Equitation is extremely important if you're riding in an equitation class at a show. Otherwise, it is very rigid and forced and almost, incorrect for lack of a better word. I see a relaxed quiet rider. Your legs are not flapping, you're moving them. Look at some of the top riders in different disciplines, it's not about proper equitation it's about effective riding. Equitation carries over but there's way too much of a focus on it, great early on but then I think because these things are drilled into our head we place too much importance on them. They are fundamentals, but fundamentals can be tweaked to suit situations. For example, I had a trainer specifically tell me to hold my hands far apart on my green mare, a trick that she had found very helpful in many years of training green horses. Are you happy and the horse happy? Great! Step up- is your riding quiet and effective and the horse moving responsively and carrying itself properly? Also great! Unfortunately hunter/jumpers as an in general is way more about "looking pretty" then proper riding. You can't jump a 5 foot fence without knowing how to *really* ride, but unfortunately a lot of that is lost in the lower levels. I'm not surprised you are surrounded by that, since that's where the focus comes from. I learned to ride in that style and regret it as I'm often too rigid and perched above the horse and have worked very hard to relearn *riding* vs *equitation*. Like I said watch the pros- if you want to do hunters, watch hunters of course! But also watch other disciplines, regardless of which you want to focus on. If you become a good rider it's easier to tweak a specific body part later on- hey my legs are moving a lot, I'll focus on keeping them quiet! Jumping too, most of what you're watching is actual jumping in those disciplines, you aren't jumping, a longer stirrup effects how your leg sits. Lots of things to keep in mind.
My equitation is horrible. I won't ever win a class. But I can ride green and difficult horses in lots of different situations and put training rides on other peoples show horses. I've had jobs riding horses. I'll never be asked to finish a show horse, but that's fine with me. Lots better then looking pretty and just sitting there. I always think of polo players as the best example, horrible equitation but boy can those folks ride!
There's stuff you can work on, there's stuff EVERYONE can work on. And lessons are great but don't be too hard on yourself. Take them when you can and just keep on riding lots and lots of different horses. And do get a video or a critique from an experienced friend, it's always good to have something in mind to work on with or without an instructor.
Oh and do keep on posting here too! It helps us all learn!
Last edited by Yogiwick; 02-26-2019 at 06:37 PM.