Flatwork Critique - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 01-26-2015, 12:01 AM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Jan 2012
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Flatwork Critique

I know, not quite as interesting as a jumping critique , but I haven't been able to have lessons since August and my riding has been somewhat sporadic so I haven't been doing a lot of jumping. I know that Navigator and I have a lot of problems, but I'd love to get some feedback from people who are knowledgeable since I don't have anyone watching me ride here. Hopefully I'll get to start lessons again in June when I move, but for now this is the best I can do.

I've been working on getting him to lighten up on the forehand since he is very heavy, and bending correctly, since he tends to not want to bend to the left - partly from how I sit, I believe.

Anyway, here is the video, and I'll also include a few screenshots. The one thing I really noticed was that my toes point out, heels go up, and I think I'm pinching with my knee. It's worse at canter, but still noticeable at trot.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Zxu...ature=youtu.be











I would love any critique/comments I can get! Like I said, I don't have any eyes on the ground at the moment, and this is the next best thing I think I can do for now.

Also, sorry for the sun, I know it is kind of hard to see when I go into that corner...
NavigatorsMom is offline  
post #2 of 7 Old 01-26-2015, 12:53 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2011
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I'd suggest working on a more following hand, and transitions with more leg and a good timed half halt.

He seems uncomfortable with the contact with the way it's established right now. Instead of trapping him with a shorter rein, use that elbow and maybe even give him more rein and encourage him to take up the contact himself through correct bend within various figures (half circles, serpentines, and figure eights) or even a small loop from the rail and leg yield back to it.

You seem quite balanced but I feel if you fix the tension within your hands, then you will be more relaxed down your leg.
Your leg is pretty good, but I do see some pinching though it's not as bad as you made it sound. You need to pretend little elves are dangling from your ankles, pulling them down. Or roots. Whatever imagery works for you that makes you think about stretching into your heel not curling up.

Not bad. You and your horse are lovely together.

"Strength is the ability to use a muscle without tension"
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post #3 of 7 Old 01-26-2015, 12:55 AM
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Another pointer is once he's put together, even for a second, do a straight line for a few strides then go back to a soft bend. Mix it up by your horse's reactions to what you're asking of him.

And lots of long stretchy walk breaks, especially after he gives you a glimpse of what you're after

"Strength is the ability to use a muscle without tension"
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post #4 of 7 Old 01-26-2015, 01:44 AM
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I'd love to have your seat! you sit very nicely, have a really nice , long draping leg ( a bit too long, perhaps), and are very "sympathetic" in how well you follow the motions and absorb some of the rough transitions. you are very easy on your horse, and he appreciates that. I can see that he did better going right than left, which might have been a product of having warmed up more. he looked a bit 'trippy' at first, and I saw some instances where he appeared to lean on the nice steady and sympathetic hand you offered.

that's a bit of the problem. you are getting some nice forward, and getting along nicely with him and everyone's having a good time. but, the next thing is asking him to put his head in the game a bit more.

to me, that means, not just fall forward, STEP forward. not just back up, back up with energy and thinking, not just canter, but canter with spring.

now, I always have to preface these things with a disclaimer; I can't ride nearly as well as you. not nearly. But, I can see that as Sky said, you need to start putting in more half halts, once he is wamed up, and ask him to soften, not lean on that reain, and step up and carry his own head, and be resonsible for his front feet.

to do that, you need a bit more anchoring in your core. shorten your stirrup one noch. still a long leg, but NO toe pointing down fishing. your stirrup, while not something to stand on, does serve a purpose to help you keep a bit of bend in your leg, and this helps you to have more adhesive surface and a better centering in your core to counter the forward pull of the horse. it will also dampen a bit of the very slight "pumping" I see when you are trying to shove him forward a bit. SUCK him forward, with your core.

and be relentless in keeping your thumbs on top. it matters.
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post #5 of 7 Old 01-28-2015, 03:06 PM
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First of all you have good balance and harmony. Your position is good but I think if you shorten your stirrups at least one, maybe two holes it will solve a couple of minor errors for you. One is that in canter especially you are going too far forward with your upper body. Try and sit upright when you are doing flatwork, this will give you a better base to get your horse to lift up in front. Having a shorter stirrup will mean that you are not reaching for it, which is also tipping you a bit forward.
In walk and canter your horse needs to stretch his head and neck every stride. You first of all need to get more contact on your horses bit and try and vibrate the rein to ask him to come into a head position that is just in front of the vertical. At the moment the head and neck are too long. This can be explained by the beginning of the video where you asked for canter but got the wrong lead. The reason I think was that there was no contact in front so the horse decided which lead to strike off on. When you are in walk and canter, with the head and neck in the right place, your hands should follow the horses mouth as it moves, try not to fix your hands. Try and mark out a rectangular arena if you can.
I hope that this helps a bit, you are a very sympathetic rider that will go places but you just need to make your horse work a bit more :)
At the moment you are doing the work and the horse is doing the thinking, you need to change it so that the horse is doing the work and you are doing the thinking :)

What I know about horses would fill a book, and what I don't know would fill a library..............
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post #6 of 7 Old 01-29-2015, 07:13 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks all! I took my stirrups up a hole on my last ride and it did seem to help :)

Unfortunately I don't regularly have anyone to film me, so I won't be able to get anything to watch and compare to, but I did feel a difference with the shortened stirrups and at one point we had a really nice, lifted canter on his good lead for about once around our circle - so I suppose that's improvement!

I'll have to do some work on strengthening him and getting him more fit so he's able to carry himself more. I know that I am doing most of the work - you all said it and that's also something my old trainer helped me realize!

Thank you again for the tips, I'll keep working on it and see if I can get some more video soon so I can compare.
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post #7 of 7 Old 01-30-2015, 06:44 AM
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Well done ! Don't worry too much about the videos not being taken often. The main thing is that you FELT the difference. Try to remember that feeling and strive for it in each session. Always reward your horse for good work. When you are riding always think about the quality of the gait you are in. So for instance if you are in trot, can you go forward to canter or forward to walk just as easily. That will give you a clue as to how good the trot is.
On this site people often say things like 'going back to walk' from trot etc.. This is incorrect. Always remember that you are always going 'forward' to everything you do. You never go 'back' to anything. Even in rein back, the first aid we give is with our legs to push the horse forward, then we close our fingers around the rein to stop the horse from moving forward, so the horse then moves backwards.
Enjoy, that's the main thing, and the better your horse is trained, the longer and healthier life they will have.

What I know about horses would fill a book, and what I don't know would fill a library..............
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