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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I had my 4th lesson today. I have watched a lot of lessons and have a lot of theory, but am just now getting to put that theory to practice. Today I was working on posting on the correct diagonal, getting the correct leads when loping, and leg yields. I love this horse. He makes me laugh so hard. He is always thinking, especially when ropes are concerned. He will sit there and nibble and toss his head and try to undo the rope, when he gets it undone, he walks about 10 feet away and stands there. He's an extremely mellow horse, yet he makes the riders ride and work.

Please remember that I am a relatively new rider, (and don't comment on my size because I'm already self conscious enough about that).

A note on the stirrups--today I felt like my feet were slipping in them so we decided to raise them a little today to see if that helped. It seemed to, but now I feel it in my knees. I may try my daughter's saddle next time to see if I get a better fit.

Things I find myself struggling with: reins. I can't figure out how to hold them correctly. I'm also struggling on leg placement. We're working on that.



(Wrong diagonal)




and, the halter I made a couple of weeks ago

 

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No time for critique, but even if I did, everything will be fixed with more time in the saddle.
But wow, you look awesome for your fourth lesson!
:]
 

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hold them with one hand. Your doing it the english way by holding the reins like your riding english :)
Its okay to do that but I suggest holding with one hand and one hand behind your back.. I know what you mean about the leg issue I have that problem with it going way to far back just place it underneath you in front of the leg... Anyways you look good for your 4th lesson :)
More lessons will help you with your leg issue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
hold them with one hand. Your doing it the english way by holding the reins like your riding english :)
Its okay to do that but I suggest holding with one hand and one hand behind your back.. I know what you mean about the leg issue I have that problem with it going way to far back just place it underneath you in front of the leg... Anyways you look good for your 4th lesson :)
More lessons will help you with your leg issue.
My instructor wants me to use both hands. I trust her, she's good at what she does, so I'll stick with what she wants me to do. I know she's explained to me once why she wants me to use 2 hands, but I'll ask again at the next lesson.
 

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I think you look FANTASTIC for your fourth lesson, and the expression on your face is so awesome, looks like you're really enjoying yourself! (Especially in the wrong diagonal picture). I would say keep your shoulders square and back a little more, but that's the best I can do for western critiquing :)
 

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I would try to put my legs a bit more forward... But you are doing an amazing job!
 

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Heels down will fix alot of your questions and your knees won't take so much of the brunt if your heels are down but right now your toes are down. Also, if your heels are down you will be able to wrap your legs around barrel better and you may find your stirrups are still too long at that point.
 

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Put your legs a little more forward, by the cinch. Put all your weight into your heels so your toes are pointed up and your heels down.
But for your fourth lesson you're looking good! Keep at it :]
 

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Also an added thing about the reins, try to point your thumbs up, so your not holding your fists flat. If your hands so that your thumbs are pointed upwards then you will have a better hold on the reins I think.
 

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I think the biggest issue right now is that the saddle does not fit you. This unfortunately compromises your position quite a bit, which otherwise would be naturally quite good.
 

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I think the biggest issue right now is that the saddle does not fit you. This unfortunately compromises your position quite a bit, which otherwise would be naturally quite good.
Agreed 100%. What size saddle is that? To measure yourself for a western saddle, the rule of thumb that I was taught that you should be able to fit 2-3 fingers flat on the set between your thigh and the pommel. FWIW, I am a larger rider and feel most comfortable in a 17 inch saddle, although I have ridden in many 16 inch saddles and find that my seat size can change with the brand. Judging on the photo alone, I would definitely ask your instructor for a larger saddle. And a word of advice? I assume that the horse in the photo isn't yours? If that's correct, don't buy a saddle to just fit yourself - wait till you have a horse to fit it to :) I've made that (costly) mistake, and borrowing saddles until you have a horse is the way to go (imo). Good luck with your lessons - you look fantastic so far!
 

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My instructor wants me to use both hands. I trust her, she's good at what she does, so I'll stick with what she wants me to do. I know she's explained to me once why she wants me to use 2 hands, but I'll ask again at the next lesson.

There is no wrong or right way to hold your reins in western, if your horse cant neck rein you cant for the love of god expect to only use one hand.

In horsemanship classes I see both types of holding the reins.

And finally, because hands or such a sourse of balance for beginners, many trainers start their riders with both hands, just so they feel more secure until they are advanced enough, or confident enough to use only one hand.

My critique: Just put your leg forward, and if your boot is slipping, try making your boot bottom have a little more trackion by taking sand paper to it, or using a fork to make this # pattern. It gives a lot more grip. Other than that, everything else has pretty much been covered. Just remeber to have fun!
 

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I agree with Mercedes. You look like quite the natural! the saddle is just a bit too small. I'm not a western rider so I can't tell you what size would be appropriate but maybe a western rider can.

You really should NOT be self conscious about your size. You are a great size for that horse! The horse industry is filled with sticks. So I can understand (I'm about your size, just shorter).

You are a really good rider. I would not have guessed that this was only your fourth lesson!

Great job!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
She has a couple of bigger saddles, but they don't fit this horse very well. I know that I'll be done with this horse soon, and move on to a different horse that is better at leg yeilds and side passes. Trigger is the starter horse. I have to get fender hobbles for my daughter's saddle, then I'll try hers. I'll have to measure that one to see how big it is.

I appreciate the feedback. I was expecting more things wrong. I sure have fun riding that horse. His lope is like a rocking horse, you hardly know you're going that fast because he's so smooth.
 

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judging by your photos and i will take into consideration you are a new rider. i think you are doing great. it's nice to see a smile as well =)

one thing that does get me though is the bit. i would much prefer to see a new rider with a snaffle until they and keep a steady hand. i agree with your instructor about using both hands to begin with. and again this would be better learnt in a snaffle bit. always remember thumbs on top this will also help you to keep your elbows in.

the saddle is small for you, if the bigger saddles don't fit this horse maybe ask to ride a horse that it does fit. as for your stirrup length. once you are a little more comfortable, take then down 1 hole. then then when that is comfortable, down another. this will make putting your heals down a lot easier.
 

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Like everyone else has said, you look fantastic for being such a new rider :]

You seem to be pinching quite a bit with your knees, but like said before, that might have a lot to do with saddle fit. Just be sure you really stretch your heels down and put your weight into them instead of holding on with your knees ;]
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
judging by your photos and i will take into consideration you are a new rider. i think you are doing great. it's nice to see a smile as well =)

one thing that does get me though is the bit. i would much prefer to see a new rider with a snaffle until they and keep a steady hand. i agree with your instructor about using both hands to begin with. and again this would be better learnt in a snaffle bit. always remember thumbs on top this will also help you to keep your elbows in.

the saddle is small for you, if the bigger saddles don't fit this horse maybe ask to ride a horse that it does fit. as for your stirrup length. once you are a little more comfortable, take then down 1 hole. then then when that is comfortable, down another. this will make putting your heals down a lot easier.
This bit is an Argentine snaffle (I think that's what it's called). It has the joint like a snaffle but the shanks too. Truthfully, you don't need anything with this horse because he's very responsive to cues. The word Whoa and a heavy seat and he's planting his feet. I can tell today that the stirrups were too short because I really feel it in my legs. I'll experiment next lesson with the length.

My dad looked at pictures today and said the same things you guys have...stirrups too short, saddle too small, heels down where they belong (he's blunt). He told me to get off my rear and get my daughter's saddle fixed because it will fit that horse and me better than the one I used. I found a place to do new fleece on her saddle so this week I'll go take care of it.

She talked to me several times about my thumbs too. I'd do really good with that until I had to think about something else and then I'd forget. I can't believe how much thinking I do when I'm riding. My head is spinning by the time I'm done with new information and trying to put it all together. The thumbs...sheesh, I kept messing that up. Someday I'll get it. When my daughter rides she uses one hand and neck reins, but with the right rider and this horse you can get him to turn by barely lifting the off side rein just a tad and using leg pressure. He's pretty responsive to the leg cues. For some reason she doesn't have the adult riders use one rein much. She works the kids out of that as they get older too.
 

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This bit is an Argentine snaffle (I think that's what it's called). It has the joint like a snaffle but the shanks too. Truthfully, you don't need anything with this horse because he's very responsive to cues. The word Whoa and a heavy seat and he's planting his feet. I can tell today that the stirrups were too short because I really feel it in my legs. I'll experiment next lesson with the length.

sorry i should have explained that a little better. i meant an eggbut or a loose ring snaffle. now i meen no offence by this so please dont take any, i know your a new rider =) because you are still learning and figuring it all out. in all those pictures you have too much pressure on the mouth, which is resulting in constant poll pressure. IMO your hands are not ready for this bit.
 

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you look very confident for your 4th lesson. I agree that a better fit saddle may solve a lot of things. A few years ago I bought a new horse and I rode her quite well when I tried her out, I came back with my saddle and found I had a hard time sitting her canter. The young cowboy said my roper (size 15) saddle was making me get thrown forward ( like you seem to be) . I tried their size 17 in saddle ( I am tall but relatively thin) and a perfect ride. I know a lot do not agree with such a big saddle but you have to find what works for you. Try to watch Linda Parelli (RFD TV) teach about how to sit properly ( english or western) She will say sit up like you are on your crotch ( more English style) then says never do that again. She has you lift both legs up and down while sitting. If you can do that you might get a better seat. But really it all just takes time. Best of luck - great for asking how to improve - that alone says you will be a good rider soon enough
 
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