I Need Tips and Critique On Riding - Pivoting, Keeping Posture, Etc. - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 02-26-2012, 09:02 PM Thread Starter
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I Need Tips and Critique On Riding - Pivoting, Keeping Posture, Etc.

Here are some videos of my Thoroughbred Duke riding Western and English. I'm having a hard time keeping my position right because my legs want to slide forward, especially in his western lope. I don't know if it's because my western saddle is a barrel saddle and not a pleasure saddle, or if it's just me. He also needs to drop his head in the lope and pivot smoother. He can back well, and is really supple mouthed, but I just can't get his pivots right. Please give me any suggestions on how I can improve. I'm open to critiquing as long as I get advice on how to fix it!

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post #2 of 14 Old 02-26-2012, 09:17 PM
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I dont know anything about western but i can advise on english position!! I would suggest grabbing a piece of mane and standing straight up in your stirrups and then sit back down not letting your leg move. That puts your leg in the right place. you can do this at walk but the first time id do it in halt! Also having a lunge lesson can be really helpful so you dont have to concentrate on steering or watching where youre going but just on position, you can even have someone lunge you and not use reins. It can take awhile to get the right feel of where all your body parts should be and gain muscle memory. I hope this helps :) good luck!
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post #3 of 14 Old 03-02-2012, 04:02 PM
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You have an adorable, willing mare and you seem to be a capable rider who tries very hard! If you are looking for some advice i'd say to close your hip angle a bit and soften your arms and elbows. Try to create a straight line from your elbow to your wrist to your horse's bit. In closing your hip angle you'll have to play with your foot position, so i'd suggust going on the lunge line a little to help you focus only on your position. I hope this helps!
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post #4 of 14 Old 03-04-2012, 11:29 PM
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When you are setting yourself into position in your saddle, try to thrust your pelvis forward and roll your hips down a bit as you sit. Riding that way will give you a more secure seat and help with maintaining your position, especially with that lofty jog you've got to sit! It should feel like you're settling more of the back of your backside into your saddle. As for the pivot, I didn't see much outside leg moving the horse over, maybe I just didn't see it, but if you're not using much, then using more might help. :)
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post #5 of 14 Old 03-05-2012, 12:13 AM
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IN the english portion I though you did rather well. The video is small, so it's hard to see detail, but I think an improvement could be made by bringing your elbow in , keeping it soft so you can follow the mouth and get those hands with thumb on top! this is SO important, 'cause it affects your overall alignment. It's not just for pretty hands. Do some riding focussing on haveing those baby birds in your hands, with your thumb on top of the fist that is enclosing them. Feel the direct line to your horse's mouth and follow softly.

As for the pivot, I am not very knowledggeable aobut this, but from what I can see, the horse is too heavily on her forehand for her to be able to pivot. YOu need to get her to rock back onto her hind quarters. YOu can work on getting her to do this every time you come to a halt. AND prepare her more for your halt. She died out on you in the English halt and flumped herself onto her forehand, so that's so hard for her to pivot that way.

Work on halting her slowing, with the count of three, breathing out and closing your hands and keeping a bit of leg on so she walks up into the halt. Don't quit there, though. Without releasing (rewarding for the halt) keep a firm, closed hand on the rein, one a bit tighter than the other so that you can soften the jaw to one side if the horse braces, and have her back off the rein. Do not release /reward until she backs off and softens to the bit and you feel her lift her shoulders a bit. IT almost feels the way a horse looks when they "pull back" in a panic from a tie. they really get back onto their haunches. YOu want a small percentage of that. get that and release. So working on teaching her to come off the bit and rock back a bit will help prep her for the pivot, where you'll need more rock back before you ask for front end over.
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post #6 of 14 Old 03-06-2012, 03:22 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the tips. I'll work on it. And by the way, my Thoroughbred is a gelding. Just thought you should know :)
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post #7 of 14 Old 03-06-2012, 04:14 PM
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In the first (English) video your stirrups are too long. For general English or Western Pleasure position the bottom of the stirrup just below your ankle bone.
You are inadvertently smacking him in the mouth. That, coupled with the way that he rides "front wheel drive" on his forehand, looks like it's a vicious circle. You try to collect and pull him together, and he doesn't like your uneven feel.
I suggest gymnastics for him. Start on the ground and lunge him at the walk and trot over poles and small, friendly barrels (plastic ones work well). Don't worry if they barrels roll--that's HIS problem. DO secure the poles bc stepping on one of them could pull a muscle. You can use rocks or bricks OR cavaletti are best bc they roll after the horse bumps them. (Gotta make some more--mine rotted out. =( )
He will look down before he goes over the obstacles. This is normal. He will also jump them at first, then get lazy and just step over or trot over them. You are looking for a relaxed swing in his gaits. You want to establish a rhythm that you might find a tune to hum or sing--go ahead and sing to him bc he'll enjoy it--NO KIDDING!!
Here is a 2-part article that might help you. Otherwise, talk to people at your stable.
Jumper Riding Tips
Yes, I KNOW you're not jumping. The principles are the same for flat work. =D
When you are satisfied with his groundwork, get onboard and repeat JUST the ground pole/cavaletti work. The cavaletti can remain on the lowest setting. Look beyond the cavaletti instead of down and drive forward if he slows down.
As much as possible, ride him on a loose rein. My teacher had us put our knuckles in front on the pommel at the trot. Any time you spend without contact will help you to keep your seat independant of your hands and make you a better rider. You have a very nice horse and I'll bet he responds favorably.
This is HARD WORK for your horse and it will take some time to develop the muscles to collect. Most horses like to travel on their forehand, and some are naturally built a little or a lot downhill so it's VERY difficult for these horses. My old QH, "Ro Go Bar," (1982-2009, RIP) was QH-racehorse blood and built downhill for that purpose. I got him to collect and throw his weight on his hindquarters, but really took some time. He remembered and always flexed after that, so it CAN be done. Keep us undated. =D
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post #8 of 14 Old 03-08-2012, 11:31 AM
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In the english canter your leg is swinging, when I did this my instructor told me to keep my weight in my heels and "hug" my legs around the horse. Helped me loads!

To ride or not to ride? ... What a stupid question!!
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post #9 of 14 Old 03-08-2012, 02:37 PM
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Since everyone has covered everything else, i just want to talk about your hands. Keep them still when your riding, you shouldnt have to jerk your hands around to get your horse to do what you want. Smooth movement, and even just different pressure on the reins is plenty of direction for your horses mouth :)

For without a horse, i could not fly.
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post #10 of 14 Old 03-08-2012, 04:37 PM
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You are insecure in your seat. Your back is hollow causing stiffness and lack of control of your legs.
Reins are to long and your whole arm is stiff and unsteady in your hands. You are giving very conflicting aids when you tried to do a turn on the haunches (English)

You need to do a LOT of work without stirrups to gain an independent seat.
When you get on and several times during your riding time put a hand under the back of your thigh and pull it all to the back, this puts your leg flat against the saddle, turning your knee in.

Shorten your reins, let your elbows stay at your sides and think of your upper arm as a strong piece of elastic, giving and taking. When trot rising keep your hands still so they are not going up and down as you rise.

The main thing I would get you to do would be a good balanced sitting trot.
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