Wanting to know if my positioning is correct? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 05-11-2013, 07:38 AM Thread Starter
Foal
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
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Wanting to know if my positioning is correct?

Hi

I have been doing ground work with horses since I was 13, then at the age of 19 my uncle allowed me to ride his stallion inwhich I have been doing so for the previous year and a half. I have never taken lessons before though am looking into it, here are some photos just wondering where I stand as a rider and if my position is correct? I have beed told I have a natural seat but im not entierly sure if this is true or not... Though I have noticed I lean forward a little too much in the saddle :/.
Critiques may be harsh as I want to learn and become a great rider in the future. Note these photos are at a walk, trot and canter, and in a western saddle.

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Thanks in advanced

~ Truth is... There are so many people out there who will tell you that you can't. What you've got to do is turn around and say "WATCH ME!" ~
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post #2 of 10 Old 05-11-2013, 07:58 AM
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The main thing I see is your feet - you seem to put them too far into the stirrups, and as such your heels aren't going down as they should. This is especially noticeable in the first photo. Fixing this should also help keep you down into the saddle, which is another problem in the first photo, unless you were two-pointing at the time.

You do lean forward a bit much, but other than that your line (ear-shoulder-hip-heel) is good.

Keep in mind though that this is from an 'english' standpoint. I've never ridden western, so I don't know if any of this doesn't apply.
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post #3 of 10 Old 05-11-2013, 10:02 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tracer View Post
The main thing I see is your feet - you seem to put them too far into the stirrups, and as such your heels aren't going down as they should. This is especially noticeable in the first photo. Fixing this should also help keep you down into the saddle, which is another problem in the first photo, unless you were two-pointing at the time.

You do lean forward a bit much, but other than that your line (ear-shoulder-hip-heel) is good.

Keep in mind though that this is from an 'english' standpoint. I've never ridden western, so I don't know if any of this doesn't apply.
Thanks I'm hoping to eventually work into an English saddle. And I shall keep my heels down in future and sir back a bit :) thanks a lot. It's really helpful
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post #4 of 10 Old 05-11-2013, 10:25 AM
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That saddle looks like it doesn't fit you nor the horse, it is sitting on his shoulders and the seat almost looks too small for you, throwing your pelvis and legs forward. I would say your stirrups are too short however it Is hard to judge when your pelvis is so far ahead in the saddle. The horse is bracing like crazy against the tie down, he no relief from all his tack and the rider's weight on his shoulders. All I can recommend is to lose the tie down, get a properly fitted saddle and a good instructor. You have the balance, a very good, tolerant horse, proper equipment & instruction will make this an awesome picture, right now, I find it painful to look at.
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post #5 of 10 Old 05-11-2013, 11:00 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by waresbear View Post
That saddle looks like it doesn't fit you nor the horse, it is sitting on his shoulders and the seat almost looks too small for you, throwing your pelvis and legs forward. I would say your stirrups are too short however it Is hard to judge when your pelvis is so far ahead in the saddle. The horse is bracing like crazy against the tie down, he no relief from all his tack and the rider's weight on his shoulders. All I can recommend is to lose the tie down, get a properly fitted saddle and a good instructor. You have the balance, a very good, tolerant horse, proper equipment & instruction will make this an awesome picture, right now, I find it painful to look at.
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Sorry :(
Thank you very much for your critique and I shall see to it we invest in a proper saddle and in the mean time not use the neck tie.
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post #6 of 10 Old 05-11-2013, 11:11 AM
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In the meantime, try walking or trotting him around bareback if you can. Give him a loose rein, relax lower body & concentrate on putting your shoulders back and make your elbows heavy and relaxed at your sides. With proper instruction & well fitted equipment, you & that horse can be over the top awesome.
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post #7 of 10 Old 05-11-2013, 12:02 PM
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Toes down: Whenever I do it, it means I am gripping with my knee. Not consciously, but I can do it without trying...just a natural, I guess. When my knee grips, it prevents the weight of my leg from flowing around the horse and into the heel. It also creates a pivot point that tends to lift me in the saddle. Once this happens, I have a hard time keeping my stirrups, so I point my toes down trying to hang on to them. For me, the solution isn't 'heels down', but 'spread your knees, and allow the weight to flow into the heel'. When I do that, my heel will go down and I can keep my stirrups without pointing my toes.

For western riding, my favorite video (and I post this video a lot) is this:


I like it because it is western in approach, and because it emphasizes moving with your horse instead of 'position'. Position sounds static, and is usually 'taught' on a still horse. Position should be changing as you adjust your balance and motion to the horse, and to what you want the horse to do next.

It looks like you naturally balance in a forward seat. I do too, and I don't mind riding a western saddle with a forward seat. Mine is pretty *******ized since I never had any formal lessons in riding with a forward seat. You can find some good books at reasonable prices on how to do it. My favorite is http://www.amazon.com/Common-sense-horsemanship-distinct-schooling/dp/0668026022/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1368286995&sr=1-1 by VS Littauer. It would also be hard to go wrong with anything written by George Morris: http://www.amazon.com/George-H.-Morris/e/B001JP4RKO/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1. Some of his used books run under $5 including shipping from Amazon, and that is dirt cheap!

To condense a forward seat into two sentences: Your heels are forward of your hip, and your body is folded so that your center of gravity is above the stirrup. If you draw a straight line up from the stirrup, about half of the body should be in front, and half behind. That allows the saddle to pivot around the stirrup bars, which also happens to be where the horse's back pivots. It puts your center of gravity about the same as the horse's. I find it very good for going fast, but too tiring for just a relaxed ride. George Patton gives an extreme example in this picture:



This is my *******ized attempt at one (I'm the old fart on the right). My youngest daughter is using a more traditional western approach with our Appy:


"People can teach us the rules, but only horses can teach us the art of riding."
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post #8 of 10 Old 05-11-2013, 08:18 PM
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Well, I love your uncle's horse! You two are a lovely pair together!

I might be repeating some things that have been said, but here's what I see: certainly stirrups need to be on the ball of your foot and your heels need to be down; it might be helpful to think of sinking your weight through your leg and lifting your toe.

Your position isn't bad! However, try to sit more on your seatbones (tuck your pelvis so you find yourself sitting on your pockets) and relaaaax your shoulders. I tend to ride very forward as well and most of the time it's due to my inability to relax! Pull your shoulders away from your ears and lean just a tiny bit further back so that your hips and seat can do the talking. What I mean by this is: sit in your chair at your computer and lean a tiny bit forward. Your seatbones might come up off the chair, your weight goes more towards your thighs. Now lean a little far back. See how all of your weight is now pushing down on your seatbones? That's what you're looking for, and it'll help you achieve a deeper deat.

For your hands and arms, I like your shoulder-to-elbow (pretty parallel with your torso). You should (and do) bend at the elbow so that you have a straight line from elbow to hand to bit, but your hands are up and too far forward. Think about placing them near your horse's wither. When you raise your hands like that, your horse will raise his head too, which might be why he looks uncomfortable straining against the tie-down. So-- hands down, and as was said, maybe loosen or lose the tie-down.

Now my last thing! You are flying out of the saddle at that canter! Normally it's a result of not relaxing into the movement enough. :) So next time you canter, try to think about riding the rolling movement with your hips. Think about disconnecting your lower body from your upper body, so that while your upper body stays still and quiet, your lower body relaxes and "rolls" with the canter. The 4H girls at my barn call this "belly dancer hips." Your butt should never come up out of the saddle at a working canter.

I hope this helps! I think you're doing great. :)
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post #9 of 10 Old 05-13-2013, 10:07 PM
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You look great but agree about the tack.... I am wincing. I'm glad you are open minded to change things around.

Work on sinking into the horse, instead of perching up or being tight.

"Strength is the ability to use a muscle without tension"
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post #10 of 10 Old 05-20-2013, 06:13 PM Thread Starter
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Location: Western Australia
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Thanks everyone, for your critiques they have all been very helpful :). Just so you know I have removed the saddle completely. And am just riding him bareback around the paddock at a walk and trot, working on keeping my heels down so I can grip a bit better and leaning that slight bit back, so I'm not leaning too far over. I'm still a little out of time moving my hips in time with his trot (cause he just loves a good run) but we are getting better. So thankyou all very much for your help :) from both me and Cash.
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