This is me riding a 7 year old 15.3hh WBxTB mare. She is not my horse, but I started her and have done most of the training/riding on her. I had been home from college for about a month, so she isn't quite as fit as I would like her yet as she doesn't get ridden a lot when I'm not around. This was at a small local schooling show (with no dress code, basically be clean and tidy) and this was a 2'6 hunter class and our first class of the day. We school 3'3-3'6 at home, but because of her fitness level/lack of time back at it that season, we showed 2'6-3'0 that show.
Some of our issues: She likes to travel very very long, so getting her under herself is a challenge, though it is not as big of a deal on a small hunter course like this. Her canter-trot transition is also often weak and loose as a result of her lack of engagement. Out trot-canter transitions are usually very good (walk-canter is even better), but she was feeling pretty chill that day and was a little sucked back to my leg aid when I asked for the transition.
You don't have to read this part if you don't want to, but this is my critique of this round. In terms of me, sometimes I get ahead of her at the take off and as a result land behind her, and have to stretch my arms out to not grab her in the mouth. My elbows also stick out like chicken wings. That said I think my seat and hands are soft and not interfering, and I think my leg is good. In terms of her, she could be a little quicker (not faster speed wise, just a little less sleepy looking), more under herself, better bending through the corners (it's hard to see from this angle, but there really isn't a lot of room in there), and more quick and tidy with her legs over the jump. She likes to lob over them as appose to snapping her knees up. Over all though I thought she looked pleasant, responsive, soft, and easy. Plus I love her auto changes :-)
First of all, very cute mare! I like her!
So for her, she looks happy and laid back (while yes a bit more impulsion would be nice if she's out of shape then she's probably going "butttttt I don't work anymore, who forgot to tell you?). I like happy horses so plus! She's got a trot I like and her canter looks like it'd be pretty nice to ride. If you're worried about her getting long and a bit strung out maybe try some Dressage? My mare's gotten tons better with her canter since I finally started working with my new trainer! Lovely jump, even being "lazy" she's got relatively nice knees. I don't necessarily see 'A' in this round but hey I'm also not really a Hunter so lets not take any of my comments on the horse TOO seriously!
As for you, you're position on the flat & over jumps look fine! Nice eq. "Chicken wings" yes but I know a lot of riders who do that and as long as you're releasing I'm not complaining. You could maybe stand to push your hips back more but honestly, not bad and I've seen a lottt worse. Focus on pushing down into your heels and letting the horse come up to you which should help keep yourself back and more centered, also if you're worried about getting ahead of her at take off spend some riding days on her just counting your strides until you get it perfect, then until you can't get it wrong? Not the most fun but it may help get you more focused on taking off with her not ahead of her! Love your leg, moved a little over the jump I could really see from the size but hell, that happens to a lot people (def. happens to me so who am I to be talking? :wink:). As for what you said about your release, some people like the crest release, some like the auto. I'm more of a fan of the auto release. As long as you're not ending up on your horses neck with your hands up to her ears it's a release and I didn't ever see you get your hands too far ahead! Your seat was nice and soft, wish you'd sit up more but that's all the Dressage lessons I've been having rumbling around in my brain. The more forwards you get, the more you close your hip angel putting your horse behind you. Open your hip angle and you push the horse in front of you, hunters likes you to be out of your tack and in a completely different seat though! Your hands also looked good but thumbs on top! Another one of those things I struggle with. :wink:
I hadn't seriously jumped in years before a few weeks ago and my "serious" jumping now is putting my baby over tiny little like 1ft fences as he introduce her to jumping. I did spent a lot of time as a barn manager at my old farm just watching hunter show after hunter show after hunter show.
This post is possibly (probably) a little jumbled, sorry 1 am and I should not be trying to critique people! But your horse is pretty, and your round looked fine. It did look like a rather small ring btw...
Thanks! Oh I hear you about the flat work, we do more (wayyy more) flat work than jumping, and her canter has actually vastly improved over the last year. We both enjoy jumping better (she often gets pepped up and into it I swear! haha), but most of our problems are worked out on on the flat. We show dressage and flat classes also. There wasn't much effort on my part to keep her together here since she was going quietly while being long and was make the distances. I honestly don't see "A" hunter in her at all since she is often casual with her knees so no worries :) . As for my release, I try to do autos when I'm comfortable (nothing worse than trying an auto and punishing the horse by grabbing it in the mouth!), but being a little rusty and all, I thought crests were a kinder choice. I try to school grids a lot when jumping at home to teach her to be quicker with her lower legs, and to help my seat and hand.
For sure you rode EXTREMELY well and made good choices for being a bit rusty (at least on her). Would always rather make the ride nice and easy on the horse and have a good personal round than try to be "flawless" and end up pissing the horse off, having a terrible ride, and having to re-work all of that the next time I got on!
She's really quite lovely! (:
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