My Riding Critique Thread - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 18 Old 07-25-2009, 07:50 PM Thread Starter
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Location: Calgary, AB
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My Riding Critique Thread

Hey everyone :)

Instead of making multiple threads for each time I want a riding critique, I'm just going to add to this one. Then I'll also be able to see my progress too!

I've been riding about 4 years, but it's been really on-and-off. I'm naturally hesitant when it comes to horses and riding, so I've been progressing much slower than most riders.

I got my first horse about a month ago. She's a 12-year-old Percheron who's green under saddle, but improving so quickly! But she's also quite proud, and likes to question my authority through little tests (like not picking her feet up to be picked, walking away when I approach with a halter, stopping and backing up when she thinks the ride should be over). She has taught me to be more assertive and confident around horses, which I'm so happy about.

Anyways, I only have a couple videos uploaded of me riding her, and I'm so embarrassed to post them because I honestly suck. I can see so many things wrong.

Here's a video, but the clips are really short so I don't know if you'll be able to critique me at all.

- my left stirrup (or was it my right?) is too far into my foot, needs to be more on the ball of my foot.
- heels need to be down
- my legs are swinging alot, so does that mean my stirrups are too long, or something else?
- I had the wrong posting diagonal a couple times
- I don't maintain contact on Delta's mouth yet because she just takes it as "slow down". I have a bit more contact when I'm riding other horses.
- it appears as though I have piano hands, which is also because of the crop I'm holding. I've been consciously working on my hands.
- I'm posting to the trot all wrong - I'm moving my whole body, rather than just my pelvis. Not too sure how to fix this.

If she has the wrong cantering lead, please ignore that. Like I said, she's still green, and it's been a huge task just GETTING her to canter, since she was a working driving horse and was never taught how.

Last edited by azarni; 07-25-2009 at 07:59 PM.
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post #2 of 18 Old 07-25-2009, 08:03 PM Thread Starter
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Oh, I also need to turn my toes in.
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post #3 of 18 Old 07-25-2009, 11:46 PM
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A couple things on your swinging legs:

There are probably several factors involved in this, one being that it looks like you're are constantly telling her to keep trotting, probably because you are struggling with that contact/slow down issue. Always remember that a round/ collected horse comes from your legs and seat into your steady hands, not from pulling her back into it. If she's pretty comfortable with a crop, and you feel confident with your seat, she probably needs a good crop whack. When you first get on and you ask her to trot and she doesn't move right off your legs, stop her, take your reins in one hand, and give her a smack behind your leg (not abusively of course). YOu aren't doing her any favors by continually kicking her, you need to give her a good smack and say "listen to my leg." You would like her to go forward from a gentle hug.

Another reason that lower legs swing is because of knee pinching. Next time you ride try and see if you are pinching your knees or hugging with your whole leg (which is what you want).

Lastly, drop your stirrups. The more time you spend without your stirrups the more stable your legs and entire base will become.

You do have a very nice position however. For huntseat you do want your stirrups about a hole shorter which will naturaly bring your heal down, and your hands wil quiet with more time in the saddle. Try and watch some more experienced riders to get some insight on your post, youtube is a good place to do this as well.

I love percherons and she is super cute, so you guys look real good together. Keep up! Push button horses are no way to learn so be happy you have a girl who needs some work!
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post #4 of 18 Old 07-25-2009, 11:55 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, kmarie! :)
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post #5 of 18 Old 07-26-2009, 01:18 AM
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Are you using a crop, or dressage whip? I much prefer a dressage whip. You can maintain the proper hand position and still give the horse a good thwack behind your leg with a twitch of the wrist. I think I bought mine on eBay for like $3.

You really aren't as bad you think you are. Sure, you have things you need to work through, but so do I, and I've been riding for a good ten years. People who've been riding for 50 still need to work on somethings. So don't be so hard on yourself.

You asked about posting? I have a few answers for you. You aren't supposed to rise out of the saddle very far, not any higher than the pommel of your saddle. Easier said than done on those horses with big strides. Start by just letting your horses trot push you out of the saddle, but you need to maintain your core, using it to control how far you let the horse "push" you.

Another thing I found really helpful with posting and with your leg position is to double post. Sit two strides, stand two strides, sit two strides, stand two strides. You will probably find yourself either falling foward or falling backward. If you fall forward, your leg is too far back, if you fall back, your leg is too far forward. You can use this as a gauge to see where your legs should be.

Do you know how to find the correct diagonal without looking? I used to have to always look and see if I was posting on the right diagonal, so my instructor spent almost a whole lesson doing this. Start trotting and WITHOUT LOOKING AT HER SHOULDER, start posting. Concentrate on how it feels, especially around a corner. Then you can check your diagonal. If it's wrong, transition down, then back up to trot, and start posting when it feels right. It took me about an hour to figure this out, but it was amazing once I got it down.

And another leg tip. If you get up in two point, your leg should fall where it's supposed to be. So when you sit back down, don't move your leg. Another easier said than done tip, but it's something you can try.

I love your horse, by the way. She's beautiful. =]

"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds."
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post #6 of 18 Old 07-27-2009, 08:42 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, riccil0ve :)
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post #7 of 18 Old 07-28-2009, 12:20 PM
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You two look pretty good together! Ricci covered the critique pretty well so I won't add anything... I love percherons!

"The ideal horseman has the courage of a lion, the patience of a saint, and the hands of a woman..."
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post #8 of 18 Old 07-28-2009, 08:50 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, mom2pride.

Once it cools down a bit here (way too hot to ride at the moment) I'll definately try all your suggestions. Hopefully you'll see some improvement in my next video!
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post #9 of 18 Old 09-07-2009, 06:17 PM Thread Starter
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Hello again, everyone.
It's been a pretty rough month, we changed boarding places, Delta finds the swaying grass absolutely terrifying at the new barn. Her spooky phase is almost over, thankfully.

I no longer have use of a saddle, my new one is hopefully coming in sometime this week. It's a 36 gullet, so fingers crossed it fits Delta!!

Anyways, I have a new instructor, and I've just been having bareback lessons. How do we look? Any tips are more than welcome. Oh, and I can now POST BAREBACK, woot woot.

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post #10 of 18 Old 09-07-2009, 08:02 PM
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You look good! Just make sure that when you turn, use your inside rein and outside leg to push her around the corners/turns. It looks like you are just using your inside rein and giving with your outside rein. Keep your outside rein even with your inside rein, if that makes sense, not farther up her neck.
What I do when I ride- especially if I don't have an instructor with me at the time- is have a checklist in my mind. When Thumper doesn't do what I ask him to, or if he speeds up, I think, "Okay, are my heels down, am I leaning forward too far, is my leg sliding out in front of me, do I have contact with the reins..." and on and on :). It really helps!
I agree with the two-up-two-down exercise- it's really helpful if you make sure that you aren't leaning on the reins.
Good job with the bareback! I can't really critique that because I'm getting the hang of bareback at the moment :)- I'd rather not blindly critique others LOL.

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