Perched my phone on a barrel today, how was my ride? - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 33 Old 01-13-2020, 10:10 AM
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Originally Posted by SKB1994 View Post
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.
Looking again, I think part of what's happening is that you're riding off the back of your lower leg instead of the backs of your thighs and the inside of your calves, in trot. This happens because of a chain of events:

Tight hips + rolling forward onto the pubic bone = knees and toes turn out
With the toes turned out, the strongest part of the leg -- and the part most available to you to use -- is the back of the lower leg.
With the pelvis rolling forward, your abs aren't engaged and aren't helping you the way they should in rising, and the back of your thighs aren't as available to you either.
So instead of getting the lift from your abs and the backs (not the insides, but the backs!) of your thighs, your using the back of your lower legs to squeeze in and thrust you up for the rise.

You can fix a LOT of this with no stirrups work. If you're worried about him spinning or losing his steering... just don't steer him. Let him go wherever as long as he's trotting. Get a grab strap for your saddle, or grab the pommel. One-hand the reins, and with the hand that's hanging on to the strap or pommel, work on pulling yourself into the saddle while keeping the front of your pelvis lifted, your thighs down and back, and everything below the knee completely loose and floppy. Carry a whip so you don't have to keep asking with your (relaxed!!!) lower leg.

(I've been through ALL of this and it's something I have to check in on with myself a lot!! My hips tighten and I start to slide back into fork seat if I don't do this regularly.)
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post #12 of 33 Old 01-13-2020, 04:47 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by SteadyOn View Post
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.
Would you consider me in upright seat currently then?

Should I be going through this step by step? Or trying to change directly to the final and correct position? I know dressage is based on building blocks and I donít want to skip steps.
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post #13 of 33 Old 01-13-2020, 04:57 PM
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Originally Posted by SKB1994 View Post
Would you consider me in upright seat currently then?

Should I be going through this step by step? Or trying to change directly to the final and correct position? I know dressage is based on building blocks and I donít want to skip steps.
Hmmm. I think maybe do whichever way feels right for you? Personally I think I'd be aiming for the final image, but take the other ones as signs of progress if they do happen, rather than worrying that you still don't have it all nailed down!
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post #14 of 33 Old 01-13-2020, 05:10 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by SteadyOn View Post
Looking again, I think part of what's happening is that you're riding off the back of your lower leg instead of the backs of your thighs and the inside of your calves, in trot. This happens because of a chain of events:

Tight hips + rolling forward onto the pubic bone = knees and toes turn out
With the toes turned out, the strongest part of the leg -- and the part most available to you to use -- is the back of the lower leg.
With the pelvis rolling forward, your abs aren't engaged and aren't helping you the way they should in rising, and the back of your thighs aren't as available to you either.
So instead of getting the lift from your abs and the backs (not the insides, but the backs!) of your thighs, your using the back of your lower legs to squeeze in and thrust you up for the rise.

You can fix a LOT of this with no stirrups work. If you're worried about him spinning or losing his steering... just don't steer him. Let him go wherever as long as he's trotting. Get a grab strap for your saddle, or grab the pommel. One-hand the reins, and with the hand that's hanging on to the strap or pommel, work on pulling yourself into the saddle while keeping the front of your pelvis lifted, your thighs down and back, and everything below the knee completely loose and floppy. Carry a whip so you don't have to keep asking with your (relaxed!!!) lower leg.

(I've been through ALL of this and it's something I have to check in on with myself a lot!! My hips tighten and I start to slide back into fork seat if I don't do this regularly.)
Thank you for this explanation! I do struggle with tight hips, especially my right one, and often I need to ďpopĒ it in order to get it loose enough to ride.

Iím hesitant to use a whip aid without stirrups, since he reacts very dramatically to it and has been known to bolt, spin, or leap. However he goes very well off of voice, and I donít think I need a massive forward trot at the beginning of correcting my position?

Should I be trying to keep him on the bit while doing this? As we can see from the video he is happy to go around with his head up, which makes keeping a good position dramatically harder. Iíve been lunged without stirrups on him before with very loose side reins which I think helped a lot in giving him something to focus on (as opposed to spinning and running out) and having his back raised made it significantly easier on both of us. He is very soft and really only needs a slight suggestion to go onto the bit, but it would be unfair of me to be trying to manage having independent hands and seat at the same time. Would using side reins be totally inappropriate for stirrupless work? I want to be fair to him and not pull on his face, but also Iím not trying to eat dirt.
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post #15 of 33 Old 01-13-2020, 06:08 PM
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I've never heard anyone say to post off the rear of your thighs. H m m . . . I shall have to try posting and see how that feels.
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post #16 of 33 Old 01-13-2020, 07:44 PM
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I like your horse, he seems like a nice willing fella and you look good together.

there are others on here that have good advice, and know more than I do but I didn't see the whole tape just checked different spots and as far as the trot, I thought you are trying too hard and posting a little higher than you need. Is he rough at the trot?
I would not try to rise at the post but just relax my legs and hips and let the horse lift me up with his forward motion and see how that goes. If it feels uncomfortable maybe hang on to the pommel or get a strap (I have a strap on my saddle) so you can sit more balanced until you get the feel of his rhythm.

Keep up the good work with your lovely guy
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post #17 of 33 Old 01-13-2020, 08:44 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Woodhaven View Post
I like your horse, he seems like a nice willing fella and you look good together.

there are others on here that have good advice, and know more than I do but I didn't see the whole tape just checked different spots and as far as the trot, I thought you are trying too hard and posting a little higher than you need. Is he rough at the trot?
I would not try to rise at the post but just relax my legs and hips and let the horse lift me up with his forward motion and see how that goes. If it feels uncomfortable maybe hang on to the pommel or get a strap (I have a strap on my saddle) so you can sit more balanced until you get the feel of his rhythm.

Keep up the good work with your lovely guy
I think itís a bad habit posting too high. Heís pretty short strided (and just short at 14.3) so his gait is choppier than most horses. Heís definitely a more of back mover as opposed to a leg mover, so each stride creates a lot of motion. I do have a strap, not that I ever use it, when he acts silly Iím more inclined to grab mane.

I sometimes worry that Iím too tall for him, I have a longish torso and shorter legs, so I feel like we look odd at times. But he carries me easily which is more important than height alone.
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post #18 of 33 Old 01-13-2020, 11:57 PM
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Your size is fine, no worries.

You are sitting incorrectly, if you get into the position as I described, you will be sitting like the figure on the far right. You are currently sitting like the far left; back arched, sitting on the pelvic bones and leaning forward. This is not correct. You should be sitting straighter.

Posting is not up and forward; it is pelvis towards hands without moving shoulders. Low to the saddle.


I do not see much that you say is happening, especially with the horse going too fast. He is moving nicely, if a bit too slow at times.


Hands must be independent; the outside hand controls the impulsion, the inside hand controls the bend.


If the horse is not on the bit and rounded, it is not counter canter it is just cantering on the wrong lead. Counter canter is an exercise that leads to true straightness.


You should not need to "bump" the horse a few times before transition to canter. The transition needs to be smooth and think of stepping into canter. I use mainly my seat to lift the horse up into canter. It is really hard for me to explain, but the half halt is used for every transition. It means "prepare" so half halt/slide outside lower leg back, and use outside seat bone to lift into canter.

I think you are getting ahead of where the horse is in his training. First the horse needs to be freely moving forward. He does this ok, but I am picking up on a tenseness and worry in him. He looks worried and tense instead of forward and focused.


The horse needs to be solid on the outside rein for lateral work.


He seems most relaxed in canter, so I would use more canter to warm up instead of trot. Canter should be a nice bouncy, movement, not flat or fast.


Changes in speed within the gait would be a good exercise for you both. This can help you to control his speed and is a good way to develop engagement.

View some online videos of top riders, and study their position and legs aids. Keep in mind most upper level competitors will be on big moving horses.
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post #19 of 33 Old 01-14-2020, 01:20 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by AnitaAnne View Post
Your size is fine, no worries.

You are sitting incorrectly, if you get into the position as I described, you will be sitting like the figure on the far right. You are currently sitting like the far left; back arched, sitting on the pelvic bones and leaning forward. This is not correct. You should be sitting straighter.

Posting is not up and forward; it is pelvis towards hands without moving shoulders. Low to the saddle.


I do not see much that you say is happening, especially with the horse going too fast. He is moving nicely, if a bit too slow at times.


Hands must be independent; the outside hand controls the impulsion, the inside hand controls the bend.


If the horse is not on the bit and rounded, it is not counter canter it is just cantering on the wrong lead. Counter canter is an exercise that leads to true straightness.


You should not need to "bump" the horse a few times before transition to canter. The transition needs to be smooth and think of stepping into canter. I use mainly my seat to lift the horse up into canter. It is really hard for me to explain, but the half halt is used for every transition. It means "prepare" so half halt/slide outside lower leg back, and use outside seat bone to lift into canter.

I think you are getting ahead of where the horse is in his training. First the horse needs to be freely moving forward. He does this ok, but I am picking up on a tenseness and worry in him. He looks worried and tense instead of forward and focused.


The horse needs to be solid on the outside rein for lateral work.


He seems most relaxed in canter, so I would use more canter to warm up instead of trot. Canter should be a nice bouncy, movement, not flat or fast.


Changes in speed within the gait would be a good exercise for you both. This can help you to control his speed and is a good way to develop engagement.

View some online videos of top riders, and study their position and legs aids. Keep in mind most upper level competitors will be on big moving horses.
Thanks for this feedback! I will absolutely keep this in mind for correct counter canter. And I look forward to using the exercises you mentioned. He is a very very anxious horse, but does hide it well until it becomes all too much and he explodes. I am confident that this will improve as my riding improves under saddle. On the ground he is similarly anxious with daily handling due to herd boundness. It was windy and the horses outside were calling him. But this video shows him being far far quieter than he normally is. This was an exceptionally good day for him during the video.

He is going nicely, if not too slow, since I have my reins and stirrups. I will try and get a video of what he does if I lose either of those. He's quite a wiggly guy despite what the video shows, and does not stick to the rail or at a regular pace without some guidance (albeit little is needed). The trainer I work with is very surprised by the difference between me riding him (I've owned him nearly 8 years and know him like the back of my hand) vs another rider of similar skill level to me, as other riders cannot keep him straight.

In this particular arena when I am not steering but tracking left when we get to the area where the red box is (seen in the back left corner) he will always make a 135ļ turn and quickly beeline for the arena doors that are not in the frame but at the top right of the arena. He has a very strong draw to the doors, so without steering he will always beeline for the door and try to stop there. When I have my reins he will want to go to the doors but with just a feel of the outside rein will continue on the rail (which is imperceptible unless you're sitting on him). He's also prone to ignoring my left leg, so without stirrups to help me brace against him will still beeline for the door. I will do my best to get video of it for everyone.

I see that I've substituted the half halt with bumping as a "hey pay attention" before sliding my outside leg back to cue for the canter. He is good with the outside rein tracking right. Tracking left he would rather counter bend (as opposed to correct bend) and I struggle getting him on the left rein.

I can't even see most leg aids on upper level riders. I know they are supposed to be very subtle, so I'm thinking my eyes are also untrained to look for that level of subtlety.
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post #20 of 33 Old 01-14-2020, 04:59 PM
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Agreed that a more correct seat --think ears, shoulders,mid hip and back of heels in line if someone held a stick up beside you,,will help you overall. A correct seat isn't easy for a lot of us, it takes lots of practice and having someone else watching is very very helpful as it's difficult for the rider, who 'feel's like' they are correct when they're not. Ask me how I know.....For me, I felt like I was leaned too far back--recliner style, but my instructor said THAT was straight....obviously leaning a bit forward felt straight to me. I think if your shoulders were a bit more back, your seat would stay in the saddle at canter, I think I could see you coming up a bit with each stride.

As to the lower leg at the posting trot....agreed that a more correct seat will help but I wonder if you are pushing from your feet to rise to the trot....? that will cause the foot to push out with every post, which is what it looked like to me. As said, you want quiet and still lower legs unless you are actively cue-ing. Let the horse's impulsion start the lift out of the saddle and you only need to add a tiny bit of effort and hold yourself , then softly go back down. Think of your knees as the hinges that your upper body is moving from, but don't let that cause you to squeeze or push with/from your knees. Imagery helped me 'get' posting and keeping a quiet lower leg. You were in good timing with his trot, and on the correct diagonals,,good job changing diagonals as you were about to change direction each time.

I also don't think any 'bumps' are needed to ask for canter....the exception would be a very unwilling horse, but that's not ideal. Outside leg slightly back, outside shoulder also very slightly back,look forward and think 'canter' to bring up the energy in your own body --he can feel your intention, , squeeze-don't bump' with both calves, maybe just a bit of heel pressure also, kissing cue or verbal 'can-ter', you know what it feels like when you are on a swing and just as you and the swing start the forward motion from the highest back position? think of that feeling in your core and seat as you ask.

Hope some of that is helpful.

Stay safe. Have fun. Keep us updated on your progress.
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Respect......rapport......impulsion......flexion.. .
Be as soft as possible, but as firm as necessary--Pat Parelli
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