Critique my arms/contact?

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Critique my arms/contact?

This is a discussion on Critique my arms/contact? within the Jumping forums, part of the English Riding category

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  • 1 Post By MyBoyPuck
  • 2 Post By ~*~anebel~*~
  • 1 Post By bsms

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    07-19-2013, 11:19 PM
Critique my arms/contact?

Here's us this month:

We're in a grid there, about 5 trotting poles and then a low jump, canter pole, lastly a cross rail, then a corner where we practice bending in a circle. I'm still figuring out the *feel* for the distance and two point Just gotta keep doing the grids and paying attention to get it down. She's doing great, I'm proud of her :)

This is from January:

Some things to consider: I have a hip acebulum issue, and she has a lumbar stiffness issue along with a badly set head/neck that make it practically impossible to appropriately ask her to lower her head or take a "correct" contact, so I have to hold her more. It's a kick in the butt to have to focus on keeping the contact and my body upright. She can flex and bend laterally on cue. Any vertical flexion comes and goes when she feels absolutely comfortable giving it because it is very difficult to do so.

If you can crit my mare, too, please do not crit the back or poll, and do not critique my hip.
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    07-28-2013, 10:34 PM
Honestly, I don't think you can critique contact really and even hand position its different for every horse. Warming up I always have a loose rein but when jumoing etc you should not be pulling but have a feel for there mouth and control. For me on my horse, it varies day to day on how she's feeling. So go with what feels best, but make sure you are not pulling or hanging on her mouth !
    07-30-2013, 07:10 PM
Bend your elbows. Your upper arm should hang down and rest at your sides, but you need to bend your elbows and carry the weight of your own lower arms. That's what ultimately creates the straight line from elbow to bit.
    07-30-2013, 07:13 PM
Holy cow I'm such a dope. I was looking at the bottom pic like it was the after pic. Sorry! Contact is better and you did establish the straighter line. Still looks a bit tense in the shoulders and elbows are not hanging at your sides, but she looks like she's pulling on you a bit in that pic.
    07-30-2013, 07:21 PM
So you will make excuses as to why the horse can't possibly be expected to put its head down.... But then you jump it??

Correct muscling of the neck is possible regardless of where it is set. You do not need to ask on an internet forum to see how your contact is developing - look at the muscles on the horse's neck... It seems quite obvious to me...
bsms and waresbear like this.
    07-30-2013, 11:17 PM
In one of VS Littauer's early books, he said all horses should be ridden with contact, and a horse was not in control if you did not. Decades later, he changed his view. He said "elementary control" was appropriate for a rider learning position and balance, and at that level of riding, he recommended using loose reins. He said decades of schooling students on his horses had taught him that riders trying to ride 'on contact' when they were not completely stable in their seat resulted in sour, hard-mouthed horses.

He also said that relying on loose reins indefinitely was a primitive approach and lacked finesse...which has both an element of truth and an element of error to it, depending on the horse, the tack, the rider & their goals.

If he was right, then a rider ought to be pretty comfortable in riding two-point, half-seat and full seat before asking the horse for constant contact via the bit.

I don't jump, and consider myself primarily a western rider, although my Australian-style saddle is English in origin. I ride some two-point almost every ride, which is atypical for a western rider. Although I like slack in the reins, my mare prefers contact any time she is nervous or excited - so I'm in the odd position of having my horse push me to ride with some contact even though I don't want it! Oh well...horses get a vote.

Bottom line - if you are not comfortable with the strength and steadiness of your position, two-point, half-seat and your hands, you MIGHT consider Littauer's approach. But I'm not an instructor, a shining example of riding skill, a competitor or teacher, so you are also welcome to totally ignore this post!

If you are interested in reading his opinions:

    07-31-2013, 02:15 AM
I can see one thing that is wrong and that is your toes are pointing out. I have hip issues and I can keep my toes in. My instructor once told me if I can't keep my toes in due to my hip I should not be jumping. Also if your mare is unable to put her head down when jumping she should not jump. Having its head down helps the horse get the required elasticity and power in its hind end that a horse needs
    07-31-2013, 06:13 AM
I agree with everyone about the arms. Your toes are pointing out, but it looks like the iron is slipped into the heel. Should be at the ball of the foot.

Your horse's head in the before picture looks more appropriate, less tense and more down.

You are making progress, keep it up! Don't let health issues get in your way, just make sure both of you are having fun. I had a dog with bone issues who did agility, and she LOVED it, but as soon as I saw her refusing, we stopped. No questions asked.

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