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Black Out 08-05-2012 02:24 AM

Critique My Position?
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I thought I'd be better off putting this in Hunters and Hunt seat, because a hunter jumps and I ride hunt seat. I've been riding for two full years and just started jumping last year. I show IEA and show my own horses in the summer. I'm always looking for ways to improve my riding and my own horses. I was wondering if you guys had any tips for me?

Here's this video of my friends and I riding/jumping her horses. I'm the girl with the really really bright blonde hair

Here's an incredibly long video of me on the flat at Regionals for IEA. I had never rode this horse before and had only watched it a few times when I was there. I ended up not placing.

I know in some of the pictures my lower leg has slipped back and my heel isn't down like it should be. At home I ride with an AP saddle, could this be why? My trainer never says anything about me needing to put my heels down or about my lower leg slipping back.

maura 08-07-2012 03:15 AM

I am not sure what IEA is?

Couple of notes on your position:

Your lower leg is the foundation of a stable jumping position. You should be able to trot and canter in a steady stable two point with your lower leg secure and motionless for 10 - 15 minutes at a time without taking support from the neck. This type of exercise, combined with lots of work without stirrups (good quality work w/o stirrups, with your toe flexed up and lower leg at the girth) , will give you the secure lower leg that will enable to jump safely and securely.

You need to be aware of your back and upper body posture. In some of the photos and videos, you have overarched and hollowed your back, which has the effect of pushing your seatbones backwards and out of contact with the saddle; in others, you have a rounded or roached back. Try to learn what a correct, neutral body position is and then learn to maintain it.

Your homemade fences scare me. First criterion for safe fence construction is that is a horse hits the fence, the rails fall straight down and don't trap or entangle the horse's legs. The very light rails wedged on lawn chairs and picnic tables fail this test. Also, the barrels on their sides need something (like a heavy rail) wedged on either side of them so they don't roll if a horse hits them. Please don't misunderstand - I jumped a lot of goofy looking homemade fences, and I understand you're trying to make do with the materials at hand. I'm not suggesting you go out and spend $$$$ on a lovely jump course with striped rails and flower boxes. I am suggesting you learn what makes a fence safe to jump vs. what makes it unsafe. Pay attention to ground lines, false ground lines and fillers once you've got the other stuff figured out.

The western hackamore that the gray horse is wearing is unsuitable for jumping. Getting snatched by the reins by an off balance rider in that hackamore is just as abusive, if not more so, that with a harsh bit.

I wrote this critique based on the photos, and now just watched the video.

Jumping in a western saddle is a bad idea. Jumping without any attempt to release over the fence is a really bad idea. Jumping a green horses in a western saddle with no release is a really, really bad idea.

You may want to consider taking down/disabling the video.

jumanji321 08-07-2012 04:37 AM

Your position is VERY insecure and you have a very good chance of unseating yourself should a horse refuse. You also need to work on your release as you snatched that lovely grey in the face more than once. That first video really does not portray you or your friend in the best light at all.

In your flat class, you were grippin with the backs of your calves which turned your toes out.

Black Out 08-08-2012 02:26 AM

Maura- Thanks for the advice :). As a starter, I usually do 5 minutes posting/sitting the trot without stirrups at my lessons occasionally. Last week I did the canter for the first time without stirrups and even two pointed.
Please bear with me lol, The pictures of me in the black shirt are the most recent but those were even about a month ago. I do take lessons every week so I'm always learning new stuff at my lessons. I did have a point where I rounded my back instead of arching it like I should.
The jumps actually knock down easily and the barrels have thick blocks of wood on each sides of them.
Why aren't hackamores good to use for jumping? They're just rope hackamores. These aren't my horses. My friend doesn't believe in using bits. (even though I've tried to persuade her to switch)
The other girl whose riding in an actual western saddle, I wasn't even there that day or I would've said something. The black saddle I rode in(like two months ago) is an endurance saddle and is all nylon.

I think you can tell from my flat video that the horse is a horse that wants to go. I definitely wasn't gripping with the backs of my calves or that horse would've run someone over.
Should we film it in another light then? What's wrong with that lighting?

jumanji321 08-08-2012 03:20 AM

Even if you weren't gripping with the backs of your calves, your toes were still turning out. Jumping with a hackamore is okay if you properly release other wise you end up smacking your horse painfully on the nose. While jumping you want to have a straight, relaxed back. Not arched as this can stiffen you and make jumping harder on your body. The jumps you were using, while easily knocked down, would not fall straight down as they should. Several of them flew outward when hit which could lead to a horse catching it between their legs and hurting themselves.

maura 08-08-2012 12:04 PM

In regards to practicing two point, make sure you're practicing correct position, not reinforcing the same bad habits. It's possible to balance in two point, pinching with your knee and allowing your lower leg to slip back, but that's not what you want to practive. Your lower leg needs to be underneath you, with your stirrup leather hanging straight down, perdendicular to the ground, and your entire calf down to your ankle should be in contact with the horse's side. If this makes your horse more forward, you need to get him accustomed to it. Taking your leg off when the horse reacts to it is allowing the horse to train you, at the expense of your security.

You can rationalize those fences all you want, but aluminum lawn chairs for standards are not safe, thin, lighweight rails that the horse has trouble seeing are not safe, absent ground lines aren't safe, wedging the rails rather than putting them in cups isn't safe and on and on.

"Best light" in this context means the video shows bad horsemanship bordering on abuse. The jumps are not constructed safely, and the horses keep getting punished for jumping by the riders sitting on their backs, getting left behind, not releasing or catching them in the mouth in the air.

It's a common misconception that a hackamore is somehow gentler than a bit. It's not; in some cases in can be more severe. Both work on the principle of pressure and release, they just apply the pressure in different places - nasal bones as opposed to the bars of the mouth. The gray horse travels with his head behind the vertical and his chin tucked in - classic signs of avoiding pressure from either the bit or the hackamore.

tinyliny 08-08-2012 12:21 PM

I agree with the above posts. on the flat , your stirrups were really short and you looked stiff and had too much arch in the lower back and did appear to have lower calf on , toes out, elbows stiff.

Just dropping the stirrups one or two will help, IMO. The woman riding the other white/gray horse in there was someone to watch and emulate.

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