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songbird 08-15-2011 10:53 AM

Transitions Critique
So I haven't ridden Jazz in months and thought we would just do some basic flatwork today. I have a couple of pictures and a video (that's my boyfriend at the beginning saying "take one").

(will embed later)

Already just from watching the video back I can see that my position is terrible, my shoulders are hunched and I need to sit up straight and apparently I don't know what to do with my hands. Also you can see Jazz tends to jump around a bit in trot and throw me so I'm rising on the wrong beat.

Please be constructive but honest, I can see that we need a lot of help.

Elana 08-15-2011 12:49 PM

When Jazz transisitions she raises her head and hollows her back. She tends to travel high headed and hollow backed as well.

Also, you are not sitting deep with a deep heel.. I think a slightly longer stirrup might help.

Try working your horse (at the trot) in circles and serpentines to get her to lower her head, round her back and rech under herself with her hind feet. Also try figure 8's with the two loops being ROUND and about 3-4 strides of straight where the two loops meet.

churumbeque 08-15-2011 01:51 PM

Getting her to soften and give at the bit will do wonders. Hold steady and when she pulls keep constant pressure and when she softens release. After you have done this a bit then hold her position a little longer when she softens and she will learn to stay with you better. Hope I explained it correctly as I haven't done it in a while. Learning a half halt will also help

songbird 08-15-2011 02:10 PM

Thank you both, those are really good ideas and I will have a go next time. I will certainly lengthen my stirrups!

tinyliny 08-15-2011 02:58 PM


First of all, it looks like either your saddle is too small fore you or your stirrups are much too short. Your knee extends over the knee flap area. Try dropping your stirrups two notches. This will also help you move your foot down under you some, instead of being so far out in front of you in a chair seat.

The hrose moves with what looks like a "defensive" posture, that may be from an illfitting saddle. That may be one reason why it gets worse when you trot. Have you cantered him? Is it even worse then?

Yes the horse needs to have some contact on the bit and some give in front but if he is moving this way to try and protect his back then it is unfair to ask him to reach down.

If the saddle does fit well (I really question that, but we might be able to help you on that) then your next step is to encourage this pony to start reaching downward and outward to help stretch out his back and to get him confident in reaching for and meeting the bit. This means that you walk him along and using a kind of tickling with your hands on one rein, the inside rein, you "invite" him to reach forward. The instand he does, you give a big release on the rein. Do this over and over and you can even say "down!" and ask him to reach a bit more each time before you give the release, and eventually he will reach forwrad and downward, while you maintain contact to his mouth (Which is your challenge). If you can get this and maintain contact on the mouth and keep him walking forward with some push from behind, this is an excellent foundation excersize.
I wish I could be there to show you, because it looks like a really nice place!

songbird 08-16-2011 05:29 AM

Thanks tinyliny, I will try that. Honestly I have been pretty concerned about the saddle but it's difficult to address since she isn't my own horse, but I will look into it since it does seem to be causing her discomfort. I have cantered her but she seems more comfortable and less bothered then.

ScharmLily 08-16-2011 08:09 AM

I agree that you should check the saddle fit. Although your horse looks to be built relatively level, your saddle seems to be tilting uphill. This could be caused by a too narrow gullet, or it may just be placed too far onto her shoulders. Either way, this could pinch her and cause her to carry her head high and her back hollow.

Once you determine that the saddle fits fine, you will need to do lots of work on causing her to carry herself round (head down, back up, and pushing from the hind end). First you will just need to get her head down, then lots of transitions and good basic flatwork will help her bring her back up. At first, it may just be an accident, but the instant you feel her back lift you should praise her and stop. After this you can start focusing on getting her hindquarters engaged. This is not a quick process though, it will take many months for her to develop the skills and muscle to work properly through.

songbird 08-16-2011 08:20 AM

Thanks, I will do my best to get her working well.

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