Bouncy horse and balance advice please!
   

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Bouncy horse and balance advice please!

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  • Bouncy balancing thing
  • Super bouncy horse

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    05-19-2013, 10:25 AM
  #1
Foal
Bouncy horse and balance advice please!

Hi! So you probably hear this question ALL the time! But do you have any advice for balance and riding a very bouncy horse?

I just started riding a palomino mare in my lessons and she is super bouncy! I don't know much about conformation, but my instructor says it is because she is built so long! She has a very long neck and back, she looks beautiful because of it but i'm pretty sure I don't when i'm riding her and bouncing all over the place!

I think I usually have fairly good balance, but with her it isn't like I am just a bit off balance when I have to sit the trot, even when I am posting I feel thrust up every time she steps! And when we are cantering, every stride my feet come up out of the stirrups a bit then land back in them!! It's crazy!! So if you have any advice on how to keep my weight it my feet and in my stirrups and balance better on her that would be awesome! Thank you so much!

P.S.
Another general question I just thought of! ;) when you are sitting the trot how much do you have to push down in your heels, or keep your weight in them? I feel like I have improved a lot at being loose in the saddle and absorbing the motion of the horse at the sitting trot (yay!) but now I am so loose that sometimes my ankles and are so supple and flopping all over the place that my feet come out of the stirrups! How do keep you heels down and use you lower leg actively on the horse when you are trying to be so relaxed? I don't understand how you can use some of your muscles (giving aids to the horse or keeping my heels down) when trying to relax everything!
     
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    05-19-2013, 11:58 AM
  #2
Weanling
To learn to sit her gait you may have to slow her down in the trot, and it shouldn't be where you're half halting or using your reins much because it shouldn't be necessary. It should be your seat and your balance and her movements in synch. So maybe try slowing her down a bit using your seat - sit up - a bit back, put your weight on your butt, don't move so much WITH her - make her feel you and that you're wanting to slow down in order to slow her down.

Do you do stretches when your walking your horse in the warm up? I'd definitely be doing a lot of that, dropping the stirrups and stretching the legs then the arms...

I'm thinking also that perhaps your stirrup needs to be a notch higher? I'm a little concerned about you saying you regularly lose your stirrups in a canter. In order to ride the canter, you've got to feel balanced and secure in your stirrups so you are balanced enough to relax your hips and go with your horse's movements.

The thing I've only recently learned is this: every horse is different and presents their own challenges. Some are easy. You get on and it's like you and the horse were meant to be. And some you have to learn to ride properly. How they are moving presents some obstacles for you to work on and you become a better rider. My instructor has told me when I'm feeling a difficult bounce, it's because I'm not seated properly - not that the horse is too bouncy. So I'd suggest you might not be ready to canter THIS horse.

So ask your instructor if you can take it a bit slower. Try the canter when you feel the trot is secure since neither one seems easier than the other for you and the trot is slower and safer to practice with. It might be boring, but it might help.

Good luck. :)
toto likes this.
     
    05-19-2013, 12:08 PM
  #3
Yearling
At my old barn, my favorite horse to ride was a 17.2hh TB who was the bounciest horse on the farm. However, I've grown up riding park horses and roadster ponies (if you're not familiar, look it up!) and absolutely NOTHING has a trot bouncier than those! So I can post a bouncy trot without batting an eye!

However, sitting the bouncy trot was a different story. I did a LOT of no-stirrup work to prepare for it, and it helped a lot! It forces you to sit properly and teaches you to use your core. Try it! It's very tiring and you'll hurt a lot! But it's very good for your riding.

Heels should always be down. Your lower leg position shouldn't change between posting and sitting the trot. Think about sinking your heels to the ground, as if they're weighted by anchors. You have to relax your lower back so that it absorbs the bounce. Your core muscles should be very active in the sitting trot, as they are what holds you in the proper position.
wild old thing likes this.
     
    05-19-2013, 12:23 PM
  #4
Foal
Thank you very much, your reply had so much information I really appreciate it!!
I will try to start warming up at a really slow trot at the beginning of the lesson (I don't want to slow every one else down in the rest of the lesson!) I usually warm up walking with no stirrups but the stretching idea I will definitely try! I have never really done that before! Having my stirrups a bit higher is probably a good idea too...
When I am cantering I am in two point, does that change anything? When I was losing my stirrups it was because I couldn't seems to keep my weight down and I kind of just lift out of them a bit with each stride.
I definitely agree with the last thing you said, I know she is a fairly bouncy horse, but it is my job to work it out! I want to be a better rider and I hope I can learn to balance on even this horse! I know there is no magic trick to figure this out, just practice, but I thought asking couldn't hurt!

Do you have any advice for relaxing into the horses movements and keeping your stirrups? For example I find it WAY easier to sit the trot without stirrups. I feel like I can just melt into the horse and let the gravity of my legs keep me pulled down and glued to the horses back. Then with stirrups I feel like my leg is up higher and I have to push my feet in the stirrups to keep them there, but if I am pushing I am not relaxing? I made that sound way more complicated than it is! I'm really not having that much trouble i'm just looking for any advice people might have! Thanks again!
     
    05-19-2013, 12:26 PM
  #5
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by wild old thing    
To learn to sit her gait you may have to slow her down in the trot, and it shouldn't be where you're half halting or using your reins much because it shouldn't be necessary. It should be your seat and your balance and her movements in synch. So maybe try slowing her down a bit using your seat - sit up - a bit back, put your weight on your butt, don't move so much WITH her - make her feel you and that you're wanting to slow down in order to slow her down.

Do you do stretches when your walking your horse in the warm up? I'd definitely be doing a lot of that, dropping the stirrups and stretching the legs then the arms...

I'm thinking also that perhaps your stirrup needs to be a notch higher? I'm a little concerned about you saying you regularly lose your stirrups in a canter. In order to ride the canter, you've got to feel balanced and secure in your stirrups so you are balanced enough to relax your hips and go with your horse's movements.

The thing I've only recently learned is this: every horse is different and presents their own challenges. Some are easy. You get on and it's like you and the horse were meant to be. And some you have to learn to ride properly. How they are moving presents some obstacles for you to work on and you become a better rider. My instructor has told me when I'm feeling a difficult bounce, it's because I'm not seated properly - not that the horse is too bouncy. So I'd suggest you might not be ready to canter THIS horse.

So ask your instructor if you can take it a bit slower. Try the canter when you feel the trot is secure since neither one seems easier than the other for you and the trot is slower and safer to practice with. It might be boring, but it might help.

Good luck. :)

Thank you very much, your reply had so much information I really appreciate it!!
I will try to start warming up at a really slow trot at the beginning of the lesson (I don't want to slow every one else down in the rest of the lesson!) I usually warm up walking with no stirrups but the stretching idea I will definitely try! I have never really done that before! Having my stirrups a bit higher is probably a good idea too...
When I am cantering I am in two point, does that change anything? When I was losing my stirrups it was because I couldn't seems to keep my weight down and I kind of just lift out of them a bit with each stride.
I definitely agree with the last thing you said, I know she is a fairly bouncy horse, but it is my job to work it out! I want to be a better rider and I hope I can learn to balance on even this horse! I know there is no magic trick to figure this out, just practice, but I thought asking couldn't hurt!

Do you have any advice for relaxing into the horses movements and keeping your stirrups? For example I find it WAY easier to sit the trot without stirrups. I feel like I can just melt into the horse and let the gravity of my legs keep me pulled down and glued to the horses back. Then with stirrups I feel like my leg is up higher and I have to push my feet in the stirrups to keep them there, but if I am pushing I am not relaxing? I made that sound way more complicated than it is! I'm really not having that much trouble i'm just looking for any advice people might have! Thanks again!
     
    05-19-2013, 12:32 PM
  #6
Foal
Thanks lovesthesaddlebreds I guess I just really have to work at it more! I will try doing some no stirrup work with her. And I will really try to keep my heels down,, imagining anchors might help! That's exactly what I what I was thinking at my last lesson, that I needed to tie weights to my feet or something! Hahaha!
     
    05-19-2013, 12:47 PM
  #7
Yearling
I only get to ride once a week now that I don't own my own horse, so I have to keep in shape during the week to be able to ride my lease horse successfully. He's also a BIG 17.2hh OTTB with big big big strides.

To strengthen my core, I do sit-ups on an exercise ball, which is the best way to work your core. I also do lunges, both weighted and un-weighted to strengthen my legs as well as a bit of my core. There's also an exercise for horse riders where you sit and hold an exercise ball between your legs while in a sitting position. It strengthens your thighs a LOT and helps give you 'stay on' muscles. Another exercise you can do is stand on stairs with your feet only standing on the edge of a step on the balls of your feet. This causes you to practice your balance - it's really quite hard at first!

I have dogs which I have to walk/run daily, and before taking them out, I do a bunch of stretches. Many of the stretches I do stretch my calves, and my ankles. Over time, they've become very loose and flexible.

All this exercising and stretching really improves riding, I am sure my equitation has gotten better!
     
    05-19-2013, 12:54 PM
  #8
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by hoofbeatsaremyheartbeats7    
Having my stirrups a bit higher is probably a good idea too...
I disagree with this point. If you do the sitting trot without stirrups, you will find it is easier to sit than with stirrups. Your leg lengthens without stirrups and it makes it much easier to sit a trot. A long leg that wraps around the horse's barrel is much more effective when sitting the trot. You can sit more in the middle of the horse and balance easier. If you are not able to sit the trot with long stirrups, short stirrups will be much harder for you.
     
    05-19-2013, 01:33 PM
  #9
Trained
For sitting the trot, or sitting the canter on a bouncy horse, here is what works best for me (and FWIW, I'm a nobody in riding):

Get your heels about 6 inches in from of your belt buckle. Adjust the stirrups so your knee is at the widest point of your horse's barrel. Go a bit toes out if needed, so the knee flows around your horse.

This does a couple of things. It makes it very hard to grip with the knee, and gripping with the knee creates a pivot point that allows you to bounce and come out of the stirrups.

It makes it easy to have heels down. While you are reading this, with your heel in front of the chair, lift your toes. They will lift plenty. Keeping your toes lifted, bring your heel under your hip. If you are like most, your foot will now be flat, or even a little toe down.

It also allows you to use the natural bend of your hips to flatten out and absorb the bounce. Look at the two pictures below:





The main difference between the cowboy at the top and the champion dressage rider on the bottom is that the latter has his leg vertical from the knee down. When the bounce gets big, even dressage riders don't keep a vertical line from shoulder to hip to heel.

This remains one of my favorite videos on riding. It is from a western perspective, but the basics work well in most any saddle:


Good luck! The more you get used to the 'bounce', the easier it is to adjust where you put your leg.
     
    05-19-2013, 01:36 PM
  #10
Trained
Also - heels should never come down by pushing them down. That creates tension in your leg and makes you bounce. A lower heel should come from allowing your weight to flow uninterrupted (no grip with the knee, relaxed muscles) into your heels. TRYING to shove your heels low will create more problems than it solves.
     

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