English Riding Critique...Interested in every opinion! - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 16 Old 12-23-2010, 12:04 PM Thread Starter
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English Riding Critique...Interested in every opinion!

Background info: This is me and my horse Tiff. I've been riding for ten years and I bought him 3 years ago. He was my first horse and we had some rough patches to start because he was trained for eventing and I have always been a hunter so we disagreed on what the signals meant: he's very sensitive and I'd been riding hard-mouthed, hard-sided school horses for 7 years. I want to know not only what I need to work on, but what I can do to fix it. I'm putting together a riding journal for the next several months and I want lots of fresh ideas to include. Thanks so much!
























~live. laugh. ride.~

Last edited by iJump; 12-23-2010 at 12:07 PM.
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post #2 of 16 Old 12-23-2010, 01:10 PM
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You guys look great! One think I can see is the need for a bit more release, and in some of the pictures your leg seems to slip back (pinching at the knees?) but other than that you look good

I had the same thing when I moved from my hard-mouthed paso fino to my very sensitive Thoroughbreds. Takes some getting used to
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post #3 of 16 Old 12-23-2010, 01:27 PM
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I agree, I see the leg slipping in the 2nd jumping picture, if you work on getting your heels down, it will help with that :) I think because over the jumps you are letting your heels lift, it is forcing you to grip w/ your knees, which makes your whole position a little tight. Work on relaxing and stretching those legs down :)

.P e A c E.
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post #4 of 16 Old 12-23-2010, 11:52 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you guys! I have a really hard time with heels down. My dressage trainer and my regular trainer have both told me I have the "wrong conformation" for it because instead of being pigeon-toed I'm like duck-footed. Therefore, my toes are always too far out and then it's hard to get your heels down. I'm not trying to make excuses at all, I'm just saying to clarify. Are there any suggestions you have for getting your heels down? If I really think about it, I can get them down for like a couple strides or a line, but they always come back up. How can I make myself more consistent?

~live. laugh. ride.~
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post #5 of 16 Old 12-24-2010, 12:45 AM
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you can stand on stairs and stretch your heels down whenever you have free time at home, that helps you practice and gets your muscles used to doing it more :)
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post #6 of 16 Old 12-24-2010, 01:32 AM
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For heels down I like to do walk/trot/canter work just standing in the stirrups. The added weight pushes your heels down and helps you get the right feel for what it should feel like.
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post #7 of 16 Old 12-24-2010, 09:20 AM
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Your hands need to be up a bit more, and as mentioned by other people, you need to work on your release.
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post #8 of 16 Old 12-24-2010, 12:32 PM
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Most of what I see is that you need to ride with your weight in your ankles. It's almost like you're a bit perched up there in all the shots. This may be due to your conformation, as you say, but I suspect it's from having to push horses around the ring. You don't need to necessarily raise your hands, but bend at the elbows. Rolling your shoulders back should bring your seat back a bit and help you open up your hip and ride with your seat/sink your weight down.

For jumping, you really need to work on keeping your weight in your heels. It will open up your hip angle and allow you to "squat" over the fences more. Your release isn't bad. It's halfway up the neck and not floating over the horse. Once you stabilize your leg more, I see no reason why you can't start lowering them a bit to create a straight line to the horses mouth with an auto release.
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post #9 of 16 Old 12-26-2010, 08:46 PM
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I think everything's been said already. When I was really young, a trainer once told me to pretend that I was a rubber band stretching around the horse's barrel. Ie. Keep your heels down and your legs wrapped around the horse. I dunno if that'll help you but it's just another way to think of it. Also, as someone else said, do tons of work in two point. It helps a ton. You look like a lovely rider, you just need to work on your leg a little more :)

Worth The Wait <3
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post #10 of 16 Old 12-26-2010, 11:24 PM
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From the Judge's Point of View

First, I'd like to introduce myself. I'm Anna Jane White-Mullin, a USEF registered hunter, hunter seat equitation, and jumper judge for more than 30 years. I was interested in your photos and would like to give a short critique for each, starting from the top. Photo 1--The take-off spot to the jump is too close. On a fence this height (under 3'6"), the take-off spot should be anywhere from 5 feet to 6 feet from the center of the fence. Your photo shows the take-off to be about 3 feet from the fence. Your upper body is "lying on the neck" of the horse--that is, the angle of your hip is closed too much so that your chest is too close to the horse's neck. This fault often occurs when a horse is placed too close to a fence for take-off. Photo 2--This is a nice shot of you and your horse, although it's a little fuzzy. It seems as though you are entering the arena to start the course, and I like your sense of purpose. The horse is covering the ground well with a flowing step. The only thing out of place here is that your heel is up, so that you don't have the weight in your heels that will help hold your leg in place and keep you on the horse when it jumps. Photo 3--The horse looks a little bedraggled in this shot because it is not braided and your reins are long, even if this is an under-saddle class. Also, the back of your calf is on the horse, rather than the inside of your calf. There is a world of difference between how the horse is presented in this photo and in photo 2, where everything seems much more pulled together. Photo 4--In this jumping photo, your heel is up and your leg has slipped back in the air. The lack of weight in your heel on the flat has carried over to your jumping position. Your release in the air is nice, however, allowing the horse to stretch its neck as a counterbalance to its rear end. Photo 5--The release in this photo is much too short. The horse needs to stretch its neck to keep its balance in the air, and the short release is jeopardizing its safety and yours. When releasing, you should let the horse stretch its neck as far as it will and only have a light feel on the reins when "jumping out of hand" or a little slack in the reins when using a "crest release," which is preferable until you have a steadier leg position. If you'd like, you can find articles on strengthening your leg position, how the horse uses the "bascule" to counterbalance its front and rear end, and other topics that may be helpful at my website, annamullin.com. Best of luck in your riding career! -- AJ



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Originally Posted by iJump View Post
Background info: This is me and my horse Tiff. I've been riding for ten years and I bought him 3 years ago. He was my first horse and we had some rough patches to start because he was trained for eventing and I have always been a hunter so we disagreed on what the signals meant: he's very sensitive and I'd been riding hard-mouthed, hard-sided school horses for 7 years. I want to know not only what I need to work on, but what I can do to fix it. I'm putting together a riding journal for the next several months and I want lots of fresh ideas to include. Thanks so much!























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