Small Riding Critique

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Small Riding Critique

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    05-24-2010, 10:13 PM
Small Riding Critique

I know my faults but I really benefit from others opinions. Haven't had many lessons lately because I've been so busy.

Okay... have at it! And remember, we're working on basic dressage. Getting him to relax, lower his head (he used to be a giraffe), and not race around. I was just out for a pleasure ride this day though, and didn't ask him for much of anything. He's definitely on the forehand and not tracking up.

Canter to trot. Hands need to be together, and a smidge lower. Toes should be in.

Canter other way. Hands need to move up, need to square shoulders and open chest, toes in.

Leaning to the inside, hands in lap!

Hands in lap, turn toes in.

Take up more contact.

I was kicking him off my inside leg, but regardless, HEELS. And puppy dogging a bit.

Hands not even. Posting a bit too high?

Pretty happy with this one.

Too on the forehand. Even with a little jump.

Whatever you can add is fine. I'm all for nitpicking!
Thanks in advance!
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    05-24-2010, 11:54 PM
(Third pic up from the bottom)The posting is too forward and too high, posting should be minimal. I once had a teacher tell me that if you post higher than two inches, its too high, and that its an upwards only movement. Never forward over the pommel. Your entire body is too far forward (although, oddly enough, your aliment is perfect) and your leg is over the flap. All the others are better, so I think It was just a bad moment. Your seat is also forward in the fifth from the bottom, but your arms look stiff as well, so it was probably from being to stiff all over and posting from your toes.

Relaxing more will help with the toeing out and forward posting issue. Bring your legs back under you a bit more, your heel should align with your hips (as it does in the 4th from the bottom)lowering your stirrups a hole might help with that. Focus on your calves rather than your heels, when you do you'll likely find your horse surprisingly responsive to your leg.
    05-25-2010, 12:18 AM
I know you are probably getting told this already - but at this point it is going to make a huge difference to your position and stability if you get your hands on a dressage saddle. The forward flap on this saddle is not supporting your leg in front which is allowing you to pop out of the tack now that you are in a "full seat" or "dressage seat". The saddle is not designed to support that.
As soon as you are more stable - you're going to find less need to grip and push with your leg and you will be much more able to just aid him lightly. This is going to really help your leg to relax down which will further anchor you.

I really like how you're working your body better, keep working on getting your elbows to your hips and now start to focus on shortening your reins and bringing your hands together. They should still be low for your balance, but if you keep them on the withers, he will find the contact a lot more inviting and steady. A bucking strap can be helpful.

Otherwise you just need to start refining your aids so that he is going forward from a "bump" rather than a huge squeeze, and your forearms need to start becoming looser and more steady to invite him into the contact. What I do at the beginning of my rides is put my elbows on my hips and alternating arms I let my wrist loose and flail my arm around from the elbow forward. This just gets everything thinking loose. From there I put my hands on the withers, shorten my reins accordingly and am always conscious of my birds. Don't ever forget about your birds!! When your horse gets fussy upfront, massage your birds. When the birds are happy - Zu will be happy.

Good luck!
    05-25-2010, 12:19 AM
Oh yes! Forgot to mention. I was borrowing stirrup leathers, soooo, my stirrups are definitely too short for flat work. When my stirrup is longer many of the leg issues seen here are nonexistent. Sorry, maybe they're not the best pictures for a critique because of that. Also, the saddle is definitely a little too small for me, but it's all I have.

Thanks for the critique masatisan. I agree with pretty much everything you said! I definitely felt off that day, but I only had 30 minutes to ride and didn't have a lot of time to work on what I needed to. I'll try to get some photos with my correct leathers, and hopefully some from in a lesson that will better show how I normaly ride. Regardless, I have things to work on! Thanks again!
    05-25-2010, 12:27 AM
Posted at the same time, thank you Anebel! I agree completely.
I'm going to try to convince the family that a dressage saddle would be a great graduation present. If not I'll have to save up. My birthday's IS in august though so if not for graduation maybe that, ha ha.

I do have a dressage saddle available for me to use but from what I felt when I rode in it, it doesn't really fit me that well, and Zeus seemed to move a bit stiffly in it. I do think I have a video of me riding in it once. Would anyone be able to tell from a video how it fit my seat? I know I'd have to have someone experienced in fitting saddles check it for a fit on Zu. Maybe I'll tack him up in it for a dressage lesson with my trainer and see what she thinks.

I will work on keeping my forearms loose. I always have a habit of keeping my reins too long too. Zeus doesn't work that well on a long rein, and I still do it! Well, I guess that's what I have my trainer for. And you guys! It helps for in between the lessons. Thanks again!
    05-25-2010, 12:33 AM
Yeah chuck up a video with the dressage saddle. I mean you can really find one for a few hundred bucks that will get you by until you can afford a nice one. Take out an ad on kijiji and I bet there's someone that would rent you a saddle they aren't using. You're in dressage central down there in Florida.
When you do have the money to get a new saddle - it is well worth your while to have a saddle fitter (read - not a company representative) come out and see what s/he thinks would fit him and you best brand wise and get them to help you decide on sizing etc. They may even have demo saddles you can try before buying.

Good luck!
    05-25-2010, 12:42 AM
Thanks! I'll add the video to this thread when I dig it up. It should be up within a day or two. And thanks for the advice, if I'm just being a goose and the dressage saddle fits me okay I may be able to loan it from the girl who's letting me borrow it now when I move for school in August. She doesn't touch it. I'll definitely throw it up on Zeus for my next lesson and see what my trainer says too. It seemed to fit okay when I checked it and he didn't seem bothered or anything (and he's the kind to make sure you know when he's ticked off), but I'm no expert.

Anyway, rambling.


Okay, I'm dumb. I already have it up. Sorry for the music, I like background music for videos.

Dunno if it helps, but I have a few pictures of Zeus under saddle too.

    05-25-2010, 12:48 AM
Sorry for double post but holy cow his canter has improved so much since then.
    05-28-2010, 03:01 PM
Bump for saddle. I hate the video and don't think it's doing me any favors, but I'm my worst critic and hate videos in general, ha ha.
    05-28-2010, 04:12 PM
I think your horse is gorgous. And you look good. The other couple people has pretty much covered everything.

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