Newbie Critique - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 4 Old 08-03-2014, 06:51 PM Thread Starter
Foal
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Nebraska
Posts: 146
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Newbie Critique

I am in no way a highly advanced rider, I took lessons when I was 8 for maybe a year. Didn't ride again until I was 17. That riding consisted of galloping through fields on an old mare a few times a week over a year. I then was out of horses until 2 years ago. I got a barrel horse for free who turned into the biggest pain in the butt ever, so I traded her for a nice 8 year old OTTB mare who had spent 5 years resting in a pasture. Her and I learned together and she gave me some confidence I never figured I'd have. We didn't have any formal lessons, but not even six months into having her, we could ride anywhere and she wouldn't question it. Bitless, bareback and galloping through fields, even occasionally jumping some small logs on trails. This last Novemeber I feel in love with an untouched 6 year old TB mare. I ended up completely breaking her myself and have had very few issues. Now I'm starting lessons up again, so that I can advance beyond a trail rider.
I am doing some small jumps but need some helpful critique since I can't afford many lessons. And mind you this is maybe the 6th time we've ever jumped.
I find myself dropping my upper body a lot further than most people, almost like a jockey I think. I feel most comfortable like this, is it an issue, if so, what can I do to not drop so low?
Also how do the length of my stirrups look? Too long?
Any hints on how to make my mare pick up her feet more? When we go over the little x rails she barely picks her feet up, but the longer jumps, she seems to overjump. Do I need to adjust the height of the jumps?

Also how does one teach a horse where to take off from, or is that something the horse will learn? I find her getting extremely close to the jumps at times. When are horses ready to go over a jump at a canter?
Any riding advice would be great!

I have attached a few pictures to maybe help out with the questions.
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post #2 of 4 Old 08-03-2014, 09:38 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2014
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First of all, good for you for getting back into the great sport of horseback riding. :) These pictures are not easy to critique, as they are pretty dark and you're pretty small. But from going from what I CAN see, here's what I notice:

For jumps these small, you don't need to be nearly that low on your horse's neck. Think of keeping your shoulders back and staying up off your horse's neck. By keeping your bottom over the center of the saddle and just folding slightly forward at the hips, you will keep a much more balanced position.

Your stirrups look too long. I would shorten them about 2 holes to get to the correct length. Shortening them will help you keep your leg underneath you. Also remember to sink down into your heels over the jump; it will help keep your overall position nicely balanced.

Try to keep your bottom much closer to the saddle, not way up in the air as it is here. It will help your upper body come up to the proper position, not hunched up on your (so cute!) horse's neck. When your upper boy is in the correct position, it shouldn't be hunched (looking like a 'c') or arched (with a hollow between your shoulders and bottom), but perfectly flat.

Now,for the things I like about your riding:

You're looking up and ahead, not down at the jump, which is always a good thing.

Your crest release is nice, and it is perfectly acceptable for people just beginning to jump. Later on, though, you'll start to hear about the auto release, in which the elbow-to-bit line is uninterrupted, and your remain in an elasticized contact with the horse's mouth over the jump. But you don't have to worry about that for a while. :)

Your horse seems happy and enthusiastic, from what I can tell from the pictures. Is there any way you have someone that could take a video of you jumping, perhaps zooming in on you a bit so we could see you and your horse better? It would be very helpful in critiquing and helping you improve.

Anyways, you're doing well for a beginner, so kudos to you! Good luck!

~Hoofbeats in my heart~
QuarterHorseGirl12 is offline  
post #3 of 4 Old 08-03-2014, 09:46 PM
Trained
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: New England
Posts: 8,880
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That last picture is asking for a bloody nose! Careful not to jump ahead, and completely agree with the above on you o/f position. Don't be so cramped. This looks very forced/fake to me. Just relax and let the motion carry you. Jumping position is good but don't focus on it.. I know you want to get better hence the focus but for now I'd go with "feel the motion".

Not an instructor and the above post was great, just my two pence
Yogiwick is online now  
post #4 of 4 Old 08-05-2014, 12:54 PM
Foal
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: East Coast USA
Posts: 32
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I agree with the above two. Be careful not to jump ahead of your horse and keep your butt lower in the saddle. It almost looks like you are hunching up and over the horse with you butt in the air and your torso resting on the horses neck. But your leg looks good and it looks like you gave your horse a release. Kudos for getting back in the saddle!

-Nicole
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