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In the first video I would try to hold your elbows still, you can see on the rail where we see the front of you your arms are flapping (kinda chicken like no offense) so, just keep your elbows more to your side,
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
In the first video I would try to hold your elbows still, you can see on the rail where we see the front of you your arms are flapping (kinda chicken like no offense) so, just keep your elbows more to your side,
No it's fine, most people at my barn don't know my name, they just call me "Chicken Girl" because when I first started riding there my arms would flop even more than that! Thanks for the help! :)
 

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Okay, so take my opinion with a grain of salt, but here is what I am seeing:
  • Your elbows, as the previous person said, are flopping all about. You do want relaxed, not stiff, arms, but you'll want to bring your elbows in to your sides. I don't think your arms look awful in all of the videos though, but the first video down the fence is was definitely emphasized!
  • I can't tell 100%, but it looks like at moments, you have "piano hands" or "motorcycle hands" where instead of your thumbs pointing to the sky, they are facing each other like you are playing the piano or riding a motorcycle. I'd bet rotating your wrists to bring your thumbs up to the top of your hand will help tuck your elbows in.
  • I think you would really benefit with shortened stirrups, especially for going over fences. Ideally, over fences, the angle behind your knee should be approximately 90 degrees. I bet your stirrup length is contributing to the excessive leg and body movement I'm seeing in transitions and in 'complicated' parts of riding - like before the fence and when the horse is acting up. I also don't think you would be able to easily go into a half-seat with how long your stirrups are, which I believe is an important part of doing courses - you ideally don't sit the whole time, sometimes you are in two-point, some times you are in half-seat, some times you are sitting. I don't think you could adjust your body position with your current stirrup length.

I'd encourage you to do some stirrup-less work, and really learn how to hold with your leg in addition to shortening your stirrups. I think everyone should be able to ride without stirrups, with their legs moving minimally, if at all. Whenever I ride stirrup-less (usually every other ride, if not every ride), I really focus on feeling my entire leg connecting to the horse. If my lower leg is swaying, that is a pretty good sign I'm grabbing with my knee and thigh, not my entire leg. When I'm connected from heel, to calf, to knee, to thigh, to hip on a horse, I'm not going anywhere no matter what that horse does.

I think you are doing very well considering how long your stirrups are - I'd expect that your instructor would have shortened your stirrups way before now! Same with the hands and elbows, I would be reminding you constantly to check your position, because the more you ride correctly the quicker it becomes second nature.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Okay, so take my opinion with a grain of salt, but here is what I am seeing:
  • Your elbows, as the previous person said, are flopping all about. You do want relaxed, not stiff, arms, but you'll want to bring your elbows in to your sides. I don't think your arms look awful in all of the videos though, but the first video down the fence is was definitely emphasized!
  • I can't tell 100%, but it looks like at moments, you have "piano hands" or "motorcycle hands" where instead of your thumbs pointing to the sky, they are facing each other like you are playing the piano or riding a motorcycle. I'd bet rotating your wrists to bring your thumbs up to the top of your hand will help tuck your elbows in.
  • I think you would really benefit with shortened stirrups, especially for going over fences. Ideally, over fences, the angle behind your knee should be approximately 90 degrees. I bet your stirrup length is contributing to the excessive leg and body movement I'm seeing in transitions and in 'complicated' parts of riding - like before the fence and when the horse is acting up. I also don't think you would be able to easily go into a half-seat with how long your stirrups are, which I believe is an important part of doing courses - you ideally don't sit the whole time, sometimes you are in two-point, some times you are in half-seat, some times you are sitting. I don't think you could adjust your body position with your current stirrup length.

I'd encourage you to do some stirrup-less work, and really learn how to hold with your leg in addition to shortening your stirrups. I think everyone should be able to ride without stirrups, with their legs moving minimally, if at all. Whenever I ride stirrup-less (usually every other ride, if not every ride), I really focus on feeling my entire leg connecting to the horse. If my lower leg is swaying, that is a pretty good sign I'm grabbing with my knee and thigh, not my entire leg. When I'm connected from heel, to calf, to knee, to thigh, to hip on a horse, I'm not going anywhere no matter what that horse does.

I think you are doing very well considering how long your stirrups are - I'd expect that your instructor would have shortened your stirrups way before now! Same with the hands and elbows, I would be reminding you constantly to check your position, because the more you ride correctly the quicker it becomes second nature.
Thank you!!!!
 

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Elle, 1997 Oldenburg mare
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A few thoughts:

The elbow thing. It's good that your elbows are soft and allowing your hands to follow the horse's mouth. Better than the opposite problem! I think the reason your elbows are looking so floppy, though, has to do with the angle of your hands. You should work on keeping them turned so your thumbs are on top, pointing at the horse's ears. That will change the angle in your arms so that your elbows move forward and back instead of bending outwards, and it makes your hands more steady in how they follow the horse's mouth.

Downwards transitions. You seem to tend to flop forward coming down from canter to trot. And some horses can really fall on the forehand and pull you forward, so it's hard not to get pulled. When you're doing a downwards transition, sit up and think of pushing your belt buckle towards your hands. That will get your core stronger so that you don't get pulled. If the horse runs into your hands during the transition because of that, that's the horse's decision, and hopefully they'll start to carry themselves into the transition instead of diving forward.

Your stirrups also seem a little bit long for you in some of the videos, especially for jumping. Bringing them up a hole or two will help keep your leg under you where it should be and give you more stability in your two-point.

You also bob your hands a little bit in rising trot. Not badly at all -- have definitely seen way worse!! -- but it can be helpful to think "down" with your hands whenever you rise, until it becomes a good habit to keep them there.

Over all you're doing well and it looks like you have some nice horses to ride!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
A few thoughts:

The elbow thing. It's good that your elbows are soft and allowing your hands to follow the horse's mouth. Better than the opposite problem! I think the reason your elbows are looking so floppy, though, has to do with the angle of your hands. You should work on keeping them turned so your thumbs are on top, pointing at the horse's ears. That will change the angle in your arms so that your elbows move forward and back instead of bending outwards, and it makes your hands more steady in how they follow the horse's mouth.

Downwards transitions. You seem to tend to flop forward coming down from canter to trot. And some horses can really fall on the forehand and pull you forward, so it's hard not to get pulled. When you're doing a downwards transition, sit up and think of pushing your belt buckle towards your hands. That will get your core stronger so that you don't get pulled. If the horse runs into your hands during the transition because of that, that's the horse's decision, and hopefully they'll start to carry themselves into the transition instead of diving forward.

Your stirrups also seem a little bit long for you in some of the videos, especially for jumping. Bringing them up a hole or two will help keep your leg under you where it should be and give you more stability in your two-point.

You also bob your hands a little bit in rising trot. Not badly at all -- have definitely seen way worse!! -- but it can be helpful to think "down" with your hands whenever you rise, until it becomes a good habit to keep them there.

Over all you're doing well and it looks like you have some nice horses to ride!
Thank you, this helps a lot!!!
 

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You're doing great. There's a lot to think about when you ride.

Your stirrup length looks fine. Your teacher is the best person to check the length and angle of your leg but you can do a quick check. Let your leg hang, the base of the stirrup should come to your ankle bone.

Tension and gripping is the cause of most leg issues.

I'd say that you're tight in your hips, your thighs and knees are away from the saddle, you're knees are turned out (I can see light at times) you're gripping with the backs of your calves, turning out your toes and forcing your heels down. It's a natural reaction to want to stay on.

Most of your weight is in your stirrups and calves rather than distributed in the saddle, which will make you very unbalanced, especially when you come out of the saddle to jump. Really, you don't need to rise out of the saddle more than a few inches at this height.

Your legs should be relaxed and flat against the saddle, knees forward and toes pointing in the same direction. Weight though your heels but not forced down, that will only create more tension.

To help your legs, use your hand to pull your thigh muscle through to the back then rest the leg back on the saddle. It'll flatten you leg and turn everything. Your calves will come slightly away from the sides and you'll be able to give clearer aids rather than having your leg on all the time. At the moment, shortening your stirrups would only put your calves in greater contact with the horse's side.

Remember not to grip with your knees and thighs when you turn them in, as that will cause your lower leg to come too far away from the side and your lower leg to slip back and your upper body to fall forward.

If you relax your shoulders and arms it will help your elbows. Aim for thumbs on top, elbows at your sides. Think about your two lines, one through your elbows, hands to the horse's mouth and another from your ears to your shoulders, hips and heels.

Good luck!
 

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Cute horse. Looks fun. You're a good rider.

As other said, elbow. Should be handing relaxed at your side. You don't want them still because your arm needs to move with the horse's head, just want them to be quiet. If you hold your reins normally, then bring your thumbs together side-by-side, that should help put your arm in a good alignment, then widen them to normal width.

You could maybe raise your stirrups one, but I don't see the length being a major hindrance here. You have long legs and your weight is in your heel while still maintaining a good bend of the knee. I would recommend half chaps to give a little more grip in the lower leg. It can help with some of the lower leg instability.

You could benefit from being more deliberate and strong in your seat and core. When you go from the canter to the trot, most of the time I see your horse pulling you down and you lengthen your reins and fall forward in response. You really want to resist the pull down and giving up your position. Use your core, stay tall through your shoulders, breastbone to the sky. Tighten your core like doing a crunch. You can give a few squeezes on the outside rein when they pull to say "Hey, don't lean", couple that with a half halt through your body. If they are really pulling, you can put your hands on the neck and make them pull against themself while you maintain your strong position. When they do walk, keep that strong position, imagine your are going to ask them to trot off again and do more. Once you gain that nice walk, then your can loosen the reins and relax. That way they(and you!) don't get the habit of quitting and falling apart at the end of a round.

There are a few videos where you are approaching a fence, your horse sees the fence and is trying to take you to the fence. You do a good job of staying quiet and keeping the trot, but one thing to look at is your posting rhythm. If you look, you go from a clear 1-2-1-2 post to a hover, double bounce kind of post. You start to brace and tense up when your horse locks on to the fence. What you should so instead is try extra hard to maintain that 1-2-1-2 posting rhythm, even if they break into a canter. A fast horse can be slowed down entirely by the rhythm of your posting trot. While you often hear the advice that posting the trot shouldn't require any effort on your part, you can control the posting arc. Using your core muscles (again), you can slow your arc and sit for half a second longer. It can help to count your posting rhythm and adjust that to be slower, "1 and 2 and 1 and 2" vs "1 , 2, 1, 2".

Over the jumps, not bad. You get ahead of them a touch. Make sure your hips are staying back and you aren't moving too much, wait with your body. Since you approach in more of a full seat you will need to move to fold a bit. If you aren't sure of a distance, you would be better of not moving at all and grabbing a fist full of mane. There's a few spots where your horse puts in a chip and you have already moved forward. A less honest horse might have slammed on the breaks there. You also tend to sit down too early. Grabbing mane over the fence will help keep you forward long enough and protect their mouth if you do fall back. Keeping that core engaged will also help. How often are you riding the two-point on the flat? Can you move between a full seat and two-point without losing balance on the flat (any gait)?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
How often are you riding the two-point on the flat? Can you move between a full seat and two-point without losing balance on the flat (any gait)?
I do it every time I ride, little courses like "Up the long side in 2-point, sit-trot circle at the top, half-seat down the other side, halt at C, trot up the long side in 2-point (repeat, repeat)" and do those at the walk, trot, and canter (of course with variations on the sit-trot and stuff). Also thank you for calling me a good rider, it means a lot 🥰
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
You're doing great. There's a lot to think about when you ride.

Your stirrup length looks fine. Your teacher is the best person to check the length and angle of your leg but you can do a quick check. Let your leg hang, the base of the stirrup should come to your ankle bone.

Tension and gripping is the cause of most leg issues.

I'd say that you're tight in your hips, your thighs and knees are away from the saddle, you're knees are turned out (I can see light at times) you're gripping with the backs of your calves, turning out your toes and forcing your heels down. It's a natural reaction to want to stay on.

Most of your weight is in your stirrups and calves rather than distributed in the saddle, which will make you very unbalanced, especially when you come out of the saddle to jump. Really, you don't need to rise out of the saddle more than a few inches at this height.

Your legs should be relaxed and flat against the saddle, knees forward and toes pointing in the same direction. Weight though your heels but not forced down, that will only create more tension.

To help your legs, use your hand to pull your thigh muscle through to the back then rest the leg back on the saddle. It'll flatten you leg and turn everything. Your calves will come slightly away from the sides and you'll be able to give clearer aids rather than having your leg on all the time. At the moment, shortening your stirrups would only put your calves in greater contact with the horse's side.

Remember not to grip with your knees and thighs when you turn them in, as that will cause your lower leg to come too far away from the side and your lower leg to slip back and your upper body to fall forward.

If you relax your shoulders and arms it will help your elbows. Aim for thumbs on top, elbows at your sides. Think about your two lines, one through your elbows, hands to the horse's mouth and another from your ears to your shoulders, hips and heels.

Good luck!
Thanks for the help!!!
 

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I think you got some great advice , with which I agree almost totally. I think one notch shorter stirrup may help, and that your leg needs to be more 'along' the horse. Think of your weight going down from your thigh when you are sitting the trot, and down from your knee when your seat is off the saddle. Just mental images.

when your hand angle improves, the elbows will come in.

Really, if the rides on the roan are earlier than the rides on the chestnut, then I see clear improvements. I think you are becoming a good rider. You are very small and lightweight, and are easily pulled out of the saddle by that roan horse, who is a very downhill and HEAVY moving horse. It doesn't surprise me that he yanks you forward when he cocmes to a stop. When you get better, you will prepare better for downward transitions Part of that is being more secure in the leg and seat (which is coming), and the other is being better able to influence your horse with the reins.




When you have more training , perhaps some dressage lessons, you will learn better how to get some correct bend from the horse. yoou will learn how to get the horse 'readdy' to transition downward so that it's less of an implosionn of energy.jj

on your good side is that you sit up nice and tall and are getting good at following the mouth.
Don't be hard on yourself becuase youre doing great!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Really, if the rides on the roan are earlier than the rides on the chestnut, then I see clear improvements. I think you are becoming a good rider. You are very small and lightweight, and are easily pulled out of the saddle by that roan horse, who is a very downhill and HEAVY moving horse. It doesn't surprise me that he yanks you forward when he cocmes to a stop. When you get better, you will prepare better for downward transitions Part of that is being more secure in the leg and seat (which is coming), and the other is being better able to influence your horse with the reins.
When you have more training , perhaps some dressage lessons, you will learn better how to get some correct bend from the horse. yoou will learn how to get the horse 'readdy' to transition downward so that it's less of an implosionn of energy.jj
The rides on the roan are indeed earlier in the summer, the rides on the flaxen (I believe he's flaxen) were just 2 weeks ago. The roan horse has retired now because he got a bad distance to a jump and flipped overtop the jump, landed on top of me, and couldn't get up for a couple of minutes, so my coach decided to retire him (he was also 20), but I used to ride him every lesson so now the other horses are a bit bouncy because he was so downhill, which I got used to.
The barn I ride at is a small hunter barn, I used to ride at a dressage barn but when I came to this barn my coach said "You look like you've been doing lots of dressage but this is a hunter/equitation barn so we'll completely change your seat." I remember just a couple weeks ago my coach said something about getting our horses to bend and I tried it and it went well but I don't have any videos. Thanks for giving me advice!
 
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