Feeling like a passenger
Lately while I am riding, I feel like I am a passenger. I know I am not doing the best I can do for myself and the horse I ride. I think I am doing a good job at the walk, she is in front of my leg and reaching her hind end underneath herself. But it kinda falls apart as soon as we trot. She sticks her head out and just kinda plods along, I try to get her using herself a bit more with leg and half halts but it is not working to well. In the canter she pretty much does the same thing as the trot... Sticks her head out and is on the forehand and I can tell she is falling in and her canter is a little strung out. And the last thing is circles... They are hard for me to do without her falling in. So suggestions please? I really want to become a better rider and I know I can't do that being a passenger. And I do have a trainer, I was just looking for some other input.
Sounds like you are being too nice, and not assertive enough:-). Sometimes we need to just pick a horse up and put it where we need it to be. Do you tell your trainer these concerns? Your trainer should be able to see that you are having these troubles.....
Try shorter time spent at trot.. and add in LOTS of transitions. Make it so your horse is paying attention to you.. waiting for YOU to tell them what to do next.
Sometimes we become passengers when we just kind of stay at one gait..asking for nothing more than a few bends. Be more pro-active in your riding.
Thats almost a catch 22.
You can't be a better rider while you're a passenger, but you need to be a passenger to become a better rider.
At the beginning stages, you are working on your balance, rythm, relaxation, and following the motion. You are typically working on yourself as the horse carts you around. You're a passenger.
The next stage involves contact and a bit of influencing. What I'm hearing is that you want to be more assertive in the ride, but don't know how. Communicate with your instructor. She needs to coach you through how to do these things. They won't happen over night. A lesson horse who dives in with you is also diving in with everyone else. But they are safe to ride so the problem isn't fixed. You are asking advice on how to train, and you need to get this advice from your instructor.
The next time your instructor says "She's diving in", reply "How do I get her to stop?"
The horse is on the forehand because she is a lesson horse, and doesn't need to know much else other than to keep her rider's safe. So yes, you are a passenger to her. Ask your instructor if you could do exercises on picking her up off the forehand and making her use her butt more. Ask her how to halfhalt properly to bring her canter back. Ask her about leg yeilds. Aks her how to pick the horse up when she dives in. You want to start the "influencing" stage.
Forget about the headset. Ignore the head completely. You and the horse are not skilled enough yet to obtain a "headset" and when you are, the head will lower naturally.
Hi, Passion4Horses ... Are you riding a lesson horse? How often do you ride and how many lessons does she work in? This all makes a difference to how well your horse can carry herself and the type of frame she goes in. Typically, school horses are not able to develop the strong and supple muscles required to really engage their hindquarters and lift their backs. This is especially true for horses that are ridden by mostly beginner and novice level riders who are often bouncing around on the horse and using their reins and stirrups for balance. You may be a more advanced rider with better balance and softer hands, but if the other people riding this horse are more in the beginner stage, then the horse goes in the best frame to protect herself. Maybe it's time for you to have some lessons on a more advanced horse who is able to carry herself in a better frame.
If the horse you are currently riding is not a lesson horse (perhaps you part board or lease and are able to ride 2 or 3 times a week?) then I would focus more on bending and suppling exercises to help the mare improve her frame. Exercises like serpintines, spiralling in and out on circles, leg yielding, etc. would all be helpful.
If you can post a video of you riding the mare and some more background information, I can give more specific comments.
Yes she is a lesson horse ridden by a lot of beginner riders as well, but she is really the only horse available for me to use in my lesson. I do only ride once a week which is can make it hard to improve. My trainer does tell me to correct things but I feel like its a continuous thing of her giving me advice of what to do, me attempting to do it, and then the horse not responding enough to it. I am Ina group lesson with 3 others so she can't be focusing on me all the time. She is a great trainer though, I was just looking for some outside suggestions of what you guys do to work on these problems.
I know things will not happen overnight, especially with me riding once a week and beginners riding her as well, I just want to try and make the most of the one hour I do get to ride a week.
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