I'm just wondering if anyone has any tips for not overthinking my stops. My mare can do an amazing sliding stop that can compete with any horse in my area. But not when I'm riding her. I have a tendancy to tense up and overthink my stops and then I bounce out of the saddle when I ask for the stop, which in turn makes my mare pop out of her stop. The only time I can sit a nice stop is when I don't know I'm going to do a stop. As in, I will be loping her in a rectangle off the wall of the arena and she sometimes will anticipate the stop and start to speed up on her own. As soon as she speeds up a "pull her into the ground" (I don't actually pull I just sit deep in the saddle, look at the roof (cause I don't lean far enough back) and I throw my feet forward (cause that is the cue for stop). It is sooo amazing how well she slides. But when I'm riding her around and I ask for a stop I will overthink the stop and pop out of the saddle. I sit deep in the saddle and look at the roof but my legs just tense up completly which doesn't work for obvious reasons. The weird part is that my last horse that I owned I had no problems with our stops so I don't know why I'm tensing up.
I really need to fix my problem soon as my first reining event is at the end of May. I am hoping to get my friend to take a video either today or tomorrow so that I can try to dissect what I'm doing wrong.
Unfortunately, I can't really think of a way to help you with that. Just sort of something you have to learn on your own. I can't really say I relate, though, unless you want to compare to my failures when I was just learning to slide. Jus timagine you are on your other horse. -nod-
Ok first. What happens a lot that I see is that people are one not timing their stop very well. However more then that they tend to lean forward too much like you would in your circles. Then they through themselves back into the stop instead of just sinking into their pockets. When you start your run down into your stop or rollback sit back just a tad. Then when you get ready for your stop just sink. Take your legs off sink into your pockets and drop your shoulders. So it looks like a Mariette puppet when you cut the strings. I find that when I do this just relax and sink into my pockets into the saddle and take my legs off my horse put my hands down on their withers that I get a very nice deep soft stop.
Thanks. I will definitely try what you suggested nrhareiner. Maybe instead of thinking about throwing/pushing my feet forward I should think more about just letting my feet slide forward and just relax.
The lady that trained my horse is still giving me lessons and I love her but so far she hasn't given me anymore tips. I know to lean back before I go for my rundown. I lean back and give the horse rein so that all I have to do is sit deeper and push my legs forward. But I'll try to just let my legs relax and not worry about pushing them forward.
If you are throwing your feet forward that right there is the big problem. When you sit deep and take your feet off and put weight into your heals the rest will come with that. You should not be pushing on your feet or stirrups it should be just transferring your weight into the heals of your feet as you sit down on your pockets.
There is an article written by Larry Trocha in one of his newsletters than adresses this very problem - I don't ever ride sliding stops, but the advice seemed very astute. I'll find the link for you.
Ok, I deleted the email. Sorry! But it was talking about muscle memory - And he said that if he tensed up in the stop, he has to re-teach his muscles to relax - If you only practice at the gallop/during the rundown, then it is all happening too fast and muscle memory kicks in, hence you won' be able to correct it. He spoke about focussing on one part - in this case maybe start with your legs, then move on to relaxing your back. Then practice that one part, at a walk, over and over. You need to re-teach your muscles a different reaction, so they do ti without thinking. As you master it a zillion times at one gait, move up to the next, if you go back to the tensing, go back slower and practice more.
The best thing that helped me was watch how ropers and cutters kind of absorb the stop (its not the same obviously but you can take some things from it).
They really loosen up their lower back and kind of just let it sink right in there. You know when you sit in a really comfy couch and kind of wiggle your body in there tighter, think about that when you're stopping (the way you break your back), but a little more subtle.
As you're running down lean back a touch more each stride and really think about driving from the hind end.
NRHAreiner explained it really good, you aren't pushing your legs forward, more just taking them off and absorbing.
When I stop I tend to be sitting deep, and when my lower back loosen it allows me to sit deep but kind of roll my up body forward to help absorb the stop. That's my style of stopping, some people prefer to lean back more.
Here's a picture of me, the mare doesn't look awesome (I was schooling her) but its how I like to ride out the stop
The key things in stopping are really driving the hind end, getting your timing (not easy), and loosening your body to absorb it.
Thanks for all the tips. I'm not very good at explaining things on a computer (better in person). I should have been more specific... Its not really that I throw my feet forward its that I push down on my heels. And I overthink it. But I will definitely try to relax more and just sit deep in the saddle.
On the plus side, I'm starting to work on flying lead changes with my 3 yr old and she is nailing them every time. Yay!!!