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This is a discussion on Wait....what???? within the Horse Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category

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    10-10-2009, 07:25 PM

Since I moved to my new barn *Absolutely love it by the way* I have been seeing allot of different riding from absolute beginner to advanced.

Love their way of riding and teaching and theory. They ride pretty much the same way I do - 3 points, tall upper body, etc, etc..seat into legs into hands - and I love it.

This weekend, though, has been interested as to this point in time. The barn that I am at is a very large Hunter Barn that is a big influencial part of the LMHJA, and every year MANY Colleges come to this barn for their Intercollegiate Competitions.

Interesting to say the least.

This is where College Students on Equestrian Teams *H/J* come and compete amongst one another. Sounds cool, sounds like fun and I had to watch allot of it today.

This is where my barn mates sign their horses up for "drawings" where the College Students pull a horses name out of a bag and that is the horse they have to ride for the day in particular classes - like Over Fences, Equitation and whatever it is that Hunters do at shows.

It was neat to watch these riders get on strange horses and do what they can to win the classes - some where very talented n educated riders....others.....eerrm.......

Last night, I was kinda set aback. And it makes me realize why so many riders are handsy riders.

I was riding Boo last night as per usual, and in a very busy arena where the horses who were signed up for the show over the weekend were being tested and ridden by strangers *not the horses owners* while there were others in the arena with clip boards taking notes for the riders who drew the horses name for the comp.

I didn't catch allot of the conversation between one girl who was "test riding" a friends horse and the lady on the ground with the clip board who was taking notes on that particular horse....but I did catch the end of it.

I heard the rider saying to the lady "Make sure you note that this horse doesn't like her mouth pulled on when you stop. She got really pissy at me when I pulled on her mouth, just make sure you write down that you can't pull the reins hard to make her stop, just do it softly" and I opened my mouth to say something as I was trotting by...but I really did bite my tongue.

I was like....wait...WHAT? You don't even pull on the reins to make the horse stop you twit........you use your bloomin' seat.

She went on to say "And she doesn't like a crop. So if the rider wants the horse to move forward, make sure you note to use leg instead" and I started to laugh.

What in the world are people being taught? Like.......this rider is on a college equestrian team and she doesn't know how to use her seat to ask for the halt? You don't know how to use your seat and legs for forward movement.....?????? Wait.........what?????

Needless to say, this horse - bucked his rider off today thanks to the inciteful and amazing notes left by the test rider.


At my barn, there is this ADORABLE young girl - I would say between 9 - 10 years old. Adorable. Love her pony too. She dresses her pony in black and yellow all the time.

Anways, her pony was signed up for this show too. Last night I rode with her while the coach of the particular college team watched. This young girl rides quietly, beautifully and her and her pony make a wonderful team.

Today.....the college rider didn't have a great ride on this pony at all. Actually, it ended up in tears. I was standing in the holding ring with a friend *who's horse was in the same class* watching.

When they were asked for the canter *It was a flat class* the rider was very handsy, and the pony took off on her. She stayed up in her 2 point, upper body leant forward on the pony's forehand...and what is the main rule of thumb? "You give a horse something to lean into, they'll take it" and that is exactly what happened.

The rider pulled harder on the pony without using any seat, any upper body, any leg - so what happened? The pony got faster. The rider pulled harder, the pony went even faster.

The whole class stopped because the rider and pony were out of control.

I was saying to my friend "Sit down, sit down, sit down, sit down" but she never did. She kept pulling and the pony kept getting heavier and faster.

I kept saying "Sit down, slow your seat down" and her coach said to me "You NEVER sit down" and I turned to him and said "yeah, and that's why that pony is taking your student around for a spin in the arena"

She finally got the pony to stop beacuse her coach shouted out to her to do small circles. Nearly smashing into a stadium fence that was in the ring.

The poor thing ended up leaving the ring in tears and really shaken up. I felt so bad for her - but come on....a 9/10 year old rides that pony beautifully.

Why aren't riders being taught to use their seats first? Hands last?? I don't get it?
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    10-10-2009, 07:51 PM
I was originally taught to be very handsy, and to this day it is something that I have to check myself about every single ride. I WISH I had been taught correctly when I first started riding! It's very frustrating to learn as you grow up just how wrong your instructors were when you were little. It simply amazes me that these people don't care enough or aren't educated enough to teach their students properly. I'm at the point where I'm very wary about how much hand I use when I ride. Zeus has taught me a lot and he does NOT accept a rider who is all up in his face. He's teaching me how to ride with my seat, as that is how he responds best. My dressage lessons are also doing wonders for me and for Zeus, and i'm slowly breaking all the bad habits that were installed in me when I was 6-12 years old and didn't know any better. But I must tell you, you know how frustrated you get watching that? Image how frustrating is it trying to break those habits and become a better rider.

I agree with you 100%.
I just don't get it.

*shakes head*
    10-10-2009, 08:00 PM
I WISH I had been taught correctly when I first started riding! It's very frustrating to learn as you grow up just how wrong your instructors were when you were little. It simply amazes me that these people don't care enough or aren't educated enough to teach their students properly.
Exaclty! That is the BIGGEST issue I have in the Equestrian World. Too many uneducated Coaches, turning out uneducated Riders.

Sure opened my eyes - just because someone says to me that they ride for a college team...doesn't mean they are good riders.

I'm with you Gillian. I was in Pony Club for years and took lessons for years and never learnt stuff that I shoud of learnt.

As David O'Connor says - it takes a million times of repretave work to fix 1 bad habit.
    10-10-2009, 08:18 PM
Yup yup. I find it depressing that I've been riding for 12 years, taking lessons mind you, and I only learned about collection and "seat into legs into hands into soften" a few years ago. I mean, if I had a real educated coach when I was younger I'd be a much better rider than I am now. I could honestly rant about this forever. That those coaches held me back from becoming a better rider... ugh. I'm just lucky that I have found an amazing, EDUCATED coach, and a wonderful horse who will not accept less than the best from me.
    10-10-2009, 08:52 PM
Super Moderator
I totally know what you're talking about.
I know I personally ride with my hands way too much and I've never been taught how (I've kinda taught myself a little but not enough) to do anything with my seat except sit on it, yet I've been told I have very good hands.
It scares me quite a bit that I have "good hands"... What are bad hands?

All the time I find myself asking Lacey to back up by pulling back the reins first, when I know I can and should squeeze her, lean back a smidge and gather up a little more rein (she responds so much better to the second method as well, I just get stuck by the first). Craziness.
    10-10-2009, 08:55 PM
I was SO excited for my college equestrian team when I started school this fall. I worked my entire schedule around it and was just super stoked.

Then they rode exactly like you are describing. Some of the riders were dangerous and I don't feel like they put the horse first.
I'm not going to be riding on the team anymore and am instead using that money to take more lessons out at the eventing barn who teach riding with seat rather than hands.

I was really upset when I saw that's how the team rode, and worse to hear that's how other teams are riding too.
    10-10-2009, 09:04 PM
Wow Spastic Dove......
    10-10-2009, 10:06 PM
Green Broke
I have been VERY handsy up until VERY recently. Geof has taught me that he will brace if I ask wrong! Now I sit up tall, close my calf, and squeaze with the reins. It feels so much eaiser than ripping the horse's face off!
    10-10-2009, 10:28 PM
Super Moderator
I used to ride inter-school. It was the same thing only we didn't have test riders. We drew the horses name. Notes were marked by the owner on his tag. It was a ton of fun.

There is a show barn really close to me where the college kids ride and the thing that I didn't realize is alot of them learn to ride IN COLLEGE. Which means you have riders with very little experience jumping ... really high jumps... scary....
    10-10-2009, 10:44 PM
Yeah, the people riding in our advanced riding class in the equine program generally are in their third semester of riding. Eep

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