First critique - please help me with my position - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 29 Old 03-07-2013, 02:18 AM Thread Starter
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First critique - please help me with my position


Would love a critique of both me and my horse. I'm an adult rider (just about 40), been riding a few years now, taking lessons but my coach is too easy on me as she knows I struggle with confidence/nervousness issues. I've been quite a nervous Nellie over the years so it took a long time for me to even be comfortable cantering, and this horse in particular I used to be terrified of as he would always be naughty with timid riders, run their legs into the rail, etc, so I just started riding him this year. I now lease him and ride him about 2-3 times a week, twice on my own and once a week group lesson (hunter barn).

So my big issue is my position. I'm a perfectionist so I over-think it to death but rarely feel like I've quite got the right position. I have a tendency to lean forward and also have somewhat of a chair seat I think, but I can't seem to fix either of them no matter what I do. If I lean back, especially in the canter, I feel like I bounce around on his back which I don't do as much if I stay in a lighter more forward seat. I haven't the foggiest notion how to 'glue my seatbones to the saddle' (like you often hear). In theory, I get it, but I just can't seem to make it happen.

It doesn't help I'm sure that my horse is huge (though he's on a diet) and I have itty bitty short legs so I have a hard time my legs getting around him but any constructive criticism/advice greatly appreciated on how to improve. This video was taken at the start of my ride so we were both just warming up, but it's the only one I have.

The horse is a school horse. He's a Canadian so meant to be stocky, but not quite that stocky! He can be very stubborn, lazy, but he really is a big teddy bear, just with a bit of an attitude at times.

Thanks for any advice!

Here's the video.
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post #2 of 29 Old 03-07-2013, 02:35 AM
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oh pooh! the video is marked "private". CAn you change that please?
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post #3 of 29 Old 03-07-2013, 03:56 AM Thread Starter
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Sorry, forgot about that. Hope it works now....
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post #4 of 29 Old 03-07-2013, 04:39 AM
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Hey there, a few things I noticed:
You do have a chair seat. But I can't help but feel it's because your lower leg is compensating for your upper body, which is leaning too far forward. You also posted one the wrong diagonal in the first half of the video - maybe something you can ask your instructor that you want to learn. (It is quite simple once you know it though, rise and fall with the leg on the wall).
I'd suggest some no stirrup work, really focus on a long leg and tall body, even just in walk at first, it will really help you feel where your lower leg is suppose to be. You need to work towards that shoulder - hip - heel alignment :)
Other than that I enjoyed your video, you have nice soft hands and give good, quiet aids. :)
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post #5 of 29 Old 03-07-2013, 06:08 AM
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Wow he is a beef cake lol! I think that you to look happy together and that is a good start. I agree with the post above, and if your instructor can put you on the lunge line once in a while with out stirrups that will help. I don't ride hunter jumper but to me your stirrups look sooo short, that could just be because I tend to ride a bit on the long side, however if your stirrups are to short for you it will make your upper body go forward and it will be harder for your ankles to absorb the shock of the trot, which is what they are supposed to do. I hope that makes a little sense, I do think though that you to are a good pair and you will get there, good luck
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post #6 of 29 Old 03-07-2013, 09:56 AM Thread Starter
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Hi there,

Thanks for the comments so far. Agree with them completely - just don't know how to change the leaning! I do no stirrup work lots but I think just in the same position! lol I've been working on the shoulder-hip-heel forever and still can't fix it. Interesting though if you watch a video of the other girl who leases him, she also rides in a chair seat... Maybe it's partly his 'ample' girth?!

Just also wanted to say I do know diagonals. Have no idea why I wasn't doing it. How embarrassing. Probably too busy thinking about trying to get the leg back knowing a video was going on.

Oh ya, unfortunately my instructor never uses the lunge line... group lessons and all I guess.

Thanks again.
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post #7 of 29 Old 03-07-2013, 10:01 AM Thread Starter
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I forgot to add that I always wonder about my stirrup length but the next hole down feels 'dressagey' and I don't get much 'clearance' over the pommel and have a hard time getting my heel down, but I'll try it again.

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post #8 of 29 Old 03-07-2013, 11:59 AM
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Your stirrups did look a tad tall to me. Personally, I prefer longer stirrups or else my leg starts cramping.

I noticed with your posting you lean forward a lot, especially when going up, and that you seem to be correcting yourself sometimes by trying to be straighter. At the beginning it did look like you lost balance for a second.

Try rolling those shoulders back and sitting straight. No post work, or, sitting trot work, will also help your seat.

When you know you have the correct position, you will have a slight uncomfortable "tug" in your legs. During a lesson my position got slopping, and my instructor had me put my leg farther back than I normally do... Uncomfortable!
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post #9 of 29 Old 03-07-2013, 03:45 PM
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I'm madly in love with that horse! I think he must be my mare's twin brother Where is he so I can steal him ^^

I think you look great. I do agree you're legs are compensating for you leaning forward. Canadians are just about the most comfortable bareback ride (outside of gaited horses) so take that saddle off! That will help line up your leg quite a bit. Try first just walking, focusing on your position and stay up nice and tall. Think of a string coming out of the top of your head pulling you straight up in the air. Roll your shoulders in backward circles to help open up your diaphragm and keep your breathing steady.
Yes your diagonal was wrong a good deal of the video - definitely have your instructor work with you on that :) I had a terrible time learning diagonals with a saddle, I had to look constantly at the outside shoulder. It wasn't until I took some serious bareback lessons that I really learned to feel the diagonal. Even though it's very difficult to post bareback, the horse's motion really helps you post. :)
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post #10 of 29 Old 03-07-2013, 06:14 PM
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Looks pretty good! I think the next step is developing an independant hand and seat, do you see how when you post your hands come up and catch his mouth? You want your hands to float in one place while your body is posting. Think about having more elastic bend in your elbows and hip (I like imagining 20 lb weights hanging off of my elbows). Lessons on the lunge line can really help with that, maybe you could schedule a time to have a few with your instructor? If I were your instructor I would put you on the lunge line, and take away stirrups and reins for a bit :) Keep up the good work! Cute horse!

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