Critique request- Jumping and Dressage - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 06-17-2020, 12:36 AM Thread Starter
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Critique request- Jumping and Dressage

Hello! Long time reader, first time forum post! I recently got a few videos of my riding and I need some constructive advice. Horse is 16 year old, 16.2h Oldenburg/appy. He gets body work done but I know he has more trouble bending left than right. Tracking right I have to think of counter bending him and tracking left I have make a big ask for the bend and I feel like my leg isn't strong enough to bend him.

Video 1 is part of a dressage lesson. We briefly did shoulder in and haunches in but what I'm most distracted by is my seat and leg. It doesn't seem like my leg is very steady and my seat is bouncier than I like. I don't think I seem very connected to the saddle. Any advice on how to improve?

Video 2 is a jump course I did during a lesson. My impression is that I am having trouble bending him left and keeping him from falling in (my instructor even had me redo the last jump for this reason). My position over the flower box jump could have been improved if I'd kept my weight in my heels instead of sort of falling on him :(

Video 3 is a 2' jumper course on a friend's morgan horse. He is less complicated than my horse but also much smaller at more like 15.2h/19 years old. Here I notice my position over the jumps and the landing most. I really seem to fall out of my two point after the jump and 'bounce' on his back which makes me feel bad. How can I fix this?

Looking for feedback from you all because sometimes new people will say something that just "clicks" for me!
Yourkwest is offline  
post #2 of 9 Old 06-17-2020, 03:37 AM
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Sorry, but I'm not the best for critiquing - just a 'bush jumper' here. But my son really wants to learn to jump properly, so I am following this thread to see what advice you get that may be helpful for him too!

Last edited by horselovinguy; 06-17-2020 at 07:13 AM.
loosie is offline  
post #3 of 9 Old 06-17-2020, 07:52 AM
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I have no clue either, I would also like to read the critiques.

One thing that I sort of noticed in the dressage video: looking at how you move, to me it looks like your horse isn't moving at a steady and even pace. It appeared as if you are trying to catch up with him or he was throwing you forward. It almost looked like the ground was uneven and he kept dropping into dips in the ground. I don't see him moving unevenly but your body seems to behave like he is. I have no clue what that means and I would love to hear what the more experienced people have to say about it.
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Horsef is offline  
post #4 of 9 Old 06-17-2020, 08:31 AM
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Based off of the dressage video, I would be posting with this horse until you establish better impulsion. He looks like he is absolutely crawling in the video!! I was waiting for a burst of energy at some point, but it never came. I have a gelding that moves like this, just meandering along, and he just will not work until you really say 'hey, wake up, get moving!' and really push him along.

I won't comment specifically on the first jumping video, but the way he is moving forward in the trot made me much happier. I would figure that he would be moving more like this during the dressage video. I recommend watching Amelia Newcombe Dressage videos on YouTube, she addresses common issues and how to fix them.

Notice how she addresses that your trot should not change between a sitting and posting trot? You want a nice, forward trot in both, and sometimes when you transition from posting to sitting, things get complicated.

I'm not sure where @Interstellar has been, but I'm sure she would be more constructive than me!

Toofine - 1998 Half Arabian
Minnie - 2013 Morgan
ClearDonkey is offline  
post #5 of 9 Old 06-17-2020, 02:14 PM
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First off, I think you've got a lot of good things going for you as a rider. You have a good upper body position and empathetic , following hands. To me, that is huge.

I do not jump, but my 'impression' from the two jumping videos is that your stirrups are a bit short, and on the Appy, you appear to be 'gripping up' a bit.

Now, as to the dressage video. I like your instructor. I saw that when she gave you some thing to think about, you actually started softening in the hips and started to follow the motion, and get 'deeper' into the saddle. It appears that at the trot you are certainly doing a forward /backward motion, but there is also a bit of a lateral roll to sitting the trot, and at times , you seem locked in that plane of rotation. You hips should be able to rise and fall on each side a little, as well as the whole pelvis going forward and backward, in order to have a really deep , following seat.

The horse is adorable, and is making a good faith effort it seems, if a bit robotic. I can see that he is stiff , and it appears both in the poll (laterally), in the neck (he appears to break a bit at the 3rd vertebrae, then stay somewhat straight behind that to the withers) and does not reach far under with his hind legs, so perhaps a bit stiff in the hind.

My suggestion is to work at the walk in getting him to accept more bend at the poll (laterally), to the point of overbending him if necessary, and asking him to do things like turn on the forehand, ldisengaging the hind quarters, etc. Not so much leg yield to begin with because he will likely keep his barrel and neck very stiff. You want him to move laterally AND give laterally at the poll.

If you just add more leg on his side, pushing, and he does not soften up front, but instead sort of leanas against your leg , maybe moving sideways away from your leg in a rigid body stance, then you are only teaching him to move that way. Don't accept that until you get softness at the poll.
in this case, it will be more important to use your reins, and your very empathetic hands, to insist on a soft response to the rein FIRST, before using the leg to ask for him to 'bend'. Bending him while he is bracing against the rein is no bend at all.
tinyliny is offline  
post #6 of 9 Old 06-17-2020, 03:23 PM
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You ride almost like me! That said, I think what is causing your leg to not be steady is that you are tipped too forward with your body, as if you are going to curl into fetal position (upper body wise). I have the same issue which has affected my legs and has made the horse not move as freely. Other than that I didn't see your leg really *swinging* around at all, you looked pretty good to me!

I had recently wrote an epiphany I had to stop the tilt with the body-- I noticed it in
Your cantering videos. Try sitting on your seat bones more (you might feel like you're leaning back but you really aren't). It might stop you from bouncing in the canter too (though the horse might just be bouncy). This forward tilt with your upper body that you ride with affects the strength of your leg too, so maybe that can help with bending the horse. If you're tilted a bit forward it gives less support for your legs to make a cue.

Do you feel tense when you ride?/feel somewhat half-seated at the canter?

Again I'm just giving this advice because I have similar issues that i'm just now beginning to solve. Hope it can help you

cantering on, into the familiar and unknown
Finalcanter is offline  
post #7 of 9 Old 06-17-2020, 04:01 PM
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You ride well but to be even better you just need to practice some things. Some things you can do for a better sitting trot is to do a lot of core exercises. For example while you ride you squeeze your core for lets say the whole arena. And while you are doing the sitting trot think about relaxing everything except your core, you should be squeezing your core as tight as you can. Because when you squeeze your butt it acts almost like a bouncy ball.

Now for some jumping tips: try doing two-points for full arena at the walk and trot. Now if your heels are coming up, you might be pinching with your knee. Something that helps me to keep my heels down to be very mindful of pushing them down. Two-point exercises help with your heels too! Two-points help to stretch your heel.

To help your pony with his turns: stretching might help and what you can also do is the clover leaf pattern(I'll include a link).

When you do the clover leaf you only turn left (or right) for the whole time (also you don't have to do it with poles (; ).

Consistency and practice is key!

Hope this helps (:
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Progress will always begin where your comfort zone. ends

Last edited by Stormisarab; 06-17-2020 at 04:07 PM.
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post #8 of 9 Old 06-18-2020, 03:25 AM
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I'm not much of a jumper, so I'll stick to critiquing the flatwork in your first video here:

Your position here is not bad at all. I agree with what tinyliny has said, so won't elaborate on your seat too much. I think your seat will come further along with more practice.

There are moments you tend to fall forward on your pelvis (10-13 second) and you can see that your back arches more (need more core to keep yourself centered here - think blowing out a candle/ belt buckle forward) and your horse bounces you out of the saddle a bit. However, I think this may have also occurred because how much inside leg you are trying to use, which is causing tension in your seat and back at times.

Your leg, at several times, is rotated outward at the thigh and lower leg. Near the end half of the video, your thigh is a bit better and has more contact with the saddle, but I can see your horse doesn't move off that inside leg very well. This is unproductive to your sitting trot due to the tension it causes. I agree with ClearDonkey and would reduce sitting trot and do more posting trot for the above and also for other reasons I will state below.

Lastly, I agree your quite gentle with your hands, but I do see you using your inside hand as a 'crutch' here and there (0:40 - 0:47) without your horse really responding to that inside leg. What this can cause is your horse to weigh in on their inside shoulder. You'll see below that this is something your horse already has a habit of doing (not saying that it is your cause, just that it may not be helping). Your horse is giving but not really providing true bend. To check for true bend, give your inside hand forward and see if your horse will hold the position. If not, then he really isn't responding to your inside leg.

I like what you did at 0:04 in lifting your inside hand gently to assist your inside leg in standing the horse up. This trick is handy for horses that persist in leaning in and while it does not give immediate results, it does help back up your leg in a way that makes a horse respond. As you can see at 0:05, this did appear to help and then at 0:06, your horse dropped his inside shoulder again and that is why his head came up. It then appears that you used your inside leg to bring him into position again (to which he relaxes), then persists in pushing the inside shoulder in (0:08). All this is really saying is your horse is dropping his shoulder periodically and you are bringing him back together, but not really training him to respond well off the leg.

0:21 - 0:24 - You are having some good moments here and your horse starts bending and your inside hand is slightly up. At the end of 0:24, your horse pushes in again and at 0:25-0:26, you use your inside leg/hand lift to push him over. He does a little, you give with your hand and he relaxes BUT he did not really respond to your leg quite enough because at 0:27 that shoulder drops in again and so repeats the pattern.

Your horse:

I'm sure you can see a pattern from above, that you need to get your horse responding off leg quicker. You are working too hard with your leg and need him to start holding his side of the load. To do this, you need a system: you suggest, you ask, then you tell. If you are to the point that you are starting to ask him to move over with your leg 3x and he doesn't or he only gives the littlest bit of effort, then you need him to give you a BIG response, almost an exaggerated movement. The next time you ask, he will be quicker to respond. Your goal is to have him bend and/or move over off the smallest possible signal (seat eventually). For example, you are asking him to stand up on the inside and you have asked with your leg enough times. Now, I'd be asking him to move sideways on the circle with energy. In general, don't worry about disturbing the frame, don't worry about him moving too sideways in training, as these ultimately make it so that it is easier to manipulate his body into alignment where he can easily relax over his back. Thus, your aim should be to set up his body correctly first before you worry about the frame at all.

Secondly, I agree he needs to be more forward, which is why more rising trot would be best for now, but if you are doing more sitting trot for yourself, then practice away :) He just is not strong enough over his back to consistently keep lifted.

Your horse's left side is his stiff side, meaning that your horse is actually tighter length wise on the right than he is on the left. So, you need exercises that work on lengthening the right side such as spiraling in and 'leg yielding' out, but with a bend. Since your horse is familiar with travers (haunches in), that would also be a good exercise to work with on the left rein. However, I would work on it at the walk, so that it will be easier to correct him from falling in. I usually work on travers at the walk instead of the trot until it is easy for me to ride and fluid for them to do. I'd also ride the left in a bit of a shoulder fore to help set him up for bend.
Jolly101 is offline  
post #9 of 9 Old 06-18-2020, 07:33 AM
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I also think your stirrups are too short for the height of the jumps. It appears like you are using the saddle for stability, squeezing up with your legs instead of using your lower leg in the stirrups for stability. I'd suggest watching some videos of eventing riders and notice how their lower leg creates the strong and stable seat for jumping any height.
In order to keep that leg secure, you need to have enough weight down in the stirrup and your lower leg against the horse, so the leg does not swing back unless you are purposefully cueing, and the stirrups need to stay oriented with the ground over the jump.
Just watch those lower legs.
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critique , dressage , equitation , hunter , jumper

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