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mcfarawayland 06-19-2013 07:19 PM

New to riding, need help w/ posting!
Hello! I just started English riding last month and I'm on my 5th half hour lesson. My instructor keeps telling me I'm doing really well, but I feel like I'm not improving. When I'm posting, I can't really get a feel for what it's supposed to be like. How are you supposed to use your calves, knees, and thighs? And, is it just an up and down motion or do you move your hips forward too? I will see if I can upload a video of myself. Thank you!
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Zeke 06-19-2013 08:16 PM

First off posting is a very difficult rhythm to pick up for some riders. After just five lessons many students just have a basic grasp of the rhythm *most* of the time but the stamina to keep it going for say, the entire arena, may not be there yet. Depending on the rider balance while posting takes time to build and this can also be a big reason why posting is hard to learn. Riding in general is hard to learn! Keep working hard, you'll see improvement, I promise.

As for posting tips, yes a little forward motion of the hips comes into play. More importantly I like to think of bending the knees and being conscious of not pinching them or using them to grip the horse. Thigh/butt muscles should stay fairly relaxed and calves, with your heels down, should be steady and used to ask the horse for more power or directional changes.

Once your video is posted I'm sure people will be able to pinpoint areas you need to work on better.
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onuilmar 06-19-2013 08:40 PM


Originally Posted by mcfarawayland (Post 2844218)
Hello! I just started English riding last month and I'm on my 5th half hour lesson.... but I feel like I'm not improving.
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This made me laugh. :) Unfortunately, riding takes quite a while to develop any proficiency. I would say you're probably doing quite well, considering the questions you're asking.

My instructor told me (when I started six or seven years ago at about 48/49) that it would take about two years with weekly lessons. And that was about right.

Now, understand, I was cantering on lesson three, which I am only now finding out is highly unusual. And then after two years, I was only REALLY ready to begin learning.

I would say that I am probably a proficient amateur. Attempting some of the hard stuff, but only at beginner novice level of eventing, say.

So stay with it. And all those funny movements and weird ways the horse has of going? Pay attention, those all will mean something to you later on.

As for trotting right now. The horse's hind legs help you post. The movement of the hips is up and forward in rhythm with the horse.

Hope this helps. Otherwise, please disregard.

Starlite 06-19-2013 10:29 PM

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Think of posting "into" your hands, so yes, forward motion with your hips. Your shoulders should remain level for the most part. Shoulders relaxed, with soft wrists and elbows.

Lots and lots and lots of practice and time in the saddle is key. I would ask your teacher if you may come out and pay for practice rides between lessons.

Again, the best teacher is time in the saddle.

PunksTank 06-19-2013 10:52 PM

I find the easiest way to help students learn to post is by having them ride in the half seat for awhile. See if your instructor will let you practice your half seat for some time at the beginning of lessons, particularly at the trot. Riding in your half seat (when done correctly) really helps get your legs and heels down in the right position, what you need is to build the muscle memory in your legs to stay like that while posting.
There are lots of things to remember to do while posting, which is why hovering in a half seat while trotting is a great way to really learn the rhythm and build the muscle memory without having too many things to think about, then it becomes easier to find and follow the beat while posting. You want your calves on the horse and your knees soft, not pinching, you want to stand up and move your hips forward and then let yourself come back down in a controlled manner, not just falling back like a lump. This takes a lot of muscle. You can practice using these muscles by standing with your back against a wall and crouching down with your knees bent and your legs a bit in front of you, using your legs to hold you up, not your back. Just a minute of that should leave your thighs pretty tired so start slow!
There's a lot to remember, heels down, thumbs up, don't pinch with your knees, look where your going, all while posting is a lotto get! So don't stress too much, riding is not a simple thing to get :) Sounds like you're doing very well!

mcfarawayland 06-20-2013 02:28 AM

Thank you for all the responses! I am still working on getting some videos up -- I have a youtube account but apparently I have to create a profile (which automatically makes me a Google+ account) to upload videos... I don't want another account floating around! I will look at it in the morning.

Zeke - yep, I would say that's true! I'm starting to understand the actual beat of it... But I get so tired so fast! Okay, thanks!

onuilmar - wow, you are quick! See, I only have a year before I go off to college so I guess I'm really anxious to get in as much as I can, as fast as I can.. That is not the right mindset to have I suppose! Yes that does help, thanks.

Starlite - Ok, thanks. I have asked if I trade "working"/cleaning, etc. at the barn for extra lessons, but he said he does not think I'm ready yet and that later I would be able to come out and practice on my own. The barn has about 16 horses and he is the only instructor, so he relies on a few of the girls to help him ride them.

PunksTank - Thanks, that was very helpful! My instructor introduced me to 2-point (which I think is the same as half seat, right?) for like 2 seconds last week, but we never went back to it. I will ask him next time and try that at home.

I think my biggest problem (which you will see when I can finally get the video up!) is that my legs go forward into a "chair seat" when I am posting and no matter what, I cannot get them to stay back. Also, my hands are all over the place but that should be easier to fix. Mainly I cannot get my legs to stay at the girth and "quiet" - they are swinging everywhere. :/

Zeke 06-20-2013 02:38 AM

Be quiet comes with time and practice! Don't rush so much or expect too much too quickly, horses don't work that way.

To keep the legs out of a chair seat try switching your thinking from "I need to keep them back" to instead considering keeping your heels under your hips, just like when you stand on the ground. Obviously you're leg will be bent when on a horse but if you imagine building blocks in your ankles, hips, shoulders and head (think of looking at a rider from the side) they should all "stack" one on top of the other. Centered Riding by Sally Swift is a great book to learn more about proper riding condition, I found a used copy very cheap on amazon.

I have to agree with your instructor however, after just one month of weekly lessons turning you loose to practice alone isn't the best idea. You won't be getting feedback you need to fix problems and you could encounter situations you're not ready to deal with yet alone like a buck, bolt, spin or spook in general. Riding alone works better once you can feel what's correct and are confident you can work towards it without outside input.
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mcfarawayland 06-20-2013 02:48 AM

Alright I lied... Here is one video, hopefully it works?
It came out really blurry.. It wasn't on mine phone. Sorry!!

Zeke- wow thanks for your quick reply! Ok. I was getting very disappointed - it's good to know that I shouldn't yet. Ok! I will try that next time and I will look into that book.

Yeah, I totally agree! Right now, my horse will pull his head way down because he has a fly and I freak because I lose my balance! Haha I don't know what I would if he actually spooked. And yeah, I don't quite know what I'm doing yet - it would likely be a waste of time.

Thanks so much for reply! Everyone here is so helpful :) I've been lurking for a good week or so, I'm glad I decided to join and post finally :)
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mcfarawayland 06-20-2013 02:56 AM

Here are 2 more. Again, sorry they are blurry!!
Video from My Phone - YouTube

Riding lesson 2 - YouTube

I can tell I'm not quite with the rhythm and my posting doesn't quite look right.. Not quite sure how to fix it. I guess just practice, practice, practice! Probably won't magically get fixed by next lesson. Hmm.
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Starlite 06-20-2013 07:32 AM

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You look pretty darn good for only riding a handful of times! From what I can see from the video, is to relax your shoulders and back and try not to arch your lower back so much. The school horse looks like a very very patient and willing animal so that is very very helpful. Keep up the great work!
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