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This is a discussion on Flatwork within the Horse Riding Critique forums, part of the Riding Horses category

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    04-01-2013, 08:42 PM

Okay peeps... this is my first time riding *this* horse. I previously had issues cantering but seem to be doing *better* but I'm still not happy with my seat.

I am the one in the striped tee. Please don't say anything about the other rider on the much larger horse.

Any pointers?

Thank you :)
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    04-01-2013, 09:01 PM
All I can say is that your posting trot looks lovely and effortless, and your seat at the canter so balanced and smooth. I'm jealous ;)
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    04-01-2013, 09:31 PM
Really??? Aww I'm blushing :P Thank you haha
    04-02-2013, 09:01 AM
The biggest thing that I see is that your heels keep coming up! You gotta let the weight sink into the heels instead of trying to force them down.

Do some stair exercises where you let your heels hang over the edge, let them fall all the way down, hold for two seconds, then lift them back up and hold for another two seconds. Keep repeating until you can no longer do them. It's a great way to help stretch your heels and I swear it was the most important exercise I did to help with my heels.
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    04-02-2013, 01:53 PM
I'd like to see you relax those arms and give your horse some reins...bring your arms back with a bend at the elbow. Your hands are half way up your horses neck and almost held "saddleseat" style. At the canter you are behind the motion...pushing forward with your seat. I'd like to see you sit quiet without the upper body movement...some slight pumping going on and you have hollowed out your back. I LOVE that you keep your head and eyes up and look where you are going!!!!!
    04-02-2013, 02:16 PM

YOu are really making some great improvements, and considering how little you get to ride, I want to compliment you on that. I think you are one of those people who learns to ride quite quickly and easily, and in a short time, you will have a really nice seat.

What I see is that you are rolled too far forward onto your fork. I think this has in part to do with the horse having a downhill conformation, and possible the saddle, but you end up on your pubic bone too much, with your seat bones pointing out behind you. This is a weak position. If you were out in the open, instead of on a hrose that is just following along in a school, you'd be struggling to put the horse together. So, you need to use your core muslces more to align your pelvis so those seatbones point STRAIGHT down. No butt pouching out!

SEcondly, I see you round your upper back a bit too much. This is a result of you having your hands a bit too far out in front of you. You can still have the nice following hands that you DO have if you put a bit more bend in your elbow, and connect your arm to your body , via a bit of a feel at the armpit area. What I mean, is you kind of anchor your upper arm a bit to the ribcage, way up near your armpit. This adds strength and stability.

YOur right heel is come up, and I think that's part of the rolling forward on your fork, makes you grab up a tiny bit more with the knees, thus the heel comes up.

This used to be a huge problem for me, and invariably, the right heel. Now, it's just a large problem, instead of huge.

Sorry to see that the other horse really looks lame.
    04-02-2013, 02:24 PM
You and the horse look pretty good. Your feet are pumping a little bit at the posting trot, so you can work on your leg strength. It just shows some muscle weakness, and I see you have weight in your stirrups. Spend time in a 1/2 seat and riding without stirrups, and especially riding LONG PERIODS without stirrups and your legs will be too tired to push you out of the saddle.
YOUR performance doesn't bother me.
I can't understand why your instructor has both horses/riders working so close to each other with a big arena. When I taught two riders in a single lesson I kept them 1/2-way around the arena from each other. I even played a game where one rider was the leader and the other rider mimicked what they did. It was a great exercise to train your eye forward, since we all look down too much to check for diagonals, and the like.
The US Cavalry manual teaches keeping at least one horse length apart bc one might kick and one might bite,and that was to prevent incidents marching where there were close quarters. You have NO control over the other rider's horse, and she was fighting her horse.
    04-02-2013, 05:04 PM
Thanks everyone for the great advice! Yes I knew there were things wrong. My legs are very weak. They've gotten stronger but still pretty bad.

I am horrible with my arms. So I will reread all advice given and definitely chant it in my head.

Thanks tiny.. I do well with a good instructor. And I was wondering the same thing about the other horse. I believe it's her personal horse and I think there's something wrong with his mouth/bit cause he's sound when he's walking with no contact. "/

My next lesson is on the flat, which will be great. I think I was off in my position because my instructor says I was sitting too far back and to bring my shoulders forward. I've got to figure out the right position;

Originally Posted by Corporal    
I can't understand why your instructor has both horses/riders working so close to each other with a big arena. When I taught two riders in a single lesson I kept them 1/2-way around the arena from each other.
Yeah I agree... I don't like being that close to another horse. Especially when it comes time to canter and I have to wait for the horse infront to canter because if I do, I would run into them.
    04-02-2013, 05:25 PM
^ the fixes are pretty easy if you bring EVERYTHING back to center again. You are SO CLOSE! You are riding perched in many spots with a very rigid upper body and arms, where you need to be sitting deep and quiet. I have no doubt you will get the "fixes" because now it's just "mind over matter."
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    04-02-2013, 06:22 PM
Super Moderator
I get the feeling that you are trying so hard to 'sit pretty' that you end up being very tense.
I'm sure if you just relaxed and stopped thinking about what you look like you would find that your seat would naturally deepen and your heels drop down - same with your hands and arms - so much tension there that they end up being a bit rigid
You have good balance so you're best part there already.
BTW - I wouldn't dare post a video of me on here and ask for critique so you're really brave!!!

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