Re-Rider Critique! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 02-04-2010, 09:54 AM Thread Starter
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Re-Rider Critique!

Hi all! I need MAJOR help with my position. I rode for about 12 years growing up, then nothing for the last 10. Started riding again in November, bought Danny in December, and we started jumping around the beginning of January. I feel so sloppy, lose, out of balance, and all over the place both on the flat and over little fences. Danny also needs some work, he's got a super bouncy trot that I have a hard time sitting to, doesn't bend to the right, has a hard time staying straight (made worse by my poor eq), and is a little outta shape so his rhythm and pace are all over the place. Heavy on the forehand and tranisitions are rough, again made worse by me :) He gets a little overly excited when he jumps, and tends to go big and early. I've found myself overjumping, to avoid getting left behind. I've caught myself gripping with my heels, throwing myself onto his neck, and having elbows out like chicken wings! We're getting ready to move to a new barn with an "A" circuit trainer. He'll be on training board for a month, and I'll get unlimited lessons (prob 5 times a week).

My biggest problem is that I know in my head how it should feel, look, and come together, but my body doesn't quite remember what to do! I have 50 things running through my head that I need to work on and fix, but what things should I start on? I'm running into problems because I'm trying to fix everything at once, instead of focusing on one or two things at a time.

I'll post pics now, and try to upload some videos when I get home tonight. Critique away!

December 23:




January 10th (first day jumping):







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post #2 of 12 Old 02-04-2010, 09:57 AM Thread Starter
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February 1st:



Coming off a fence




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post #3 of 12 Old 02-04-2010, 10:12 AM Thread Starter
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Sorry, I know some of the pics aren't the clearest and tough to see the details of my position. My fiance is still learning how to be my photographer and videographer!

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post #4 of 12 Old 02-04-2010, 11:21 AM
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I think that you look pretty good, considering it was one of your first times jumping! You and horse make an awesome looking pair, by the way Sorry, I am not good at critiques.

Shaneequah, 1998 gaited Bashkir CurlyxArab mare
Treyue, 1999 3-gaited Icelandic gelding
Loki, 2001-2015 Icelandic gelding
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post #5 of 12 Old 02-04-2010, 12:54 PM
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I can't really critique much because I don't know proper english equitation but the one thing that I did notice is your hands. You have piano hands, get those tumbs up and those pinkies down and I think that would probably help with the "chicken wings".
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post #6 of 12 Old 02-04-2010, 01:15 PM
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You're leaning forward in a lot of the pictures of your flatwork, you need to sit back and straight.

Eagles may soar but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines.
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post #7 of 12 Old 02-04-2010, 01:36 PM
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Actually, I don't see a lot to quibble with in the flatwork photos. You have a good basic design of position, with the exception of your hand and arm. (more about that later.) Still photos don't show looseness terribly well, so I can't really comment on that observation of yours.

The over fences photos are pretty much as you described in your post.

The thing that I noticed the most in the flat photos is that your adorable horse appears relaxed and happy, with his head and neck stretched forward, and he appears to be moving under himself and tracking up. So you can't be doing anything too awful wrong!!!!

Now, for some advice -

1.) Banish the critic from your head and cut yourself a break. You're returning to riding after twelve years, it's not going to come back right away. Enjoy the process of getting back your former skill.
2.) Deal with "looseness" and "all over the place" by - lots of work in two point, stretching down into your heel and wrapping your leg. Avoid the tendency to roll your toe out when putting your leg on. Work without stirrups as much as feasible. 3.)Concetrate on redeveloping your feel. Work at a forward gait on a long or loose rein, try to tell when the inside hind strikes the ground. When you've got it, count one when the inside hind strikes, then the rest of the rhythm "One, two, three, four" - walk "One, two, one, two" - trot "One, two, three, pause, one, two, three" canter. This exercise has the double advantage of silencing all those critical voices in your head. I would avoid sitting the trot or jumping until you feel more secure and more with your horse.
3.) Instead of jumping a single fence, however tiny, which lends itself beautifully to anticipating and jumping ahead, do non-jumping exercises, like trotting over cavaletti, alternating posting and two point, or set canter poles on the ground a set distance of strides apart, canter over them, counting strides and focusing you eye on a spot on the horizon. When you can canter over them calmly with out changing stride and without jumping for the horse, play with adding and leaving out strides.
4.) The one equitation flaw I will point out is your popping elbow. I like that you're riding with a little slack in your rein, apparrently you're having trouble maintaining contact and have decided to loosen the reins. Good choice, and one that will preserve your horse's nice attitude. Work on keeping your elbow close to your body, thumb up, wrist straight and maintaining that straight line from bit to elbow. When you feel your hand and arm following his head and neck again (impossible to do with your elbows out) *then* pick up contact.

Sorry for the novel! Good luck, and post more photos!
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post #8 of 12 Old 02-04-2010, 01:54 PM
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I dont see that much either, except the arms, just work on keeping them at your side and bent. You look like resting more on your croch then your butt in a few photos, which is probably why your legs go back a little when you jump. Sit deep to the jumps and he shouldnt over jump as much. Once you really get to know him I think you'll figure out what works.

I love the black saddle pad, at first I was wondering if you just put the saddle right on his back.

He isnt really tracking up, but he dosent look particularly lazy.
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post #9 of 12 Old 02-04-2010, 02:21 PM
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So you pointed out a lot of what you need to work on ... my suggestion would be to really work on sinking into those heals, bringing those thumbs up and pulling those elbows in. Master that before you dig any deeper with picking on things as well as jumping. I would also suggest for you to be lunged(someone else to lunge you) without your sturrups and reins so that you really have to balance yourself- we did this a lot when I was riding in college and it helps so much

Try to take baby steps and build on things- then you will find that strong foundation!

Good luck

:: Karley ::
Tucker WB/TB- 11 yr
Speedy QH/TB- 22 yr
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post #10 of 12 Old 02-04-2010, 02:30 PM Thread Starter
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Maura, thanks for the tips. You hit everything spot on! He doesn't use his hind end very much and has a tendency to lean on my hands quite a bit so, I've gone the other route and started riding him on a looser rein to try to get him to learn to balance a bit and rely on himself. Plus, maintaing a nice spongy contact seemed to take a lot of my attention away from other things, so we put that on the back burner for now, until I have an independant seat again.

We had been doing quite a bit of pole work, but it's a little difficult to set the arena during my BOs lessons, so we haven't been doing as much of that as I would like.

When I was a teenager, I schooled a lot of hot green jumpers and it looks like my hands got super sloppy! Now, when I'm jumping, I find myself almost resting my knuckles on top of his mane, pushing my elbows out even further. It's so hard to remember how to do the easy stuff, like trotting a crossrail, doing a crest release, etc when I haven't done that stuff since my first couple of years of riding!

I'll try to upload the video I have of my posting trot tonight. It's really strange. I'm not sure if I'm putting more weight on one side or the other, or collapsing, or what. It's like I do a funky twist in my hips as I'm rising...

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