Critique Riding (Only took 4 lessons) - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 20 Old 05-17-2014, 09:47 PM Thread Starter
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Critique Riding (Only took 4 lessons)

Thought it was time to see what needs to be fixed and let people critique my riding. I've only taken 4 lessons in my life and apparently am a natural.

In the photo of the arabian and me my stirrup leathers are to short but one hole down they were to long since they were stretched out a lot.

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Rainbows is offline  
post #2 of 20 Old 05-18-2014, 07:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Rainbows View Post
I've only taken 4 lessons in my life and apparently am a natural.


Last edited by SouthernTrails; 05-27-2014 at 07:09 PM.
DressageHorse is offline  
post #3 of 20 Old 05-18-2014, 11:06 AM
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Okay most of these photos are quite frankly useless to critique from so I'm only going to use one.

For starters, you've only had four lessons, and you LOOK like you've only had four lessons. Whoever keeps telling you you're a natural doesn't know what they're talking about. You are a beginner rider. You have faults. Lots of them. Your position is not balanced and is not healthy for you OR the horses you ride.

You need a LOT more lessons.

I'm not saying this to be mean. I was told I was a natural too. It made me complacent and lazy for YEARS before I opened my eyes and actually looked at myself for what I really am. You remind me of myself, right about four years ago, except I'd had a heck of a lot more than four lessons. I simply HAD NOT IMPROVED because my instructors kept telling me I was a natural and I was complacent. I didn't think I needed to improve.

I didn't think I needed to improve at all for YEARS. Not until I got my eventer. The number of times he ran off with me, bucked, bolted... he really opened my eyes.

Don't become me.

Now onto the real critique. Your heels are down, but you're forcing them down, resulting in your entire leg shooting forward. I do this too. It's a hard habit to break. Just let your leg hug your horse. It should be relaxed. Strong, yes, but relaxed. Tension is bad. Your butt is way back at the very back of the saddle, which puts an incredible amount of pressure in a very small area that isn't really designed for weight carrying [no part of the horse truly is so one must ALWAYS be aware of where one's weight is]. You are, as a result, leaning forward to keep your balance.

I think the only thing I can really comment on being GOOD here is the line from your elbow to the bit. Perfectly straight, which is absolutely fantastic. You don't have my worst habit. I carry my hands very low and stiff and I'm STILL working on breaking that habit nearly three years after realizing I have it.

I've drawn lines on your photo demonstrating what I see. And I've drawn lines on a photo of a dressage rider that I found with a quick google search. Her lower leg is a little farther back than is classically ideal but that's because she's giving an aid to her horse in that specific spot. They put the aid for piaffe back there so that it's basically impossible to accidentally give it.

Since you are riding on the flat, not over fences, you should be aspiring to a perfect ear-shoulder-elbow-hip-heel line. When you're jumping your position on the flat is a little different but we're not addressing that now.
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blue eyed pony is offline  
post #4 of 20 Old 05-18-2014, 04:44 PM
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The gray horse is way too thin for anyone to be riding it. Seriously underweight.

And agree with blue as to "natural" being wrong. And her critique too.

4 lessons are nothing.

Like anything, it takes time and training to be "natural" at anything.

Horses make me a better person.
Palomine is offline  
post #5 of 20 Old 05-18-2014, 06:48 PM
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Blue gave you some REALLY great critique and insight, and I hope you appreciate the time and care she took in putting it together. She is not being mean. She is being very observant and honest. Study what she wrote. When you understand it, it will help you progress immensely. Your chair-seat (legs out in front of you) is the first and biggest thing I noticed. You can never be balanced and effective until your heel comes under your body.

You've had 4 lessons. You're not a superstar. Can you be one day if you keep taking lessons, working, and striving for improvement? I think if someone really wants something, there's no stopping them. At 4 lessons, I see a rider who is just starting to feel comfortable with being on a horse and starting to enjoy the journey.

FYI, I've been riding for 40 years. I've had some very demanding and tough trainers, and some hard miles on my butt. I recently started taking some lessons from an awesome awesome lady. She asked me what my goals are. I told her that I want her to find any and every hole she can in my training and plug the hole. That one thing she finds could be the one thing that saves my butt on the trail one day. So she is proceeding to find at least 4 gaping holes in my training every single lesson. It's a blast! Never stop learning. Never think you're done. Enjoy!
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post #6 of 20 Old 05-18-2014, 07:26 PM
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I think my favorite quote ever is something like "most people need a thousand dollar horse and thirty thousand dollars worth of lessons"

Keep on taking lessons! Maybe from a different person, though, since your current teacher seems to be just patting you on the head.
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post #7 of 20 Old 05-18-2014, 09:03 PM
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I know people who have a good "natural" seat, but not very natural in how they ride.

You look really hunched forward in your photos. Roll those shoulders back, and tuck that pelvis under you. You don't want to be so deep on your pockets that you sit like you're in a western saddle, but you don't want to be on your pubic bones either. Sitting right between them in the sweet spot. (I used to have this habit of being on my pubic bones, and it made me look "perched" on the horse.)

I would concur with lowering your stirrups just a tad, and bring that leg back a bit more. You might feel a bit of a stretch when you do it, which is natural.

I can't really tell, but does that saddle fit you properly? A lot of horses I ride have saddles that fit them, but not me quite right, so I often find myself chair seating a lot. And because of that, I have to compensate MORE because I don't have the stability of a proper human fitting saddle to help keep me in position.

If you can get some videos, we would have more to go off of.
Deschutes is offline  
post #8 of 20 Old 05-20-2014, 05:47 PM
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wouldn't it be funny if the op was being sarcastic when she said "Apparently, I'm a natural." :)

Someone else who was new to riding was talking about how fast they were progressing after 2 months and I had to remind myself.. the better you get at horseback riding.. the less you brag about how awesome you are, because you realize how complicated it really is and all the intricacies involved.

The truth is too, aside from the solid feedback blue eyed pony gave, there's other stuff it'll take you a while to get to where you'll go "oh... ****, i didn't even know I needed to work on that!" piano hands, knee pitching, keeping leg on the horse, soft hands... it's really enough to drive you mad (and make you obsessed! ;)

BUT.. despite the reality check everyone tried to administer, you do look absolutely fine for 4 lessons ...! Just know as others have pointed out: your battle has only just begun!

Re: any of my advice - Happy to give my two cents, but not an expert... just a girl who loves riding horses!
Gossalyn is offline  
post #9 of 20 Old 05-22-2014, 12:32 AM
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All of the other posters are correct. The things they pointed out were spot-on. But, for only four lessons, you're not doing half bad!
horselessmom likes this.

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QuarterHorseGirl12 is offline  
post #10 of 20 Old 05-22-2014, 12:43 AM
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The pictures are really small, but after really looking at the grey horse when Palomine pointed it, yes, that horse is too thin to be working. Keep taking the lessons, it is the best thing to do.
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