Please Critique - The Horse Forum

 
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post #1 of 9 Old 04-18-2010, 07:18 PM Thread Starter
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Please Critique

I'm putting my neck on the chopping block and posting a few pictures for critique of me and Scout! Okay, I lied, a lot of pics. Essentially, this is us schooling intro level dressage, or attempting to.








And... a couple of face shots of the gent himself. He's so sweet to put up with me...




What I see: It looks like I'm due for a lungeline session! My thumbs tip in... majorly. The minute I quit thinking about my hands, their position and any fostering of good contact tanks. Pure bad habit. My stirrups could maybe go up a hole? My heels are not down very far, and it looks like I'm reaching for the stirrups a bit. My shoulders and chest collapse, and I tip forward. I was comparing these shots to last years, and that problem is improving quite a bit, but it is still there. The saddle may be part of my issues as far as the tipping... I'm still shopping for a dressage saddle.

The focus of this ride (and most of our rides right now) is to get Scout in front of my leg, forward, and relaxed primarily at the walk and trot. Both of us are schooling intro level dressage... him getting good basics (or so I hope), and me fixing my long-festering faults. I'm basically leaving his head alone, just trying to maintain an elastic contact and listen to his mouth and letting him find his balance. I do realize that conformationally he probably won't take me to GP (), but I'm pursuing the more formal dressage as a foundation for whatever we opt to do in the future.

Let 'er rip! Be harsh! Any and all observations, comments, and suggestions welcome! I want us to improve, and while a forum is no substitute for a trainer on the ground, I'm sure some feedback will help us out.

Thanks for looking!

A stubborn horse walks behind you, an impatient one in front of you, but a noble companion walks beside you ~ Unknown
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post #2 of 9 Old 04-18-2010, 07:57 PM
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Heels down. Thumbs up. Go up a hole? I say go down a hole. Basically in dressage I belive is a long stirrup not a short stirrup. I say that saddle is wayy to small for you. So maybe selling that saddle to get a saddle that is more suited to help you find a good Dressage saddle.
The wintec dressage saddles are very comfy and have a nice posistion,
Also you need to bend with your elbow,
Umm I would like to seee shoulders back as well not bent down so much and grabbing onto his mouth.

He's a very cute gelding I wish yall very much good luck :)
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post #3 of 9 Old 04-18-2010, 08:29 PM
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I would not be going up a hole, definitely down 1 or 2! I love that your looking up and not down at your horse.
Things I notice is you need to bring your elbows into to your side and bend them a bit. Close your hands and thumbs on top. It does look like you are behind the movement and you are leaning forward in the trot to compensate. Keep you back up and straight and rise from your knees and move your hips.
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post #4 of 9 Old 04-18-2010, 08:36 PM
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First of all I would like to say how refreshing it is to see someone smiling while they are riding, you guys look like you are having fun!

Your back looks a littl hollow in some of the pics, I think this stems from not having enough weight in your heels and not sitting deeply enough in the saddle. This will sound really strange but next time you sit in your saddle, put you hands underneath your butt, between your butt and the seat of the saddle. You should be able to feel your 'butt bones' (told you this would sound strange, they are at the bottom of your pelvis). Then take your hands away and sit in the saddle again, you should be able to feel these bones in contact with the saddle - guaranteed deep seat! Your shoulders will roll back unconciously as a result and your heels will drop in order to support your weight.

Try it, it really works!

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post #5 of 9 Old 04-19-2010, 07:04 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EventersBabe View Post
Heels down. Thumbs up. Go up a hole? I say go down a hole. Basically in dressage I belive is a long stirrup not a short stirrup. I say that saddle is wayy to small for you. So maybe selling that saddle to get a saddle that is more suited to help you find a good Dressage saddle.
The wintec dressage saddles are very comfy and have a nice posistion,
Also you need to bend with your elbow,
Umm I would like to seee shoulders back as well not bent down so much and grabbing onto his mouth.

He's a very cute gelding I wish yall very much good luck :)
I've actually been looking into the wintecs pretty closely in my saddle hunting. I got very lucky that the saddle in the pics is working as well as it is... back when I was stupider than I am now I ordered the thing off ebay and hoped it fit my last horse... It doesn't seem to be hurting Scout, the sweat marks are even and all that, but there could definitely be a better fit out there for both of us.

Thanks for taking the time to reply!

Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverSpur View Post
i would not be going up a hole, definitely down 1 or 2! I love that your looking up and not down at your horse.
Things I notice is you need to bring your elbows into to your side and bend them a bit. Close your hands and thumbs on top. It does look like you are behind the movement and you are leaning forward in the trot to compensate. Keep you back up and straight and rise from your knees and move your hips.
My thinking in perhaps raising the stirrups was to match the design of the saddle a bit more, and maybe cut down on the amount of fighting that I'm doing for my leg and back position, and just ride "dressage" in more of a jumping position until I find a better saddle? I'll try dropping them down a hole of two next time and see how it goes!

Could you elaborate a little more on "behind the motion"? I've heard the term before, but how might I start to fix that? Is my being behind the motion a product of my poor position, or a problem with my posting in general? I wish I could post videos... alas, no camera!

Thanks for commenting on how I'm looking up! This was another problem that I've been working hard at beating. I'm finally starting to cultivate a good habit! Woot!

Quote:
Originally Posted by sarahver View Post
First of all I would like to say how refreshing it is to see someone smiling while they are riding, you guys look like you are having fun!

Your back looks a littl hollow in some of the pics, I think this stems from not having enough weight in your heels and not sitting deeply enough in the saddle. This will sound really strange but next time you sit in your saddle, put you hands underneath your butt, between your butt and the seat of the saddle. You should be able to feel your 'butt bones' (told you this would sound strange, they are at the bottom of your pelvis). Then take your hands away and sit in the saddle again, you should be able to feel these bones in contact with the saddle - guaranteed deep seat! Your shoulders will roll back unconciously as a result and your heels will drop in order to support your weight.

Try it, it really works!
Thanks so much for the suggestion! I'll have to try that!
I've been told that I "go defensive" when I ride, collapsing back onto my pockets and through my chest. I mentally know I'm less stable when I do it... and it takes pics of my riding to remind me to think about what I'm doing sometimes. I think I'm really due for a lungeline lesson. I'll definitely try your suggestions! The weirder they are, the less I have to work to remember to do it in the saddle!

Thanks so much all for taking the time to reply!

A stubborn horse walks behind you, an impatient one in front of you, but a noble companion walks beside you ~ Unknown
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post #6 of 9 Old 04-19-2010, 07:11 AM
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can I just say I love your helmet :P
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post #7 of 9 Old 04-19-2010, 10:34 AM
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I read what you see and the only critique I have for the moment is his nose. I read what you wrote though so I understand you're just working on one thing at a time which is good. He could be more collected and in the first pic I really noticed his nose was sticking out, but maybe that's just me. Hopefully as you advance, you'll take time to work on that. I just wanna say he's really cute! =)

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post #8 of 9 Old 04-19-2010, 12:16 PM
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This isn't really a critique of your riding, as I like what others have said and what you yourself have touched on. I just wanted to point out that (it's a little hard to tell in photos, obvi) it looks to me like your saddle is too far forward in some of the pictures (the one where it really stood out to me was #4). It just looks like the pommel is higher than the cantle, making your seat bones not fall in the deepest part of the saddle (where it's most effective and comfy for horse and rider). If this is the case (have someone look at it on the ground and while you ride), try a riser pad, maybe one of those "lollipop" pads. Scout is super cute, I love his eye and white markings (love when they have all four)!
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post #9 of 9 Old 04-19-2010, 09:10 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RedTree View Post
can I just say I love your helmet :P
Ha ha, thanks! My first horse's show name was Johnny On Fire, and I saw the helmet cover and had to have it, lol.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRoughrider21 View Post
I read what you see and the only critique I have for the moment is his nose. I read what you wrote though so I understand you're just working on one thing at a time which is good. He could be more collected and in the first pic I really noticed his nose was sticking out, but maybe that's just me. Hopefully as you advance, you'll take time to work on that. I just wanna say he's really cute! =)
Yeah, I'm really paranoid about riding his front half too much right now (probably the paranoia is the reason I have problems with my hands... I need to find that golden mean), and we're miles from tackling true collection at this point. Thanks, though, and I'll pass the compliment on to Scout!

Quote:
Originally Posted by flyingyellowhorse View Post
This isn't really a critique of your riding, as I like what others have said and what you yourself have touched on. I just wanted to point out that (it's a little hard to tell in photos, obvi) it looks to me like your saddle is too far forward in some of the pictures (the one where it really stood out to me was #4). It just looks like the pommel is higher than the cantle, making your seat bones not fall in the deepest part of the saddle (where it's most effective and comfy for horse and rider). If this is the case (have someone look at it on the ground and while you ride), try a riser pad, maybe one of those "lollipop" pads. Scout is super cute, I love his eye and white markings (love when they have all four)!
I see what you mean about the saddle placement, and actually had the same thought after I started really studying the photos from that day. I do have a riser pad, but that made the whole shebang look really tipped forward. I do have a thinner square pad in the barn, I'll have to tinker with it. Thanks for pointing it out, and next time I ride I'll take a closer look!

Thanks so much everyone for taking the time to look, and for the wonderful suggestions!

A stubborn horse walks behind you, an impatient one in front of you, but a noble companion walks beside you ~ Unknown
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