Critique My Position
I do take lessons, but when I'm at home I don't have someone to tell me what I did or didn't do. Could someone critique my position over jumps and on the flat? I know when I canter I have a really bad habit of bringing my knees up and gripping with them, but I think I'm improving with it, could you tell me how that looks too?
I think you can feel what the issue is; the gripping with the knee, and thus the lack of the weight going down through the lower leg into the stirrup. Your upper body is pretty good and it looks like you maintain a fairly steady and sympathetic hand to bit orientation. YOu will want to really work on allowing your weight to fall down through the whole leg, and out the stirrups. right now, it kind of stops at the knee. think of riding AROUND the hrose, not on top of it.
That pesky knee!! Otherwise it'd be lovely lovely lovely
Here's what I see:
- you're pinching with your knee, and using that as a pivot to balance off of, which has caused your heel to come up and your seat to pop out of the saddle. You have to relax your knee and instead find your balance through your seat and calf. You want contact through your calf - think about trying to touch your inner ankle bones (not heels) together through the horse. Sunk your weight down and around, like you're lifting your horse's stomach up with your legs. You don't want your knees floppy, but you don't want them pinching the saddle either. Visualize a baby bird between your knee and the saddle. You want to keep the baby bird there, but not squish it.
- you're too ahead of the motion. For an obstacle this size, you don't really need to two point or close your hips much, you can let the horse do that action for you. You want your shoulders in line with your hip and heel. In most of these pictures, your shoulder is much further ahead than your hip and heel. Sit up, open your chest, shoulders level. If your horse stopped, or played after a fence, you'd be a lawn dart.
- floater hands. Especially in the takeoff pics, you're pulling the reins back towards your body, then you have no release over the jump. You're trying to hollow the motion of the jump with your hands - you need to learn how to release instead. If it makes it easier, use an extra stirrup leather around your horse's neck as a grab strap.
Look at the picture "JMPN4" - you're completely squished up from top and bottom and through your arms. Kind of a horsey fetal position - haha! We have all been here and we all have things to improve. I'm still kicking my own ass over my crap lesson on Thursday. Anyways - to improve this picture: drop your leg down and around, loosen up that knee, heels down. Stretch up through your body, let the horse come up to you. You're waaaaay too far ahead of the motion. If you took away the horse in this pic, you'd topple forwards onto your face. Let your horse have some release to stretch his neck to jump. You've brought your elbow back and have offered him nowhere to go with his neck.
Is there a reason you need a guide pole on the side?
I do love that you're looking ahead and have an expression that says "I love this!" - that speaks volumes.
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Are there any exercises I can practice in the saddle to help with the knee gripping?
It's all in your head. Gripping with your knee, or anything really, will not keep you on the horse.
You need to learn to let go and just.. go with the horse. Be loosey goosey, instead of tight and clampy
I've edited my response to add more.
I do agree, Sky, that its in your head - but I disagree that you want to be loosey goosey. You want to be giving in the right joints, but you also have to keep other muscles very firm and working, such as your core. You do need to work every stride, not be a bowl of jello for most of the ride.
I've slipped into some horrible habits recently and have gotten my ass kicked for doing so. It's a steep learning curve!!
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JDI, I'm saving your response in a sticky on my desktop so I can read it and remind myself before I ride!
One word: heels.
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