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View Full Version : Picture Critiques (&a video)...help me fix my chicken wings!



TryMyRules
May. 11, 2010, 09:15 PM
Hey all,
I need some suggestions on how to fix my chicken wings! I have never had this problem before but all of the sudden I look like I'm trying to fly off the horse!!
This is a new horse to me, I just started working with him in February. I'm tall and have long arms, and he is short with a short neck...I think thats part of my problem. I'm afraid if I give a release my hands will be at his ears! :lol:
Here I am on a slightly larger horse with a longer neck in August (http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc1/hs269.snc1/9619_1133932316990_1487760023_30417973_4461343_n.j pg)
A few years ago on an even bigger horse (http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/photos-ak-sf2p/v160/231/88/1487760023/n1487760023_30076194_1149.jpg)

So I haven't always been clucking around with my elbows out...but here are recent pictures:
Last weekend (http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash1/hs323.ash1/28306_416619287639_530927639_5111791_1150562_n.jpg )
Last weekend (http://hphotos-sjc1.fbcdn.net/hs411.snc3/24864_412044337639_530927639_5002755_4656355_n.jpg )
A video (http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=1368560707114&ref=mf)

Any suggestions?? I can't seem to kick the habit! Feel free to critique any and all of the pictures as well as any and all of my flaws.

doublesstable
May. 11, 2010, 09:26 PM
Your chicken wings are created by the release and that in your pic of you on the bigger horse your leg is perfect. You want you heels down and grip a bit w/ your calf. You can shorten your rein and have you hand up the crest of the neck so when you release you will not be leaning on your hand w/ your chest and producing chicken wings.

Also you do not need to break over (with your chest to the mane) Use your lower calf and heels down creating a base of balance; shorter rein hand up the crest and stay sitting up..... see if that changes anything.

mustangsal85
May. 11, 2010, 10:40 PM
My theory is that you are used to a horse with a bigger stride, bigger jump, etc. Being used to that, you are unconsciously overcompensating with your upper body in expectation of a bigger, rounder jump. I think doing some gymnastic work and concentrating on getting your release and keeping your upper body and your arms and hands independent will help, as will more time with the new horse. Honestly, like doublesstable said, I think if your release were better, your chicken wings would disappear. You seem to be leaning up the neck more on this horse than the other two, which appears to be from you leaning on your hands on his neck. Fix the release, fix the arms I say. Cute horses and your position looks fantastic to me otherwise!

Carol Ames
May. 11, 2010, 10:48 PM
was not able to get the video to play; but, my first response to the pictures is "shorten your reins, the horse does appear a bit small/ short necked for you."

Carol Ames
May. 11, 2010, 11:04 PM
Work, on the flat on having your foot, more under, i.e., more forward over the jump. with the foot flat, as if you were walking ; you can practice on the ground balance over your feet; bend at the hips, and knees while extending your arms/ hands forward; practice this on a mini - tramp; gaining the strength/ security in your leg is required for independent hands; gymnastics are an excellent;) suggestion:yes:, especially bounces so, you can get in a hythm with closing the hip and knee;)

TryMyRules
May. 11, 2010, 11:04 PM
My theory is that you are used to a horse with a bigger stride, bigger jump, etc. Being used to that, you are unconsciously overcompensating with your upper body in expectation of a bigger, rounder jump. I think doing some gymnastic work and concentrating on getting your release and keeping your upper body and your arms and hands independent will help, as will more time with the new horse. Honestly, like doublesstable said, I think if your release were better, your chicken wings would disappear. You seem to be leaning up the neck more on this horse than the other two, which appears to be from you leaning on your hands on his neck. Fix the release, fix the arms I say. Cute horses and your position looks fantastic to me otherwise!

I think you've hit the nail on the head here. I am very well adjusted to riding big horses with big strides. The bay horse is about 16.2/16.3 and had a very big, very adjustable stride. The grey was 16h but had a large stride as well. The black horse is 15.1/15.2 and has a teenyyyy tiny stride. We do the pony striding and it doesn't even look funny!
I will try to get some gymnastics set up, I really think that will help. I'm hoping the more I ride him the easier it will be for me to release more. My trainer recently suggested riding him in a quarter seat while jumping too, so I'm not as tempted to make such a big move with my upper body as opposed to moving my hands forward. We'll see. We've only jumped full courses a handful of times, most of my energy has gone into trying to keep all four of his legs on the ground. :winkgrin:


was not able to get the video to play; but, my first response to the pictures is "shorten your reins, the horse does appear a bit small/ short necked for you."

Yet another problem riding a guy who has such a short neck...I'm so tentative to shorten the reins! I feel like I'm choking up on them too much. Its a constant struggle to keep them as short as they should be. I honestly think I need to buy a pair of pony reins so I can fake myself into thinking they aren't really that short, because pony reins will eliminate all the extra slack I have. As you can see, its already quite a bit...

Hauwse
May. 12, 2010, 04:04 AM
First it is not my intention to tear you down, but to advise on how you can fix the issue that concerns you currently, and your issue is extremely common.

First off, while in the old pictures you do not have chicken wings and your leg on the larger horse is good (though it should be parallel to the girth) you are committing the cardinal sin of jumping with you horse, and this is where all you problems begin and end.

I am sure you have heard it a zillion times the horse jumps not you, and it is the horses altered position that opens and closes up the angles in relation to the rider, the riders position should change on slightly from that which they had during the canter stride prior to the fence.

When the horse prepares to jump they will slow down and collect themselves, generally moving the rider slightly forward in the saddle, as they come off the ground they will come up and meet the rider, as they reach the apex of the jump the open up the angle much like that when you were cantering, add in the part where they move you slightly forward as they prepared to jump and that is the position you should be in over the fence.

Now in all of your pictures you have "helped" and closed the angle way too much, and on the smallest horse you have "helped" even more. Your pivot point is you knees because of this and your hip is almost in front of your pivot point, your arms have no choice but to chicken wing to maintain contact, and because you are almost on the horse neck and cannot apply a proper crest release you are committing another sin of balancing on his mouth (the bit being pulled through his mouth).

This could all because of the change in stride or feeling of impulsion with this horse, regardless the biggest correction to this problem is to stop "helping" the horse over the fence. Once you get this resolved the crest release will work again , and you may find that you start doing an auto release simply by letting form follow function, as there is no rocket science behind the auto release, it comes from being in a balanced position and letting you arms follow the horses mouth, period.

Good luck!

rabicon
May. 12, 2010, 09:32 AM
On the big bay you had a nice stirrup length and your leg was correct and on and you looked nice except for your bum being a little high out of the saddle. Then on the rest, even the grey, you have to long of irons and you are jumping ahead and laying on the horse. From the first pic it doesn't even look like the same rider in the rest. They also come from you not giving the black horse any release. You look almost nervous and holding his mouth, is he rushing? Or in he strong after or before the jumps? If so you will make it worse by hanging on his mouth. Shorten your irons and let him jump the jump, not you and release. Gymnastics will help with this, no reins and if you can on a safe horse go in blind and no reins so you have to feel the horse and let him push you.

Carol Ames
May. 13, 2010, 06:01 PM
set up a series of cavalettii/ low crossrails at "bounce distances:" c. 9 ' once the exercise is learned , you and your horse can skip through it easily; try tieing up YOUR reins :eek:and doing it with hands on hips:lol:; do this ONLY :lol::yes:IF YOUR INSTRUCTOR/ TRAINER IS THERE WITH YOU!

RugBug
May. 13, 2010, 06:21 PM
Now in all of your pictures you have "helped" and closed the angle way too much, and on the smallest horse you have "helped" even more. Your pivot point is you knees because of this and your hip is almost in front of your pivot point, your arms have no choice but to chicken wing to maintain contact,

Agreed. You've collapsed your upper body giving your elbows no where to go but out. (there are some leg issues as well that contribute...but they don't seem as consistent as the collapsed upper body...which is present even in the two earlier pictures). Get your leg back under you, get your shoulders/chest out of your horse's neck and you will give your elbows somewhere to go again. I have some examples fo me collapsgin wtih my upper body (I don't tend to pivot on my knee..but sometimes do when I'm nervous) and doing it correctly as well. The difference is amazing...if you want to see 'em, let me know.

rwh
May. 13, 2010, 06:32 PM
Agreed. You've collapsed your upper body giving your elbows no where to go but out. (there are some leg issues as well that contribute...but they don't seem as consistent as the collapsed upper body...which is present even in the two earlier pictures). Get your leg back under you, get your shoulders/chest out of your horse's neck and you will give your elbows somewhere to go again. I have some examples fo me collapsgin wtih my upper body (I don't tend to pivot on my knee..but sometimes do when I'm nervous) and doing it correctly as well. The difference is amazing...if you want to see 'em, let me know.

I'd love to see them if it's not too much trouble!

TryMyRules
May. 13, 2010, 11:18 PM
I would LOVE to do some hands-free gymnastics but well...he's a bit tapped and I'm never sure if we're going to land and stay on all fours on the other side of the jump! Too bad the video is blocked or you could all see exactly what I mean by that...:winkgrin:
I did shorten my stirrups today and my leg felt more secure...tomorrow we have a o/f lesson so we'll see if that helps o/f. I think there are a few gymnastics set up too!

doublesstable
May. 14, 2010, 02:21 AM
I would LOVE to do some hands-free gymnastics but well...he's a bit tapped and I'm never sure if we're going to land and stay on all fours on the other side of the jump! Too bad the video is blocked or you could all see exactly what I mean by that...:winkgrin:
I did shorten my stirrups today and my leg felt more secure...tomorrow we have a o/f lesson so we'll see if that helps o/f. I think there are a few gymnastics set up too!


Once you ride with more weight in your heels and stay up over the fence with your upper body (not close the angle) you will find the other side of the fence less scary.. :lol:

JumpWithPanache
May. 14, 2010, 08:50 AM
I struggle with some of the jumping ahead (and jumping quick) and chicken wings syndrome. Here are a couple strategies that helped me:

Jumping Ahead: Schoolmaster, 2' fences, and no stirrups. I did a couple jumping lessons on a great schoolmaster who is trustworthy enough to deal with my bobbles of jumping without stirrups. It is hugely tempting to jump for the horse without the stirrups but you can't really, at least not easily. It becomes a better ride to sit tall and wait for the horse to jump, allow his neck to come up to you, and follow his back down with your seat. Yes, your seat stays more connected to the saddle than when we ride with stirrups but it's really helped me to follow the horse rather than jump for/ahead of the horse. It's also helped me to not rush my motions through the jump cycle.

Chicken Wings: Short jump bats in both hands and shorter reins. I have a tendency, mostly with my left elbow, to always rotate my elbows out. When I taught the little up-downers one of my strategies to teach them still hands and correct hand/elbow/arm position was to put short jump bats and both hands and challenge them to keep the shaft laying across their thigh. So I used the same strategy to break my chicken wing habit. Over fences you can still think about keeping the bat laying across the horse's shoulder. The other thing that's helped fix my wings while jumping is to shorten my reins quite a lot. When I walk off I feel like I'm climbing halfway up her neck but once she rounds up in the canter it's the right length to keep my hands in front of me where they are most effective. Makes a big difference for me: I can maintain soft contact with my mare's mouth (which is her preference) over the fence without putting my hands in my lap and elbows sticking way out. The side benefit to this is that my base is a bit more stable simply because I'm not tipping myself over my hands. When my hands are in my lap over fences then I have to balance on my hands to avoid tipping over since it totally raises the center of gravity point instead of my c.o.g. being the mid point between hip and knee.

Anyway, those are some of the things that have helped me correct my similar habits. Good luck!