Spinoff: Major rider flaws when asking for contact
So I've been following the going forward into contact thread and I've been trying to re-examine my own flaws as a rider and i thought this might be an interesting topic.
I too, have a somewhat young horse that I have trouble moving forward into contact. He'll move forward all right, but when asked to work on contact he will either move faster to try to push through, try to stick his nose in the air, or both.
I know that this is an ongoing process, but I do believe that when training a horse to move forward into contact for the first time the rider is bound to make more mistakes than the horse. So this is sort of a confession thread, where i try to point out my biggest mistakes and you may point out a few more.
I would say the number one rider flaw to look out for would be rider position. I thought I had improved my position just to be shown that my core still needs some serious improvement. Also, I get so hung up on getting the horse in the proper "frame" that sometimes i just forget to relax. My upper body becomes stiff and my hands don't follow the horse's movement. I find myself not being consistent enough with the aids because of this stiffness. I've been working on keeping my elbows flexible and relaxed, but it's not as easy as it sounds. I've also been working on keeping my toes in the proper position, and let my leg relax and sink the weight down into the heels.