Help with form... what am i doing wrong - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 18 Old 08-14-2012, 07:51 PM Thread Starter
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Question Help with form... what am i doing wrong

Hello everyone! First off, I'd like to say that I am a novice adult rider. I began riding September 2011 and it was on a very automatic school horse. I went once a week for a half hour a week up until late Nov when I stopped riding due to the holiday madness and planning for a wedding. I switched barns and picked it back up again around March. Again, I began riding for a half hour a week but on more than one horse and on horses that you actually had to direct in order for them to do what you intended them to do. This is where my real riding began. I am now going typically twice a week for a half hour at a time. I took three weeks off in June for my wedding/honeymoon and I finally got back to where I left off.

I have a short clip of me riding Beauty over two poles. Beauty is a slow started which is why my instructor is telling me to "wack her" which is really me giving a tap on her shoulder to get her going.

So this is what I see:

The bad:
I am posting way too high. I know it's supposed to be bringing your hips forward like a thrust and I feel like I am doing that but from watching the clip it just seems that I am rising way too far out of the seat. I was wondering if lengthening the stirrups would help that? I started with them short and actually lowered the right one and kept the left one short due to cramping in my right leg. I'm thinking I should lower the left to match the right? Would this help at all? I also think I am sitting way too far back. Any tips/tricks/observations to improve that? It feels fluid but looking at it looks like I am trying really hard when I don't really feel like I am when I'm in the actually doing it.

Wrong diagonal! I need to mind that.

The good:
I think my heels are low enough, my hands seem pretty steady and I made it over the poles without skipping a beat so I'm happy about that. I also corrected my diagonal and kept it correct towards the end.

Any constructive criticism is so appreciated! I love riding and I am so excited to improve every time I get in the saddle :) I hope to be cantering by the end of Sept. That's my mini goal ..
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post #2 of 18 Old 08-14-2012, 08:20 PM
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You are working way too hard trying to post. Let the movement of the horse push you up. It looks like you are pounding back down rather than lowering yourself, too. The energy of horse and rider should match, and she isn't anywhere near your energy level.
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post #3 of 18 Old 08-14-2012, 08:28 PM Thread Starter
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Sahara - I agree totally. Would simply slowing myself down help me not look so exaggerated?
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post #4 of 18 Old 08-14-2012, 08:38 PM
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Lengthening the stirrups might help. I'm a little bit behind you in my lessons and I'm always having to play with my stirrups since neither my coach nor I can remember which number I'm at!

I feel your pain on the lazy horse. The horse I ride (Jake) will happily work all day long if you're riding him correctly, but anything slightly off and he is slow as hell. I got him up to a really quick trot two weeks ago and last week's lesson was frustrating because I couldn't get him going as fast. I do really appreciate it though, because he forces me to think.

I wouldn't slow down on the post cos that can slow the horse down - get the stirrups right and keep a quick fluid rhythm and hopefully you won't have to work as hard to make Beauty GO.
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post #5 of 18 Old 08-14-2012, 08:43 PM
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I am the absolute worst at explaining things like this, which is why my kids go to an instructor, and not taught by me! LOL I will tell you there are several things you can do to get your energy lower and her energy higher. The best advice I can give you is to read Sally Swift's Centered Riding. I think you will find her book to be a wonderful resource for you and any horse you ride.

If I summed my advice up in three steps the first thing I would tell you is to breathe, breathe, breathe. Second, look ahead of you, but don't focus on one thing. Sally Swift calls it having "soft eyes". Finally, let your lower back relax and absorb some of the horse's motion. Ok, maybe 4 things: have fun while you ride!
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post #6 of 18 Old 08-14-2012, 08:45 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Meatos.. thinking back on that lesson I think I was going so fast because my instructor told me that she would move with my speed. I was trying to wake her up by getting on her and keeping my post lively lol... clearly it didn't work. I'm riding again tomorrow, I'm going to see if we can lower my stirrups and see if that helps. I feel like I almost come flying out of the saddle sometimes when I rise haha.
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post #7 of 18 Old 08-14-2012, 08:47 PM Thread Starter
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Sahara thank you so much for the book suggestion! I was meaning to go to the book store to pick up some riding books but was unsure of where to start.

If I am doing one thing right in my lessons it's that I am most definitely having fun! They are the highlight of my week :)
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post #8 of 18 Old 08-14-2012, 09:15 PM
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I would not shorten or lenthen the stirrups. They are fine. YOu sit pretty well and your hand is not as noisy as some beginners.

I would suggest that maybe you are not really feeling the timing as to when to rise. I would try sitting the trot for a bit until you kind of feel the "push" comeing from the back end. As you are, YOU are posting, rather than "be posted", which is what happens as you better feel when to come up, and how much.

I horse putting that little into his trot does not need a rider to rise that much.
you will work on getting your feet down , UNDER you and that will help you to be able to rise off of your whole leg instead of just leavering yourself up off your knee (with lower leg out in front of you)

Stop the motion of the trot t various spots, image the horse magically disappearing out from under you and you just falling straight down to the ground. After you hit, would you remain standing, or fall over backward onto your backside? depends on whetehr your feet are under your center of gravity.

For the very little time that you have ridden, you are doing well. You hold the reins nicely, good lower arm, head is up . Lots of good beginnings going on there.
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post #9 of 18 Old 08-14-2012, 09:15 PM
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I'm not an English rider, but I'd say there are two problems here, both of which you've identified:

1: Chair seat.

2: Exaggerated posting.

#1 tends to cause #2, because your hips need to come so far forward before you feel balanced.

Sorry about the quality of my screen capture, but here is a shot near the beginning of your video:

I made my best guess about where your stirrup bars are and drew a vertical line. Sorry about the arrow over your face...didn't notice it at the time, but your face isn't riding the horse so...

As a rule of thumb, for a forward seat, your balance should be over the stirrup bars. About half of you in front, and half behind. Also, in a saddle that fits you, your rump should be in the lowest part of the saddle and your stirrup straps should be straight down - that is the position gravity wants you to be in.

I've never ridden in a dressage saddle, but I've read the stirrup bars are closer to the rear on one.

When half of you is in front and half behind, you are balanced over your stirrups. Then posting is just your horse pushing you up & your body UNFOLDS. Then your thighs resist gravity a little and your body folds up again, bring you down lightly.

It is possible to post in a chair seat, but you have to get used to the 'up' position being well behind the balance point of your stirrups, or you need to lean WAY forward.

My Aussie-style saddle puts me in a chair seat, and that is fine for the sort of riding I do, but it means I either need to post while leaning forward noticeably (top pic) or do so very discretely and accept that my weight will still be a bit behind the horse's center of gravity (bottom picture):

You might check your saddle fit. If it is OK, then you might be shoving your feet forward as a defense against unexpected stops or slowing, and then posting off of that. It is hard to see in the video because of the size of the video. Ask your instructor about lengthening your stirrups. It might help. Then write down the correct spot.

Someone who rides English may be able to give more accurate advice. You are doing a heck of a lot better than I was at the same level of experience.
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"Make the right thing easy and the wrong thing...well, ignore it mostly."

Last edited by bsms; 08-14-2012 at 09:18 PM.
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post #10 of 18 Old 08-14-2012, 09:18 PM
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-Your lower leg is loose and forward. I often tell my less flexible adults that find it hard to bring the leg back (shoulder hips and heels alignment) AND keep the heel down to turn their toe out more. It automatically puts the heel in a more downward position. ***This position is incorrect as we want the toe more forward for equal pressure down the leg BUT creating a more stable lower leg (as apposed to a stable thigh) is more important to the rest of your riding.

- Warm up in the two-point and/or standing position to strengthen the leg. Hips forward and sink into your knees and heels.

- After you're comfortable with your two-point and standing position, standing 2 beats is a great exercise to sink into your lower leg and keeping it back.

- FORGET ABOUT YOUR DIAGONAL for now. You have more important things to worry about. What do you think the horse would prefer? a rider who doesn't slam down on the horses back at inconsistent rhythms or a rider who is slightly off balance?

- Try to land further forward in the saddle and think "baby posts" that are "light" and "CRISP". You're working to hard! and the higher you get out of the saddle, the easier it is for you to get out of rhythm.

~ Starline Stables ~
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critique , poles , posting

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