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  1. #21
    Join Date
    May. 17, 2003
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    5,661

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    I've been working on mentally detaching my hands and arms from my torso after watching my bouncy hands on video... my right arm and shoulder truly have a life of their own. Poor horse.

    What has helped me immensely is putting a grab strap on my saddle and using it as a reference point so that I can feel what still, correct hands feel like, and working on stabilizing my core through positioning and some strength work.



  2. #22
    Join Date
    Oct. 4, 2003
    Location
    Hurdle Mills, NC
    Posts
    4,131

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    [QUOTE=Superminion;6991549 It just all kind of happened. Ask me tonight how it went when I put tack on her! It'll probably be a whole different story![/QUOTE]

    OK-- so how was last night-- and PLEASE don't mess up in some weird effort to make me feel better. I WANT people to do better than I can-- that's the major satisfaction that comes from offering advice -- you know, "them that can't do, teach"? I was thrilled by your singing angels (and thought that bit pretty well written, too).


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  3. #23
    Join Date
    Feb. 14, 2012
    Location
    Fern Creek, KY
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    3,010

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    Quote Originally Posted by fish View Post
    OK-- so how was last night-- and PLEASE don't mess up in some weird effort to make me feel better. I WANT people to do better than I can-- that's the major satisfaction that comes from offering advice -- you know, "them that can't do, teach"? I was thrilled by your singing angels (and thought that bit pretty well written, too).
    It went! I'm so desperate to find a real trainer. We move to the 'horse capital of the world' only to find ourselves in a horsey black hole. Gah. I was able to replicate the feeling at the walk at least in my position, but managed to come unglued at the trot. I dropped my irons and things improved significantly. The angels started singing again, until I picked up my irons and turned into the pill bug extraordinaire that I blame on my hunter princess days. I curl forward, turn my wrists in, do the funky chicken with my elbows, which then makes Herself start with the head flinging and the angels claim they have no clue who I am anymore. I don't know what it is about picking up my irons! I've tried riding with them long, short, and in between...I have to think that the issue is purely mental, at this point.

    Really I have to give huge pats to my totally green mare for not killing her Mommy off at this point. She really is my heart! I am by no means what I would consider a green rider, but I am 100% green to dressage and this mare is being so patient with me...
    Quote Originally Posted by MistyBlue View Post
    I prefer them outside playing as opposed to standing in the barn aisle playing "I can crap more than you"
    New Year, New Blog... follow Willow and I here.



  4. #24
    Join Date
    Oct. 4, 2003
    Location
    Hurdle Mills, NC
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    4,131

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    Quote Originally Posted by Superminion View Post
    It went! I'm so desperate to find a real trainer. We move to the 'horse capital of the world' only to find ourselves in a horsey black hole. Gah. I was able to replicate the feeling at the walk at least in my position, but managed to come unglued at the trot. I dropped my irons and things improved significantly. The angels started singing again, until I picked up my irons and turned into the pill bug extraordinaire that I blame on my hunter princess days. I curl forward, turn my wrists in, do the funky chicken with my elbows, which then makes Herself start with the head flinging and the angels claim they have no clue who I am anymore. I don't know what it is about picking up my irons! I've tried riding with them long, short, and in between...I have to think that the issue is purely mental, at this point.

    Really I have to give huge pats to my totally green mare for not killing her Mommy off at this point. She really is my heart! I am by no means what I would consider a green rider, but I am 100% green to dressage and this mare is being so patient with me...
    Interesting. I have a good friend/client born and raised in Lexington who says similar things about her difficulties finding good places to board her horses there. So ironic-- she loves the Horse Park, Keenland, the vets, not to mention her friends and family there. Are far are you from Lexington? She has an eventing friend there who might be able to help you find a trainer.

    Meantime, about picking up the irons resulting in "coming unglued": seems likely to me that you're pushing on them with your feet, with the force traveling up your leg which pushes your seat up away from the saddle instead of allowing gravity to keep it deep. Try imagining that the fingers of someone you care about are between your foot and the stirrups so if you push down you will crush them. At the same time, keep your ankles (and all other joints, too) soft and flexible, allowing your weight to flow down through your knees and ankles, past your toes (which are gently lifted to protect those fingers) directly down into your heels. Also at the same time, keeping thinking "love the bounce" of your mare's trot so you don't pinch or brace against it anywhere. I find it helps to take my leg away from my horse's sides periodically, lifting from the hip, then rotating the hip joint forward (knees toward horse) before allowing the leg to drop down again to soften it again should I reflexively tighten anywhere.

    Think of Suzanne von Dietz's 1st principle: "first the torso, then the extremities." When things go wrong, think about doing what's necessary to fix your torso/seat first because (ala Sally O'Connor) 'your primary avenue of communication with your horse is through her back.'



  5. #25
    Join Date
    Mar. 25, 2010
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    1,182

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    Another possibility is that the saddle has the wrong balance for you. If you are fine without stirrups and it falls apart with, then are you struggling to keep your leg in the correct place? Do you want to be in a chair seat, or have your legs go out behind you? Have DH take a few pics of you trotting in the saddle and post them and let us see if your saddle might be the issue.


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  6. #26
    Join Date
    Feb. 14, 2012
    Location
    Fern Creek, KY
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    Quote Originally Posted by fish View Post
    Interesting. I have a good friend/client born and raised in Lexington who says similar things about her difficulties finding good places to board her horses there. So ironic-- she loves the Horse Park, Keenland, the vets, not to mention her friends and family there. Are far are you from Lexington? She has an eventing friend there who might be able to help you find a trainer.

    Meantime, about picking up the irons resulting in "coming unglued": seems likely to me that you're pushing on them with your feet, with the force traveling up your leg which pushes your seat up away from the saddle instead of allowing gravity to keep it deep. Try imagining that the fingers of someone you care about are between your foot and the stirrups so if you push down you will crush them. At the same time, keep your ankles (and all other joints, too) soft and flexible, allowing your weight to flow down through your knees and ankles, past your toes (which are gently lifted to protect those fingers) directly down into your heels. Also at the same time, keeping thinking "love the bounce" of your mare's trot so you don't pinch or brace against it anywhere. I find it helps to take my leg away from my horse's sides periodically, lifting from the hip, then rotating the hip joint forward (knees toward horse) before allowing the leg to drop down again to soften it again should I reflexively tighten anywhere.

    Think of Suzanne von Dietz's 1st principle: "first the torso, then the extremities." When things go wrong, think about doing what's necessary to fix your torso/seat first because (ala Sally O'Connor) 'your primary avenue of communication with your horse is through her back.'
    I'm about 3 hours from Lex. Boo! But DH and I have been house shopping in the
    area a bit closer to Louisville, and I *think* I've found a great trainer to work with the two of us, I don't know if anybody has heard of Dani Banner? I'm about to get a bit too fat to ride until I can pop this kid out in October, so the plan is for Herself to get some pro mileage and then invest in dressage 'boot camp' for myself over the winter. We'll come out swinging in the Spring to achieve our goal of Intro Level Champions of the World in 2014.

    That's a GREAT visual... I'm going to try it out this afternoon. I do have a tendency to brace into my irons, hardcore. Herself has a MASSIVE trot, so I get rather disorganized rather quickly, especially when she gets green horse wiggly which pitches me off balance, and then she slams on the breaks (can't blame her... she really is a saint). That's when I tend to shove all my weight in my heels and go all pill buggish. I like how you explained keeping everything soft, my guess is that if I can get myself to stop jamming my feet into the irons, it will be much easier to keep my joints loose. I'm going to try what you described of taking my leg off the horse's side and lifting the hip! So many awesome suggestions! Thank you! It's crazy how the one problem with my thumbs really turns out to be 800 problems with the rest of me. I love it, I really do!

    Right now, I know that we aren't the ideal match because we are both so new to dressage. I wonder if I would be better off putting my jump saddle on her and starting her the way that *I* know... or just ground driving her until I can get her to the trainer. She's being so wonderfully patient with me.

    Arabiansrock, I have some pictures from last summer that I can post. I can tell you that (unfortunately) not much has changed since we moved away from my amazing trainer! I struggle with becoming chair-seated as I'm sure that you will see in the pictures. No laughing TOO hard, though!

    Trot

    At the walk, this saddle fit me really well, but not so much her. Gives the perfect example of the thumb thing, though. This was her first ever time under saddle.

    https://fbcdn-sphotos-g-a.akamaihd.n...87120580_n.jpg

    At the whoa, but gives a great idea of my weaknesses.
    Quote Originally Posted by MistyBlue View Post
    I prefer them outside playing as opposed to standing in the barn aisle playing "I can crap more than you"
    New Year, New Blog... follow Willow and I here.



  7. #27
    Join Date
    Mar. 25, 2010
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    1,182

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    Ok, what saddle is your dressage saddle? It REALLY puts your feet ahead of you and you will never get out of hunt seat position that way. I suspect that is not the right saddle FOR YOU. Herself may love it however. You appear to be sitting on the front of your seatbones, I would like to see you rock your pelvis under and sit more on the back of your seat bones. This should straighten out the arch in your back. Think about "plugging" your seatbones into the seat. What you want to feel is that if Willow were to yank on the reins (of course she would never do that), that she would actually pull you DEEPER into the seat instead of out of it. Then once you have that feeling at the walk, try to get it posting. Each time you sit, actually SIT and plug your seatbones in for the fraction of a second, then rise again. Don't just brush the seat with your tush.

    The other thing you can do to try and get your legs in a better position is to drop your stirrups, really stretch your leg down good, then pick them up and try to keep your feet in the right place. If the stirrups aren't there for you to pick up, and you have to reach forward with your feet to get to them, then they are NOT hanging in the right place for you and its time for the saddle shopping adventure again.

    Your idea of just riding in your saddle that you are comfortable in until after jr arrives may be the best thing as your balance and center of gravity are changing rapidly right now. This way at least you can have some fun and productive rides with Herself while you can still get on (and off). when I couldn't get off without banging my belly was when I quit riding with my first.\

    Good luck and have fun



  8. #28
    Join Date
    Oct. 4, 2003
    Location
    Hurdle Mills, NC
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    Don't have much time to write today, but want to say that it's clear that the brown saddle is your jumping saddle, the black one is your dressage saddle, and the biggest (i.e. most all-encompassing) problem is that you're riding your dressage saddle in "jump saddle" position, fighting the structure of the d. saddle instead of allowing it to help you. IOW, note that the contours of your thigh and knee fit your jumping saddle precisely, but not your dressage saddle, the flaps of which go straight down to accommodate a longer and deep seat than you have so that your knee points forward, into the front edge of the flap instead of resting within its contours. To find your dressage seat, I recommend that you have a friend lift each of your legs, in turn, away from the horse's sides, holding the knee and encouraging you to "let go," so the hip joint lengthens and loosens. Then have your friend rotate your upper leg toward the horse, directing your knee straight down, so the leg comes to rest on the saddle with your weight flowing down through your hip joint, straight down the front of your thigh into the knee, then down the back of your lower leg into your heel. If you do this, your leg position will match your dressage saddle as it should-- at least until you tense up, revert to old habits.... Then keep repeating "these things take time."

    Unless I've looked at the wrong photos or something, you do not have a chair seat and your feet are where they should be-- with your heel under your hip and your toe just behind a plumb line dropped from your knee.

    You are bracing against your stirrups in all the photos and want to stop that so you can get your weight into your heels where it belongs for either discipline (or saddle!)

    It is true that you seem to be sitting toward your crotch in a couple of these photos-- which is, IMO, part and parcel of riding in more of a hunt seat suitable for galloping over fences than dressage position. Open the front of your hip joint, get that knee pointed straight down and your pelvis and upper body vertical over that base, and you'll be where you want to be for dressage-- with your seat bones pointing straight down. Unless you want to give your horse a momentary push for some reason, you don't want to be sitting on the back of your seat bones anymore than you do the front of them. To get "plugged in" so that your horse pulls you deeper into the saddle if she leans, etc., your seat bones need to be pointed straight down, neither backward (in which case your upper body would be pulled forward) nor forward, in which case your seat would be pulled forward while your upper body gets left behind.

    I highly recommend Suzanne von Dietz's *Balance in Movement* (both book and video) for a marvelous discussion of the physiology of riding and the rider's training scale. (I'm so excited that she'll be giving a clinic in my area next month!!) Highly recommended reading as you grow big with baby!



  9. #29
    Join Date
    May. 10, 2013
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    3

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    Just one more possible visualization (may or may not help). fish has said it far better (and in more detail) than I could!

    Since the problem occurs mostly with your feet in the irons (and you probably have more than enough weight there!) try to replace any "heels down" thoughts with "toes up" instead. And remember the bit about fingers - imagine someone's fingers there, that you don't want to injure.

    Sometimes issues with tension and position are exacerbated by putting too much pressure on the stirrup/heel.



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