So the other day I rode for the first time in too long of a time and was told that my hands look weird. That I was holding them up and had them wider than the bit. I had someone take pictures (which I will not show- sorry ) and it was true and now I am trying to consciously fix the problem.
I was wondering if anyone ever had a similar issue and what did you do to overcome it? I know why this started and while it isn't an excuse, but I am a vet tech who often rides lame horses for evals under saddle. The majority of the time these horses are doped up and I am riding to support their heads and keep them from tripping over it. When they ae doped up, they sometimes rest heavy on my hands and I think I may have gotten used to riding with my hands up and out to compensate for that.
So now I need some suggestions/exercises to break the habit. I am going to take some lessons after the holidays but in the meantime I would like some advice.
Sounds like you aren't maintaining contact-listening-feeling the horse's mouth. Hands need to be soft, soft, soft and following, even with a lot of contact. It helps to think "If I were riding with a neck-strap, could I hook my pinkie around it?" Relax your shoulders and upper back, fluid elbows, STRAIGHT wrist. You want to be as soft as possible, and if you want your horse to come up with his head, ride forward with your seat and thigh. Straight line from bit to elbow; relax your forearms.
Find yourself a horse that you can trust not to stumble, because it sounds like you are correct in your assessment that riding horses with special needs has affected your way of riding.
Thanks. The pink and neck strap advice gives me a good mental visual, which is what I needed now that I am riding my own horse. I really picked up some bad habits riding for the clinic since riding the lameness evaluations kinda forces you to do things slightly different when they have been drugged. At least it did for me.
It can be really, really hard to let go of bad habits. I catch-rode for a low-end horse trader for a bit, and developed an incredibly defensive seat I've had heck getting rid of. It didn't help that after that I rode almost exclusively a very green to begin with, but kind, gaited horse for 2 years. Coming back into the hunter/jumper world has been tough at best. Good Luck!