English Riding Critique (Pictures)
   

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English Riding Critique (Pictures)

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    04-03-2013, 07:58 PM
  #1
Weanling
Red face English Riding Critique (Pictures)

Hey guys.

I don't often post on here, let alone make my own thread - I am more of a reader than a poster - this is why I may seem unfamiliar to most of you.

Anyway, the reason I am making this thread is that I would like some feedback on my riding. I have been riding for six months (this is lessons - I have ridden friends horses but nothing more than very basic tips on riding before now paying for my own lessons).

I have improved alot since I started (some pictures I would be ashamed to post - think sky rocket out of the saddle learning to post trot..), but I would love feedback.

I have an amazing instructor whom has helped me alot - I have a bit of a confidence issue at the canter, which is not to do with the horse I ride, but more so just a feeling of what I am thinking is stress (I am a bit of a perfectionist, haha, so with many things to remember I do become stressed. Canter is what we are working at right now).


Some things I know I need to imrpove on, and am working on with my instructor, are:
- Correct hand position (I tend to have pram pusher hands -a very bad habit of mine)
- Not giving away my reins (I tend to 'drop' my reins when asking for a canter)
- Softer elbows (for softer hands, you see my lack of 'give' in the canter).
- A longer leg (I tend to pick my legs up in the canter and 'cling' more than 'hug' (this im relating to my canter confidence). By doing this I also am picking up my heel, so am needing to lengthen my leg and stretch my heel - As seen in one of the photos I have lost my inside stirrup because of clinging with my leg and not stretching my leg and stretching my heel down.

I also would like some tips on how to avoid pointing my toes out (you can see this in all my pictures)

Any thing else you can think of would be great too. Don't be shy! I am here for a critique, and I would love your input - the bad bits especially!!

These are thing I am working on currently (also working on 'popping' into the canter, rather than 'clinging' and running into the canter).
I also relise and am working on half-halting, to slow the canter, as some of it is a bit speedy., in comparison to how it should be.

Thanks!
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    04-03-2013, 09:31 PM
  #2
Super Moderator
I would suggest first of all to shorten your stirrup one notch. Such a long leg might be appropriate for an advanced rider, but you look like you are "fishing for your stirrups. There should be about a 90 degree angle at the back of your knee, your upper leg to lower. Know what I mean?

Lengthen the reins a bit so you can bring your upper arm back to be more close to vertically aligned alongside your ribcage.

Get your thumbs on top and straighten your wrists.

The horse may be more comfortable without the German Martingale. It looks like the hrose is worried about the downward pull of the drawrein part, onto the bars of his mouth.

Think about point your heels down, back and at the horse's rear feet, and feel the weight go down your thigh, along the outside of your knee and down the outside of your lower leg to that dowward pointing heel, out your heel and pouring ont the ground, right in front of the hrose's hind feet. Just a mental image to combat the way your are gripping with your feet rolled out so you have the back of your calf agains the horse's side. If you energy is going down the outside of your leg, (just to the ouside of your kneecap), it will help you to keep that leg rotated forward , with knee cap and toe alinged.

It helps from time to time to reach down, when you are just standing there, and lift the fat part of the thigh that is almost your buttock , lift it with your hand and pull it out from the saddle and upward, so it makes your upper leg rotate more inward.

Your own observations of yourself are well thought out. We all work on the things that you are working on, just at various points in the spectrum.

Keep up the good work!
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    04-03-2013, 10:07 PM
  #3
Showing
I agree with tiny.. you are definitely reaching to keep your stirrups, shortening them a hole will help, as will getting rid of the martingale which is attached directly to the bit....
     
    04-03-2013, 10:13 PM
  #4
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinyliny    
I would suggest first of all to shorten your stirrup one notch. Such a long leg might be appropriate for an advanced rider, but you look like you are "fishing for your stirrups. There should be about a 90 degree angle at the back of your knee, your upper leg to lower. Know what I mean?

Lengthen the reins a bit so you can bring your upper arm back to be more close to vertically aligned alongside your ribcage.

Get your thumbs on top and straighten your wrists.

The horse may be more comfortable without the German Martingale. It looks like the hrose is worried about the downward pull of the drawrein part, onto the bars of his mouth.

Think about point your heels down, back and at the horse's rear feet, and feel the weight go down your thigh, along the outside of your knee and down the outside of your lower leg to that dowward pointing heel, out your heel and pouring ont the ground, right in front of the hrose's hind feet. Just a mental image to combat the way your are gripping with your feet rolled out so you have the back of your calf agains the horse's side. If you energy is going down the outside of your leg, (just to the ouside of your kneecap), it will help you to keep that leg rotated forward , with knee cap and toe alinged.

It helps from time to time to reach down, when you are just standing there, and lift the fat part of the thigh that is almost your buttock , lift it with your hand and pull it out from the saddle and upward, so it makes your upper leg rotate more inward.

Your own observations of yourself are well thought out. We all work on the things that you are working on, just at various points in the spectrum.

Keep up the good work!
Thank you very much for your reply! It made for a great read -especially since I have an hour riding lesson tonight, which leaves room for improvement so I will use the advice to my advantage.

I do feel as if I am fishing for my stirrups - we have put them up a hole before, but being a riding school saddle (which is used more so than private saddles usually are) the leathers are stretched and the holes are usually too short or too long - I will try you recommendation, and ask if I can use the hole punch to make some stirrup leather holes if I can't find any the right length. I have always been taught to measure my stirrups with the length of my arm (finger tips to armpit) - is there a better and more accurate way of meausring that wont cause me to be too long or too short in the stirrups? Im getting better with my fishing for the stirrups when I loose them but agree that it may help to shorten them a bit, until I am a more experienced rider, and am cantering confidently.

I will lengthen my reins tonight like you suggested - you picked up my upper arm issue - this is something I have been having problems with right from the start - my arms are not nearly as vertical as some other riders, and I feel as if I sometimes ride with straight arms - do you think from the pictures, that this is what I am doing? Will this hurt his mouth?

I have ridden him before without the German Martingale, but the owner of the riding school/horses, has requested that he uses it in his lessons. He tends to stick his neck and head in teh air to avoid contact at all costs, and the martingale I feel is just a temporary fix his owner is using, because as he is a school horse many people are riding him, so maybe she thinks its easier... I really don't know - I do preffer riding him without it, but since he is not my horse, and I am a customer, not an owner, I unfortunatly do not feel I have the power to remove it, other wise I would, as I see it as a bandaid for training - I do put it on the first setting (the first 'D' ring on the reins, closest to the bit), which is the loosest, just to make him a bit more comfortable, or as comfrotable as I can. I really hate the way I sound like I am making excuses here but his owner requests and has told me numerous times that he must be ridden with it (I also work here on weekends and this is the request with him in all the lessons, he is the only horse as far as I know which she owns, who is wearing one at the moment, but I could be wrong).

Im not really sure what you mean with the feet excersice, but am I right when you are saying to rotate my ankle/foot to be facing forward, and lengthening my leg to avoid gripping with my knee? Sorry Im not the best at written - Im more of a visual person, haha. I will try this and the standing you were talking about, tonight when warming up - thank you very much, this is something I have been wanting to fix for a while, but have been focusing on my other riding issues. My feet horrify me in many of my riding pictures, so I will gladly put to use your tips!


Thank you for the insight on my riding - I have seen riding critiques from you before, and am very happy with your responses - so I am very happy you took the time to critique me.
     
    04-03-2013, 10:31 PM
  #5
Showing
Sorry I did not provide a better critique.. my eyes are tired and I'm at work.

But looking at your rider pictures again, you look quite tense in your shoulder area, which affects the positioning of your arms, and ultimately reach the horse via the bit. Definitely lengthening your reins will help as well, once you relax those shoulders.

I feel once your stirrups are a liiittle bit shorter, your leg will be in a much more aligned position.
     
    04-03-2013, 10:33 PM
  #6
Foal
I doubt having straight arms will hurt his mouth unless you are pulling and kicking at the same time. It is just that a bend usually means your arms are softer and more relaxed which is our aim.
Definitely shorten your stirrups and think of pushing into your heels and at the same time growing taller out through your stomach. So you don't actually leave the saddle, you basically 'grow' taller through your belly. It sounds really weird but trust me, it helps.
Try to keep your upper body taller in trot, in the photo you are forward a little too much.
To help stop the horse running off in the canter transition, think of almost (but not quite) leaning back and let the horse 'take' you forward into the canter. II you tip forward and kick, he will definitely run off. So sit tall and sqeeze.
Good luck, you look pretty good out there!
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    04-03-2013, 10:35 PM
  #7
Super Moderator
It's hard when you cannot control things when you must do as the owner says. I hear ya. My teacher way back had me use a German Martingale on her thouroughbred, I think because it helped me , as a begginner. It is a bandaid, and we know it. It isn't really hurting him, so don't fret too much. He'll live.

When you have a really steady seat, your hand becomes steadier and you become better able to encourage the horse to step forward into the bridle, while giving to it at the same time. The horse learns to carry his head by himself , without leaning on the bit/martingale, and the whole picture gets rounder and softer. A horse that hollows out and giraffs can be held down with a martingale, but it will never really make him relax and release the tension in his back.

He has a job to do and I think he looks pretty decently cared for, and in reality, that's the life of a school horse. They put up with a lot, for their 3 square meals a day. That's why we need to give them a lot of respect and a tiny bit more of slack, from time to time, kmowing that they don't have the easiest of lives.



ETA
The thigh thingy, by "just standing there" , I meant the hrose is just standing there and you're on him.
Sorry I wasn't clear.
     
    04-03-2013, 11:30 PM
  #8
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Standardbred    
I doubt having straight arms will hurt his mouth unless you are pulling and kicking at the same time. It is just that a bend usually means your arms are softer and more relaxed which is our aim.
Definitely shorten your stirrups and think of pushing into your heels and at the same time growing taller out through your stomach. So you don't actually leave the saddle, you basically 'grow' taller through your belly. It sounds really weird but trust me, it helps.
Try to keep your upper body taller in trot, in the photo you are forward a little too much.
To help stop the horse running off in the canter transition, think of almost (but not quite) leaning back and let the horse 'take' you forward into the canter. II you tip forward and kick, he will definitely run off. So sit tall and sqeeze.
Good luck, you look pretty good out there!
Thanks Ill try those tips too - I have noticed I also tend to slouch a bit so as well as legthening, I also need to open my shoulders more, which in turn should help I think. And thanks for the tip to stop him being encouraged to run into the canter, I'll deffinatly be using all the tips so far tonight in my lesson!

Thanks for the compliment I know I have a lot to improve on but I'm loving it, so with help from other riders, friends and HF'ers its really inspiring me and driving me forward.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tinyliny    
It's hard when you cannot control things when you must do as the owner says. I hear ya. My teacher way back had me use a German Martingale on her thouroughbred, I think because it helped me , as a begginner. It is a bandaid, and we know it. It isn't really hurting him, so don't fret too much. He'll live.

When you have a really steady seat, your hand becomes steadier and you become better able to encourage the horse to step forward into the bridle, while giving to it at the same time. The horse learns to carry his head by himself , without leaning on the bit/martingale, and the whole picture gets rounder and softer. A horse that hollows out and giraffs can be held down with a martingale, but it will never really make him relax and release the tension in his back.

He has a job to do and I think he looks pretty decently cared for, and in reality, that's the life of a school horse. They put up with a lot, for their 3 square meals a day. That's why we need to give them a lot of respect and a tiny bit more of slack, from time to time, kmowing that they don't have the easiest of lives.



ETA
The thigh thingy, by "just standing there" , I meant the hrose is just standing there and you're on him. Sorry I wasn't clear.
Yeah I think that's what is going on with me also. We (my instructor and I) have removed the German Martingale before, and I have had a few lessons without it on, when we were working on flexion and having him bend around my leg, but the owner requested it was put on. Its a pitty because I would love to ride him without it, and learn with him how to go about this issue, instead of 'band-aiding' but that's not possible. We have been trying to work on my asking of flexion and bending, as well as correctly asking for the correct lead in the canter, so we are trying to develop my seat more (I know I do tense in the pelvis, which is something I am working on and tell myself to relax whilst I am riding I think its kind of a result from clinging with my legs (which I am also working on, and shortening my stirrups a hole will help, so thanks for the tip).

He is a good horse, and is well cared for (he seems to think the opposite when it comes to feed time, he thinks he must have more, but is dissappointed when he gets an appropriate feeding, and no extra ). He is not a very bonding horse, compared to other horse I have ridden/worked with or around before, he is not a horse or human kind of horse, but more just the herd leader. His mind does wander, but overall he is a very hard worker - he loves jumping, but I am no where near ready for that..

Thanks for clearing that excercise up for me, I'll be sure to give it a good shot!
     
    04-03-2013, 11:39 PM
  #9
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skyseternalangel    
Sorry I did not provide a better critique.. my eyes are tired and I'm at work.

But looking at your rider pictures again, you look quite tense in your shoulder area, which affects the positioning of your arms, and ultimately reach the horse via the bit. Definitely lengthening your reins will help as well, once you relax those shoulders.

I feel once your stirrups are a liiittle bit shorter, your leg will be in a much more aligned position.
Thats alright, Im just happy you critiqued regardless
Ill give it a go tonight, which should help greatly - I've got an hour lesson tonight do plenty of time to work on things, and I think with the slightly shorter stirrup leathers, I will feel more secure, for not having to stretch for my stirrups (I can and do, ride without them comfortably regardless but do aim to keep them).
     
    04-05-2013, 06:23 PM
  #10
Weanling
In regards to your question about knowing the correct length of stirrups, measuring from your finger tips to your armpit is a great guideline but if you feel uncomfortable with your stirrups that length then you should adjust them. There is really no hard fast rule about how long or short your stirrups should be, just as long as you are comfortable and getting the job done.
I tend to like a bit shorter stirrup so I will measure to my armpit then go up one hole from there.
Your legs and feet seem to be a confidence issue more than an actual riding issue, I would ask about getting a lunge line lesson and working at the canter, really just focus on keeping your legs long and relaxed. By removing the worry of having to steer, and keep contact and just letting you really feel the horses movement you will be able to focus on your seat and leg much more.
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