exercises for my riding flaws? - The Horse Forum
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  • 1 Post By ApuetsoT
  • 1 Post By tinyliny
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post #1 of 10 Old 04-12-2017, 02:19 AM Thread Starter
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exercises for my riding flaws?

Okay so I know photos aren't the best indication in the world but all my videos are on my phone and won't save to my computer.

I'm far from perfect. I haven't been able to ride consistently for quite a long time now between my own injuries and (more recently) my horse's, so I'm not even close to as good as I used to be, and it's driving me insane.

SO.... rather than pointing out my every flaw, please help me fix them! What exercises, in the saddle or out of it, will help me to ride better?

EDIT; YES, there is an injury on my mare's nearside hock. She has been 100% CLEARED by my excellent vet to return to full work so please, PLEASE don't start on me about it. I'm very well aware it's there, as is my vet, who is not at all concerned about it. In fact the movement is good for it as it's helping to prevent scar tissue adhesions from forming. She is a drama queen. I promise you if it was causing her pain in any way, she would be on three legs, and I would not ride.

EDIT2; oh and I'm primarily a jumper rider so I ride in a light forward seat in canter
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post #2 of 10 Old 04-12-2017, 02:42 AM
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I'm about to go to bed, so wont say much. But, hands! You are either curling your wrists or have your fingers so open you'll break one of them. If you feel the need to cock your wrist to keep the contact, your reins are too long. Keep those hands closed (you need to ride a rooter! That'll teach
you) . Keep them low and together, and let the elbows move through the shoulders.
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post #3 of 10 Old 04-12-2017, 03:01 AM
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h m m . . . . I'm trying to think how to answer this. you are worried about being told things you are doing wrong, and want ideas of how to improve them . . . . hm m .

well, first of all, you're doing ok and you'll get there, and if things were easier before on that other horse, well . . . that was then, this is now.
this mare looks like she needs some help getting herself together , too, so thing might feel a bit rougher now. but, it's goinmg to work out.

a couple of small observations from those still photos;

always work toward keeping your thumbs on top. remind yourself ten zillion times.

and as much as you can, don't let yourself get into the place of pulling her back . there's a feeling in the photos that you are a bit heavy on the rein, and she's not responding to that, so there might be a bit of a tug-o-war setting up.

bending is your friend. both bending the horse's body, bending your elbows, and using one rein a bit more than other. think always of bending.

vague advice, I know. . . . that's me.
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post #4 of 10 Old 04-12-2017, 03:36 AM Thread Starter
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These are the two horses I have access to now. The little buckskin is my mum's, the big bay is my mare. They are both very green, which of course isn't helping my position, but it also means it's that much more important that I ride effectively... which I'm having trouble with. And it's 100% because of my lack of physical fitness.

Except the hands. That's an ongoing bad habit I need to sort out.

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post #5 of 10 Old 04-12-2017, 05:32 AM
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Sometimes people with smaller hands and weaker hands (speaking from experience) will benefit from a pair of really good gloves. I enjoy my MacWet Climatec gloves very much. You can feel the reins like the gloves are your own skin, but they can help with a confident grip and also help you lengthen and shorten the reins quickly and easily.
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post #6 of 10 Old 04-12-2017, 05:03 PM
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You need to sit lighter in the tack. More weight down into your stirrups. This is not an uncommon thing because people are taught to sit "deep" is to sit heavy but it's not the same thing. The goal is to sit as lightly as possible while still being effective and "in tune." Especially on young horses, being lighter on their back helps them use their back because a lot of the time.

There is also tension in your hip flexors, stretching, etc. Another that helps is when you're on the horse hold your legs away from the saddle as far as you can and allow your hips to soften and mold around the horse. You want a relaxed, flexible hip, so you can be softer and move more in sync with the horse.

In general you do not need to rock onto your rear seat bones, you want to sit on your "triangle." in a neutral seat. Sometimes you will sit slightly more forward or slightly more back (say a lengthening or extension, you sit slightly back to have your center of balance with them) but not when in a neutral position.

You want to soften your elbows and allow them to follow and not brace. Something you can to practice and train your body to follow is hold the front of the saddle or saddle pad as you post and walk or canter to allow your body to be more elastic in your elbows, allowing your to be quieter and softer. A lot of people if they're too stiff in their body post or move with rigid elbows and stiff seat. You never want to think of pulling their head "down" you want to think of pushing them to your hand, especially if they're young or green. So they always think of contact as something they reach for and not brace against.

The rigidity in the seat acts like a grind into the horse's back which makes horses hollow their back away from the pressure, rather than coming up into it. This is why you want to sit lighter, softer and be flexible and soft in your hips.

These are some basic things most everyone can work on at varying degrees and are very helpful.
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post #7 of 10 Old 04-12-2017, 09:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DanteDressageNerd View Post
You want to soften your elbows and allow them to follow and not brace. Something you can to practice and train your body to follow is hold the front of the saddle or saddle pad as you post and walk or canter to allow your body to be more elastic in your elbows, allowing your to be quieter and softer. A lot of people if they're too stiff in their body post or move with rigid elbows and stiff seat. You never want to think of pulling their head "down" you want to think of pushing them to your hand, especially if they're young or green. So they always think of contact as something they reach for and not brace against.
I never heard it explained this way. Thanks Dante! Very useful to many of us!

OP, since you ask specifically about exercises, I have found that pilates and yoga have made me a better rider. Now you're a far better rider than me, I'm sure, but I think that some basic yoga stretches are very helpful for opening hips and relaxing some of that tension Dante mentions. Also, yoga is all about core, and I've learned that core is everything if I'm going to ride well.

This lady has lots of yoga stretches specifically for equestrians (they're for dressage riders, but she talks about stretching your leg down and wrapping it around the horse, so I think they're useful for everyone - and like you, I'm more of a hunter-jumper type):
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post #8 of 10 Old 04-13-2017, 07:18 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks :) that's all super helpful. My hip issues are an ongoing thing, I have extremely inflexible hips and yoga/pilates will no doubt help me with that immensely. Which is great because that's all stuff I can do without having to get out to my horse.

I think the overly heavy seat comes from weak legs. I used to be a lot lighter. But I'll play around a bit when I'm back in the saddle again.

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post #9 of 10 Old 04-13-2017, 09:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blue eyed pony View Post

I think the overly heavy seat comes from weak legs. I used to be a lot lighter. But I'll play around a bit when I'm back in the saddle again.
I don't know about that - I think it may be more core-related. My legs have gotten strong from riding, for sure, but it was only when my core strengthened that I really began to feel balanced. But yeah, try those yoga exercises! I'm also doing the 31 day Revolution with Adriene (search for it on YouTube) and while she doesn't specifically target equestrians, those stretches, balance, and core exercises are really helpful! I can't commit to joining a live class, and can't even commit to doing it every single day, so it will probably take me 90 days to do 31 days, but that's ok! It's convenient, free, and I can do it anytime. It has really made a big difference for me.
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post #10 of 10 Old 04-13-2017, 09:32 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Acadianartist View Post
I don't know about that - I think it may be more core-related. My legs have gotten strong from riding, for sure, but it was only when my core strengthened that I really began to feel balanced. But yeah, try those yoga exercises! I'm also doing the 31 day Revolution with Adriene (search for it on YouTube) and while she doesn't specifically target equestrians, those stretches, balance, and core exercises are really helpful! I can't commit to joining a live class, and can't even commit to doing it every single day, so it will probably take me 90 days to do 31 days, but that's ok! It's convenient, free, and I can do it anytime. It has really made a big difference for me.
A bit of both maybe? I'm a lot weaker all-round than I used to be. But then, I was stablehanding, and part of the job was to carry 80% of my body weight (balanced load!!!!!! couldn't do it otherwise) so I had to be pretty strong everywhere. And now I'm not really doing much of anything.

I should really try to find the money for a gym membership, but when you have an accident prone horse, you try to penny-pinch as much as you can so your vet bills get paid
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