Please Critique and be HARSH - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 08-20-2014, 11:34 PM Thread Starter
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Please Critique and be HARSH

I have quite a few insecurities about my equitation, just things that drive me nuts these pictures. So basically I just want to see if you all see the same things I see, or if I'm just being obsessive, and what I can do to improve my riding. Feel free to tear me apart, I'm quite used to it and appreciate all feedback, positive or negative. Thanks in advance.
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post #2 of 11 Old 08-20-2014, 11:55 PM
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I won't critique the jumping pictures since I'm not an english rider. The biggest things I see are in the one picture of you trotting and they seem to all be connected. IMHO, you need to straighten up your upper body. Put a little more length in your reins so you can sit up straight and get your elbows back to your sides with some more angle in them. That will give you a much more fluid arm and softer hands. Right now, it seems that you are allowing your entire upper body to be stretched out and pulled forward to follow the contact with the horse's mouth.
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post #3 of 11 Old 08-21-2014, 12:07 AM
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I agree with smrobs you need to sit up a bit and straighten your back, esspecially while jumping you also seem stiff in a few pictures which is a bad idea, if you fall (and being stiff makes it easier to fall) you have a better chance of being injured.

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post #4 of 11 Old 08-21-2014, 12:10 AM Thread Starter
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I see exactly what you are talking about! I will definately try to work on that more, although it is partially my horse's behavior that forces me into that position. She gets very quick and on her forehand when we jump so I have to keep my reins short so I can pick her up and slow her down quickly, but then if I hold her too tight she takes off. I'm constantly shortening my reins, but then thrusting my hands and upper body forward to release the contact. And yet when I lean forward too far, she speeds up. I really am literally being pulled apart just trying to compensate for my mares shenanigans, but don't know how to stop the cycle. I hope that made some sense...
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post #5 of 11 Old 08-21-2014, 12:20 AM
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Understood it perfectly . You might try working on her responsiveness to seat cues. That way, you could slow her down from your seat without having to have your reins shorter.

Always remember that feeling of looking at a big, open country over the ears of a good horse, seeing a new trail unwind ahead of you, and that ever-spectacular view from the top of the ridge!!! Follow my training blog: http://robertsontraining.blogspot.com/
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post #6 of 11 Old 08-21-2014, 12:41 AM
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A tip, bring your shoulder blades back, like you want them to touch each other in the middle of your back.

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post #7 of 11 Old 08-21-2014, 09:57 AM
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In both of the non-jumping photos, you appear to have your pelvis tipped forward and your back hollowed. This will both affect your balance and increase the overall tension in your muscles which will also affect your horse's movements and tension. Remember: the better you balance and the more relaxed you are when riding, the better your horse can move in relaxed balance.

Understand that a horse's responses are often -- I might say usually -- the result of how the horse is ridden. In your groundwork, concentrate on riding in a balanced and relaxed manner. Try to help your horse understand than she can relax even when being ridden. The more relaxed you are when riding, the better you can follow the movements of your horse. As your horse becomes accustomed to your two bodies moving as one, your horse will begin to respond to slight changes in your movements.

Begin this work while riding on the flat. As this becomes second nature, start going over ground poles and very small jumps. Concentrate on your balance and following your horse's movements. Trot over a very small jump; then, try to get your horse to walk a couple of steps after the jump by simply sitting up and stilling the motion of your seat. As your horse stops trotting, let your body begin moving in the walking motion with your hands following the movement of your horse's head and your seat bones following the motion of your horse's back. When you can do this regularly, you may start going over higher jumps doing the same. Realize that your horse may need a couple extra steps to go into a walk after executing higher jumps.

This relaxed movement may take some time to develop. The time will be shortened if you suspend your jump work for a while. As you develop your relaxed riding, your progress should develop more quickly. If you do not learn to ride in balance, relaxed, and following your horse's movements, you will likely continue to struggle.

In his book "My Horses, My Teachers", Alois Podhajsky wrote of his experience as an international jumping competitor while in the cavalry. His stated that his jumping improved dramatically after he reluctantly began dressage training at the "suggestion" of a commanding officer. He would win jumping competitions against much faster horses that had better conformation. Podhajsky later became the director of the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, a position he held for more than twenty years.
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post #8 of 11 Old 08-21-2014, 11:53 PM
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You can lift your bottom a tad out of the saddle, still keeping it over the center of the seat, to avoid to being left behind. Make sure your back in't rounded forward; that it's flat. Bring your shoulders back, like waresbear said; it will help in a lot of ways. Your heels look pretty "natural", but sinking down into them a bit more will secure your lower body. You have what George Morris calls a "floating crest release". Your hands are hovering over your horse's crest. Try to keep your hands on his neck and just slide them forward, not up, as he takes off. A crest release is acceptable for jumps this size. Overall, not a half bad position for this level. I wish you luck!

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post #9 of 11 Old 08-27-2014, 09:24 PM
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I want to comment on the "hollowed back" thing (which i most see in the trot photo). one of my better instructors once said "anyone who tells you to arch your back is an idiot". lol.. I have heard people say this before, and in their defense, i think they were saying it as an aid to correct a slouched back, but i've realized that while you want your chest open, shoulders back, you want to push in your stomach (maybe not the best way of describing that but it's all i got) - which tucks your butt in (instead of it sticking out) - keeping it flush with your back. (aka "engaging your core"). It's a much stronger position but takes a while to get use to.

note this is the only photo i see this issue in.. over jumps i think you need to more focus on keeping your shoulders back.

Re: any of my advice - Happy to give my two cents, but not an expert... just a girl who loves riding horses!
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post #10 of 11 Old 08-28-2014, 12:41 PM
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I ride dressage now and used to do flat eq., so I cant comment on the over fences, but I wanted to address the arched back-ness of your flat photos. Something that helped me, was first to remember, shoulders like a princess, hips like a harlot, which is as others have said about engaging your core. From there, when posting, think "butt through hands" aiming your butt in between your hands when you rise. Hopefully it will make you a bit more straight instead of inverted.
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