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Please critique rider: beginner

This is a discussion on Please critique rider: beginner within the Horse Riding Critique forums, part of the Riding Horses category

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    09-26-2011, 09:08 PM
Originally Posted by tinyliny    
...One doesn't get a long leg just by making the stirrup really far away from the hip...Besides, as a beginner rider, she would do better to have shorter stirrups.
Well, I don't do dressage. However, it works both ways. A long stirrup does not, by itself, create a long leg, but a short stirrup will, by itself, eliminate a long leg! If the OP feels a need to 'fish' for the stirrup, it is too long.

And why would a beginner do better with short stirrups? It takes more balance and flexibility to ride with legs folded than hanging down. When I began, a short stirrup allowed me to avoid developing a seat - but the seat is far more important than the stirrup.
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    09-26-2011, 09:36 PM
In that case, it is better to ride without stirrups altogether. If the rider intends to post, then stirrups need to be at a reasonable length to make it possible to post in the correct way. Your description of the coiling legs was excellent, and if the stirrup is too long, this cannot be done. IN the case of a stirrup too long, the rider ends up kind of heaving themselves up off their knees and sometimes the mouth of the horse, too.

If this rider wants to post, then having her stirrups a notch or two shorter will make it easier for her to move weight down into her ankels and heels and use that "coiling" action you described.
BaileyJo likes this.
    09-26-2011, 10:56 PM
Green Broke
As long as she is not cranking her stirrups up 10 holes to be in a "jumping" length stirrup, when she has posted that she will be taking dressage lessons...

Yes, stirrups should come up, but do it a hole at a time until you find the length that is comfortable to you...without having to really stretch for them.

Because of the too long stirrups, you reach for them with your toes, making you tip forward, which in turn is making your leg slide back too far.

You look tense through your shoulders, arms and elbows, and is giving you a stiff appearance.

I like that you are not a shoulder huncher, and keep a straighter back. :)
    09-26-2011, 11:42 PM
I like where your elbows are but the too long of stirrups is throwing you forward and making you unlevel. Since you can't get up out of your saddle because you have no push with stirrups too long, all you can do is go push forward instead of up. I love where your chin is. So many of us new riders ride around with our chins on our chest.
    09-27-2011, 01:25 AM
Hmmm, looking back at the pics again, I definitely see that I am reeeeeeaching for those stirrups. Aside from taking them down a couple holes for my trail rides, I've been riding with a much longer stirrup since I stopped taking lessons ( I developed tendonitis in my right knee and my doctor wanted me to do physical therapy and lengthen my stirrups to put less pressure on it).

When I was taking lessons, it was in a Hunter barn and my instructor had my stirrups jacked up pretty high. As in the bottom of the irons were barely at the top of my ankle bone (she thought it would force my heel down). My right leg used to go numb at the canter and just sort of "flop" and I'd loose my balance. It seems as though I've gone the extreme other end and made them super long hahaha.

I confirmed my lesson for next week, so it will be a clean slate. It's hard to focus on so many things at once! My hands used to flop around and I was constantly staring at my horses ears. Now I've got a stiff body; but ok hands and I'm looking up, grrrrrr lol.

Thanks again for the input everyone. I can't make guarantees about a video. It's hard enough to have to beg someone to come out and take pics. Plus I feel weird asking, like I'm being narcissistic
    09-27-2011, 10:50 AM
Originally Posted by Tulula81    
It's hard enough to have to beg someone to come out and take pics. Plus I feel weird asking, like I'm being narcissistic
Just think of it as part of your training. You're not doing it to see how beautiful and fabulous you are. You're doing it to try to get better. No harm in wanting to work on improving your riding.
    09-27-2011, 11:50 AM
Super Moderator
I think you could stand to raise your stirrups at least one hole. I wish you had lighter pants on because I lost your leg in the pix. You are actually riding in a more hunt-seat type of position. One thing I believe I noticed is that you need to bring your lower leg back some and then put your weight in your heels. A shorter stirrup will help with that.

Next, if you are riding dressage you'll want to sit back straighter and sink deeper in the saddle. Right now you are kind of rolled up on your pelvis and riding in a hunter frame which is great if that's what you are aiming for. You look pretty solid though. Not too shabby...
    09-27-2011, 01:54 PM
Great thread. Here is my perspective. When you are learning to ride, the way that you sit the horse is not a natural seat. The horse, unlike sitting in a car, shifts your weight constantly. The first (human) reaction to this movement is to pull your knees up, pull your head downwards, curl your back as if you're reaching for your toes, pulling your arms inward--basically, curling into a fetal position, a little or a LOT. ANY of these things make your "seat" (which is actually the way your entire body is placed on the horse) insecure and this makes it easier for you to lose balance. If you don't tackle all of these problems NOW, you will be fighting them for years. Teach your body NOW, and you will be able to use your arms independant of your torso independant of your legs, and your horse will become more responsive.
You sound serious about improving. I suggest (RE: stirrups) to learn to readjust them while sitting the saddle. To do this most of us pull our leg in front on that stirrup, then pull out to readjust, pull the stirrup leather buckle to the stirrup bar, replace any leftover leather into the guard, then put your foot back in. A lot of us pull the mounting leather longer to mount a tall horse, THEN readjust the leather to the match the length of the off-side leather while mounted.
Many instructors let their students adjust their leathers to what is comfortable length for YOU. You may find that sometimes they will be shorter, sometimes they will be longer. Remember, TOO, if you are riding in leather, rather than synthetic stirrups leathers, that the mounting side leather stretches, so you will need to switch the leathers periodically to the other side--trade sides, if you will.
My 2nd suggestion is to spend some time riding (in a safe place on a safe horse) without stirrups. If you could ride an entire afternoon, even in an arena, without stirrups, you would REALLY FEEL what a deep seat feels like. Start at a walk.
I've always said that anybody could cram for a test on correct riding, and pass with an "A", but NOTHING replaces feeling this.
BTW, a good seat is same regardless of discipline or riding sport, or saddle. Hope this helps! =D
bsms likes this.
    09-27-2011, 03:46 PM
Originally Posted by farmpony84    
... One thing I believe I noticed is that you need to bring your lower leg back some and then put your weight in your heels. A shorter stirrup will help with that.
Originally Posted by VelvetsAB    

Because of the too long stirrups, you reach for them with your toes, making you tip forward, which in turn is making your leg slide back too far.
Just wanted to clarify (and maybe the answer is somewhere in between) my whole leg too far back? Or do I just need to move the lower part of my leg farther back?

I will ask my instructor to add in no-stirrup work; but sometimes he will stop abruptly when your feet are out of the stirrups.

I've tried riding him bareback but his withers are shark-fin and I prefer not to get jabbed in my lady-bits to remind me to have a better leg/seat hahaha I suppose that's a quick way to do it though!
    09-27-2011, 03:49 PM
Originally Posted by tinyliny    

The second photo shows the horse almost at the third beat of the canter, when the leading leg strikes the ground. This is when the horse is in its' most "downhill" angle. YOU, on the other hand, at this point should be leaning back or at least very upright in the saddle, just as you would be if your rode your horse down a hill. This helps your and his balance. When he is in the next beat of the canter , reaching under with his strike off leg, he will be in his most uphill part of the canter, when you can be angled a tiny bit forward, as if you were riding him up a hill.
Thanks for the reply. I always look forward to your insight when I'm snooping around the critique section! I don't think that I actually knew which way I was supposed to move with him on the canter and your description makes perfect sense!

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