Critique for my Daughter
She talked me into it. :) I often let her come on with me but she can't have her own username (we are kind of strict on the internet rules, lol). But she really wanted me to post a video of her riding.
She will be trying her hand out for the first time at W/T/C at the Youth Show this Nov. She has done really well in W/T 11 and under. She is working really hard on getting the canter and keeping her form while keeping collection. She wanted to ask you all for ideas on what she can work on for her upcoming show.
Her mount is an Arab named Chevago. He was trainer WP. Thanks.
I am not going to be very good help but I have to say "Oh MY GOODNESS, SHE IS SO CUTE!!!" She did a nice job controlling the horse and keeping an even pace. Nice job positioning herself in the ring as well. Does she have a chance at a few private lessons as well? This way the trainer can concentrate on her position alone?
Holy crow, that's one lesson group?
Anyways, the biggest thing I notice (that seems to be common in her students) is that your daughter is pumping with her upper body at the canter. Another gal was practically laying on her horse's neck to cue into the canter (common mistake, leaning forwards to cue "faster") which may be the root of the problem for everyone - ie the instructor not teaching how to sit back and tall in your tack. Start sitting tall and not letting that upper body "pump" at the canter.
Nice, clean walk to canter transition. Legs need to come back a bit to create proper shoulder-hip-heel alignment.
I will shut up now so someone with WP experience (I've shown successfully in small circuits, many years ago! Don't think I qualify to help here at all for anything other than position!) chime in!!
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Ah, I should have clarified the horse was initially trained WP but she rides and will be showing him HP. It's funny you mention the sitting tall because at the end of the clip you can hear her trainer say "Lilly, still tall and push your chest out." LOL At the walk and trot (which she has been showing in) she is great at Equitation but then she gets to the canter and it's an immediate slumping of the shoulders. Her trainer feels that once she gets comfortable with the canter and the horse, she will straighten up.
As for the size of the class, that is one of the larger ones on Sat. But she takes one group and one private lesson a week. This group was a mix in ages, levels, and styles. The typical group lesson is about 5 except for the huge lesson on Sat and the one on Friday. Thankfully the bigger the group the lower the cost. :)
Anyway, thanks for the feedback.
Oh and Inga, thank you so much. I think she is so cute cause she looks like me (don't tell her I said that, lol).
i, too, find that class amazingly large.
she needs to become softer in the hips so that she can follow the horse better. Her butt is bopping the saddle because she is not flexing enough at the hip to allow herself to sit down and "give" her lower body to the horse.
ONe day she will really cherish these videos, when she rides like a pro and wants to see the beginnings.
Just wondering, how many students are there usually in a group class?
I'm not sure if this is because she is rocking her shoulders too much and was a bit off balance, but from it looks like she could use a bigger saddle? This is just an observation from when she cantered past. It's also possible that she is pushing back too far in the saddle at the canter. My upper body was a mess until I got a bigger saddle and I actually fit- everything fell into place. Other than than- cute pair and they looked great. Remind her to keep her shoulders tall and look up in the transition. I've never ridden HP, so I might be wrong, but I thought HP horses were the ones who were so on their forehand that it looks like they could do a handstand? This looks more like a dressage frame to me, but I might be getting diciplines mixed up :)
I can't believe that in one lesson, people are riding bareback, western AND english!
I should have stated before that this is an Arab Barn (they have some NSH, Arab x's, a QH and a ASB, but it's mostly Arabs) so the carriage in HP and even WP is much more collected and looks very different from TB and QH's Hunters. And no Bareback riders. Western, Huntseat, and 2 Saddleseat. :)
I do not have any riding critique, but she needs to have her helmet placed properly on her head and better secured. Just a personal pet peeve of mine, especially w/kids.
They look cute together! She looks like she is having fun!
It's not about "chest out". Her chest is sufficiently out and yet there is still a roach in her back.
The key to good equitation is a strong core. If your daughter is keen on riding and riding well I would suggest to you and her to start getting her into some form of core strengthening or simply cross training exercise. Whether this is a structured yoga, pilates or gymnastics class or something less structured like playing pick up soccer with friends or going on bike rides together a few times a week, all of it will help to improve her core strength for riding. Many of the top training barns in the US have a gym or studio and have a personal trainer come in to train the riders a few times a week. It's not about fat it's about fit! Being too skinny is also not desirable for a rider.
Anyways! Onto the critique. With increase trunk and core strength your daughter will be more effectively able to push her midsection forward. Think about your position leading with the belly button in front of everything. Here is an exaggerated picture of the belly button leading:
The horse is in extended trot, so the rider is really having to engage in the core and the trunk to stay with the horse, see the chest is out, but the belly button leads with an engaged core to stay with the horse. If we could see the rider from a complete side view, and without the jacket, her back will be flat with her shoulders flat on her back and her pelvis in a "neutral position" with a natural curve to the lower back - the spine always remains in "neutral" with a flat back:
Once she is riding with a leading belly button and an engaged core, the pumping should cease. She needs to think about keeping her shoulders completely level and still and let her seat absorb the motion of the canter. As well, to keep her hands positioned correctly where they are in the video, she will need to focus on pushing her shoulders and elbows down. This requires much core strength. The final thing - and this should also be corrected with an engaged core and when she stops pumping, is to stop sticking her neck forward. The neck is an extension of the spine and again, needs to be in a neutral position. This means engaging the muscles at the back of the neck to tuck the chin and elongate the back of the neck. In yoga this is called "humble chin".
Once the core is engaged and the whole spine aligned and neutral, she will have a good foundation for good equitation. Until the body is stacked and aligned, all other position things (like heels down, thumbs up, etc..) are moot. Until she is riding in a correct balance it will not matter how those aids are given to the horse as he will always be following her weight and alignment. He is a very obedient horse, but with a balanced rider can be exceptional.
Overall I think for your daughter's age she is doing very well, however needs to focus on the fundamentals to form the basis of good equitation for life now. I can tell you from experience that re-learning over top of bad habits years down the road is extremely difficult!
Good luck and keep riding :)
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