I'll try shortening my stirrups- that sounds like it will help. Do you think that I should gradually shorten my reins, or just ride with them short using a light contact? I really want to try that, because I don't want to get in a habit of riding with my hands in my lap all the time.
It does help =] I have reallyyy long legs and I used to have a terrible chairseat, but I shortened my stirrups up for a long time, and although it was uncomfortable at first, it really got my legs strong, and now I've dropped them again and I can hold my leg in the proper head-hip-heel posture.
As far as the reins go, I would try shortening them, but keeping a light contact. Your right, it is very easy to get into the habit of riding with your reins in your lap, I had to break that habit too. Shorten your reins up, but lift your hands and have them at the crest of her neck to keep a very light contact. You should be able to feel if she licks the bit, or moves at all. She may fight you, but it will be worth it over time. Just to show how well this advice works over time, this is me and my horse over the course of the past year and a half.
I'll be sure to do that. It looks like it made a HUGE difference with your horse. I'm really excited to ride him on Saturday because I've been gone this past week. I've been riding him like four times a week this summer, and when I was gone I missed him so much :). [Sorry that it's kind of off-topic]. I want to ride him in a schooling show in a couple of weeks, and I was wondering if from the pictures that are posted you could suggest anything to work on (other than what you guys have already said)? I want to ride him in Walk/Trot Equitation and maybe the Intro A and B dressage tests. I want to get him to relax more and start to slow down, and I know the first step to that is keeping myself relaxed.