Please critique us. - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 23 Old 01-05-2014, 07:52 AM Thread Starter
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Please critique us.

Hello, I have posted before, but now we are one step forwards with out training, or actually a few leaps forwards, so I would like to see what other see.
Yes, I know my hands move too much in canter, but this is first time in ages I am trying to sit his canter, as due to the weird leg patterns it is not comfy.
I keep losing my stirrups when trying to move him forwards, but I also have learnt to pick them up even in canter or raising trot, or sitting trot.

I would love to hear what you think of this poor woolly mamooth :P He loves to work though, and is improving fast.
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post #2 of 23 Old 01-05-2014, 06:35 PM
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I didn't watch all the way through, but one thing I must mention is that you have got to quiet those hands. You are catching him in the mouth every other step, and it is causing him to brace his neck and run through the bridle. Stretch up in the saddle, stop rounding your shoulders, and isolate your upper body. Think about just moving your hips with the motion, not your entire body. Keep your elbows nice and relaxed, and go with the motion of his mouth and not against it. Once you can steady your hands, you'll be able to start helping him balance and round up, making his canter much more enjoyable to ride.
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post #3 of 23 Old 01-05-2014, 06:39 PM
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If this is your third lesson, as the title says, you are doing pretty good. Relax your back and stick your chest out. Also, get your toes up, not heels down, but toes UP, it actually contributes to a better seat. As for your hands, totally relax your elbows.

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post #4 of 23 Old 01-05-2014, 09:10 PM
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You're following nicely but those toes down and locked arms are no good, girl!

Why are your toes down? Usually it means you're gripping somewhere and it's usually your knees. That or your stirrups may be too long for you.. either or you don't have a secure leg right now.

Your locked arms.. it's all the tightness in your shoulders and elbows. Loosen up, and go with it.
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post #5 of 23 Old 01-05-2014, 10:16 PM
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Overall, not too bad for being a beginner! Give yourself some credit (:

I would suggest a whole week of some self torture, as I call it, and remove your stirrups from your saddle. You're pinching with your knee a lot, think of relaxing and moving down through your heel so you grip with your calf, knee, and thigh. Try more walking work so you can visualize these things without having to worry too much about the horse.

Also, look up! Looking down is slumping your shoulders forward, which also puts you ahead of the motion and your leg back. Think like you're a queen walking through a court of royals, that you're too good for everyone else and you're sticking your nose up at them! Silly metaphor, but it really does help.

Think light hands and relax, move more through your elbow. Picture that your forearm is a rubber band and grab mane until you learn your horse's motion better.

You're riding in a dressage saddle, which can be hard to develop strong legs in, is there anyway you could find a normal jumping saddle to ride in? Then you can work back to dressage when you've built up a good core foundation. You really need to work on your heels and balance, which would benefit more in a forward flapped saddle.

Your horse is very strung out here and hollow backed, but seems willing to work. He needs to get his bum under him more which will benefit a lot from you gaining better leg strength and position so you can push him better into an efficient frame.
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post #6 of 23 Old 01-06-2014, 01:55 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for responses.
I am not a total beginner, but with him I feel like it. Just a few months ago I was riding a warmblood and never had any of these issues.
1) If I was not keen on doing dressage, I would quit trying to sit his canter - just keep doing it in half seat. But even with him I want to try dressage.
2) I think my hands were also so bad, as I started to try to sit more back (I always have this problem due to my back) and therefore some things went out of wack..
3) He was not clamping against anything btw...
4) Explain TOES UP please? I have always been taught heels down. Here toes went down, because this horse needs a serious drive to stay in canter.. he will raise it easy, but he just does not want to canter.. so my legs went into his sides..
5) I do not clamp with my knee.. it was more my calves pushing into his sides, to keep the forward canter (he has a massive issue with canter). I used to clamp with my knees in a jumping saddle, and then my trainer changed me..
6)we do have a universal saddle, but I cannot sit in that one at all...
7) oh ye, I was told to stick my nose up, but as I was having difficulty with him and canter, I ended up looking lower down again, trying to make a corridor for him with my legs and hands, when also trying to sit, and then push him forwards.. in half seat that is SO much easier
8 ) before you call this horse hollow backed and whatnot, did you watch the trot? He is going forwards, he is slightly downhill built, he has had mysterious past, and even in the video you can see that his bum was working as there is foam between his legs..

I thank you for all the critique and welcome more :)
Of course I will keep working harder on all of those things.. :P
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post #7 of 23 Old 01-06-2014, 02:14 AM
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this horse is draft or part, no? I can sympathize with his movement and way of going being a bit of a challenge at canter. Z is the same. I can ride it in half seat but struggle with sitting down and riding the canter seated.

advice given that I would like to repeat:

look up! this is more important than just seeing wehre you are going.

do not round your back.

connect your elbows to your core and engage it, but do NOT let that cause you to grip up, which is what I see happening. your calf coming up you say is because you are keeping it on to keep him going in the canter, but you would be better off to keep it down by the girth and instead of "gripping or squeezing" , brush him with the inside bone of your ankle, the sharp one? and if one brush won't do it, "flutter your ankle" and if that doesn't get him to go forward, lay on the crop, because it's too late for more leg by that time.

instead of focusing on having him soften at the poll downward (dropping his head), look to get him to soften to the inside. that inside bend will be more helpful than having him just tuck his chin down.
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post #8 of 23 Old 01-06-2014, 03:16 AM
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I attached a good visual so you know what I mean by hollow backed. (: It's more of a put-together frame. I was pointing out the fact he is not 'lifted up' as in the image provided. Nothing wrong! It's just a simple thing to keep in mind because while we improve as riders, we must help our companions get better as well. Riding in a rounded frame is effective and will help build up and improve said choppy (or how you describe them) movements he has.

I think by toes up the other poster meant heels down. It's another way of visualizing. You can either think of keeping your heels down, or if it helps you picture it better- imagine pointing your toes in the air. Same thing.

You can make a corridor with your eyes up, it's a nasty habit to develop- try not to look down to see what you are doing. Instead watch from your peripheral . You can make a corridor easily by widening your hands apart so that your hands make the two top points of a 'V' and your horse's mouth is the focal point. Push from behind, try and visualize squeezing toothpaste out of a tube with your legs (if that makes sense hahahaha).

Your heels do not have to come up to drive, again a bad habit. No stirrup work will help here because your drive will come from your calf, when you lift up your heel it automatically pinches your knee, but a defensive ride without stirrups usually prevents the heel lifting.

Last edited by HunterJumperShow; 10-04-2016 at 02:32 AM.
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post #9 of 23 Old 01-06-2014, 03:32 AM Thread Starter
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He is part Latvian Driving/harness horse. Though the rest of them usually do not have such movement.. but it is seen to happen. They are kinda half draft breed.

I will try to remember this all for the next lesson (hopefully next sunday if the weather allows) and whenever I work with him again..

Hunter, I know the frame stuff, but this little fellow does work his hind and his back even when his head is out.. a lot of people have told me, his back is nice and strong.. plus, riding into the frame starts from the back, and getting the head down is the last point.. which we are kinda at at the moment. He has started to go down, seek contact, try to find his place, he does this about 30 times in a minute... we just need to keep workin :)
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post #10 of 23 Old 01-06-2014, 03:57 AM
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I am in work so can't see the video, but will view it when I get home.

A horse cannot correctly work from his hind end and through his back with his nose sticking up. A strong back and an active hind end is a good start, but sweat between the hind legs does not mean he is working.

A horse does not need to be up on the contact in a consistent frame for an entire ride, but the horse does need to be on the contact throughout,whether it be long and low or in a 'frame'

I will see the video and take it from there.
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