Perched my phone on a barrel today, how was my ride? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 33 Old 01-12-2020, 08:23 PM Thread Starter
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Perched my phone on a barrel today, how was my ride?

I put my cell phone on a barrel in the arena today to see how I'm riding. There's a lot of parts where I'm out of the frame, I have no idea how to edit that out. But I'm attaching my video of my ride for critique, it's about a half hour long, so feel free to fast forward and move around. I did WTC, some leg yielding, attempts at shoulder in (which I don't think went well). Theres some of me messing around at the end with turns on the forehand, etc. I see really nagging legs (which I've struggled with for years). My horse is not on the bit or in any sort of frame for most of the ride. But his canter transitions have improved a lot in the last few weeks. And he was incredibly quiet given the wind howling outside the arena.

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post #2 of 33 Old 01-12-2020, 08:46 PM
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Thanks for posting this! It's always cool to see other posters here riding!

I did a quick skimming-through but will watch in more detail later. You look like a nice pair, and you look very comfortable together.

One thing that stood out immediately: yep, you're nagging with your legs, a bit in walk but a lot in trot. (Doesn't look like you are in canter, though!) There are times were you're squeezing and bumping and pumping every single stride. I see you don't carry a whip. Something to reconsider?? If your horse is getting bumped every stride, whether or not he's going the speed you want, he has zero incentive to actual maintain a gait, and will start to tune your legs out completely. To get over the nagging, and to get them lighter off your leg, you need a big GO followed by... absolutely nothing, so there's a release for actually going. I was riding a not-at-all forward horse for five months last year, and the best thing for him was to get REALLY REALLY big and firm (but quick!) with the forward asks early in the ride... and once he would do a decent trot, just take my legs off completely, loosen the reins completely, and ask absolutely nothing of him as long as he would GO. Good lightness training for him, and for me! Once he started getting the message I could take up contact again and work normally, but we did a bit of that every ride, all the same.

I think maybe in trot, the squeezing and bumping has become a habit as part of posting the trot? Like, it's just become automatic in a certain part of your post?
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post #3 of 33 Old 01-12-2020, 09:14 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by SteadyOn View Post
Thanks for posting this! It's always cool to see other posters here riding!

I did a quick skimming-through but will watch in more detail later. You look like a nice pair, and you look very comfortable together.

One thing that stood out immediately: yep, you're nagging with your legs, a bit in walk but a lot in trot. (Doesn't look like you are in canter, though!) There are times were you're squeezing and bumping and pumping every single stride. I see you don't carry a whip. Something to reconsider?? If your horse is getting bumped every stride, whether or not he's going the speed you want, he has zero incentive to actual maintain a gait, and will start to tune your legs out completely. To get over the nagging, and to get them lighter off your leg, you need a big GO followed by... absolutely nothing, so there's a release for actually going. I was riding a not-at-all forward horse for five months last year, and the best thing for him was to get REALLY REALLY big and firm (but quick!) with the forward asks early in the ride... and once he would do a decent trot, just take my legs off completely, loosen the reins completely, and ask absolutely nothing of him as long as he would GO. Good lightness training for him, and for me! Once he started getting the message I could take up contact again and work normally, but we did a bit of that every ride, all the same.

I think maybe in trot, the squeezing and bumping has become a habit as part of posting the trot? Like, it's just become automatic in a certain part of your post?
Thank you! I definitely need to employ my whip aid at the walk since he's prone to getting behind my leg. I did carry one initially and dropped it halfway through my ride since I didn't feel I needed it anymore.
I feel like I'm not trying to bump him when I'm posting, I think I just don't have good control of my lower legs at the rising trot. I don't seem to do it when I sit the trot. I should probably post without stirrups more, but he takes advantage of me not having stirrups and tends to dive into the middle of the ring or spin.
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post #4 of 33 Old 01-12-2020, 10:22 PM
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I think your best gait is the canter. Not many get told that, I assure you.


I thought you sat up nicely at the canter, and had a steady non-gripping nor nagging leg. Well done.


I agree that the trot shows some problems.
I could see at the walk that you sit with a bit more roll in your lower back than you would want. That puts you in a place were you are falling forward a little bit. You end up rising more than neccessary and having to use the swing in your lower leg to offset that motion. It is almost as if there is a slight uphill cant to your saddle, and it's putting you the tiniest bit behind the motion. Of course, if your darling horse is not giving much impulsion, that only makes it harder to post well.


I wonder how it would feel if you shortened your stirrups one notch, took out some of the arch in your lower back and tried really hard to keep your thumbs on top, and your elbow soft. Don't let that 'keep your chest up' translate into puffing it out, becuase that creates the curl in the lower back. Think more of raising YOUR poll (which would be where your neck joins your shoulders) upward, and dropping your elbows downward.


is there a reason you did not put the horse on the bit? He seemed willing to do that for you.
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post #5 of 33 Old 01-12-2020, 11:40 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by tinyliny View Post
I think your best gait is the canter. Not many get told that, I assure you.


I thought you sat up nicely at the canter, and had a steady non-gripping nor nagging leg. Well done.


I agree that the trot shows some problems.
I could see at the walk that you sit with a bit more roll in your lower back than you would want. That puts you in a place were you are falling forward a little bit. You end up rising more than neccessary and having to use the swing in your lower leg to offset that motion. It is almost as if there is a slight uphill cant to your saddle, and it's putting you the tiniest bit behind the motion. Of course, if your darling horse is not giving much impulsion, that only makes it harder to post well.


I wonder how it would feel if you shortened your stirrups one notch, took out some of the arch in your lower back and tried really hard to keep your thumbs on top, and your elbow soft. Don't let that 'keep your chest up' translate into puffing it out, becuase that creates the curl in the lower back. Think more of raising YOUR poll (which would be where your neck joins your shoulders) upward, and dropping your elbows downward.


is there a reason you did not put the horse on the bit? He seemed willing to do that for you.
I will take that as a compliment I think, since I know my trot work is a trainwreck. Last year I was far too braced in the canter and couldn't sit to it.

I have a bad habit of over-posting the trot, it started when I was trying to get him to move out from a western pleasure style jog, I never got out of the habit. I think its better when I'm consciously thinking about letting his movement push me up out of the saddle and bringing myself back down softly. He doesn't offer a lot of thrust like a fancy moving warmblood. I remember one glorious ride I had with him, it was windy and he was really "up", he was trotting with his neck arched and back up, snorting like a dragon. I felt like I was riding an entirely different horse, the power he was producing was amazing. I've never been able to reproduce it with him much to my dismay. I suppose I could try agitating him into it, but it doesn't seem fair at all to my sweet boy.

My saddle might be a touch too narrow, its got a genesis tree system and I've been messing with it a bit to try and get it just right, I'll adjust and reassess.

I just dropped my stirrups down a hole since I had been feeling decently stable. I was thinking that I should perhaps bring them back up again. I always think I'm doing well with my hands till I see myself on video. I might hold my whip horizontally across my thumbs to create muscle memory.

Last year I had been told I was riding too much with my hands and creating a false outline. I had been reading that feather light contact and letting the horse come to the bit on their own. He will go onto it with slightly heavier contact and a single half halt with the outside rein. I've been on the fence if I should be allowing him to find the contact and reach for the bit on his own, or if I should be creating it and then allowing him to stretch when he wants.
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post #6 of 33 Old 01-12-2020, 11:42 PM
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Canter right looked great at the beginning, then suddenly you appeared to pull his head up...not sure if that is what I saw because of the distance.

Your position could use some tweaking. First just sit in the saddle relaxed, feet out of stirrups.Then take hold of the front of the saddle and pull your pelvis forward and deep, so your thighs hang nearly straight down. Then put your feet in the stirrups, without changing your thighs, and slide your heel under your hips.

Next, lift your shoulders straight up, then relax them while rolling them back and down. (your shoulders are not bad, btw)

This is the correct position to be in.

Try to not wag your whole leg when posting, lower leg should be still, it is only to que not to rock.

So, your horse is cute, and seems to be an honest sort. He is trying to do as you ask, and offers to go deep and round, but you seem to pull his head back up, not sure why? When he offers to stretch down, give a bit with the inside hand and reward with a "good boy".

Overall, your hands were good, the horse is willing but put in awkward position.

The walk to canter transition was not bad, but you are startling him, as opposed to just stepping into canter. This is from the lack of a good half-halt, which should proceed any change of gait.

But, I see a ton of potential in you both. The horse has three good gaits, and you seem to be very much in touch with him.

Are you working with an instructor?
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post #7 of 33 Old 01-12-2020, 11:52 PM
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Just saw canter work near end...did you mean to try counter canter? Or were you wanting to change?

Counter canter needs to be on the same bend as if circling in the correct direction. Will need to have the correct bend before doing counter canter or shoulder in.

For changes, at your level, would suggest simple changes with trot for 4 strides.
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post #8 of 33 Old 01-13-2020, 12:10 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnitaAnne View Post
Canter right looked great at the beginning, then suddenly you appeared to pull his head up...not sure if that is what I saw because of the distance.

Your position could use some tweaking. First just sit in the saddle relaxed, feet out of stirrups.Then take hold of the front of the saddle and pull your pelvis forward and deep, so your thighs hang nearly straight down. Then put your feet in the stirrups, without changing your thighs, and slide your heel under your hips.

Next, lift your shoulders straight up, then relax them while rolling them back and down. (your shoulders are not bad, btw)

This is the correct position to be in.

Try to not wag your whole leg when posting, lower leg should be still, it is only to que not to rock.

So, your horse is cute, and seems to be an honest sort. He is trying to do as you ask, and offers to go deep and round, but you seem to pull his head back up, not sure why? When he offers to stretch down, give a bit with the inside hand and reward with a "good boy".

Overall, your hands were good, the horse is willing but put in awkward position.

The walk to canter transition was not bad, but you are startling him, as opposed to just stepping into canter. This is from the lack of a good half-halt, which should proceed any change of gait.

But, I see a ton of potential in you both. The horse has three good gaits, and you seem to be very much in touch with him.

Are you working with an instructor?
I think what you were seeing was me trying to pick up his inside shoulder at the canter, he gets nice and deep, but will get heavy and dive into the circle, or at least thats what it feels like while sitting on him. I like letting him stretch, but we were going through a phase of him rooting and then throwing his head back up to avoid the contact altogether, so I'm trying to maintain a neutral carriage.

I've been trying to sit on my seat bones, it feels unnatural but thats what one of my friends at the barn (who's more experienced) says I should do. I feel much more natural more rocked forward more onto my pubic bone, but it causes me to tip forward. Which is correct?

He's a very good boy with a fantastic work ethic, he's a bit on the anxious side, so I'm often combating that. I will try half halting before asking for the canter. For a while it seemed like the half halt confused him and made him anxious, like I was telling him stop then go too quickly. No matter how I cue for canter I seem to startle him, I usually say the word canter and will bump him a couple times with my legs to create energy a few strides before cueing for the canter so he's more prepared, but I still get a similar transition.

I work with an instructor as often as I can, which is not nearly as often as I like.
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post #9 of 33 Old 01-13-2020, 12:15 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by AnitaAnne View Post
Just saw canter work near end...did you mean to try counter canter? Or were you wanting to change?

Counter canter needs to be on the same bend as if circling in the correct direction. Will need to have the correct bend before doing counter canter or shoulder in.

For changes, at your level, would suggest simple changes with trot for 4 strides.
Yes the counter canter is intentional, he has no idea how to do a flying change. It seems to really loosen him up and get him feeling good. I've been trying not to interfere with his face too much to create bend or a frame, but he is certainly capable of bending while in the counter canter.

I've all but abandoned the idea of getting a flying change, I'm coming up on 8 years of owning him and gotten maybe 4 ever. I don't practice simple changes all that often either, he gets anxious and runs through my hands and its honestly a trainwreck.
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post #10 of 33 Old 01-13-2020, 08:56 AM
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Originally Posted by SKB1994 View Post
I've been trying to sit on my seat bones, it feels unnatural but thats what one of my friends at the barn (who's more experienced) says I should do. I feel much more natural more rocked forward more onto my pubic bone, but it causes me to tip forward. Which is correct?
The image at the far right shows the correct seat position for dressage. Check out how totally different all the angles become! It's pretty cool.

I find it helpful to not think so much of sitting on my seatbones, but of using my lower abs to lift the front of my pelvis. You also want your lower back fairly flat -- which will happen with your abs engaged and the font of your pelvis lifted.
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