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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, I had a great lesson on Thumper today! He seems to approve of his new bit (copper oval mouth eggbutt) and was pretty good :). He's a pretty hot horse, so today was extremely good for him! My instructor wants me to ride him in her saddle after this, because his is a pretty bad one, and the stirrup leathers are positioned too far forward, so it is literally impossible to truly bring your leg under you and remain in an effective position. Anyway, I'll stop rambling :). Here it is:

By the way, how do you like his saddle pad? I got him matching baby blue polo wraps, too :).
 

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Well. It seems like you're pretty hard on his back at the canter. You just kind of bounce along with his canter as opposed to moving with it, and you also seem behind his motion. And it seems like you have some steering issues.

Also, by the end of the lesson you were doing a bit better with jumping, but I would work at two point on the flat. When you go over the fences, at first you just bounce really big on his back as he goes over the fence, but don't change your position other than that, sometimes you fling your hands forward, but you almost always catch him in the mouth. Later on in the lesson, you actually get into two point a little, but you still catch him in the mouth quite a bit because you either don't release or you stop releasing too early.

That's my two cents. Cute horse though.
 

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I agree, I would really work on balance and maybe take a step back really learn to move with the horse, it will help you out alot and that way you can channel the high engergy under saddle. I think if you just work on urself for a couple of weeks it would really help him out. The change in the saddle will really help! Good looking horse though! and your not to bad looking! just alittle rough around the edges :) nothing to big that you cant fix pretty easy :)
 

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I agree with the other gals... you kind of slam on his back at the canter.

There are a few reasons for this, one being the saddle issue-- I'd love to see how you improve in a better saddle. Some saddles are just built with stirrup bars that are set more forward. If I were to ride in your saddle, I'd probably be fine-- I'm 6'2 and my legs could take up the saddle. You'll really benefit from a saddle that not only fits the horse, but fits you! You have to fight so hard to keep your legs in a relatively correct spot that you are unable to properly grip with your thighs, making you tense and very defensive.

Secondly-- you are VERY tense in your lower back. This is why you are hitting the saddle so hard. The lower back, combined with the saddle problem is making it very hard for you to relax and move with your horse!

Try this, where you are sitting right now. Don't move a muscle just yet, but think about your lower back for a minute. Chances are, you are tightening in that area, making you tense in most other parts of your body. Ok, now focus on your lower back and release all tension from it. After doing this, the tension in your entire body can release. Your back, to your legs, do your knees, to your feet. Your back, to your shoulders & chest, to your neck and elbows, to your hands and jaw.

Now, the hard part is to translate this to every day tasks. Try it while you are driving. It is REALLY hard. Doing it while riding is 10x harder, but not only will it help you in all aspects of riding, it will help your horse relax and bring up his back.

Frankly (and with total respect), your horse looks uncomfortable to ride! He is rushing and hollowed out. I guarantee you being tense does not help this! When you learn to relax your horse will not rush to try and evade the pounding into the saddle with every stride, and he'll calm down and like his job a lot more.

It takes lots of practice, and you have to remind yourself constantly to relax. It is hard to do when you are trying to relax your whole body, but when you consider that you really just have to think about your lower back to get that whole body release, it isn't as daunting of a task!

Aim for supple. For yourself, and your horse. You are fighting eachother, and it can change! You can do it!




P.S... I agree that you need to practice two point before you start jumping. What you are doing is hard on his back, as you are acting as dead weight during the jump now and he's pulling you over the jump. Try and move with him, get up in the saddle as he jumps. You will both be more comfortable. :)
 

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Oh, and by "get up in the saddle", I mean right now you are riding as if you are sorta in a recliner over the jumps. Let the horse come up to you, and ride up through the fences.

Think in school.... you want to be in an acute angle to the horses neck over the jump, and right now you are riding more obtuse. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Okay, first off, I do practice my two-point before jumping. When I ride him in a different saddle, I can really feel a difference in him because of how I'm more relaxed. I do think that I tense up when I jump him, just because I kind of expect him to speed up. He's a very difficult horse to ride, and I tend to get tight and try to fix everything at once, and end up not fixing anything haha. I am balanced and soft at the canter when I'm doing flatwork, but what my instructor says is that whenever jumps come in to play when I'm riding him, I tense up and forget all of my flatwork :). Thanks for the critiques- I'll work on those things!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Okay, one more thing: what do you mean by steering issues? A little more explanation, as I must not be seeing what you are seeing yet...
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Kay, thanks! Yeah, I wasn't really seeing many huge steering issues so I wasn't quite sure as to what parts of the video she was talking about. Like I'm doing ______, and I need to do ______ better to fix it, is more what I was looking for, kind of a clarification. I'll definitely shorten my reins! Thanks!
 

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Looking good... I think with the "steering issues" what I noticed was that through the turns he seemed to lean more and you were picking him up with the reins. Since you ride on a relatively loose rein you can occasionally see you really pick up the reins and hang on his face a bit when he dives around the turn. I think it'd be helpful if you could get him going more from leg and seat aids to assist with the steering as he seems kind of resistant to the hand anyway. His head pops up and ears go back occasionally as he fights you through the turns. And I know about the tense when jumping thing- I do the same thing on my horse :) He's also a bit hot so i tend to anticipate when we are trying to jump of what he's going to pull next and it ends up being pretty awkward.
 

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He makes the jump looks to easy! I kept pausing it to see how it looked at a still and the jump was high but not to him. :) He does seem to rush the jumps. But just a little bit. Nothing really serious. But he does need to work on his timing towards the jumps. I do agree you tense up quite a bit. I would maby suggest some yoga. It helps strengthen and relax you. I had a lesson one time that is yoga on a horse. It helps so much with being relaxed and "one" with your horse. And i loooove the saddle pad. Its really pretty! :)
 

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At least she's not overjumping like 95% of riders! I like that your shoulders are over your feet where they should be. The thing that screamed at me is your lower back. It is really tense. I'm no help on now to fix a lower back issue. Mine's a little tense too. I think activating your core and tucking your pelvis under a little is supposed to help since your stomach is holding you in place instead of your back. I'm sure if you get that fixed that you will find you can follow his motion better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks everyone! I'll definitely try to focus on staying relaxed, relaxed, relaxed! It seems like most of my issues (and his) are stemming from being too tense. I'll try some yoga or Pilates, SonnyLove, and see if that helps.
 

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I agree with RomanticLyric. One other thing though that might help with hitting him in the mouth....Right when he takes off for the jump try planting your hands higher up on his neck and keep them there until all four of his feet are on the ground. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I agree with RomanticLyric. One other thing though that might help with hitting him in the mouth....Right when he takes off for the jump try planting your hands higher up on his neck and keep them there until all four of his feet are on the ground. :)
Thanks! I'll definitely try that the next time I ride. Do you think that it would help me with releasing and keeping my hands steady over fences if I worked on two-point on the flat with my hands where I would release them? I wasn't planning on jumping the next time I ride and was just going to work on flatwork. I normally don't plant my hands on his crest when I'm two-pointing on the flat; should I be? Thanks for all the critiques, everyone!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
He makes the jump looks to easy! I kept pausing it to see how it looked at a still and the jump was high but not to him. :) He does seem to rush the jumps. But just a little bit. Nothing really serious. But he does need to work on his timing towards the jumps. I do agree you tense up quite a bit. I would maby suggest some yoga. It helps strengthen and relax you. I had a lesson one time that is yoga on a horse. It helps so much with being relaxed and "one" with your horse. And i loooove the saddle pad. Its really pretty! :)
haha sorry for the double post but...
what do you guys think about free jumping him so he can figure out his striding? I know that it's partly me, but he doesn't really know his striding, either if that makes any sense lol. Would it help to let him figure it out?
 

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You could try it just to see what it feels like to keep your hands in that position, but it might feel a little awkward because when you are over the jump it feels a little bit more natural because your hands are closer to you. It might be good practice, and taking a few small jumps might figure out the most comfortable place for your hands. It might feel a little awkward at first, but you'll get used to it.
 

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It might also help you to grab a little mane just to help your hands stay in the same place, but dont think too much about grabbing mane as it might take too long and mess it up:)
 
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