Please critique! I think I have bad hands?
   

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Please critique! I think I have bad hands?

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  • Horse bad hands
  • My horse throws his head up when we canter

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    04-11-2012, 05:06 PM
  #1
Sis
Foal
Please critique! I think I have bad hands?

Here are a couple of pictures of me on a two different Thoroughbreds. How does my canter look? And trot (I think I was sitting the trot, if not then I'm on the wrong diagonal LOL)? I think my hands need work, because they just don't look right and my old instructor always told me to bend my elbows... so please give me some tips on how to make my hands better! And do my legs look OK??
Thanks,
Sis
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    04-11-2012, 05:16 PM
  #2
Super Moderator
You are using the neck as a reference to keep your hands "still". Unfortunately, it means that you are putting your hands in a bad position to do it. It has your hands too low, putting pressure a bit down onto the horse's bars. You need to lift your hands up so that there is a straight line from your elbow to the horse's bit. You need to unlock your elbow so that it can follow every move the horse makes with his mouth. Only then will you have truly good hands.

Here, my hands are up away from the horse's neck. I depend on my being loose enough in my shoulders and elbows to have a arm that is supple enough to give and take the reins with the horse's movements. I keep the same pressure and feel on the reins at all times, unless I am having to half halt or signal for some reason.



If you were riding hunters, your horse's headset would be lower and you would have a somewhat lower hand as a result.
writer23, Skyseternalangel and Sis like this.
     
    04-11-2012, 06:01 PM
  #3
Sis
Foal
Thank you. I will try to loosen my arms and bend my elbows some more... my old instructor used to tell me to do that, but it is always really hard for me to keep my arms the right way, because I'm so used to doing it the other way...she also said that I did it because I ride defensively a lot, because of the horses I ride. Do you have any suggestions/excersizes to help myself to hold my arms better?
Also, both of the horses I was riding in the pics throw their heads really badly, which is the main reason I have learned to hold my hands so low. The one in the first pic hits my face with her head, because she throws it so high when I try to slow her down. I usually have a martingale on her.
     
    04-11-2012, 06:08 PM
  #4
Showing
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sis    
Do you have any suggestions/excersizes to help myself to hold my arms better?
Also, both of the horses I was riding in the pics throw their heads really badly, which is the main reason I have learned to hold my hands so low. The one in the first pic hits my face with her head, because she throws it so high when I try to slow her down. I usually have a martingale on her.
Just practice and for me, visualizing I'm holding a tray up off of my horse reminds me to keep them up (I'm still working on it.)

Is there any reason for her to throw her head?
     
    04-11-2012, 06:14 PM
  #5
Sis
Foal
Okay, I will try that... and I don't think so...her tack fits, her teeth are in good shape, etc....usually she just does it when she gets hyper, and since she's an ex-racehorse, a lot of the time she just doesn't want to slow down. She never throws it when walking, and rarely when trotting, but if I start to slow her down from a canter or gallop, she always does. Also, she gets hyper when we are jumping, and then she will do it if I try to slow her down before a jump, even if we are trotting.
     
    04-11-2012, 06:41 PM
  #6
Showing
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sis    
Okay, I will try that... and I don't think so...her tack fits, her teeth are in good shape, etc....usually she just does it when she gets hyper, and since she's an ex-racehorse, a lot of the time she just doesn't want to slow down. She never throws it when walking, and rarely when trotting, but if I start to slow her down from a canter or gallop, she always does. Also, she gets hyper when we are jumping, and then she will do it if I try to slow her down before a jump, even if we are trotting.

I'm curious.. do you give her any weight shifting signals that you're about to decrease speed, or a half halt? My horse throws his head when I'm going from canter to trot because we haven't worked out the signals and he's trying to be relaxed and I'm yanking on his mouth.

(proof)
Not an insult to you, I just want to see if we can help you with that.
     
    04-11-2012, 06:52 PM
  #7
Sis
Foal
Yes, I usually sit deeper and try to stop moving, and then close my fingers on the reins. Usually my seat doesn't really make a difference, and sometimes she slows nicely when I close my fingers, and other times she throws her head like crazy. Depending on her mood.
     
    04-11-2012, 07:10 PM
  #8
Super Moderator
It is very possible that the horse is coming against your hands, which are rigid and set too tightly to have any give and take. If the hands can't give and take to move with the horse's head, it will cause the reins to snap tight/loose/tight/loose....

This inconsistent pressure from the reins can cause a horse to react strongly. It is often seen as a horse throwing it's head. It is their attempt to pull the reins out of your hands so that it will relieve the pressure on their mouth.

If I can remember, while I am out at the barn tomorrow, I will try to video a small demo of what I am talking about. I am terrible about remembering to do things like this.
Skyseternalangel likes this.
     
    04-11-2012, 07:38 PM
  #9
Super Moderator
One thing that helps to have following hands and that good line from elbot to bit is to think of putting a hundred dollar bill under your arm, in your armpit, but way toward the back of it. You must keep your elbows down and tucked in or you will lose a lot of money!
     
    04-12-2012, 11:55 AM
  #10
Foal
Think of drawing a vertical line from your ear down through to your ankle. The line should pass through your ear, shoulder, elbow, hip, and ankle. Basically pull your elbows in and keep them relaxed. Your horse shouldn't be able to pull through them, but they should be very forgiving in their flexion and release. Riding with your hands low isn't a huge problem unless you're resting them on your horse's neck or withers and/or lengthening your elbow so much that your arms are in a straight diagonal line from your shoulders, which it seems is happening. So work on keeping your elbows and wrists fluid, bringing your elbows back to your sides, and keeping your grip firm but gentle with your thumbs on top.

And a quick note on the rest of your position: your leg looks good but your body is a little too forward, especially for the trot. Sitting and posting trot should be done with a completely vertical spine. Canter gives you a little more wiggle room, as the position of your upper body is the best way to tell your horse to speed up or slow down.
     

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