All The In-betweens...
I just remembered something I want to know for tomorrows lesson, I guess I have a problem with the in-betweens. What I mean by that is all the steps in-between the jumps in a hunter course. I guess I just loose control or something? I don't know.. here are some videos where there is more pace in-between jumps and how a course would be. Does anyone know exactly what I am doing wrong? If you do, what can I do to help? Critic also if you want to. Just not the horse, shes not mine.
I only watched the first 2 minutes of the first video. The horse seems to be breaking from the canter at the same post each pass. I would work on encouaging the horse to keep moving forward at all times. Even if your horse is cantering, dont take you leg off and just sit there expecting the horse to keep going. Remember if you're not willing to put the work into it, dont expect the horse to either. In other words, if you don't work, they won't work.
On another note, (Keep in mind I ride more centered, not sure how it is in hunters) I would pick your hands up and keep your butt in the saddle more. You seem to be very off balanced in your riding. Also, by picking up your hands you will have to use your chest muscles to hold yourself up over jumps, which means you will stop falling on the horse after every jump. It will take a little getting used to and some time to build those muscles, but once you do, you will have a lot better control over what your body is doing.
I watched a bit of 7 Minutes In Heaven and I noticed that you tend to lean to the left. You leaned to the left after the first jump every time. You also have a really heavy upper body going over the jumps. Literally put all of your weight into your heels (similar feeling to when you stand straight up in your irons) when you are in two point ESPECIALLY over jumps. This will help absorb shock, but will get rid of the upper body heaviness so you don't "fall" on your horse when you land.
Another thing I noticed is that sometimes when you do the lines or in-betweens, you lift your upper body up while going over the jump. Really focus on maintaining the two point before, over, and after the jump. This will also help with another sometimes tendency you have of sitting too soon when you land.
As for what your doing wrong, you could lift your upper body up a tad bit more because it looks like your "ducking under a branch." Also don't rely on your seat so much to keep your horse going between the jumps, use your leg. This is so you can control pace and direction with your legs while maintaining a lighter seat and less distracting seat.
I apologize for writing a novel of a post. If you are not clear on anything I just said feel free to ask. :)
You have problems in the strides between fences?
(I can't see the videos...so just going off the top of my head)
Are you not getting the correct number of strides? Then you are either lacking pace or have too much. If you are chipping into the first fence and then not staying forward between the fences, it is harder for your horse to move up and get the correct strides.
Wetrain--a hunter wants to be in a forward seat, and not have their butt in the saddle...so a brushing seat or a half seat.
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The mare is wonderful - despite the fact that you have riding issues she is trying to figure out what you want, then do it. The problems are all caused by you.
From the videos I'm assuming that you are just learning to ride. Here's what I saw and what to do to fix it.
1. When you canter on the flat (whether or not it is in between fences) you lean forward. That encourages the horse to slow down and break into a trot.
2. As noted above you tend to lean to the side - mostly the left side. So EVERY time you ride at ALL gaits (walk trot and canter) sit straight up in the saddle and make certain that your seat bones are equally weighted.
3. When steering the horse you tend to "pull" her using just the inside rein in the direction you want to go - and from the video's you appear to be doing it at the last minute. So do some preparation well BEFORE the turn. First look in the direction you want to turn, move outside leg slightly behind the girth (that will also help keep the horse in a canter) and when you OPEN the rein (this means the rein doesn't come back but rather your hand comes more over your knee) you also squeeze then immediately return hand to previous grip your OUTSIDE rein. The outside rein action tells the horse "something is happening", in this case not straight forward. In combination with head weight moving into direction you want to travel and outside leg helping guide the horses barrel in that direction you will get a much smoother turn which allows the horse to maintain the canter.
Lastly when you jump small jumps like this all the rider need do is bend forward from the waist, look forward never down, and bring hands forward on the neck just a little bit. That way when you land your butt is still in the saddle, you still have rein control, and your balance should be maintained (in the video's you loose balance and it takes you several strides to get control back).
If there is a local dressage trainer and you can afford it I would strongly suggest getting some dressage training to help your body position. If not ask your jumper trainer to give you a "lunge line lesson" where she controls the horse and you perform a series of exercises with and WITHOUT stirrups to gain better balance (and thus eventually better control) of the horse.
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