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What are you doing to become a better rider? (Copycat thread)

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  • #21
    Hmmmm, lots of stuff but in no particular order...
    Losing some more weight. 2 years of riding with a nagging injury did no favors to me or the horses.
    Getting fitter by increasing the number of rides per day. I need to get back to 10/day more than 2 days per week.
    Working on my equitation and body awareness while riding more complex exercises (where is my inside shoulder/hip/big toe?).
    The big fall/winter project is to increase the level of difficulty for the "big" horses while pushing the ones who are at a lower level along at a fair pace as well - that makes me hone my sensitivity for what the horse is capable of.
    Timing. My counting skills are rusty!!
    Work more with my trainer to advance all the horses - so not just taking lessons on the "big" ones.
    Watermark Farm
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    • #22
      OMG, Tasker - 10 per day?! Wow, I can barely muster the motivation to ride 2 per day...
      "A horse's face always conveys clearly whether it is loved by its owner or simply used." - Anja Beran


      • #23
        1. Getting a saddle that fits both of us.

        2. Riding. As Katarine says (I think it's Katarine) "shut up and ride" or something to that effect.

        3. Listening to my trainer and doing homework.

        4. Trying to afford more lessons.

        5. Trying to get fitter. I had the opportunity to speak to a personal trainer the other day. She lives far away from me, but is willing to give me homework, and I am willing to figure out how to pay for it!

        It's a process.

        He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).


        • #24
          Working on my position. It's pretty good-but it can be stronger. Part of that means making time for Pilates and yoga, which I've gotten out of the habit of doing. I also now have a saddle that I can sit the trot in without feeling like I'm getting stabbed in the spine, so that helps. I also plan to be more active in taking the time to take lessons more frequently, even though that can be a challenge logistically.

          Working on "rising above". Basically not letting barn drama or crappy attitudes (including mine sometimes) get in my head and affect my riding. Trying to not let things derail my long term plan when something unexpected crops up. Realizing that everyone has ups and downs, and the way you handle the downs has a lot to do with how high the ups can be! Being a model of professionalism and grace that my students can look up to.


          • #25
            My horse and I are newbie eventers (just started with trainer back in April) at the beginner novice level. I practice getting horse soft and collected- she's getting better. But we have a long row to hoe. I also have Jane Savoie's Riding in Your Mind's Eye DVD and I try to watch that too.


            • #26
              I've had a rude awakening with my newest horse - a 4 yr old big-moving standardbred who is also a wee bit sticky, sluggish, and behind the aids.

              Turns out I've missed out on a lot of skill development by always riding forward, smooth horses.

              This horse has seriously caused me to reinvent myself as a rider. It has not been without tears, physical pain, and emotional stress.

              However, it has forced me to face facts and get better.

              1. Instruction. Real in person trainer. Books and videos that always reiterate what my trainer tells me. For some reason, hearing the same message from different sources makes things sink in better.

              2. Pilates. I just started this www.riderpilates.com and it has already done a ton for me. I have the book and dvd, and am quite enjoying it.

              3. Stretching. On my own right now, with exercises given to me by my massage therapist.

              4. Regular cardio workouts.

              5. Strength training- really focusing on my weak hips, abs, and back muscles.

              6. Get better tack. I was fighting my Wintec Isabell and it was causing me more pain than I realized. I also had a tendency to right with a shorter left rein, always, so i ended up getting reins with hand stops and putting colored electric tape on them. Sounds stupid, but this has helped a ton.

              The holes I'd like to fill:

              -Find another horse to ride. Right now my trainer rides my horse 2x a week, and I 3x, but honestly that just isn't enough for my body, given what I am up against.

              - I also want to yoga. I have no idea how to fit this in to my already ridiculous schedule, though.

              -Eat healthier. Despite all my efforts, I'm still overweight by a good 25 lbs, and I know it is diet related.

              Good luck to everyone!
              My blog: Change of Pace - Retraining a standardbred via dressage


              • #27
                Thanks Netg for starting this thread it is really enjoyable!

                I too am doing pilates and will be attending a pilates for riders/horses clinic in December. Should be very enlightening.

                I recently had my foot stepped on by a horse (a very large greenie) and thank goodness was wearing good boots but still sustained damage. I have been riding without stirrups this past month, as it hurts to put weight on the foot, and boy has my core improved!! I guess this was good in a way!

                I'm also really studying the French Classical workshop and the Spinoff threads. They are informative with many experiences being listed, commented on and constructive critisims given. IMHO, it is one of the most positive experiences I have seen on COTH.


                • #28
                  I need seat lessons, and to lose 6-10 pounds.

                  Also work without stirrups

                  Just came from regionals (Region 3). Many of us Americans need to work on having an independent seat and to be better athletes so we can help and not hinder our horses.

                  I had a trainer who said Dressage is like a dance with two athletes involved, and a dance team is only as good as the weaker partner. and that as a rider I should strive not to pull my horse down to my level but to lift his level. good advice.


                  • #29
                    fwiw, i agree losing weight can be a big help - i have lost 15 pounds and it *really* helped! i would like to drop 10 more.....


                    • #30
                      Good question: Investing in the "good" lessons (i.e. the expensive German clinician), even if I have to make sacrifices elsewhere. Besides just some good old riding skills, the absolute main thing he is teaching me (and I'm still working on this very much), is to take responsibility for EVERYTHING my young mare does when I'm on her. (Why did she just run her butt into the fence? No outside leg. Why did she just toss her head? Too much inside rein. Why is she backing away from some scary thing? Cause I ain't telling her otherwise. etc. etc. etc.)

                      I also my nutrition and exercise program is also pretty darn good, but I have to admit that this is primarily for health concerns, but being in very good physical condition does also happen to make me a better rider.
                      "Reite dein Pferd vorwärts und richte es gerade.” Gustav Steinbrecht


                      • #31
                        The biggest thing I've been doing is working on my core strength - while sitting on my ball at work, while driving to and from work, while I'm walking around the building at work... don't get me wrong, I enjoy a good relaxed slouch, but reminding myself throughout the day to stack my core and upper body really HELPS with muscle memory when I'm trying to do it later on the horse, in motion.

                        The other? Pushing for progress and attainable goals. I am capable, my horse is capable, and when I ride for correct work, I get correct work. When I ride weakly and don't insist on correctness, I get crap. Taking to heart the comments on our last tests, thinking about activating the hind legs and bringing up the shoulder, and laying the foundation work to move up to the next level at home and next year, at shows.


                        • #32
                          What are we doing to become a better rider? Umm let me see...

                          My own fitness/core/body awareness stuff: Pilates, Yoga, Zumba, and Kettle Bell.

                          Riding: I'm learning to be mindful of number of strides at all gaits and all figures (ex: 3~4 strides for each quarter of 10 meter trot circle, 4~5 strides for each quarter of 15 meter canter circle), and develop a better eye so I can prepare my horse (half halt) for accurate and balanced transition at preordained points. What I am realizing is, I'm perpetually late for the first half halt before the next transition, sigh...


                          • #33
                            Anyone reaping the "benefits" of their efforts yet? I had a cancelation last night which left me with a couple of hours of unscheduled time (imagine!), which I used to do a Pilates tape. I felt awesome doing it, but now I'm SORE! Everytime I try to stand up I can feel my seat getting better;-)


                            • #34
                              i am working to get thru some mental blocks and feel that i made great headway on sunday now to just keep it up ;-)


                              • #35
                                Originally posted by beckzert View Post
                                Anyone reaping the "benefits" of their efforts yet? I had a cancelation last night which left me with a couple of hours of unscheduled time (imagine!), which I used to do a Pilates tape. I felt awesome doing it, but now I'm SORE! Everytime I try to stand up I can feel my seat getting better;-)
                                Yes. Last ride was windy new cold coming in with a marish
                                pissy calling out start on the lunge and I had to man up and ride like I meant it.

                                After warmup with my core shaking off the rust I had a great ride and even did some new work on my medium canter!

                                My seat will be fantsastic from funtion after some more of the "fall/winter" fun.

                                Plus I remembered what my calves were for.

                                Working out? 0 days so far. I need to man up in that area too.
                                ~~Member of the TB's Rule Clique ~~


                                • Original Poster

                                  I had more movement in my lower back than I have had in my life after just a week and a half of targeted yoga/stretching and strengthening. We had a setback when I thought that meant I could do collected work and learned when I dismounted that my torso no longer wanted to function with pain radiating from my lower back... but it most definitely helps! New plan is take it really easy riding, just work on keeping forward, supple, good contact and responsive.... and do my strengthening in the gym and his in-hand.
                                  Originally posted by Silverbridge
                                  If you get anything on your Facebook feed about who is going to the Olympics in 2012 or guessing the outcome of Bush v Gore please start threads about those, too.


                                  • #37
                                    Love this thread!

                                    This is my first semester in college and also my first time not having a horse to ride(yes, I am fully aware of just how lucky I am. I appreciate it every day!). Since my mare is spending time at the trainers, I figured I should step up my game so I can have just as much improvement as her. For me that means:

                                    1. Being a member of the Dressage Team at my school. I ride 2x a week on school horses. While the horses are safe, very few of them are anything remotely fancy or even dressage suited. So I am lucky enough to get to ride a bunch of different types and levels of horses. Hopefully this will help me learn how to make anything I sit on look decent. Plus I get to help improve them all just a little bit. It's a win-win.

                                    2. Studying. I am a C-3 Pony Clubber, and I hope to be a Graduate A in a few years. So it's time for me to really start improving myself. I plan to take my H-A in the spring. Which means I need to start really working on my knowledge now!

                                    3. Becoming a true gym rat. I've never really been a fan of working out. Truth be told I hated it. But now I'm finding I have all this extra time and energy...and no horse to spend it on! So I've discovered a newfound passion for going to the gym and working out! I absolutely love it! While feeling like I'm dying is not on the top of my list...I love how good I feel after.

                                    4. (This kind of goes along with #3, but I think it's big enough to have it's own number.) FINALLY being fit. I have always been a bit pudgy(Currently a size 12 with 165lbs on 5'5" frame). I've learned to deal with it and am an effective and correct rider despite my size. But I know I would be so much better if I were leaner. My goal is probably 130lbs and a size 6. But I'm not too hung up on the number, it's all about feeling good and being the best rider I can be!


                                    • #38
                                      Originally posted by Pocket Pony View Post
                                      OMG, Tasker - 10 per day?! Wow, I can barely muster the motivation to ride 2 per day...
                                      Believe me - those kinds of days exist! But I'm a professional and working on getting back to the FEI ring, so since that's what I want - I'm willing to work harder NOW. It is interesting to be coming back after a hiatus - the little things that I used to let slide...now I'm after hearing a serious critique for each horse every stride of every ride. No more slacking! The sense of losing time is incredibly heightened.

                                      But today's "other duties" will impact my list and I'm predicting a 4-5 horse kind of day. Maybe 6 if I am lucky.

                                      Happy riding!
                                      Watermark Farm
                                      Watermark Farm Facebook Fan Page
                                      You Tube Channel


                                      • #39
                                        Originally posted by beckzert View Post
                                        Anyone reaping the "benefits" of their efforts yet? I had a cancelation last night which left me with a couple of hours of unscheduled time (imagine!), which I used to do a Pilates tape. I felt awesome doing it, but now I'm SORE! Everytime I try to stand up I can feel my seat getting better;-)
                                        Indeed. When I ride now I'm the leader. Instead of worrying about the thing that might be worrying Fella I ride on. My attitude has changed to, "yes, it's a horse eating thing, but we're working so do work" and that seems to have made a huge difference. Once we were hacking out (bareback pad) and Fella had to walk between a horse-eating flatbed and a horse-eating mower and we almost were going sideways down the slope between them, but we went.

                                        It's my new barn. I've drunk the Koolaid. Case in point -we're having a fun day on the 28th -I have no idea yet what the activities will be, but I'm signing up.

                                        He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).


                                        • #40
                                          Things I am doing: taking LOTS of lessons, riding as much as my schedule allows, reading theory regularly, working on my rather-shoddy riding confidence.

                                          Things I am doing, but not consistently enough: running for cardio, core work

                                          Things I really need to do: yoga, pilates, foam roller-ing my IT bands, diet

                                          this is such a motivational thread!