Riding Critique - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 07-26-2017, 02:15 PM Thread Starter
Foal
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
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Riding Critique

Yes, we all can always use some constructive critisium. That's what I am looking for. I recently got back from having a broken arm, and after 4 months of not riding, I am pretty out of shape. All pointers are welcome.

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post #2 of 7 Old 07-27-2017, 10:03 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2016
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Your hands are everywhere! And way way too low. Bring back your shoulders, bend at the elbow and pick up and off your hands. I'm sure actually riding with more leg and less hand will make your broken arm feel better too!

Equestrian wife with a horsey husband.
Owner of a wonderful APHA gelding.
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post #3 of 7 Old 07-27-2017, 10:48 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2017
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Is this your horse? If so, I would first take the standing martingale off, and replace with a running if need be.
From that / Your reins to short, it looks like he's reacting by holding his head sky high against being crammed into position.
You can see when you go back to walk, and loosen up he wants to relax and stretch out.

I would focus on working on your hands, loosening your reins and using your body to slow him down, get comfortable having steady hands, using your elbows as a hinge to move with him not against him. Think of it as a constant give and take, when you take you follow with release.
In the canter, you don't want to be holding his mouth, to slow him down try sit up straighter and using your body/seat make him use himself correctly, then you should find you don't need to be hanging onto him with your hands at all.
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post #4 of 7 Old 07-27-2017, 11:47 PM
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Take what I say with a pinch of salt, I'm not an instructor.

I don't think your hands are everywhere and I don't really see you hanging onto his mouth either. I dont really think your reins are all too short, if your hands were in the correct position, I think the reins would be of OK length.

I do see your hands too low. Try and keep a straight line from the elbow to the bit. I am also not seeing a good consistent contact. Everytime your horse thinks about lowering its head, it is getting kind of bumped in the mouth. I don't like seeing the the reins go from slack. to tight, to slack, to tight. And it's not that your hands are everywhere (as I don't think they are) I think it is because your hands are planted. They AREN'T moving. They aren't following the horse's movement at all.

I would work on creating a "rubberband" contact. And please dont feel bad you aren't there yet. It is REALLY difficult to learn proper contact. But once you do... once you FEEL it.... It is something you will likely not forget. Just practice keeping your hands in the correct position and unlocking your elbows. Practice following the horse with your hands. Once you are no longer bumping her in the mouth, she will more likely be more willing to start relaxing and stretching down at the trot.

The rest of your eq is quite lovely. I think for 4 months no riding, you started back in a good spot. :)
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post #5 of 7 Old 07-27-2017, 11:55 PM
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Your horse looks very tense throughout most of this. I can't tell if it's your influence on him (or her?), his influence on you, or some other factor. He seems to have a lot of nervous energy, but actually watching his feet, he's not close to tracking up at the trot, so he's not actually putting that energy into truly forward movement. It was interesting to see how much he stretched down after the canter -- looked like a different horse. I think his way of going and your way of riding may be creating a bit of a feedback loop. Does he go that head-high and stiffly with other riders? Does his tack all fit correctly?

I suspect you were riding with intentionally low hands to try to bring his head down, but sometimes it's better to raise your hands somewhat on a high-headed horse so they don't get above you. I also saw tight knees and gripping thighs, which is contributing to your lower leg being forward and not as stable as it could be. The too-far-forward legs are also causing you to ride off the back of your leg instead of the inside. These are common errors and are not that exaggerated in your riding compared to some -- but, if this horse is sensitive, he might be tensing up in response to the gripping. Much more inside leg support on the turns would definitely help; he was falling in and at times was almost bent to the outside. I don't know what style of riding you do, but your seat was very forward and out of the saddle for your trot and canter. I would want to see you sitting more vertically, with your back softer and your seat deep. You have a little too much arch in your back and your seat bones are out behind you instead of underneath you and going with the motion. And instead of leaning forward for your upwards transitions, I would want to see you sitting deeper and using your legs, seat and core to ask for the change of gait. Even if you do ride in a discipline that requires a lot of two point or forward seat, I still think it's important to start your riding with a fully engaged seat before adding those variations. Stirrup-less work at the trot with your legs hanging LOOSE from the hip -- not with a forced-down heel, and concentrating on NOT gripping inwards in the thighs and knees -- would probably help a lot.

That said, you look quite good for coming back after a long break! I've spent the past two YEARS working my way back into shape after a 15 year hiatus. It is HARD! The brain knows what to do but the body has other ideas...
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post #6 of 7 Old 07-28-2017, 01:12 AM
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The only riding critique I would give is to make sure your elbow is bent and that you are keeping your upper arms loosely by your side instead of pushed forward. As someone else mentioned, you are often breaking the line between your elbow and the bit. Your forearm and hand should be pointing toward the horse's mouth.

But I don't think the issue here is with the rider, but rather the horse is uncomfortable. I ride some horses with very high head and neck carriage, but this horse is not carrying himself naturally. He is far above a natural carriage. Something is bothering him, either saddle, bit, other tack or a body pain issue. Someone has put a standing martingale on him, which is putting a bandaid over a serious issue that needs to be investigated more. The horse does not run around in the field with his head like that, or if he does then something is seriously out of balance in his body.
So I think the biggest work that should be done is getting the horse moving comfortably and relaxed without a rider, and then figuring out how to get him moving the same with tack, and then with a rider.
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post #7 of 7 Old 07-28-2017, 04:42 PM
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There's something going wrong to make the horse go round like a roller skate with its nose in the air, braced against the martingale and hollow back - which is going to result in a big ouchy that requires a lot of visits from a chiro or equine physio/massage specialist.
You need to take a big step back and figure out what's going on to cause that - sore mouth maybe?


Get rid of the standing martingale - he's just leaning on it. For now replace it with a running martingale that adjusted correctly - just enough to not let him smack you in the face


I don't know if you'd be better riding a hole shorter - your lower leg is really loose so it moves around a lot which is sending mixed signals to the horse and stops you having any chance of riding him between your leg and hand
Your hands are really busy so they're niggling at his mouth which could be part of the reason why he's got his head in the air to avoid contact
Try loosening the neckstrap of the martingale and use it to hook your little fingers under to keep your hands lighter and steadier
The low hands are putting pressure on the bit in the wrong place - you can't pull his head down like that.
Raise your hands a little and try to use small circles and spirals to encourage him to lower his head
When you stopped working him and removed the contact he lowered his head and relaxed - that's the key to you fixing the problem - just calm everything down!!
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Just winging it is not a plan
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