Position Critique Once Again! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 06-05-2011, 03:02 PM Thread Starter
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Position Critique Once Again!

I believe it's the third time! :)
These are from my first canter classes ever, as well as this horse's first canter classes ever. They are about a month old.
Rainy is a 6 y/o Appendix mare (3/4 QH and 1/4 TB). Pretty much trained her with the help of my instructor for about 2 1/2, 3 years now. Again, first canter classes for both of us. Please don't critique her, she was super distracted, not listening particularly well and I was just happy to get through the classes.
*These are from both English Equitation and English Pleasure; this was a local, open schooling show, thus no show clothes; they honestly didn't care what people were wearing.*

At the walk- here's what I see- I like my shoulder hip heel line, because a few months ago I was threatening to fall into a chairseat. My stirrups look a little on the long side for huntseat, but I've shortened them since this show, so maybe now they're okay. Slightly 'broken' wrists, they're tipping down. I'm not sure what I think about my elbows. I think they're okay, but that's for you all to decide. Also, please point out any other flaws you notice.

Cantering- sorry for the odd angle and the dusty conditions of the ring, little dry that day. In this one you can see the awkward thing I do with my hand. I hold one of them in this weird position where it's like turned to the outside. I've been working hard to correct it, but clearly there's a ways to go.
I think my leg's slipped back a bit here, and I'm trying to find a better position for me while cantering- too far forward and Rainy will take that as a cue to go faster, but too far back and we no longer look 'huntseat'. Solution?

Cantering again- I think this one is alright, though I'm sure on the inside my hand is weird again. Also, my outside hand has crept down near my saddle.

Close up to show what my hand does. Can we say awkward?

That's all I've got. Unfortunately for our next show, Rainy had an abscess which didn't heal in time for her to go. Our next show is July 18th, so tell me what I should work on!
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post #2 of 13 Old 06-05-2011, 04:52 PM Thread Starter
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bump :)
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post #3 of 13 Old 06-05-2011, 11:35 PM
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Well, the photos are not the very best to judge by since none are square from the side. Sure wish I had a video. will be fun to watch next time, no?

I see what you mean about your hand. Those are hard habits to break, but it really is just a matter of breaking the habit by doing it mindfully correct, many , many times until the new habit is there. You know how your hand needs to be positioned, so just keep correcting it every time you notice and in a month or so, you won't do it anymore. One thing that helps me is visualizing the nails of my thumbs being on top of my hand and pointing like twin barrels of guns, or like laser sights, toward the bit rings! You can alwo imagine that you are actually holding the bit rings in your fingers, with the fingers wrapped around them. You would only be able to do this if you thumbs were on top.

Remember that on reason for this focus on thumbs on top is to keep the two bones of the forearm rolled over so that your elbow stays aligned with and close to your rib cage. THAT is really important.

Your seat looks good to me. I don't see any problem there at all. It looks in one picture that you are hunching your sholders down a bit, thus your neck is kind of tucked down and forward between the shoulders. But this is really minimal and might have been a very brief moment caught by the photo.
Leg looks good to me and an overall impression of a rider who rides with ease, is well balanced on the horse and not interfering with her forward movement.

the horse is not as much connected to the bit as will be good. Sometimes looks counter bent. But that was not the purpose of this thread, no?
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post #4 of 13 Old 06-05-2011, 11:44 PM Thread Starter
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Oh, yes. Rainy is a major counterbender. :)

Thank you! I remind myself at every corner to keep my hands up and looking 'normal', and I tell fellow riders (my best friends) to yell at me if they catch me doing it. Shoulders, ah, my shoulders. Key point of annoyance, my instructor catches me hunching and she'll just yell 'Shoulders'. Another thing to improve. :) You are also spot on about her having forward movement, she was rather spirited at the show (first show of the season, not to mention first canter class ever, etc.) and at that point, I knew there was no arguing with her. Sometimes it's best to let her figure herself out, or the argument that follows will be awful. Home is our training time, shows are for showing off. :)

I wish my parents were better photographers, but I find myself rather lucky that they bother at all! Wish I had a better camera as well, but my money these days is all towards my love- horses.
Thank you for the critique!
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post #5 of 13 Old 06-06-2011, 10:16 AM
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Just thought I'd throw a suggestion in here real quick. I've seen quite a few people do that weird wrist thing, one of them being someone I used to take lessons with. Our trainer made her ride with what was essentially a splint for a while, and when she took it off, her wrist was straight as could be :]

"The art of riding is keeping a *horse* between you and the ground."
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post #6 of 13 Old 06-06-2011, 11:36 AM
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FIRST PIC: Lift your hands and imagine you are holding cups of tea :) Lifting the hands will bend your elbow a bit more, so that'll improve your position lots. I'm jealous of your legs, and your heels are lovely :p

Your hands are doing the silly thing again, thumbs on top. You look as if you're looking down, look forward!

HANDS HANDS HANDS. Thumbs on top, raise them up and pull your elbows closer to your sides, with a bend in them

And i can't be bothered to do any more, tehe.
Btw, I adore your ponies saddle pad xD
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post #7 of 13 Old 06-06-2011, 03:41 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys!
Wish I could try out that splint thing, but I'd rather not mess with it if I don't know exactly how to work it.

Yes yes yes, terrible hands. Thank you for the compliment on my legs, I do try! :)
The saddle pad is precious, in my opinion. Since I obviously can't use it for normal shows, I have a leopard print Western shirt for our Western classes.
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post #8 of 13 Old 06-07-2011, 05:25 PM
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Credit for telling you to use the saddle pad ;)

And on the eigth day God said horses shall NOT trot, and the GOOD horses listened!!!!
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post #9 of 13 Old 06-07-2011, 06:17 PM
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i used to have the same problem with my hands and i no longer do, so it can be fixed !! it helped me a lot to ride with shorter reins [you should also carry your hands higher, they are pretty low] that way when you want to use the rein you will pull back from your elbow [because its not as far back as possible already] instead of curling your wrists to use the rein. i hope that makes sense !

Gypsy & Scout <3
Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. ~Albert Einstein
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post #10 of 13 Old 06-07-2011, 06:24 PM
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I feel like you are sitting too far back in your saddle. Scoot up a little bit. You already pointed out your hands so I won't mention them. You look good though, keep up the good work.
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