4 yr old OTTB, noodle legs, & my suicide mission
Okay... not completely.
I wanted to get video of one of our rides, as I have been having issues with my legs (i.e. not having 100% control due to slight numbness from misalignment disc in lower back and sciatic nerve issues). Recently, there hasn't been much pain, but while riding I can tell that my legs aren't "all there". For example, yesterday we were trotting and my right foot from the ankle down became very warm and then went almost completely numb (first time that has happened)... so I just kept riding. :lol:
I have been feeling like my legs look like noodles swinging all over the place, but was pleasantly surprised to see how they actually look on the video. I can tell I need a little more weight in my heels though and probably get my legs a tad bit more under me, which I have been trying to work on regardless of my noodle legs. I have also been working on sitting up straighter instead of leaning forward, as I have been only riding greenies for the past approx. year, so have gotten into some bad habits.
Other than that, we are both up for critique! As a refresher, he just turned 4 in Feb. and has been off the track about 6 months now. I was lucky enough to get some assistance with him by another boarder who rode him for about two weeks a few weeks ago (we horse-swapped), since neither of my horse or myself are in training. He was super strong at the canter (and in general-- which we are still working on at the canter), has a lot of power, and is super, super smart.-- Knows how to try to get out of work, catches on quickly, learns your patterns quickly (i.e. we pick up the canter in corners so he has learned that corners and doing circles means we will probably be cantering... so I have been working on more trotting circles with him to trick his mind off of this. Also, I was sitting the trot before asking to canter as it helped him not rush into it, but he quickly learned that sitting the trot meant canter and when I would change diagnals he would think I was getting ready to canter... so now I do random sitting trot sessions or "post post" "sit sit" "post post", etc. While he does need a lot of work on his canter, I also sometimes don't canter every ride; therefore he knows we are not always going to canter and he can focus on relaxing in the corners and on a circle (you can see this issue in some parts of the videos). :wink:
We are going to his first show next Saturday. We are only going to do walk/trot hunter classes and maybe a walk/trot dressage test. I don't want to ask too much of him on his first time out, and his canter is definately not ready!
Oh, and I also have the worse habit ever of looking down when trying to get him to do something. I am used to riding alone, which doesn't help this problem as I don't have to watch out for others. :oops:
I like your horse! I think he's lovely! He is nice and forward moving!
Yes, the canter needs some work, but he doesn't look to out of sorts, just needs to relax a little and everything should fall into place.
The only thing two things that stood out to me was when you post you seem to be forcing those hips forward, which would lead me to the second thing I saw, I would drop my stirrups another hole so that your not pushed out of the saddle, I think it would improve your seat and not thrown you forward and it would keep you from posting with so much forward hip movement and allow you post a little lower which may help him not feel driven forward......did that make sense!
Good luck with your show!!!
Forgot to mention.... We are only using the running martingale to help him realize that it is not okay to throw your head up and evade the bit. He's getting better at not doing that!
I'm no expert but my instructor is always correcting my elbows (i have terrible elbow position)! I think you need to keep yours a little closer to your sides :)
Just trying to help :)
Good luck at the show and have fun!!
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Also, I am hoping the show goes well! I don't care if we place or not, but I just want him to be relaxed. We board at a pretty quiet barn and I am sure there will be a lot of people (horses) at this show, so it will definately be something new for both of us. He still gets a little ansy when other horses canter behind him, so that is another reason we are sticking to walk/trot classes. If he is too anxious when we get there, I could always not do the walk/trot hunter (group) classes and just do the dressage. We shall see!
The main thing I noticed is that you need to soften through your arms/elbows. You keep your elbows very locked and stiff. When your horse puts his head down, you tend to move your hands down his neck to follow him, leading you to round your shoulders and put more weight on his forehand. While I would rather see this than someone restricting their horse, it's still not correct. Try keeping your hands and shoulders in the SAME spot, no matter where your horse's head is. In order to stay soft and to keep your hands from moving, you have to soften and bend through your elbow- it's a joint, that's what it's there for!
To get the feel for it, canter your horse and plant your hands slightly in front of the withers. Then feel how your horse's head and neck move up and down. Your hands should follow that motion because your elbow allows them too- you're not physically moving your hands at all. You can practice this at the walk too. It's harder to do at the trot because the horse's head stays in a pretty constant position. This will help you maintain a much steadier contact, and will also help your horse start to trust and accept contact with the bit.
Other than that, work on getting those heels down a little more. Lots of two point should help! I don't think you should drop your stirrups anymore... they're already a bit long for flatwork, which is probably making it harder to get down in your heel because you're already reaching for them a bit.
I will eventually try that at the canter, but right now am focusing on sitting up straight and "giving/taking" with my inside rein to help keep him relaxed and at a constant speed. We still have tons of work to do on the canter.
In regards to my heels, I think they have gotten progressively worse because of my leg issue, but will work in the two-point to see if that works. I don't feel like I am fishing for my stirrups, I am just not putting enough weight in my stirrups, because if you look at the walking video, my heels are down more.
Here is the last thread I made (for progress and/or regression comparison):
The trotting pole videos were the most recent prior to this thread, but you can see how much worse my heels have gotten at the trot. My legs still look okay (not floppy like they feel), but I know my heels have suffered!
Thanks for the helpful critique! Anybody else? :)
And I still say you'd have a much more secure position with your stirrups shortened a hole. Yours are currently close to dressage length.
This rider has an excellent upper body. She is a great example of having soft hands, relaxed elbows, and still giving her horse his head without rounding her shoulders and leaning forward. Even as her horse puts his head down, she never once loses the bend in her elbows or tips her shoulders forward.
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