives you that look, but the line of your back tells me that it's not as bad as it looks.
I would just like to correct your posture slightly - it is very important to your seat aids and lower back to have your shoulders pressing down into your hips. A good way to feel this is that your elbows should be physically touching the points of your hips. I like that you keep your elbows quietly at your sides instead of waving them around as seems to be the style today. If you really need an upper arm workout, then go to the gym. Your upper arm is a part of your upper body and therefore should be still. Your wrists could perhaps be softer, especially in the walk. As far as for the lower back and upper leg, they are a little "stuck together", you really need to work off and on the horse to soften up your hips and allow your back and leg to move separately. I imagine this is also where your issues in the sitting trot are from, and in the walk.
Ahh the walk... I'm just going to take a moment and critique the horse. He is not ideally suited for dressage. His walk has a lateral tendency and in the trot/canter he tends to be level or downhill and has little hock action. Working to keep his rhythm, balance and eventually collect him are going to be challenging. In the walk, don't have him that short until he can carry in a clear 4 beat. Even then you are going to have to be very careful about schooling the medium and collected walks. Good exercises are going to be anything moving laterally with a clear bend in the walk (shoulder-fore on a circle, travers on a circle). As far as your riding in the walk, your core gets quite loose and wiggles side to side, allowing him to become more lateral. Really ride the walk with your seat in a clear forward and back motion in four beats.
Good luck!
~*~anebel~*~ is offline  
post #4 of 6 Old 09-27-2009, 12:11 AM
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As far as my critique goes, I have more for your horse than for you. =]

Your horse is lacking impulsion. You said he was getting tired, which is understandable if he is out of shape. However, there was no impulsion in any of the video, which led you to "pushing" him forward with your seat and your high posting. You and your horse both would benefit from driving him forward, pushing off from his hind end. Now, more forward does not mean faster, but rather a longer stride, and in the trot, you should feel suspension, like he has sprung up and you are both suspended in the air or a millisecond. And while his head may be in a correct looking place, he is really lacking the collection and "on-the-bit"ness you want him to have. Like I said, drive him forward and into the bit, he should be stretching into your hands, not holding himself in a frame.

As far as your trotting goes, your sitting trot doesn't look that bad. Just give it time and practice. When sitting the trot, it should feel like you are doing a sit-up, but instead of bringing your upper body to your lower body, you are crunching your lower body up to your upper body, bringing your belly button back to your spine, in time with your horse's trot. And rising, yes, you are posting too high. Your crotch should not come higher up than the pommel of your saddle. Of course, you mentioned he was dragging, but I just wanted to let you know how high you should be posting.

Overall though, I think you two make a lovely pair. Your horse seems to be willing enough, and I think you know enough to take him further. Good luck in your future rides together, just remember, DRIVE. =]

"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds."
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post #5 of 6 Old 09-27-2009, 01:47 AM Thread Starter
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Yeah i think i was looking down! I kept getting told "theres no money on the ground, i've already looked"

trot/canter he tends to be level or downhill
He's not built that way though, when he is standing on level ground he's fine. I'd say the canter problems are due to an injury he had, because he never used to be that bad. I cant remember exactly what it was but he literally couldnt canter on the right rein. He would get disunited, and no matter how much he tried he couldnt keep a normal canter for more than about 2 strides. He got alot better to the point where he could but still had trouble bringing his hind legs under enough, and he had chiropractic and massage work and he doesnt have problems with it anymore, but i have noticed he is quite..on the forehand, is that the right word? Thats what ive been told anyway..

Thanks for all the advice! Its going to help alot!
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post #6 of 6 Old 09-27-2009, 01:52 AM
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Originally Posted by ~*~anebel~*~ View Post
Ok, well I might be used to a different kind of rider than roro.. I think that you are actually doing quite well. As far as your stirrup length, I think it's fine, your leg isn't swinging and it is "breathing" nicely especially in the canter. Dressage riders also don't need weight in their heels because we keep our butts in the tack, again, to get that nice h/j heels down look, you would need to shorten your stirrups. But I don't see any fences in the ring so....
I never said that she was not doing well, I was offering advice. When many people hear or read the words "heels down" it can help with stabilizing their bodies.
roro is offline  

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