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Critique Me Please

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  • Critique Me Please

    This is a picture from my lesson I had last wednesday. I realize its fuzzy, and its not the greatest photo, but I think you can see enough of what is going on to give a good opinion. I am going to be doing training level this october, and I think I am ready, hopefully.

    I dont mind criticism but please make sure its useful and thoughtful. We all know, none of us like the "i am going to stab you with a knife and let you bleed out on the floor" quotes .

    Thanks Guys
    http://i1013.photobucket.com/albums/...ndHorse011.jpg

  • #2
    The first thing I am going to do is nail you for all that wad of padding under your saddle. With dressage, the saddle is supposed to fit the horse. The only reason any pad is there at all is to keep the bottom of the saddle clean. When you have all that padding, you cannot properly feel the horse. You might just as well be riding in a western saddle.

    In this picture, you are leaning to the left. The reason that is happening is that the horse's hindquarters are not as far to the right as they should be. It means that the inside curve of the horse and the outside curve of the horse are not correctly traveling evenly over the curved line you are riding. The horse's hindquarters are too much to the inside of that line, and the horse's shoulders are too much to the outside of that line.

    Look at your left foot. Can you see how it is pointing straight, with the toes pointed somewhat downward? When you ride forward moving motion, you want those toes to be elevated. You also want them to point in the direction of the motion so that your inner thigh is against the horse's side. You cannot feel your inner thigh against the horse with all that padding. But, if you could turn your leg slightly more to the inside so that your toes point correctly and weight the stirrup correctly, you would feel that your inner thigh was not properly against the horse. You would feel those hindquarters falling to the inside, and by adding a little more lift of your toes to create leverage of the stirrup, you could then use your inner left thigh to push the horse's hindquarters over a bit.

    Look at your right hand. Can you see how it has rotated more toward the inside? Just as your toes should point the line of travel, so too should your thumbs point the line of travel. In this photo, it does seem that your left hand/thumb is pointing correctly, but it is actually pointing by too great a degree. It needs to straight just a little and the thumb/hand on the right needs to come up to an almost on top position. This is a large circle you are riding, and both of your thumbs need to be almost pointing straight up. What you might like to do to make yourself more aware of what your hands are doing is actually point your thumbs to the sky for a bit. Keep your body between your thumbs. In addition, you want to keep the horse's shoulders channeled between your thumbs as well, and if you feel your are losing those shoulders, you need to correct the horse's hindquarters as well as your hands.

    Your hands provide the channel for the horse's shoulders, and your legs provide the channel for the horse's hindquarters. Keep the horse in the channel.

    Your reins are just a tad too short...not by much. You need them to be about an inch longer, so that you can keep your upper arms hanging freely from your shoulders without tension. Then, ride the horse's hindquarters up into the contact. To do this, you will want to half-halt, which means at this level, just basically taking your shoulders back a little more so that your chest expands. Breathe in as you do this. As you release the half-halt, breathe out. This momentary "stiffening" of your body, which will somewhat feel as if you are leaning back a bit at the same time, and then using your pelvis to ride the horse's hindquarters forward to meet the restricted contact, rebalances the horse. The horse begins to relax the jaw and come up in front, you breathe out and go back to the neutral position.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by angel View Post
      The first thing I am going to do is nail you for all that wad of padding under your saddle. With dressage, the saddle is supposed to fit the horse. The only reason any pad is there at all is to keep the bottom of the saddle clean. When you have all that padding, you cannot properly feel the horse. You might just as well be riding in a western saddle.

      I respectfully disagree. There is a place for a nice sheepskin half pad (which is what I often use) particularly for horses with weaker backs, or who struggle to work through the back, particularly those coming back into work. It certainly doesn't change the feel for me at all, and it doesn't change the fit of my saddles at all.

      To the OP - its very hard (for me anyway) to critique a single photo as it is simply a moment in time, but...

      from this photo I would like to see you stretch your weight down through that inside heel and lift your torso taller, and straighten that inside shoulder, just lift it a fraction - though this problem can/may resolve itself by simply dropping your weight into that inside heel. Also watch tilting your head. It's hard to tell in this photo but looks like your might be tilting to the inside with your head as well. Straighten your head, and lift your chin.

      I would like to see you lift your hands just a fraction by bending at the elbows a wee bit more, and allow with your reins just a tad. Tuck your elbows in softly to your sides too.

      Very cute horse though... looks lovely!

      I hope that doesn't class as stabbing you with a kitchen knife
      If you want to feel rich, just count all of the things you have that money can't buy.

      -Anon

      Comment


      • #4
        I think this is a lovely picture. Your horse is in a soft, supple frame, nicely round over the top line with correct lateral bending. The horse reaches towards the contact and is tracking up behind. If you can maintain this picture and frame through your transitions and through a whole test, then you should do VERY well.

        There are 2 points I would like to make about your position. 1) your head is tilted left. Don't get into this habbit. Your head is very heavy and if you have the tendency to tilt in the direction of travel this will really hurt you later on.

        2)I can't tell from the photo if you are doing a posting trot or sitting. If you are posting this is not so bad,.......I'm not crazy about the relationship of your seat to your leg. I'd like to see your seat more firmly anchored into the deepest part of the saddle, your knees lower in the saddle and with less angle at the hips. the back of the calf should be stretched down rather than contracted - this stretching will naturally bring your heal down. work without stirrups will hwlp
        Last edited by caddym; Sep. 2, 2009, 07:07 AM. Reason: make clear 2nd point

        Comment


        • #5
          I disagree with all angel's points. And about the 'wad of padding' under the saddle. A half pad and a saddle pad is not an unusual amount of padding. The horse looks comfortable and the saddle well positioned.

          The rider is in a good intermediate position. He has fairly correct posture (he's a little twisted to the inside, but this is a 'normal problem' at this stage). He is sitting up straight without hunching his shoulders, there is a bend in his elbows, his leg is in a basically correct position. He is starting to open his hip by loosening his lower leg with toes pointed forward.

          Best of all, he's 'balanced' with heel, hip and shoulder in a line and 'sitting on his butt' instead of leaning his upper body forward.

          In other words, a good intermediate position.

          There is no necessity for a 'critique' from a bb, which is usually counter productive anyway. Work with your instructor to develop as a rider.

          Rather, the question is, 'alright, now that I've achieved a basically correct intermediate position, what comes next?'

          The answer is 'a deeper seat', which is simply the next logical step in a rider's development - things happen in stages and it's normal to go thru those stages. With work on suppling and work without stirrups, your seat and posture will get even better. As you learn to sink deeper into the saddle by improving your hip even more, you'll twist less and you'll be able to bend and supple and straighten your horse even more effectively.

          In other words, you have a great start, and already sit better than 99% of people. You're going to be great. Don't get a swelled head though, LOL.

          Comment


          • #6
            I have to disagree about the padding too, my saddle fits my horse just fine but since he's young and doesn't have alot of muscle development in his back yet, I use a sheepskin pad with his regular square pad for extra cushion until he gets more muscle.

            Comment


            • #7
              My critique:

              Wear a helmet.
              Boss Mare Eventing Blog
              https://www.youtube.com/user/jealoushe

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by slc2 View Post
                Work with your instructor to develop as a rider.
                agreed!
                i think it's hard to say from 1 picture- especially since it seems that in one moment we might be doing X but that's not indicative of the overall ride.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I agree that the pad is of no concern. And saying you might as well be in a western saddle is a ridiculous statement. Even in a western saddle the horse can feel you and you can feel the horse under you. How do you think reiners communicate with there horse????
                  Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    What I see:
                    Thumbs should be up (almost there not quite)
                    Push knee down (will lengthen leg just a bit - again almost there not quite)
                    Lift your rib cage
                    Chin - needs to come up about 1/4 inch.

                    Are you leaning left? Looks to me like you're circling to left thus weighting your left stirrup a bit more than your right stirrup, which is correct. But the larger the circle the less the difference in weighting - so maybe less weight in left stirrup? Hard to tell (for me) from a picture.

                    Overall nice picture. I'm betting my comments probably match your own critique.
                    Now in Kentucky

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by slc2 View Post
                      I disagree with all angel's points. And about the 'wad of padding' under the saddle. A half pad and a saddle pad is not an unusual amount of padding. The horse looks comfortable and the saddle well positioned.

                      The rider is in a good intermediate position. He has fairly correct posture (he's a little twisted to the inside, but this is a 'normal problem' at this stage). He is sitting up straight without hunching his shoulders, there is a bend in his elbows, his leg is in a basically correct position. He is starting to open his hip by loosening his lower leg with toes pointed forward.

                      Best of all, he's 'balanced' with heel, hip and shoulder in a line and 'sitting on his butt' instead of leaning his upper body forward.

                      In other words, a good intermediate position.

                      There is no necessity for a 'critique' from a bb, which is usually counter productive anyway. Work with your instructor to develop as a rider.

                      Rather, the question is, 'alright, now that I've achieved a basically correct intermediate position, what comes next?'

                      The answer is 'a deeper seat', which is simply the next logical step in a rider's development - things happen in stages and it's normal to go thru those stages. With work on suppling and work without stirrups, your seat and posture will get even better. As you learn to sink deeper into the saddle by improving your hip even more, you'll twist less and you'll be able to bend and supple and straighten your horse even more effectively.

                      In other words, you have a great start, and already sit better than 99% of people. You're going to be great. Don't get a swelled head though, LOL.
                      Great post, agree 100%

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I think you look fantastic, the two things I would like to see more of would be your shoulders back, and eyes up! (Which I'm sure you do the other 99% of the time when you aren't focused in a lesson!)

                        Have a great show, you and your horse look lovely.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I also agree with Slc's post.

                          The only thing I really see in this particular picture is that you're dropping your inside shoulder very slightly... I've been known to slip into this habit myself = ) When I'm on a circle, I sometimes collapse toward the inside (the slight drop in my shoulder will sort of make my ribcage area slightly hollow). It's very slight, but I can always tell a difference in my horse's balance when I fix it.

                          I also want to add that I don't agree with the thumbs up comments either. I think your hands look quiet and sympathetic in this picture, and your thumbs aren't really supposed to be pointing towards the sky anyway. It's correct to have a slight angle (around 45 degrees) across your knuckles, it helps keep the wrist from getting stiff. You certainly don't want to get too extreme in the other direction and develop "puppy dog paws" as I call them (overly bent wrists with horizontal knuckles), but you aren't doing that here. And really, if you look at top riders, most of them put their hands where they need to be (within reason at a show) to get the job done at that particular moment. There's always a certain amount of wiggle room from "correct" form once you've firmly established that correctness and can get back to it when you need to - another reason it's hard to give any sort of critique from one photo = )

                          Anyway, overall you look fluid and in time with your horse, and that's something some people struggle all of their riding careers to do. Enjoy your lovely mount.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Angel wrote:
                            When you have all that padding, you cannot properly feel the horse
                            I must respectfully disagree. Tell that to all of my horses, and they will laugh at you! I only purchased my Mats pads last year, and my horses (FEI and lower) still feel and react the same as they did prior to using mats pad. I can feel them just fine; I am not having to ride them any differently than I have in the last 8 years prior to the Mats pads.


                            As for a critique; first glace looks like you have some good basics and just need some fine tuning. I am walking out the door and will add more later.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I agree with SLC, completely disagree with Angel. You are doing fine, work with your instructor. The horse looks happy and connected for the level. I would not lengthen the reins. The pad is fine. The saddle looks a little short for you in the seat- but it is hard to tell the pic is a little fuzzy, it just looks a little small.

                              Good luck at the show!

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                Thanks Everyone!

                                I came over from huterland about a year and 1/2 ago and have been taking lessons about once a month. I am going to start taking them once a week now that I am back in school. I have worked my butt off to get where I am, and I am glad to see, by what everyone seems to think, that I am on a good track and just need some fine points fixed. I used to (once upon a time) lean over, hit my horse in the face, etc...and its been a long and hard road getting to what you see in the picture.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Just wait. It just gets more and more fun.

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    Originally posted by slc2 View Post
                                    Just wait. It just gets more and more fun.
                                    Thats what my friends always tell me, and I have noticed it too. Its seems like once you have something down, it opens up a whole other realm and can of worms that you have to work on . I love it though, it keeps me thinking and learning something new everyday! IMHO...its much more mental involved than doing hunters.

                                    It reminds me of an old saying my calc teacher told me "its something so easy that people tend to overthink it, make it harder than it really is, and therefore struggle untill they learn to stop fighting it". This really seems to fit dressage well, that its easy, in theory, but we have to learn not to overthink it and just go with the flow.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Wait til you get a really good extended trot and sit it, or do a line of flying lead changes.

                                      Cars, drugs, even sex will pale in comparison.

                                      WELL...at least the first two will pale in comparison.....

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I think you are doing really well.

                                        I don't think your reins are 'a tad too short' at all. The reins need to be short enough that a half halt arrives from the squeeze and release of a fist, not from moving your elbow or wrist back and forth. Good hunter riders know how to do this already from having to give their horse an 'invisible ride.'

                                        You look like you have a solid seat and a sympathetic feel. One thing I might try if I were you is the "mini long and low". I like to give myself and inch/inch and a half to play with. From where your contact is in that picture, you could "test" the horse by moving your hands forward an inch and seeing if the horse maintains the same contact by filling the space. When the horse has filled the space, ride flowingly forward for a few stride and then see if simply sitting taller and moving your hands back the same inch again has the horse smoothly coming back a skitch without tightening or tensing.
                                        Playing with the inch throughout the ride helps to develop a playful contact, a softly responsive horse, and sets you up to have a quick "Release your tension" button for when you start doing lateral work. You give the horse his inch, ask him to go there, and that little almost invisible moment can do a lot for both of you.

                                        Note that none of this involves lengthening your reins, it just involves ever so slightly relaxing your elbow and fist.
                                        The Noodlehttp://tiny.cc/NGKmT&http://tiny.cc/gioSA
                                        Jinxyhttp://tiny.cc/PIC798&http://tiny.cc/jinx364
                                        Boy Wonderhttp://tiny.cc/G9290
                                        The Hana is nuts! NUTS!!http://tinyurl.com/SOCRAZY

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