First ride in a while and first video! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 08-31-2020, 09:13 AM Thread Starter
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Hi all! For the first time ever I have a video of me riding and the first time i have ever seen myself ride. This was just an impromptu ride before the rain hit. This is also the third time I have been on a horse in about a year and a half (one short lesson on this particular horse beginning of July and one short walking only trail ride about 2 weeks ago). Over all i was pleasantly surprised i was expecting a complete mess but I think it ranks medium mess.

Two questions:
1) the girl talking teaches lesson at my barn. You can see the horse not being super happy about me shortening the reins is that a me problem or something else? I grew up on riding with a looser rein and more leg and seat focused (not that i was an expert by any means! this shortening the reins this much is foreign to me. I felt like i was yanking on her mouth when shortening the reins so that is why i have straight arms instead of having bent elbows.

2) i know i have a lot to work on overall. what do you all suggest trying to focus on first? is it even possible to focus on one thing or is everything i need to work on too interconnected and I just need more instruction time. I am looking for an instructor, i have taken lots of different styles of lessons and really prefer dressage.

https://youtu.be/wJCqUqgmZqs
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Last edited by NeedMoreCoffee; 08-31-2020 at 09:29 AM.
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post #2 of 14 Old 08-31-2020, 11:04 AM
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What I could see is the reins are to short, your hands "to loud", aka to much movement, and you are sitting in the backseat of the car trying to reach the gas pedal in form.
All = you are fighting yourself.

Lengthen your reins, a soft bend in your elbow.
Your hands need to be where neck and wither meet as approximation of where they should look to be, then try fully extending your pinky above that part of the horses anatomy is about 4 - 5" at most, not half way up the neck is a gross exaggeration.
I was told hand height is even with your belly button at most whether riding western, English or whatever.
The further out your arm hangs the more motion your arm is going to have as it has no stability or strength propped in never-land.


As for your posting...you need to scrunch your butt forward in the saddle so your crotch is touching the sweep up of the pommel...
I think either your saddle is to flat, your saddle is tilted down and back, it is to large for you or those combined and then some more..was hard to see clearly at such a distance of filmed.
You though have your legs propped way out in front of you, called a "chair-seat" then need to haul your body up and out of the saddle and doing that, yes you are using the horses mouth for balancing, hence he is not happy is accurate in your assumption.
Your instructor needs to get you better positioned where to sit in the saddle to offer you support and help and I bet much of your horses displeasure shall disappear, you will be more comfortable and able to easier ride and control with less effort on your part..
Your basics need some fine-tuning and practice..once you though get your body where it needs to be I think the rest is going to suddenly make sense and be easier for you to ride and communicate with your horse quietly.
Horse is a nice animal and has a caring rider who knows some tweaking needs done, a work in progress and for one who hasn't ridden much in the past year...not bad, not bad at all!!
...
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post #3 of 14 Old 08-31-2020, 11:48 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you! Those were all of my concerns answered so kindly and straight forward! I think a big contributor to my position is the saddle ( not discounting the me part of that equation lol) though I am not sure I have ever ridden in a saddle that truly fits me so I don't know how much to blame the saddle haha

Quote:
Originally Posted by horselovinguy View Post
What I could see is the reins are to short, your hands "to loud", aka to much movement, and you are sitting in the backseat of the car trying to reach the gas pedal in form.
All = you are fighting yourself.

Lengthen your reins, a soft bend in your elbow.
Your hands need to be where neck and wither meet as approximation of where they should look to be, then try fully extending your pinky above that part of the horses anatomy is about 4 - 5" at most, not half way up the neck is a gross exaggeration.
I was told hand height is even with your belly button at most whether riding western, English or whatever.
The further out your arm hangs the more motion your arm is going to have as it has no stability or strength propped in never-land.

...

Yes! okay so this is what I thought and felt was more correct! I was trying to do as the instructor said and it just did not feel right. I think made me way more tense and as you said, made me fight myself. That is not to say that I would have done any better with zero input but I may have been less tense. I was so worried about yanking on her mouth, I made my hands louder and myself less stable.

I groomed and took lessons from two dressage instructors 5/6 years ago (not a lot of riding, i got in as much as I could with a baby and husband with a crazy schedule but I did get to watch a lot of lessons and attend clinics) and regularly in their lessons the did the crop behind your back and through the elbows thing (gosh i hope that makes sense, I'm typing and chasing the kiddos haha). Maybe if I can get some more ride time in this week I will try that with B.O around.

She didn't say anything about my chair seat but she she grew up in the saddle seat world and I know they ride a bit different than dressage but I'm just not sure how much of that may contribute to the different positions and teachings etc? Or maybe not?
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post #4 of 14 Old 08-31-2020, 12:14 PM
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I get exactly what you meant about the stick and arms...
I rode with a oversized "coat hanger and broom stick"...squared shoulders and straight back.
Don't ever look at me now.

If this trainer is a saddle seat rider/instructor then you need to find a instructor who teaches English equitation as you ride in a English saddle.
Even western equitation has much the same positioning or aligning of the body...head, shoulder, hip and heel.
No longer does western do the chair seat as they once did..
Saddle seat riders do sit in that "chair seat" appearances with rock steady arms extended out in front of them high, but also realize that ASB, saddle seat horses have longer neck appearances and in reality they have long necks over other breeds.
So if she isn't correcting or is positioning you as a ss rider, then that is not in your best interest in my opinion.
Look at some you-tube videos of English equitation riders of all ages and see what you can see versus what you are doing or being instructed to do at this point.
You should be able to see many things when you watch...
Your dressage instruction has you knowing body alignment as described above, they ride with a straighter, longer leg than equitation riders...a happy medium between the two disciplines will probably work well for you.
As long as you are not riding and intending to compete, be comfortable and secure astride is most important. You have a young family it sounds to make your safety astride be most important...no getting hurt please.
....
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post #5 of 14 Old 08-31-2020, 12:14 PM
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As for your chair seat as HLG pointed out, I think the problem is stemming from how far you feet are in the stirrups, your stirrup length, and perhaps even the saddle itself.

The ball of your foot should be on the stirrup pads - from what I can see, your feet are pushed far into the stirrup, which will hinder your ability to post with ease and also presents a danger if you come off. If you bring your foot out of the stirrup a bit, you should feel the weight of your body 'enter' your heel more deeply, and give you a bit more support.

As for your stirrup length, there are a couple of tricks to find your sweet spot.
1. From the ground, place your hand on the stirrup bar, and use your other hand to take the stirrup up and into your arm pit. You will want the stirrup to rest in your armpit. This approximates the length of how long you will want your stirrups.
2. From the saddle, hang your legs down while sitting in the deepest part of the saddle. The stirrup should hit your ankle bone.
Of course some adjustments may be needed, depending on the horse you are riding and what is comfortable, but trick #1 is what I most commonly use.
For jumping/flatwork, a 90degree angle behind the knee is the goal. For dressage, I'm seeing a 140degree angle, but I certainly won't have my stirrups this long in an all-purpose/jump saddle.

And as for the saddle, it looks like something is off that may be making things a bit more tough for you...but I'm not sure. I'd try shortening your stirrups first, and adjusting your foot in the stirrup first, and seeing where that puts you.

Remember, shoulder-hip-heel alignment is a good starting point, and if you can't comfortably get into proper position at a stand-still, I'd think about if the saddle is helping or hindering you...
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post #6 of 14 Old 08-31-2020, 12:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NeedMoreCoffee View Post
Yes! okay so this is what I thought and felt was more correct! I was trying to do as the instructor said and it just did not feel right. I think made me way more tense and as you said, made me fight myself. That is not to say that I would have done any better with zero input but I may have been less tense. I was so worried about yanking on her mouth, I made my hands louder and myself less stable.

I groomed and took lessons from two dressage instructors 5/6 years ago (not a lot of riding, i got in as much as I could with a baby and husband with a crazy schedule but I did get to watch a lot of lessons and attend clinics) and regularly in their lessons the did the crop behind your back and through the elbows thing (gosh i hope that makes sense, I'm typing and chasing the kiddos haha). Maybe if I can get some more ride time in this week I will try that with B.O around.

She didn't say anything about my chair seat but she she grew up in the saddle seat world and I know they ride a bit different than dressage but I'm just not sure how much of that may contribute to the different positions and teachings etc? Or maybe not?
Oh, I just read that there was an instructor instructing you...yeah, I would be searching for a different instructor.

I rode saddle seat and won't place the blame there, as you can ride technically correct in the saddle seat world, while a horse is high-stepping beneath you. I can go between a saddle seat horse and my jumper, and adjust myself accordingly. My hands go from parallel to the high-necked saddle-seat horse's mouth to lower, in-line with my jumpers mouth. My legs adjust from the longer saddle-seat stirrups and flat seated cutback saddle, to my shorter-stirruped jump saddle.

If the instructor doesn't know how to differentiate and teach between these two different types of riding, there is a better instructor out there for you - to help you remember what you had learned before, and build from there.
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post #7 of 14 Old 08-31-2020, 12:36 PM
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Don't feel bad. work on finding a better stirrup length; shorter.


That horse obviously has a history of resisting contact, and no doubt it has had enough of it at the hands of learning riders that it not surprising that it braces against the hand.



Your hands will become quieter with shorter stirrups and your leg more under you.



You got some nice responses in the turns, and I think it is from your focus on the seat in the turn. I feel certain you have the makings of a good rider.
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post #8 of 14 Old 08-31-2020, 01:03 PM
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I think some of the contact issues would resolve themselves better if the horse were more forward. I'd worry less about what's happening in front and get that horse moving. He's stepping short in behind and not really trotting well for you. Though it looks like you're in a tight space so getting good forward movement may be a bit challenging.

With one of the horses I'm riding right now, a green guy who has some issues with either bracing against contact or sucking behind it... I just pretend he doesn't have a head, for the most part. And by that I mean I keep a very soft, following hand and do as little as possible with the reins. And I think instead about getting him moving. Forwardness will lead to more straightness, straightness will lead to better contact. Big gentle turns also help them to reach into the reins a bit better, as long as you're soft and keep them MOVING through the turn. But yeah, more from that horse's behind, less focus on what's happening up front.
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post #9 of 14 Old 08-31-2020, 01:25 PM
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You have practically all my equitation faults, congratulations!

Some things which are helping me to get over them:

Think of riding as if you had no lower legs. "Riding with stubby legs" is what Sally Swift (the book 'Centered Riding', highly recommended) calls it. I think of pointing my kneecaps at the ground, and making my thighs as long as I can. My lower legs are just hanging there against my horse. These two things have enormously helped my chair seat.

As for your hands ... I call it 'pushing the stroller'. I had to clamp my elbows to my sides in order to make myself stop doing this. One of the reasons your horse is fighting contact is that your hands are all over the place, she has no place to rest. My teacher tells me "carry your hands". Sally Swift says "hold a little bird in each hand, facing each other". Your thumbs should point up, which they will automatically if your elbows are at your sides.

My homework this week is to hold my hands STILL. Elbows at sides, wrists in line with my lower arm bones, and STILL. I can do this without contact but I still can't do it consistently with contact. When I do, though, guess what? My horse comes right on the bit with a beautiful arch in her neck. Which she has never done before. And now I know why!

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post #10 of 14 Old 08-31-2020, 02:08 PM
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quote horselovingguy
" Saddle seat riders do sit in that "chair seat" appearances with rock steady arms extended out in front of them high, but also realize that ASB, saddle seat horses have longer neck appearances and in reality they have long necks over other breeds."

I am taking lessons from a dressage trainer in a dressage saddle but my horse is a Saddlebred. They do have very long high necks. I remember the first time I rode Arago, so much in front of me with that high curved neck it was like riding a black swan.
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