Riding Critique?

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Riding Critique?

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  • Facial expressions english riding

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    04-04-2009, 07:59 AM
Riding Critique?

My last post sort of went a bit wrong :S so apologies for that!
Anyway, I've been riding for nearly 2 months and I'm really enjoying it! I ride a 7year old, 16.1hh Shire Mare, and she's taught me so much. I know I need to improve, but just wanted other peoples thoughts on her and my riding. So here are some pictures that were taken last week, - and apologies for my facial expressions when I ride!

This ones my favourite one of just her, but if her two hind legs where together, then it would probably be better! But I still think she's rather gorgeous!

I'll post a video when I find out how to! Lol, anyways let me know what you all think! Constructive Critiscism is welcome :)
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    04-04-2009, 08:18 AM
For english riding, you pinkys should be on the inside of the reins

Your hands need to be higher up and closer together.

But for only 2 months that is **** good lol.
    04-04-2009, 08:21 AM
Lol thankyou, I also know I need to rise out of my seat more in rising trot. I have a slight problem when dismounting though. Cause she has quite a high-backed saddle, and I don't know whether it's just because I'm a beginner, I find it hard to dismount easily. The last couple of weeks my instructor has had to pull my right leg over the saddle so I can get down. Any ideas on how to help this?
    04-04-2009, 11:01 AM
Originally Posted by morganshow11    
For english riding, you pinkys should be on the inside of the reins

Your hands need to be higher up and closer together.

But for only 2 months that is **** good lol.
I was always taught to keep my thumb and pinky finger on the outside of the rein?
    04-04-2009, 11:07 AM
Originally Posted by LisaClarke    
I was always taught to keep my thumb and pinky finger on the outside of the rein?
Me too. That's how i've always held the reins...
I also disagree with her bringing her hands closer together. They're close enough.
Your puppy dogging in these pictures. You need to get your hands out of your lap and turn your hands so that your thumb is on top. When you're riding you also want more bend in your elbow. Choke up on the reins a tiny bit and bring those hands out of your lap. The saddle might be a bit too small for you also, which may be causing your problem's dismounting? But for solving that problem you really need to build up your muscles. That's all there is to it. Remember to keep those eyes up and heels down.

Do you take lessons?
You really don't look bad for riding for two months so don't sweat it. It takes time to develop your seat and position. Heck I've been riding for 12 years and mine's not anywhere near perfect, it's effective, but it needs work.
    04-04-2009, 11:15 AM
Hi there :)

What an absolutely beautiful mare! What an honor and priveledge to beable to be with her eh? You both look great together and I can see how proud you are of not only yourself, but of her.

The first thing I noticed, is that it does appear that your saddle is too small for you. This will effect your form while in the saddle, your balance and your centeredness.

1) Lets start with your leathers - do you see your feet? See how your toes are lower at an angle, than your heels are?

That is beacuse you are reaching for your toes for balance, when in reality - it should be your heels doing their job.

Your leather length is a good length for you - but somewhere along the line from your upper thighs to your calf, you are gripping somewhere - blocking this flow of natural weight from your upper body to your heels.......which is not allowing your heels and ankles to do their jobs.

Your heels must beable to sink and absorb all your bodies weight so that they can anchor you in your tack, so you can get that feeling of balance. Your ankles, but be allowed to be shock absorbers - your heels and ankles must be allowed to work together.

So - lets re-establish your lower legs, and teach them to do their job accordingly. Open your legs up, allow your bodies weight to flow down into your heels. Allow your heels to sink.

Your inner calf should be on your horses side - not the back of your calf.

Work on lengthening your legs. Open them up, stretch them down - allow your heels and ankles to do their jobs.


2) Secondly, I notice that you are not using your core at all. You must establish a strong core, to be an effective rider. I notice in a few of your pictures, that you have a hollowed out lower back - which you must work on correcting.

Imagine a bowl of water the center of your belly. As Sally Swift would say - that bowl of water is your balance and effectiveness. The moment you hollow out your lower back, you've now allowed that bowl of balance to gush out the front of you. The moment you roach your lower back, you've now allowed that bowl of balance to gush out your back.

We want balance. Work on straitening your lower back, pulling your tummy inwards and start using it! Work on your belly, allow it to strengthen and support you - through that, you will gain a more effective seat, stabillity and balance.


3) Thirdly - due to your lack of strength in your center, this has effected your upper body.

See how low your hands are carried? See how open your elbow angle is? See how sloppy your shoulders are? See how you are always looking down?

All this is effected due to the links in the chain being disrupted. Your body parts, are all links in a chain. Each one must be working to aid the others surrounding it. Same with your body parts - each one must be working properly, to aid your other body parts.

Without one, the other cannot do its job properly.

You know - like the tune "the leg bone is connected to the thigh bone. The thigh bone is connected to the knee bone...etc, etc." Same idea here -

Sit up tall, bring those shoulders back, CARRY your hands, close that elbow angle.

You MUST have an effective hand carraige to aid yourself and your horse. When we carry our hands low...the rest of our body follows or vice versa.

You drop you hands, you elbows open and tighten. Your elbows open and your shoulders drop. Your shoulders drop, your head follows - again, or vice versa.

When we carry our hands low like that, we have no where to give. No where to take. We cannot lift, aid, support, soften, be softened. We cannot ask, be asked.

We must learn proper hand carraige to aid our horses.

Bring those elbows to your sides.

Right now - your hands are dropped near your horses withers. You pull them down into your crotch - and they are very ineffective.

  • So lets work on opening your legs. Re-establsihing your inner calf, and allowing your heels to deepen and your ankles to absorb.
  • Start using your core. Strengthen and use your belly muscles.
  • Straiten that lower back.
  • Sit up tall, lift your shoulders, close those elbow angles and carry your hands.
  • And look up

I hope that helps :) Enjoy! And have fun!
    04-04-2009, 11:19 AM
This is how you are supposed to hold the reins for English : ) :)

    04-04-2009, 11:39 AM
I can't tell, is the pinky out?
    04-04-2009, 11:56 AM
Your thumb is ontop as you see in the picture, then your index, middle and 3rd finger are on the rein opposite of your body. Then the pinky is on the other side of the rein

I cannot explain it that well - lol.

Your pinky and thumb are opposite of your other 3 fingers.


The OP is holding her reins correctly - as you see in the first picutre - in her hands.

The only thing that needs to be corrected is closing her elbow angle, carrying her hands and bringing her thumbs up. But yes, she is holding her reins correctly in her hands.
    04-04-2009, 12:13 PM
Thankyou for all the advice, had a lesson today - just got back infact. She spooked and bucked with me cause a stupid van came speeding past the road by the school, and a dog barked really loudly. She insisted in showing me her skills in bucking lol! But I sat to it and was fine.

I get what several people have said about the saddle, unfortunately - she is a riding school horse, and the biggest horse they have there, so they wouldnt be able to swap her saddle over. But it is partly because I am overweight, and that is something I'm working on (Since new year i've lost 1.5 stone) but with healthy eating and horse riding, i'm hoping that soon the saddle will be better for me.

'MIEventer', you are right with the way you hold the reins, I asked my instructor today and that's right what you put :)

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