Please critique our flatwork! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 18 Old 04-06-2015, 09:35 AM Thread Starter
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Location: Kent, UK
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Please critique our flatwork!

Right, I'm going to be brave and ask for some critique re our flatwork. I'm not the most talented rider when it comes to flatwork. I prefer to go out hacking and jump in my lessons and that's it!

Some pointers re my position (i.e me looking down, hands being too low and shoulders hunched in my body protector under my hoodie!) would really be appreciated. And some exercises to help me improve on this? And yes, his back polo wraps have slipped slightly where they got wet! I'd imagine if I get my position right, Bud will go right, he's pretty well behaved! I know it's just a picture, but just a starter for asking for critique!

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post #2 of 18 Old 04-07-2015, 11:15 PM
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For someone who doesn't like flat work, you're pretty good at it. You have a pretty nice connection with your horse going there. Your contact is good. Your hands could come up just a hair to get that straight line to the bit just right. You know about your shoulders so just consciously tell yourself every few strides to roll them back, do shoulder shrugs, turn your palms up, whatever helps to get the right muscle memory.

Your horse's ears show an attentive happy horse waiting for you next instruction. You're body is lined up well. Stirrups could stand to come up a hole, but it's not like you're losing them, so it's not a big deal. Since you jump, lot's of transitions within the gaits, forward/back, lengthen/collect, etc will keep him adjustable for fences. It also helps the hot ones become more attentive and the dull ones get the spring in the canter.
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You just have to see your distance...you don't have to like it.
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post #3 of 18 Old 04-08-2015, 01:56 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you I'll try putting my stirrups up a hole tonight and lift my hands and keep working on my shoulders!

Transitions within gaits and direct transitions are done to death for the first half hour of our lesson every other week to set him up for a fence (he tries to go to sleep in the flat bit and then gets REALLY hot when he's jumping!) so I'll keep on with them thank you
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post #4 of 18 Old 04-08-2015, 03:10 AM
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just raising the stirrups a hole, so you aren't 'fishing' for them will help a lot. looking good!
the horse has a bit of a feeling of being jammed back, into his neck. working on thinking of "pushing " him with your hand, rather than "pulling' him will encourage him to reach forward a bit, lift the base of his neck and not have such a look of being pulled back into himself.

this is where you really must have thumbs top and think of the tip of your bent thumb, which is holding down onto the rein, as a "laser" that is pointed directly at the horse's bit rings.
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post #5 of 18 Old 04-08-2015, 05:13 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you. :) So a little more like this?

This was on the approach to a jump about October time when we got caught in the rain! Again shoulders are hunched and my toes are sticking out but we'll get there! So lighter in my hand with thumbs on top and a little higher, shoulders back, push him forward more so his back "opens" a little more and stirrups up is what I'm getting. Oh and looking up. Anything else? I'll see if I can prop my phone on a jump wing or something to get a video. We tend to do a lot of riding alone!
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post #6 of 18 Old 04-08-2015, 09:23 AM Thread Starter
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I've found another flatwork photo! I don' have many unfortunately...



I'd really appreciate some harsh critique as I want to be the best I can be for his sake. Even if schooling makes me want to snooze!
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post #7 of 18 Old 04-08-2015, 10:18 AM
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In the above picture, the horse has dropped completely on the forehand. He looks to be lacking energy, and needs much more forwardness and impulsion. I can't actually tell what pace you are in... I think it might be canter?
It might be just when the picture was taken but it looks very flat and on the forehand.
Also your toes are pointing downwards and your heels have come up. The picture before that I liked much more, as it showed a willing horse, full of energy, and a well seated rider. And the horse can be forgiven for not being 'round' as she/he is approaching a jump.
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post #8 of 18 Old 04-08-2015, 11:03 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CandyCanes View Post
In the above picture, the horse has dropped completely on the forehand. He looks to be lacking energy, and needs much more forwardness and impulsion. I can't actually tell what pace you are in... I think it might be canter?
It might be just when the picture was taken but it looks very flat and on the forehand.
Also your toes are pointing downwards and your heels have come up. The picture before that I liked much more, as it showed a willing horse, full of energy, and a well seated rider. And the horse can be forgiven for not being 'round' as she/he is approaching a jump.
I think that was a canter to walk transition. Heels down taken on board!
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post #9 of 18 Old 04-08-2015, 11:02 PM
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I think you definitely need to sink down in your heel more, even if you are trying to use your leg-- in both pictures.

I'm not sure if how old your horse is, but he looks hollow in the back. He needs to come over his back and the rock then rocked on to his hind end. Remember: leg to hand, not hand to leg.

I love the other posts about shortening your stirrups! I would do more than a hole, as in the flat work it looks even too long for dressage, and in the photo where you are cantering the knee is below the knee roll, this will also help you sink into your heel and use your calf (which will help him lift his back too).

When you get on stand straight up in your stirrups, and push your weight down thru your heels, then sink in to two point. Hold the two point for at least 20 seconds! You can also try calf raises/heel lifts on the stairs. At the bottom step, stand with the ball of your foot on the ledge and the heel hanging off, drop your heels down below the step then lift them high above to build leg strength, or drop your heels and keep them there for at least 20 seconds to stretch the tendons.

You also look like you have a tendency of sitting behind the vertical, which usually happens when you are driving OR if you are behind the motion. Make sure you sit so that your heels, hips and shoulders are aligned. Tightening the core (and doing crunches or sit ups) will help.

Let me know what you think :)
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post #10 of 18 Old 04-08-2015, 11:20 PM
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Also, if you want the real deal when it coms to critiques-- post your photos on judgemyride.net! A professional clinician (the ones that REALLY REALLY know their stuff, seasoned in grand prix, and possibly thru international level I'm not sure) will critique you for free. You can post multiple photos at once, and they give you phenomenal advice! My trainer (who has brought 4 horses to the grand prix level) posted a picture of herself jumping 5ft and actually got really helpful feedback! They do everything from dressage, jumping, western pleasure, conformation etc. Check it out :)
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