I'm not going to critique here as I'm not that experienced and I think you 2 looked very nice together. :) But I'm curious, what kind of horse is he? Just look so much like my qh (we just started dressage)...
I would say sit back a bit and bend those elbows! In a few pictures it looks like you are pitched forward. You might even drop your stirrups a hole and really stretch down in your heels to elongate your leg. You guys look pretty good though! Looks like you make a great pair!
I second the longer stirrups. The other thing I noticed is that you seem to drop the outside rein a few times. Work on keeping the contact steady through both hands, since both are equally as important.
That looks like such a lonely place to have an arena. Looks like the highlands of Scotland or something.
Anyway, is that saddle an All purpose saddle or a dressage saddle? I agree with the others in that you need to lengthen the stirrups. The saddle itself looks a bit too big for you, but since it's a school horse you have to be flexible, I know.
You look like someone who has has some hunter training, no? You are "looking for your next jump" meaning you are turning your head TOO far to the inside. Stay with your horse more. Look in the direction of his inside ear, no farther.
Lengthening your stirups and sinking your weight down through your thighs along your horses body (like a wet towel just draping along the sides) will help . Right how your feet look kind of jammed stiffly into the stirrups which is causeing them to stick right off the horse's sides.
Shorten the rein a bit so it's long enough that you can have a little bend in the elbow, and keep those darn thumbs on top. Same old same old, I know.
YOu look very confident and upright and well matched with the horse, who seems happy under you. That is worth a lot.
Thank you for the comments everyone :)
@tinyliny agree completely with everything you said. I was a hunter for 6 years! Haha hence my comfort with a shorter stirrup and over exagerated looks around the bend. It is an all purpose and it is made to fit the school horse and not myself which you pointed out. Haha Scotish highlands :P more like semi rural Pennsylvania hahaha
Well, I was going to give you some tips on the frame the horse is in, but since he is a 23 yr old QH, I think he looks great!!
So, for you, yes to the above on the lengthening the stirrups, or even take them off. Do not turn your feet out, this is a hard habit to break, but your toes need to point forward & don't worry about heels down. Sit up straighter too, you are in a forward position much of the time. I see air between you & the saddle, so sit deep! I tell children to pretend they are glued to the saddle which works for them:)
Also, please check the girth for signs of rubbing. Old horses are like old people & have thin skin that tears easily. I know it won't look as nice, but put a nice sheepskin pad on to keep his skin intact.
I'm going to second tinyliny. I'm transitioning from hunters as well, so I see alot of the same quirks in your riding as in mine. Remember to keep equal weight on your seat bones. Around the turns, not only are you looking, but it appears that most of your weight is in your inside leg and your leaning into the turn. To bend your horse around your inside leg you need to have your weight in the outside leg.
And for 23, your horse looks fabulous and happy. Congrats on your win!
I'm with longer stirrups, more bend in your elbows and more contact.
Are you riding in an AP saddle?
Keep your legs on him more to really drive him forward from behind, but don't let him go galloping off. You need to hold your contact steady and keep him at a good working pace with your seat.
You look pretty good, and congrats on your first place especially