Help! My equitation is horrible - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 28 Old 02-21-2019, 12:08 AM Thread Starter
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Help! My equitation is horrible

I haven't seen videos of myself riding in a long long long time, nor had a lesson in at least 3 years. Everyone around me says I'm a really good rider, so I just assumed I was fine and went with it. One of my friends offered to take a video of me riding because I mentioned that the horse felt to be a little bit off at the trot. So she did. Can't figure out whats wrong with the horse so I got off him and put him away. I assume its his thrush that I've been treating.

But the videos, oh god the videos. My equitation is HORRIBLE. Total trainwreck. Like why on earth are people having me ride their horses for them? My lower leg is out of control, just flapping in the breeze. My hands move every time I do the rising trot. My left heel is sneaking up frequently. I'm wholeheartedly embarrassed by how I'm riding in these videos... I don't even want to post them. But, for the sake of learning and getting better till I can afford lessons... critique and advice is very much appreciated. I already know I look like crap. I thought my heels were down. I was trying to keep my lower leg on and I thought I was doing a good job.. guess not.

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post #2 of 28 Old 02-22-2019, 09:44 AM
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He is goose-stepping in the back. (Flattening Out his foot for a period, then lowering it)

Your hands are my only crit. Work on loosening your shoulders and elbows so they donít move up and down with your body. There is no need to hold them so wide, either.
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post #3 of 28 Old 02-22-2019, 11:16 AM
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The reason your heels are going up is because you are not rising from your knees, but from the balls of your feet. If you want to really fix that, practice posting without stirrups. It's agony at first but boy will it help.

Short horse lover
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post #4 of 28 Old 02-22-2019, 11:31 AM
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I have found that when I have several issues to work on, it helps me to take 5 minutes each to concentrate on just one issue at a time, then put them all together. I do have difficulty multitasking and with focus, so that is how I have worked out for myself to improve. I work at it until I am not thinking about it.

I had trouble keeping heels down until I started stretching regularly on a step, dropping my heels while standing on the balls of my feet on the edge of the step. Doing this several times a day, it didn't take long for it to be natural when I was riding.
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Last edited by Whinnie; 02-22-2019 at 11:34 AM. Reason: to add
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post #5 of 28 Old 02-22-2019, 01:32 PM
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If you have a safe horse to work with, I recommend warming up stirrupless walk, rising trot and canter. I always do this with my personal horses and I find It helps muscle memory in the long run. Stirrupless work in general really helps tone the proper muscles for riding.

For your hands, I’m noticing a few things you could fix. Your hands need to be lifted and together. Your elbow also has the tendency to stiffen at times when you post ( causing your hands to come up and in opposition of the horse’s head movement).

Try hooking your index fingers under the pommel and keeping them there while you rise the trot, so you are able to feel how much your elbow needs to open and close.

Occasionally, I noticed your hands became uneven, although It was hard to tell in this video. I’ve used a crop under the thumbs in the past for this. You won’t be able to move one hand higher or lower than the other, but It is a good exercise for awarness on when hands get uneven and makes you steer with your seat and leg.
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post #6 of 28 Old 02-22-2019, 02:38 PM
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Don't knock on yourself so hard, I would give body parts to be able to ride that well. My right leg is partially paralyzed from being in the Marine Corps so certain muscles in it that control fine movement don't work correctly. You can't tell so much when I walk but you can definitely tell when I ride for a while as my right leg gets floppy. I have had to teach my horses to ignore things that aren't truly queues coming from that side and to keep there trots to a level at which I can sit them vs post them. It's great you want to ride better but don't forget to celebrate what you already do well.

Anything worth doing, is worth doing well.
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post #7 of 28 Old 02-22-2019, 04:05 PM
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this is not your horse, right? it seems that you are struggling to find your 'place' in that saddle. I think that it probably has a balance that is totally foreign to you. It looks like it might have a downward slope feel to it, and this is making your balance a bit tentative; struggling against a feeling of falling foward. Thus, your lower leg comes back, and your upper body has to be sort of 'held' back, which makes you stiff and then your hands are not independent.


I have found that some saddles are so different in balance, (and this can be due to stirrup bar placement, or the fit of the saddle making it oriented uphill or downhill) that my riding skill drops down several notches , just like that.


I had a lovely saddle that was SO comfy at the walk, was beautifully made. But, darn it all, I could not for the life of me post well in it. It turned our my friend, who is also fat like me, had the same issue. I figured out that the wide twist, which made it comfy to just sit in, pushed my knees outward, and made it hard for me to get up and over my knees for posting. I sold the saddle to a thinner person, who loved it.


so, the twist can also be a factor in how easily a person can adapt to any saddle.
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post #8 of 28 Old 02-22-2019, 06:52 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the feedback guys! I plan to reply to everyone individually when I’m home this weekend.

I did feel as though he was off behind while on him. Any ideas what causes this “goose stepping”? His owner and I are working diligently on the thrush. It was easily the worst case I’ve seen in years.

This is not my horse, I’m exercising him for a friend. He is quite lovely to ride, very safe. He’s still rude on the ground, but he’s getting better. I can definitely work on my position with him. The first time I got on him I was tickled by how fun it was to ride such a large horse (Hawk and the other horses I ride are all in the 14hh range). Hawk is too squirrely to ride without stirrups in my opinion, but I’ll practice the best I can with him as well.

The saddle has been mentioned as a possible issue. I’m thinking the gullet is too wide and plan to adjust it to MW vs the wide that is currently in it as I think it is changing the fit just enough to throw me off. It has a nice narrow twist and is supremely comfortable. I ride like this in all saddles, not just this one so I definitely think it’s my position more than the saddle itself causing the issue. It is new to me, bought I a few weeks ago right before Hawk got injured so I’ve barely ridden in it.

Im surprised most people are mentioning my hands as opposed to my floppy lower leg. I plan to actively work on all aspects of my riding. I really want to get better, I’ve definitely plateaued or even gotten worse while I’ve been in school this past year and a half. I’m finishing my internship in the next 8 weeks and will have tons of time to ride after that! Once I finish school I should be able to afford regular lessons, which I’m very much looking forward to!
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post #9 of 28 Old 02-22-2019, 08:46 PM
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Transitions between two-point/sitting/posting will improve the leg. Just two-point and over poles as well. Post with no stirrups, one stirrup, switch stirrups, ect. As someone mentioned, the post is a motion from the knee. Like your whole lower leg is nailed to the side of the horse with only the knee hinged. Don't try so hard to post, just let yourself get tossed up, then sit down gently. Use your core strength.

Seat exercises will also help. The lunge line is best, but you can do them alone on a solid horse. Leg swings, swinging forward and back from the hip. Don't move your butt, only the thigh and lower leg. Can do this at the walk and trot. Reins can be knotted for hands free, or in on hand and doing arm circles at the same time. Depends on the horse. Warning, the leg swings will hurt if you have tight hips.

To quiet the hands, hold onto the mane, saddle, neckstrap, ect, or push your pinkies into the mane. By having the hand anchored, you are forcing yourself to move the elbows and let the arms move as you rise the trot. Think about the reins ending at your elbows, not the hands. Use your elbows and shoulders more than the hands and wrists.
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post #10 of 28 Old 02-23-2019, 10:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SKB1994 View Post
Thanks for all the feedback guys! I plan to reply to everyone individually when Iím home this weekend.

I did feel as though he was off behind while on him. Any ideas what causes this ďgoose steppingĒ? His owner and I are working diligently on the thrush. It was easily the worst case Iíve seen in years.

This is not my horse, Iím exercising him for a friend. He is quite lovely to ride, very safe. Heís still rude on the ground, but heís getting better. I can definitely work on my position with him. The first time I got on him I was tickled by how fun it was to ride such a large horse (Hawk and the other horses I ride are all in the 14hh range). Hawk is too squirrely to ride without stirrups in my opinion, but Iíll practice the best I can with him as well.

The saddle has been mentioned as a possible issue. Iím thinking the gullet is too wide and plan to adjust it to MW vs the wide that is currently in it as I think it is changing the fit just enough to throw me off. It has a nice narrow twist and is supremely comfortable. I ride like this in all saddles, not just this one so I definitely think itís my position more than the saddle itself causing the issue. It is new to me, bought I a few weeks ago right before Hawk got injured so Iíve barely ridden in it.

Im surprised most people are mentioning my hands as opposed to my floppy lower leg. I plan to actively work on all aspects of my riding. I really want to get better, Iíve definitely plateaued or even gotten worse while Iíve been in school this past year and a half. Iím finishing my internship in the next 8 weeks and will have tons of time to ride after that! Once I finish school I should be able to afford regular lessons, which Iím very much looking forward to!
I did not mention your legs because they are not that bad. You were not standing on your toes, swinging them, nor had them shoved in front of you. They looked relaxed. That (to me) is better than an ďobviously shoved downĒ heel. Not for hunt seat, but for someone riding in a dressage saddle.....

I don't break horses, I FIX them!
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