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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi there! I've been out of lessons for a few years now cause I'm a broke college student (UPDATE: I found one lesson that I had this past summer, but I didn't like how she never commented on my position) so I really would just like to keep my riding consistent. I previously rode dressage for a number of years, but currently I just try to do English pleasure. Our canter can be tricky for both of us as I have such a stiff upper body and my hips need to really open up. Really big issues obviously start with me being too stiff and getting in the way with his natural gate. I'm working on that, but any help is appreciated! I post two videos from a few days apart.

Trot
 

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Hi,
I think you are a great rider. I can see where you can be a bit stiff, but there are also plenty of times where you are not!

I think what will help you the most is increasing your fitness, like working without stirrups. Practicing some transitions. On the ground some stretching. If you feel fit, then just walking, bending, getting loose together.

I can see some times where you are leaning around the corner, your elbows are out, your shoulder gets stiff, your leg is flapping, but that happens to everyone more so when you need more fitness.

Your instincts are good.
 

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I agree that you have a lot of good things going for you. But since you asked for input, here's what I see:


In all three videos the horse is lacking in impulsion, and this is making a bit hard for you to post and to connect him to the bit.



In video one, it looks as if your stirrups are maybe one hole too long. Also, I am wondering if the saddle isn't a bit high in front. I mean, there's a hint of you trying to deal with a saddle that is oriented uphill; your legs go forward, and consequently your upper body must go forward, too, in order to maintain balance. What kind of saddle is this?

The horse, in video one, looks more relaxed and balanced and seems really happy to be with you. (I know that may sound woo-woo, but it means a lot)


Video two you seem to have a bit better leg position, but mostly it is like video one.



Video three, Dexter seems irritated, hollowed out and often sucking back. I'm wondering what could have caused that.



As for you, in all videos your elbows are out too far from the body. I noticed that you tried to give an opening rein cue at one time (can't remember which video) by pulling your whole arm off your body. You can do the same cue by simply swinging your lower arm awary from your body, but keeping the upper arm attached to your rib cage.


I think a lot can be improved by keeping your arms in, dropping your shoulders (think 'elbows connected to my hips'), keeping thumbs on top and hands closer together. AND, getting Dexter to wake up and put some oomph in his trot!


Your canter seat was really quite nice. I wish I could be that quiet.
 

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As for you, in all videos your elbows are out too far from the body. I noticed that you tried to give an opening rein cue at one time (can't remember which video) by pulling your whole arm off your body. You can do the same cue by simply swinging your lower arm awary from your body, but keeping the upper arm attached to your rib cage.
I agree with the others. I see some good riding, and the only thing I would suggest is keeping your hands closer together. Putting your upper arms away from your body or forward pulls away from your core strength. In the last video your elbows are the softest/most flexible, but you could improve that even a little more by keeping your elbows closer in and your hands as well. That way your arms don't become their own "entity," but stay connected to the core strength of your body.

It's not that you need to press your upper arm tightly against your body, but I think you can accomplish more if you keep it aligned with your torso and focus on making adjustments with the hands and reins more. When the hands are kept close together, adjusting the reins frequently is easier.

Your hands look very nice and soft.
 

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Some really good feedback here. One thing I'm seeing that I think no one's commented on is what I think might be the reason for your hands and elbows getting wide. You're riding with your reins a bit too long, and then, when you need them shorter, you're pulling your hands and elbows out and back to take up the slack, instead of just shortening up your grip on the reins. I recognize it because I've done it a lot myself. ;) But when you watch a lot of good riders, they're adjusting their rein length pretty frequently. Maybe give that a go and see if your hands/arms/elbows stay in a better place.

You have a very lovely canter seat!
 

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Do you have a crop? Dexter needs a little motivation in his rear legs, so touch him up with the crop behind your leg. I agree with your hands too far apart, but he needs to go forward with more commitment before I would worry about shortening my reins much.

Get that forward, then the contact, and be careful not to be “leading” him to the outside of the circle with your hand...instead, push him to the outside with your inside leg, using the crop to help, if needed.

You are a cute pair!
 
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