Critique us please!
Hi all. I finally was able to get someone to video us. This is my first "real ride" in about 5 weeks. I had an unexpected dismount on Labor Day and had some bruised ribs to deal with. The first video is normal trot-canter stuff, the second is no stirrup canter work and the third is a beginning attempt at asking for a stretch at the trot. I see two obvious flaws but will withhold my own comments until you guys weigh in. Enjoy.
Well, I can see some things, but that doesnt' mean I could do better, or as good, for that matter.
in the first video, the horse needs a bit more impulsion, so you appear to be "pumping" a tiny bit at the canter to get him to move more forward, when maybe more leg, less seat, would help him. or, ride at a half seat, the canter. just so he becomes a bit more confident with bigger strides. There's a whiff of him sucking back at the canter. And, the pumping translates into leaning forward on occasion, which caught you out when he died out of the canter and you fell forward a bit.
At the stretchy trot, he still seems to want to come back behind the rein, so I might "over" rein him (I mean, give him too much rein ) for a sec to see if he'll step into that , even if he goes onto his forehand. Ive heard people say that is not a good thing to do, and since I am not really a dressage rider, I could be thinking more in terms of a trail /pleasure riders approach.
your horse is very cute, looks very happy and healthy and you ride nicely. I am sure when you have time and healing you'll be back to your full self.
thank you for sharing and asking our opinions.
First thing - contact!
Can you see that you are getting the old 'loop-tight-loop' effect happening in your reins, especially at trot? This is coming from a) your hands moving and b) reins are too long.
Shorten your reins, and try riding either with a neck strap or hook your pinkies under your saddle cloth. By fixing your hands, you will realise how much you want to move your hands!
Because of the suspect contact, your lovely horse is a little hesitant to come into the bridle for you. He is trying, so if you hold up your end of the deal and give him a nice consistent, constant contact, he will reward you will coming nicely into that bridle.
Transitions, transitions, transitions. They are SLOPPY, and I know you have the knowledge and skill to do better!!!! Sharpen them up, it's very easy to get lazy with them I know ;)
Walk to trot, should be snappy, immediate trot off with energy. Not almost 10 'jog' steps to get into a slow trot. Ask once, and if you don't get a snappy reaction, do not be afraid to give him a flick on the bum. He needs to be so much sharper. Ride a big trot, little trot, medium trot, little trot, big trot and so on. Expect the transitions within gaits to be immediate and really sharp. Doing this will improve the overall work out of sight. Don't let him be lazy, but don't nag him. Expect him to stay at the same pace and temp within that pace until you tell him otherwise. If he wants to change, give him a quick reminder then settle again and just let him be. I was getting dizzy and a bit bored in the first video watching him trot round and round and round to the right with no change in tempo, no test of the inside leg to outside hand etc. Don't do more than 10 strides that are the same. Always readjust, ask a little more, a little less, a bit more bend, a bit more flexion, a bit of counter flexion, counter bend, can you move him off your inside leg, can you move him off the outside leg, will he move his shoulders in or out, can you move his haunches, can you put him a little deeper and rounder, can you then ask the trot to come bigger while staying deep and round...??
That is what you need to be thinking every.single.time you get on this horse!
As for your rider, I'd really like to see you drop your stirrups a hole or two (I know I know, you're an eventer ;) but for your flat work you need to drop your knee a little more). At the moment you are balancing a little on your knee and thigh like you would if you were out jumping. In flat work, you want to release your knee and allow the leg to hang. You barely need to come out of the saddle in rising/posting trot. Just scrape your 'front bum' along the saddle and sit again. We rise to help the horse open his back and keep balance if he is not strong enough through the back to hold you in the sitting trot for long periods. There is no need to come far out of the saddle except in specific exercises where there my be a little more daylight under your backside exaggerating your rise.
You really want to stay as close as possible to the deepest part of the saddle, as that is where our centre of balance is.
In the canter, you are coming significantly out of the saddle. Just sit girl, you're making it harder than it has to be. Sit deep, put a tissue under your bum next time you canter and keep it there! Allow your legs to just hang. The only movement should be through your pelvis. Your core needs to be doing all the work to keep you balanced, think of hula hooping, it is a similar action.
Again with the hands, keep them quiet. If you need to rest your knuckles on his wither or neck, do so, just to give you a feel of how the topline stretches and contracts.
You will probably find it easier to sit the canter if you choof him up a little, at the moment it's 'nice' but very pogo stick. Put your leg on, sit on your bum and ride his wither up and forward.
That said, the rhythm is good. Keep that, but bigger and more expressive!!
I don't have time to watch the 2nd and 3rd video at the moment, but work on the above and it will help iron out any issues in those movements also.
You two look lovely together and you are doing a really good job with him. I'm just being a nit picking so and so, because I KNOW that you have the knowledge and skill to do it :)
I agree with Kayty, especially in the last video you can really see how with the loose reins and the way your body moves, you seem to be bumping his mouth with the bit a lot. He sure has a joyful rhythm!!
Thanks ladies. Tiny, unfortunately, that's the least amount of upper body movement I have every achieved at the canter. I've got older videos that would make you seasick. I spent decades "cheating" at the canter. I don't think I've ever actually sat one. Before I had my horse, I was always put on the horse with the sore back or the cold back, so when everyone else was sitting, I was in a light seat. I really have no clue how to sit the **** thing. I have tried no stirrups so there's nothing to push me back up. I've tried holding my inside arm up in the air, holding the cantle with one hand to keep me anchored, and alternating between half, light and full seat. It just hasn't yet produced a result. It's very frustrating.
Kayty, thanks so much for your in depth insights. I agree with all of it. Funny you mention the pogo-stick canter. That's actually pretty forward for him. He's built very upright in the shoulder and pasterns. We used to call his canter the Pepe Le Pew. I've done with it what I could, but he's only got so much range of shoulder to him.
Again with the canter. I'm all ears on how to sit the **** thing.
The hands are my poster child reason for not taking lessons from too many different instructors. One says keep them still and shorten, one says follow more and longer, and it seems to be more somewhere in the middle. He is a saint about putting up with me. I will try your suggestion to keep them more quiet.
Transitions. Yeah they kinda suck. Will work on better response.
Sorry about the dizzying circles. This was our first ride back in awhile, so I kinda wanted to just get a baseline ride to work from.
Best way to sit the canter? On the lungeline! See if someone can lunge you and just... allow your hips to move!
I feel if you keep your hands still but instead open and close your elbows, it will be less loose tight loose tight.
You're very close to things clicking! Just a few tweaks, mainly I noticed the stirrup length and I'd put a LOT more leg on him. Transitions need to be snappy but smooth.. ride the transition. He needs to react as soon as you ask!
I'd say at the canter open your shoulders just a hair to promote a more upright seat, really feel the saddle with your backside and think about opening your hips and just letting them go with the motion back and forth- overall just be a bit more relaxed in your body and this should help you ride it better.
Contact, contact. There were multiple times in the vid where I noticed the horse trying to search for it but with the reins too loose, one more post stride and he'd get a little bump on his mouth instead. Working on elastic contact will really help, that plus asking a bit more from his trot and you two will go so well- I can tell he has it in him, really cute horse.
Kayty basically said it all though, great info to work on. Good luck!
In the trot-canter your feel for his mouth is uneven. You could try riding like you are driving, with the reins coming over your index fingers and down through the palms of your hands. Sometimes it easier to feel by changing positions, and I'd do this at the walk REALLY feeling for constant and light contact.
In the canter w/out stirrups, I would again go back to the walk. Don't try to pull your toes up, just let your leg hang down. The longer leg you have the more balanced your seat will be. Think of the Native American paintings and bronzes by Remington.
When you are fully healed start your workout by:
RH to poll, RH to tail
LH to poll, LH to tail
RH to R foot
LH to L foot
RH cross over, reach towards L foot
LH cross over, reach towards R foot
Lay back and do 3 situps.
REPEAT 3x each rein.
Do this warmup exercise at a walk. At some point your will want to try it at a trot and maybe a canter. It does wonders to relax and sink your body while you ride and gets rid of any stiffness.
Thanks everyone for the tips. I wish I didn't ride alone all the time or else I would have someone longe me. I'll try everything and see what sticks!
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