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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all, I haven’t ridden in around 4 month and just started riding my new horse 4 days ago but I feel I’ve lost absolutely all my ability! My new horse had had a lot of training and can hold a frame lovely but she’s had lost quite a bit of muscle too after not being properly worked for 2 months so I really need some critique on how to better myself, help her gain her topline and muscle back, and gown to not ruin her as I really want to bring her back correctly. My riding was not like this when I was regularly riding and receiving lessons but after my break I have lost all ability. Also, how do I add a video? I’m on my phone but I can find any video option.
 

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the video is pretty small, but I see a pretty forward horse.



I think you are doing fine. You are on the wrong diagonal, but that really isn't a big issue. The horse is 'racing', which is making it hard for you not to fall behind the trot rythm a little bit.,


Just do more changes of direction, slow down, speed up, and don't 'hang' on his mouth. do some leg yielding, if you can



Really, this is just spring energy. In 2 rides, you'll be back where you were before.
 

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I agree that your horse seems very keen to get on with things! You need to slow her down as Tinyliny says above.

The main thing I noticed is that your reins are yo long, you need to shorten them. You also are bearing down with your hands through a solid wrist. Add to this that they are moving up and down as you rise and all you are going to get is a horse at is going to pull you around.
Shorten your reins by about four inches, let you hands go further forward and keep your thumbs uppermost and pointing to the opposite ear.

Learn to keep your wrist supple.

Muscles get stronger when you use them so ride as often as you can.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you! Hopefully she chills out, this is her second ever time out in this school in her life so I guess she will be tense 😅 I’ll work on transitions today, thanks!


the video is pretty small, but I see a pretty forward horse.



I think you are doing fine. You are on the wrong diagonal, but that really isn't a big issue. The horse is 'racing', which is making it hard for you not to fall behind the trot rythm a little bit.,


Just do more changes of direction, slow down, speed up, and don't 'hang' on his mouth. do some leg yielding, if you can



Really, this is just spring energy. In 2 rides, you'll be back where you were before.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Yeah I cringed at my solid wrists in the video. She’s fighting with me to go fast so it’s hard not to solidify my wrists but we had a very small portion of the ride where she slowed and was manageable.thank you for the hand tips! I’m going to try and imagine I’m holding water lol



I agree that your horse seems very keen to get on with things! You need to slow her down as Tinyliny says above.

The main thing I noticed is that your reins are yo long, you need to shorten them. You also are bearing down with your hands through a solid wrist. Add to this that they are moving up and down as you rise and all you are going to get is a horse at is going to pull you around.
Shorten your reins by about four inches, let you hands go further forward and keep your thumbs uppermost and pointing to the opposite ear.

Learn to keep your wrist supple.

Muscles get stronger when you use them so ride as often as you can.
 

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Slow down your posting. If you slow down she'll slow down. Get a nice rhythm and stick to it.
 

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The real problem is your seat. You're back in a chair seat, your leg is way out in front of you so instead of absorbing the energy from the trot in your knee and ankle and sitting lightly in the post, you're slamming your butt down on the horse's back. This in turn makes her trot faster and with more of a choppy motion.
Screenshot 2020-04-27 09.30.47.jpg
Look at how far back the point of your hip is in relation to your heel. You can't ride properly unless your leg is underneath you.

To work on this, focus on stretching down in your heel and through the back of your leg. At the halt of walk stand up perfectly straight in the saddle - not two point/half seat/jumping position, but straight up and down. If your leg is too far out in front you'll fall back, if it's too behind you you fall forward. It's a good test of if you are balanced properly in your feet.
This exercise will also help you learn how to stretch down with the back leg instead of gripping with your knee.
For your seat at the walk work on having all three points of your seat connected in the saddle. Right now the front part of your seat isn't connected, just the two rear points. Rock forward a bit - without arching your back - to get into a neutral pelvis position.
My dressage instructors always told us to think we are sitting with three prongs in the saddle. The two sit-bones in the back and the front of the pelvis (for lack of better word crotch). This will help maintain neutral pelvis which helps you ride better.

As for the hands I would say that you aren't riding through your elbow. The wrist really doesn't do much and should stay pretty straight, but as you post your elbow posts with you. It should bend and stretch. Bend when you sit, stretch out when you post up so that the hand stays steady and constant.

Your posture is very nice, though, with shoulders back and head up. Work on solidifying your foundation in the leg and seat and a more relaxed horse will follow.
There is also no shame in working exclusively at the walk for a few rides, to gain muscle and help the horse work on suppling there and figuring out each other and how to work again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
The real problem is your seat. You're back in a chair seat, your leg is way out in front of you so instead of absorbing the energy from the trot in your knee and ankle and sitting lightly in the post, you're slamming your butt down on the horse's back. This in turn makes her trot faster and with more of a choppy motion.
View attachment 1008371
Look at how far back the point of your hip is in relation to your heel. You can't ride properly unless your leg is underneath you.

To work on this, focus on stretching down in your heel and through the back of your leg. At the halt of walk stand up perfectly straight in the saddle - not two point/half seat/jumping position, but straight up and down. If your leg is too far out in front you'll fall back, if it's too behind you you fall forward. It's a good test of if you are balanced properly in your feet.
This exercise will also help you learn how to stretch down with the back leg instead of gripping with your knee.
For your seat at the walk work on having all three points of your seat connected in the saddle. Right now the front part of your seat isn't connected, just the two rear points. Rock forward a bit - without arching your back - to get into a neutral pelvis position.
My dressage instructors always told us to think we are sitting with three prongs in the saddle. The two sit-bones in the back and the front of the pelvis (for lack of better word crotch). This will help maintain neutral pelvis which helps you ride better.

As for the hands I would say that you aren't riding through your elbow. The wrist really doesn't do much and should stay pretty straight, but as you post your elbow posts with you. It should bend and stretch. Bend when you sit, stretch out when you post up so that the hand stays steady and constant.

Your posture is very nice, though, with shoulders back and head up. Work on solidifying your foundation in the leg and seat and a more relaxed horse will follow.
There is also no shame in working exclusively at the walk for a few rides, to gain muscle and help the horse work on suppling there and figuring out each other and how to work again.
Thank you! I’m struggling quite a bit as if I put any leg on at all she shoots off. Could this be an issue with my balance and steadiness? I have a photo of me riding my old horse who is not forward at all, and was wondering if the position I’m in in this is any better?
 

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What's your saddle look like on your new horse standing still without you in the saddle and then with you in the saddle? The first thing I thought looking at your video is that on this horse, the saddle is too high in front rather than level, tilting you into a chair seat that you're constantly struggling to overcome.
 

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There's a difference between putting your leg on and applying an aid. The leg should just sit on the horse's side and then when applied actually apply pressure. If she's shooting off with just the 'wet rag' feeling on her sides then she probably needs some time really working at the halt and the walk to figure out the aids.

As for the picture posted, you're still in a chair seat, you have just pulled your leg back at the knee instead of really stretching down from your hip to the heel. Your pelvis is also tipped forward, hollowing your back some which can cause low back pain (trust me, I live it every day!)

Take your feet out of the stirrups and stretch your leg down as far as you can. You'll feel the connection in your seat and through the thigh. Shift around a little and see what you feel in your seat. Where are you connected, where are you not?

The standing in the stirrups will help the leg, too. You need to establish the weight in your heels and a stretch behind your knee.
Watch Beezie's leg in this, how the angle behind her knee never changes and she is always absorbing shock through her heel and knee joints. Her feel is down and solidifying her leg.

 

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Speaking of Beezie, she has been posting long and short videos of The Madden Method during quarantine. This is a longer video of her giving a lesson on the flat about seat and hip angle. I have not watched the whole video, but I have observed many of Beezie’s other videos and clinics in real life and online.
 

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https://youtu.be/mhAajkhZ4vE

Speaking of Beezie, she has been posting long and short videos of The Madden Method during quarantine. This is a longer video of her giving a lesson on the flat about seat and hip angle. I have not watched the whole video, but I have observed many of Beezie’s other videos and clinics in real life and online.
One of the best trainers out there right now. There's a reason she's at the top all the time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Hi everyone, thank you almost so much for your helpful advice! I have tried alit over the past week and I think I may have improved somewhat. My leg muscles and all over muscle is lacking, but I'm really trying to stretch down and be as efficient as I can. Could anyone watch the first video and compare it with this video as I’d love to know if I’m on the right track?
https://youtu.be/bWuuUMmQpAo
 

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Is that the same horse as before? the first one looked bay.


It's really hard to make out anything because you are so far away from the camera and the orientation is not landscape (horizontal).


All I can see is that you appear somewhat stiff in the pelvis, lower back area. Perhaps just from 'forcing' the leg back.
Perhaps try that old trick where you reach back and pull the thick part of the back of your thigh up and out from from the saddle, then allow it to fall back into place. this results in your thigh rotating a bit around to allow a closer knee, and would also sort of allow the leg to drop down more.


May I ask what is the size of that saddle? it looks, perhaps, a tad small for you.
 

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I applaud your application of the notes you've been given!

It seems that you're pulling the leg back instead of stretching down into your heel. I see you trying very hard, though!
Imagine a waterfall dripping off the back of your leg, flowing from your bum to your heel. Stretch that out as much as possible. Those are the muscles you're trying to engage.
 
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