Tall rider, short horse.
I'm having issues maintaining my EQ while cuing Savanna. I'm over six feet tall, and she is barely 15 hands.
Typically when I ride, I keep my lower leg underneath me and just behind the girth. I keep my legs close to the horse with my feet parallel to each other and toes pointing up and forward. When I ride Savanna, my feet do not touch her when I hold my typical seat. They're below her belly, so when I do want to cue her, I have to curl my heel up under her or lift my leg to touch her side. I hope this makes sense.
Now Savanna has a lot of suspension in her movement and has a rough trot to say the least. Sitting it in takes a solid seat. If she doesn't respond to my calf pressure I will use more pressure by putting my heel on her, but I can't do that without my toes going down and my eq going down the drain. Also, we are starting some cross-rail work and when I use my leg to encourage her over the jump, it throws off my balance because I simply can't reach her barrel. It's nearly impossible for me to maintain a half-seat and squeeze with my legs simultaneously.
I have someone wanting to trade me a mare that is 2 1/2 years old that is already over 15 hands. I wouldn't start her until the fall. The person in question would be a good home for Savanna, but I'd be broken-hearted if I had to get rid of her. However if I want to compete on her, and it seems we are not a good match for that.
If I can find a way to counter this proportion problem, I will. That's why I need your advice, HF! :) Otherwise, should I take the trade on the other filly?
From what I can see in the picture of you and Savanna you are riding her Western? That being the case you can still ride her through your seat bones and body/bio-mechanic cues. Mustangs are a very versitile horse capable of even the slightest cue. If your wanting to ride/train for a specific discipline other than Western then you might consider the trade.
I have heard of some Mustangs being capable of doing Dressage tests.
First and foremost, what do you plan to compete in?
If you'd like to continue jumping, might I recommend jumpers or eventing. There is less emphasis on EQ (though still very important). You would also learn how to ride through your seat in dressage, using less foot cues. Hunters does focus on the picture a bit so if you're too tall for the horse, you don't come off as an optimum pair and thus may be beat out by lesser but more suitable horses.
Also, your stirrups should go up for jumping. You want to have your weight sunk to your ankles, with your calf and thigh keeping you on the horse. It is possible to ride a shorter horse being tall. I show jumped a 14.2 HH mare and I'm 5'10" (all legs), my leg was never more secure than on her. It just took some getting used to.
I am riding her in a dressage saddle. I really want to do dressage with her because her movement is perfect for it.
I intend on doing some jumping and dressage with her - eventing would be ideal - any serious competition would be a while from now as we both need more conditioning and training. Here is a photo of me riding her western that really shows how out of proportion we are... :P
As a fellow tallie, I know what you mean about not being able to use your legs effectively on a smaller horse. Much as we'd like horses to react to calf pressure, they tend to 'listen' to heels first! My horse is 16.2hh and was ridden by someone much smaller than me, and I find it hard to get him to respond to calves and not my heels!
My advise would be to get a schooling/dressage whip (the long ones that you use without taking your hand off the rein) and it to back up your calf pressure. Use your legs twice, then flick with the whip (you don't need to beat her senseless, just a 'tickle' behind your leg - before someone eats me alive!!) so that she recognises the calf as the aid to go forward. Once she gets the idea and is responding to calf pressure, then stop using the whip.
hope that helps!
If your legs are steady enough, and you haven't yet gotten into the habit of lifting your heels too much, I would suggest finding a pair of swan neck spurs. I think I read somewhere that they are used a the SRS, due to the fact that the men that ride are often tall with long legs, and the Lipis are rather short. The spur is supposed to point up, somehow everyone thinks they point down. Basically so you don't have to move your legs so much as the knob of the spur is already that much closer.
Edit: Found source, theres a bit on them at sustainabledressage.net
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