First Time Riding English- Be Brutal
Hello everyone. This was my first time riding English. I'm riding my mare Kara who is a trained western pleasure horse. I'm really starting to dislike pleasure and want to get into English. Please critique my horse and I. And I know my riding is awful, but I want to get better. Be as harsh as you want.
I am nooooo expert by any means and I'm sure that someone here will be able to help you better but a few things I notice are:
you seem to be really forcing yourself up into a post. You should go with the motion-it may not look as "big" and it's more of a rocking movement. What helped me understand posting was to let the trot "bounce" you up out of the saddle and post in between your hands. which leads to my second observation
try keeping your hands down near the wither of the horse. Your hands are very bouncey (I would assume from trying to brace yourself since switching saddles is scary business-lol) and you keep pulling on her mouth off and on. also, try to keep them even-no crossing over the neck/withers.
you also seem to be in a "chair" position-try bringing your heel back under your hip bone-again I had the same problem when going from western to dressage and now into western dressage. you really need that heel, shoulder, and hip all in alignment to be able to ride correctly (this will also affect our posting)
when you try to do that 2 point position (which I have only done once BUT this is what my instructor told me because I suck at it-lol) try dropping your stirrups and doing it all with your thighs and core at a walk and then once you've got that mastered do it at the trot and so on
I tip my hat to ya girl-it's hard switching saddles! I hope what I said helps you some!!!
Thank you for the pointers!
She also was in a halter so I wasn't truly pulling on her mouth, but yes I need to work on that. I knew my balance would be off and I didn't want to pull on her mouth at all so I just threw on a halter to save her from my awkward riding. ha
OK. Here Goes...
You have a nice calm horse, which you need for English pleasure, but you're hanging on his mouth. There are two ways to fix this:
1) hold the reins as is you are driving, with the reins running over your index fingers and closed with your thumb. Ride at the walk and really follow the head's movement.
2) hold your reins the width of the bit. Most bits are ~5" wide, and you take up the rein the direction you are turning and give with the other rein.
You are leaning over the horse's neck. Even the best jumpers don't lay down on their horse's necks. Instead they balance over the stirrups and over the saddle.
I suggest riding, first at the walk, without stirrups to get you weighted in the saddle and moving in harmony with the horse. AGAIN, I like this calm horse.
Then, you need to ride in 2-point, again at the walk. Wear yourself out with these two exercises, and THEN work on your posting trot.
You also need to learn your posting diagonals. Rise and fall with your horses outside leg.
Okay.... I did not think you set your horse up for that trot at the beginning at all.
English riding (I am not experienced with Western) is about preparing your horse before and THROUGH transitions.
Her walk wasn't that great, and you had no true forward direction.
Her trot is lovely but that two point is scary...... because your legs aren't underneath you so would likely tip over and smash your nose if she were to stop suddenly.
2 point isn't about the angle but being balanced over your legs. In order to be balanced you have to find your sweet spot which means legs underneath you and to compensate you may have to fold your upper body a bit to keep with the horse's motion. Does that make sense?
Your posting isn't that bad for first go at English. But like others have said you need to post towards your hands and AS you rise (which should 98% rely on the horse's momentum pushing you up) you open your elbows so your hands don't move. When gravity brings you down (again...98% is gravity) you close your elbows so they stay in the same place. Do not bring your hands up with you.. they stay down. An exercise you can do is extending your pinkies down till they touch your saddle pad and keeping them there as you post. You will feel yourself trying to balance on your hands via your pinkies being squished.. work on feeling no change.
You are tense probably because an English saddle feels like your horse is naked in comparison to a western saddle. It shows mainly in your sitting trot and how you feel grabbing for the reins. Only do as much as you are comfortable with. Grab mane as you transition to help you not catch your horse in the face (which is still AS annoying to them as catching them in the mouth)
Please do not cross the reins over her neck. Each rein stays on its side.
:) Not bad for your first time, and you two look cute! But I guarantee if you work on those few things I mentioned that you'll feel much more confident in such a different style of riding.
really thank you everyone for the advice! honestly, in my brain I know all these things but as soon as I get on its like I've never learned anything.
and she really is a wonderful horse. she'll put up with anything.
I think you look great for your first time! Great job, and welcome to the dark side. Mwahahahaha......
Anyway, here are my few bits of advice, mostly just reiterating what others said.
Many new riders think of posting as an up and down motion. Really, it's more of a forward and back motion. Let the horse do the work to push you out of the saddle; your job is staying balanced and out of her way.
Also, like someone else said, you don't have to be so folded over in two-point. It's more about being out of the saddle but still balanced over your legs.
When you feel comfortable, try taking off your stirrups and working without them, especially in the rising trot. It is very hard at first, but it will help you "feel" your horse's movement and will make your posting a lot more subtle and effortless when you put the irons back on.
Good luck! :-)
I've had graduation stuff this weekend but I'm going to try to get out there tomorrow and ride. Once again, I really appreciate the advice. also, my horse goes fine in a high port western pleasure style bit or in just a halter, but she can't stand a snaffle. I've tried probably 8 on her and have yet to find one that she doesnt either throw her head or get mad. Any suggestions?
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Have you tried a mullen mouth or a low port snaffle?
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