Riding Critique

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Riding Critique

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        07-24-2010, 12:37 AM
    Riding Critique

    This is me on Tiffany, an arab mare I'm showing this season. We're working on headset. If I'm looking down its because I'm checking her head. Lol. Give me whatcha got! ;)

    I can post a video or two if y'all want ;)
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        07-24-2010, 01:53 AM
    Note: I'm self-taught for the most part. I've had like 3 lessons lol
    Heels down! Gah.
        07-24-2010, 04:16 AM
    You look preety good!! Just keep your heals down!!
        07-24-2010, 09:40 AM
    You have a lovely neat position. I just don't like that she's got so many gadgets strapped to her head. By the looks of her, she appears to be a mare that would come onto the bit really quite easily without worrying about strapping her down.
        07-24-2010, 11:45 AM
    I agree that all of the gizmos strapped to her head should not be necessary... and they could even be dangerous if she spooked and bucked or reared. If you feel the absolute necessity for some sort of martingale, I wouldn't use anything more than a running martingale, and it needs to be attached to the d rings at the front of the saddle, not hanging loose on her neck.

    One important think to keep in mind is that 'headset' is not something that should come from just working their head with your hands until they give. It usually comes about naturally by achieving more 'drive' and power from behind. They way it looks to me now, you're getting a somewhat artificial headset and sacrificing a great deal of forward momentum. Ask for more forward energy with you seat and your legs first and then ply the reins a little once she's moving out nicely. Think of it as not necessarily going faster but going with more certainty. You're marching, not wandering!

    As far as you yourself... your posture could be improved. Your shoulders are sort of slumped forward like you're wandering along. Part of this might be because you're looking down at her head to check it. But that shouldn't be necessary and will further hinder your forward momentum. Any riding instructor will tell you to ride with your eyes up and a definite plan for where you're going.

    A lot of this is the more "subtle" art of horsemanship that can be extremely hard to grasp fully without tutelage from someone. It's easy to learn things like keep your heels down and your thumbs up, but riding instructors are absolutely invaluable when it comes to things like collection and impulsion. Even I'm having trouble trying to explain it to you without showing it to you. I've been riding for 12+ years and I'm still taking lessons whenever I can get them. I will continue to do so throughout life.
        07-24-2010, 03:50 PM
    I agree with Eolith. Also, you need to put your feet more in the stirrups, on the balls of your feet. Then, heels down!
        07-24-2010, 05:02 PM
    ^ yeah, I know. I have no idea why my feet are like that :/
    The owner of the horse (my trainer) is having me ride her with all the gadgets, so I can't really argue with that.

    I have always had bad posture :( I'm talking even off the saddle. It sucks, but I'm working on it.
        07-24-2010, 07:48 PM
    I wouldn't want you putting your feet further into the stirrups though, until you invest in a proper pair of riding boots. Those boots could easily become dangerous and leave you strung up by the stirrup should you come off.

    I say question your instructor. They're not gods! I question mine all the time, and she appreciates it. Often she actually learns things from me when we go into these discussions. Possibly your instructor is strapping all these gadgets onto the horse because she feels it will make her seem like she's is doing more, faster for you and the mare, rather than going about it the correct way of driving from behind into a steady and elastic contact. I would be worried that she'll start to learn that sitting behind the vertical is a good way to evade pressure, and then you will wind up in all sorts of trouble if later on down the track you become a more advanced rider and want to learn how to truly collect a horse. Having them behind the vertical and sucked back at the wither just doesn't cut it unfortunately. It may look 'pretty' at a pony club level, but out in the 'real world' you'll get struck down for it. Just the way it is sadly, with horses there are just no shortcuts.

    Your position really isn't that bad. You're tidy, nothing sticking out and no drastic leaning/dropping to be seen. Only those couple of small details like your feet which as I said above, I wouldn't change until you're riding in good riding boots, and sitting back a smidgen.
    I love that you have a perfect line between your elbow, wrist, hand and bit. This is one of the more common errors that may be seen on people asking for critiques, so you've got that down very well
        07-24-2010, 08:06 PM
    Heels down, shoulders back and in English we don't hold our reins like a pair of handle bars. Your hands should be vertical with your thumbs facing the sky. And I agree with everyone else. You shouldn't need all the gadgets :)
        07-25-2010, 01:10 AM
    As geeky as it may sound, balance a textbook or an encyclopedia on your head when you're bored or at home. That'll make you pretty straight. If you get the hang of walking and moving around with it balanced on your head, your posture ought to improve. Especially if you have that mental image of "there's an encyclopedia on my head" when riding.

    Also, pilates/yoga type things can be really good for posture and body awareness. I never got really good at halts and half halts through my seat until I took a few pilates classes that strengthened my awareness of my core.

    I agree that perhaps you should talk to the owner/trainer about exactly why she thinks the horse needs all of that equipment. Ask her if she truly thinks that it would be detrimental to you or the horse to try riding a few times without it. Sometimes people are more willing than you might think to take your input into account and try something new.

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