Self-Critique: suggestions welcomed

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Self-Critique: suggestions welcomed

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    05-29-2008, 03:14 PM
Self-Critique: suggestions welcomed

*sigh* I have so much to work on. When I was riding last night, I was paying close attention to my seat (which is getting better), but I was catching myself riding with my hands too much I would catch myself moving my hands out wide if I was giving a rein aid (and I'm not doing it because I think I'm neck reining), my hands kept wanting to turn over and bear paw...I was embarrassed even though no one was around to watch.

Any suggestions on how to improve my hands? I was seriously ready to tie them behind my back and ride with leg and seat aids only. I would think about what I was doing, ride ok, and then start focusing on something else and my hands would misbehave. It's really important to me to develop good hands, because I know they're last in line in terms of aid sequences, and Spree is such a willing, sweet girl that I wouldn't want to sour her by pulling in her mouth.
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    05-29-2008, 04:37 PM
First off, do you ride english or western?

This might help you ... try riding on the lunge WITHOUT reins, eyes CLOSED. Practice keeping your hands in the correct position and think about keeping them steady. With your eyes closed you will be able to focus more on your position and where your hands should be. So basically... pretend you have invisible reins. Haha.

I don't know what else to say because I don't know what discipline you do.
    05-29-2008, 04:48 PM
The answer's slightly complicated. My background is in English. My mare is being ridden in a Western saddle but an English snaffle bridle (minus the noseband). I'll be getting an English AP saddle for her soon.

So, basically, I ride English and want all my aides to be as such.
    05-29-2008, 05:14 PM
When you ride, your hands SHOULD be moving slightly, but only to subtly follow the horses' movements and shouldn't really be detectable. You are probably riding on your hands, where you use your hands to push yourself up to post. Remember that posting should come from having weight in your heel and pushing from your inner thighs.

When you mount your horse, collect your reins lightly at first. Keep an even feel with them, hands TOGETHER, thumbs pointing to the TOP. When you ride, there should always be a straight line from your elbow, down your arm, along the rein, to the horse's mouth. Your arm should be in line with your rein. Movements with reins should be hardly detectable in English riding.

Remember that when asking your horse to pick up a gait for example, leg is the first aid you use. Leg first, follow through with hands. You may be asking your horse only from your reins when really your legs should be doing most of the work. As I said before, when you first start out, just keep a loose feel on the reins and let your horse have a little head. You can collect more later. Reins should not be tight but firm. Make sure that your hands are always together, thumbs to the top. When using reins to change direction, you SHOULDN'T BE WIDENING THE SPACE BETWEEN YOUR HANDS by bringing one out from the other, instead use leg to guide the turn and follow through with rein by bringing it BACK towards your belly. Hands should ALWAYS BE TOGETHER. Does this make any sense? I feel like I can't explain this properly, lol.

But basically what you need to remember is to keep your hands together at the horse's neck. Don't press down on the neck though, make sure your balance is coming from your seat and not your hands. I hoped this helped, sorry if I couldn't explain it better. But don't be discouraged ... good luck!!!
    05-29-2008, 05:27 PM
Thanks Jubilee :) I should have explained more first. I actually know what my hands are supposed to be doing, how they're supposed to be positioned, how to ask fro turns, etc, but I'm a very out-of-practice rider who's finally getting to ride regularly again. All the basics and fundamentals are ingrained in my head, which is why this issue is frustrating.

I'm not keeping her too collected most of the time, because I am focusing on my seat and leg aids. I'm also not posting the trot right now because it's a Western saddle and my stirrups are longer, and I'm working on my balance by sitting the trot.

I don't know if there is anything I can do to remedy this little issue I'm having except continue to focus on my movements and pay attention to what I'm doing.
    05-29-2008, 08:04 PM
Don't know if this helps:

I have the problem with my left hand/arm. When I'm concentrated, my left ellbow slowly moves to the left, and then my hand turns as well, until my thumb points to the right and the other fingers point to the ground. For me it works when I hold a whip or just a small stick (a bit longer and bigger than a cigarette ) in this hand. It permanently reminds me of "watch this hand!".

When I'm riding, I always use one visual point of the arena (could be anything, like a dot on the fence etc), where I correct myself. For example: Everytime I pass the entrance, I check if I'm sitting correctly.

What also helps me a lot is my friend filming me about once a month. As we don't have mirrors in our arenas, that's the only way for me to actually see what I'm doing up there And oh dear, I always find lots of things that I'm doing wrong
    05-30-2008, 10:16 AM
Great suggestions Janine, thanks! I really like the idea of having visual check-points. I'm also planning on having Spree's owner or my boyfriend take pictures/video tape me next time they're around. That way I can look to see how I'm doing as well as throwing them in the Critique suggestion here so people can pick me apart. :)

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