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Let's Discuss: What holes are there in your riding/theory/etc that you're working on?

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  • Let's Discuss: What holes are there in your riding/theory/etc that you're working on?

    Since we were having some fun with the California Under 25 group with DOC it got me to thinking. What stuff are you working to "master?' What things aren't in the tool box yet but are in your sights that you have to figure out.

    Since I sometimes talk a big talk I think it's best to be the first to admit the weaknesses I struggle with.

    Remember of course that if I event this year it will be a low level one on Petey. I have mainly been working in the jumpers, but I do dressage and hillwork as part of my fitness plan still so I feel like I am able to be a relevant commentator to the eventing group.

    I SUCK at getting straight lateral work down. Seriously.. Always my over-strong right leg is shoving Lad into an arrow shape for leg yields. I can do a very capable turn on the haunches to the left, but my weaker left leg doesn't provide the same 'oomph' to get the same quality to the right. I know how to fix it... I just need to buckle down and get it done.

    Additionally I will admit that when we were discussing the Training Scale in the DOC thread I looked like a dog that had just been told that a flock of semi stupid squirrels that wanted to be eaten by a lab, had landed in it's yard. IE, confused, excited by the prospects but pretty sure I don't know what the hell you're talking about, but my mouth is shut, I am not drooling, ears are perked, so that means let me at it! Any links would be great as I would love to learn it.

    Lastly, I am one of those folks who LOVES stadium, course in a ring etc. And yet..... I still can't fully push back the butterflies when we get to a big class. I ride well enough, no lack of confidence, I know what to do. BUT.... damn if while waiting to go in the ring my insides don't twist up, I get nervey and at the last big show my students were standing there telling me to "BREATHE...." like I told them hours earlier. We all laugh about it, but honestly I wish I could just be myself and enjoy those moments. LOL

    Ok so what do you have in your own "Schooling ring?"

    ~Emily
    Last edited by Xctrygirl; Jan. 26, 2013, 11:49 PM. Reason: Sensitivity enhancement.
    "Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all." ~2001 The Princess Diaries

  • #2
    this is why I call my riding experience a block of swiss cheese: solid, but with many holes. I rode for too many years with no "formal" training in weekly group lessons. Enough natural talent, but didn't ride often enough to improve, coupled with inconsistent and sometimes right-out incorrect instruction, across several disciplines. I decided to wipe the slate clean, start from scratch. Building up my base by riding often, correctly, keeping the horse in front of my leg. Riding, not just being a passenger as I was in my younger years. I feel as though I've reached that goal, now I'm fine tuning and learning the subtle nuances. It is a never-ending learning journey, but I love the journey! I wish there were an adult riding camp somewhere in Virginia where I might go for a week or more, be a working student to learn all I missed in my youth, and just immerse myself in it. As a Mom, that is a bit of a pipe dream at the moment, but I do it in bits and bobs as best as I can, for the time being.

    On the "mental" side of it, I really enjoyed listening to Dr. Inga Wolframm's interviews with Chris Stafford. She has done several from October 2012 to present (find them, here). Really helped me with structuring my goals, dealing with butterflies and training my mind to manage fear, anxiety, etc. and realize they are not BAD things, per se. You just need to learn how to manage them, not different from a naughty horse!
    “Always saddle your own horse. Always know what you’re doing. And go in the direction you are heading.” Connie Reeves
    Jump Start Solutions LLC

    Comment


    • #3
      Ah, a snow day, and I like this thread already. I am so bad right now at riding that I need work on just finding out all the crap I am doing wrong, let alone fixing it.

      Last summer watching my shadow I saw I was pushing my pelvis forward, rather than up, when posting. I think what I was doing was not using my core, but just popping up and down rather than holding the pelvis still as I rose. I really worked on two point for about a month and all of a sudden I can control the popping, who knew.

      I need to consistently stop pinching on my knee (old, old, fossilized hunter seat eq habit) and drive my heels down so that my legs remain in contact. I topple forward because of this (core, knees, legs). All that needs work.

      I must go to jumper shows with a friend so that I can watch and learn courses BEFORE going thru the start flags (ya think?)

      And I must compete at a challenging level, event for a REASON, not just because it is nice to show up with friends and have plunk about the jump field. Be ready and prepared. Oh and check out the spin off thread. Lots in there about preparation.....
      Proud & Permanent Student Of The Long Road
      Read me: EN (http://eventingnation.com/author/annemarch/) and HJU (http://horsejunkiesunited.com/author/holly-covey/)

      Comment


      • #4
        I need to work on my core strength. I'm approaching 60, and if I want to continue competing at the ULs, then I have to keep it up. Last year, I went through an ugly phase where I was sitting down too early over a fence. I realized that I was weak in the core and worked a lot at 2-point and standing in stirrups, concentrating on those muscles. It made a huge difference.

        Right now, its snowing, icy, cold, and there is no way to ride. I am feeling like a Blob. The Blob.

        My goal is to de-blob myself. Soon.

        Comment


        • #5
          Retread, we share similar things to work on!
          “Always saddle your own horse. Always know what you’re doing. And go in the direction you are heading.” Connie Reeves
          Jump Start Solutions LLC

          Comment


          • #6
            My freakin' hands keep sneaking up. I am constantly working on keeping them forward and down and STILL, especially with my sensitive fussy TB mare who likes to fidget and brace her poll a bit.

            Jennifer
            Third Charm Event Team

            Comment


            • #7
              I'm learning to keep my leg ON.

              My horses are always light to the leg -- this is what I like and train, so much so that I never wear spurs on my horses.

              But now I have a WB, or at least the most WB I've ever had, a 1/2 KWPN who comes in the form of a fat 14hh pony. (His other half is Arab and he was supposed to be horse-sized. Ha.) He was given to me because he doesn't like kids and bucks a lot.

              After a year of steady progress, he started backsliding with the bucking, to the point where that's all we were doing. It didn't help that I was only riding 2-3 times per week due to the horrible weather up here. So I left him for a week with my coach who figured out that you need to keep your leg on and your spur in his side through his disobediences. I'd been taking my leg off and riding forward from the buck, but that wasn't really doing much good. However, it was what worked with my other horses -- they'd protest but then do as asked. This pony wasn't like that.

              So now I'm focusing on keeping my leg on and not lightening it until pony is fully engaged properly. It's not easy because I have to keep thinking 'leg ON' and frankly, I'm not used to working that hard that way when I'm riding. Usually I'm trying to contain the forward. This is the opposite.

              But I love to get new tools, and this is one I really need to be a better rider overall.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Xctrygirl View Post
                Additionally I will admit that when we were discussing the Training Scale in the DOC thread I looked like a dog that had just been told that a flock of semi retarded squirrels had landed in it's yard. IE, confused, excited by the prospects but pretty sure I don't know what the hell you're talking about, but my mouth is shut, I am not drooling, ears are perked, so that means let me at it! Any links would be great as I would love to learn it.
                Well when "training scale" was mentioned, this link is what I thought of.

                But if I had been asked you probably would've gotten crickets and a retarded squirrel look too... nerves!



                What I need to work on good lord where do I begin???

                There's too many to list, but the two biggest would be rider fitness and sitting the trot... I see videos of myself sitting (training/prelim tests) and it looks ok, but I feel like I'm all over the place like I'm having a seizure or something! I thank my horse every day for not bucking me off!

                Though I read everything, so my theoretical knowledge is ever expanding and far exceeds my ability to apply, I feel like until I have these things under control my riding will not progress.
                Last edited by PonyGal08; Jan. 26, 2013, 05:16 PM. Reason: poor sentence structure
                You know you're a horse person when your mother, who has no grandchildren, gets cards addressed to Grandma, signed by the horses, cats, and dogs.

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  (In my best Family Guy/ Peter Griffin voice) "OMG do not get me started on sitting trot!!!!!"

                  #1 top thing I have sucked at for almost all of my 35+ years of actual riding (not counting the first few years of up/down and learn how to stay on.

                  I am convinced I wasn't built for this skill. It takes me eons to get it even semi "right" and the first break of doing it even for a month and it's gone. *POOF* and getting it back is a huge struggle. We did discover a whole range of saddles won't work because of my physical build. Literally 3 similar saddles sent me home raw, bleeding and bruised in the Inverness. And I mean....bad.

                  I will say when I was a ws for Jane Sleeper in '92, that was when I really got my best at it. And I won 2 dressage phases shortly thereafter. I did get it for a while after that, but I have never felt like a natural when I do dressage in the sitting trot.

                  Now give me a lovely canter and I look great... but ask for sitting trot and VOILA>... (Not fully functioning but alive) Squirrel looking for it's nuts on the ground.

                  Fear not sitting trot can be conquered... it just takes time. (Like everything else)

                  Emily
                  Last edited by Xctrygirl; Jan. 26, 2013, 11:48 PM. Reason: Getting less offensive.
                  "Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all." ~2001 The Princess Diaries

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    First problem is getting back in the saddle. Finally have some time and fewer demands on my attention/time, then the weather went bad and the gelding popped an abcess.

                    When this blob gets back up I will have to work on staying centered, still and keep my legs on and quiet. Fortunately my gelding is an honest, giving sort so I can work on my bug-a-boo which is a lateral work. It makes sense on the ground, but my mind and body stop communicating when I am on the horse.

                    Looking forward to making some progress this year.

                    Another one with a blank look when the "Training Scale" was mentioned. Thanks for the link, good reminder.
                    "Never do anything that you have to explain twice to the paramedics."
                    Courtesy my cousin Tim

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Xctrygirl View Post
                      Now give me a lovely canter and I look great... but ask for sitting trot and VOILA>... Challenged Squirrel looking for it's nuts on the ground.
                      Emily - that is hilarious! I almost drowned my laptop with coffee. I also totally sympathize, I feel the same way about my sitting trot. What I really need to learn is how to get that 'forward on the bit' feeling that I can get in a dressage lesson. When my dressage coach is there and nit picking it apart from me, I can get him to that 'zone' and it becomes awesome. Yet when I try to mimic it in real life, sans coach, I can't do it. I miss her terribly and want her back. She is currently in Florida training so, while I know this is good for me in the long term due to the fabulous exercises she brings back, I'm currently suffering dressage coach less.
                      Last edited by Mouse&Bay; Jan. 27, 2013, 01:31 AM.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by retreadeventer View Post
                        Ah, a snow day, and I like this thread already. I am so bad right now at riding that I need work on just finding out all the crap I am doing wrong, let alone fixing it.

                        Last summer watching my shadow I saw I was pushing my pelvis forward, rather than up, when posting. I think what I was doing was not using my core, but just popping up and down rather than holding the pelvis still as I rose. I really worked on two point for about a month and all of a sudden I can control the popping, who knew...
                        Apparently I'll be working on posting correctly, always wondered why my posting looked less pretty than may others'. I'm sure I've been told, but for some reason it seems I've never heard of this until now, lol!!! Thanks

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          This is an interesting topic, but if everyone stopped using the word "retarded" it would also be less offensive. Thanks!
                          You can take a line and say it isn't straight- but that won't change its shape. Jets to Brazil

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Originally posted by foursocks View Post
                            This is an interesting topic, but if everyone stopped using the word "retarded" it would also be less offensive. Thanks!
                            I removed both instances. The only thing I was trying to capture was the original sense that the dog would be able to catch and eat a bunch of not able bodied squirrels. I apologize for being insensitive to disabled creatures of all types. It was not my intention.

                            Emily
                            "Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all." ~2001 The Princess Diaries

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              The most frustrating thing on which I am working is my galloping position.

                              There is the standing up off of your horse's back, with your heels not down version, while making a bridge of the reins on your horse's neck. As you approach the jump, your weight sinks into your heels, your seat lowers and shoulders come up to rebalance the horse. If your horse starts to give you a problem, then your legs go more forward, your seat slips to the back of the saddle with your shoulders back and it becomes a safety seat.

                              There is the William Micklem version, with your stirrups much shorter, weight on the outside of your foot to keep your lower leg more connected and having an extemely strong core and legs to keep your butt off of the saddle. On the approach, heels even more down, butt lowers to saddle, with shoulders back more to rebalance. His version has your leg more in front of you, so it is easily converted into a safety seat if needed.

                              My problem is that my cross country saddle is built more for the former, than the latter. I really want to ride with my stirrups shorter, but it puts my knee about three inches in front of the knee part of the flap.

                              Two years ago, I was doing the former, then tried to switch last year to the latter. When your stirrups are too long, the latter just causes your butt to hit the saddle every stride.

                              So far, this year, I am going back to the standing, but without relying on the bridge. I am balancing on my legs, strengthening them, so that all of my upper body weight is not leaning on Tessie's neck. I believe that having my weight on her neck must be just as tiring as my butt bopping her in the back every stride. Right?

                              Other than getting a saddle with a much more forward flap, which is out of the question right now, I figured that my only option was to go back to what I was doing two years ago.

                              If anyone has any exercises to try, other than a whole lot of work in 2 pt., posting at the canter and riding without stirrups, which I am already doing, then please let me know? I am also doing 30 minutes of cardio and twenty minutes of weights/yoga, three days/week at the gym.

                              As for sitting trot, try to alternately lift your hips in a side to side motion. Think hula dancer.
                              When in Doubt, let your horse do the Thinking!

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Sounds like your saddle is the problem. Saddle does affect position! God is very picky about that, the flap not supporting the leg thing.

                                I like the De-Blob thing. Yeah. Me.

                                And JER, you don't need to work on anything. Just don't let him break your neck!
                                Proud & Permanent Student Of The Long Road
                                Read me: EN (http://eventingnation.com/author/annemarch/) and HJU (http://horsejunkiesunited.com/author/holly-covey/)

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I need to stop picking at my poor mare with my right rein. It's so bad, that I don't realize I'm doing it until I look down! It doesn't help that my right side is weak, and my mares right side is weak.

                                  Also, I need to hold my darn reins, and not get all "fake soft" and weak...it's ugly, and by the time I've realized what's happening, my reins are a mile long, lol.

                                  Although, not having a ring to ride in, and a very happy mare, is making the "fake soft" rein issue difficult. If I do that, I'm asking for Tiger Lily to catch me unawares with some "airs above the ground."
                                  "On the back of a horse I felt whole, complete, connected to that vital place in the center of me...and the chaos within me found balance."

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Well, no surprise, I am sure, but the majority of my issues arise in show jumping. So, I won't go over the many, many issues I have (they all are inter-connected and also more mind game things than anything else). BUT, what we are working is keeping the canter in the jumping and riding a STRAIGHT horse, all the time.

                                    Especially while jumping, I have a tendency to coast coming out of turns and/or "look" for distances with my hands, even just subtly. But, it messes everything up and then I have a bad fence (and then we go down the mind game nonsense....). So, keep the canter, keep the quality, work on the quality in between fences. The eq coach tells me to "do my flatwork". The long time coach words it as "soften him." This weekend, in the Nicola Wilson clinic, she stressed to EVERYONE to "work the canter" between the fences (and at the end of the courses, etc). It's a running theme in all my lessons over fences!

                                    Along the same lines, I am learning to trust my horse a wee bit more and in different ways. I had a huge "OH!" moment today with Nicola, when I struggled with a challenging line. I kept jumping in quite well, but would just muck it up in the middle. FINALLY, I sucked it up, got brave, let go, and kept a "traveling canter" (she had such fun, British ways of saying things!), and NAILED the line...finally. The "OH!" moment was realizing I can LET Toby go on, and he will take care of his end of the bargain and, shocking, having the quality canter with a good step and a relaxed horse made the jump easy-peasy (I'm a bit of a rock head with some of this stuff).

                                    On the straightness, part of this is just upping the ante on the horse I have. He's ready to be a big time horse in the dressage, and cheats me out of things by getting noodly. He also is VERY good at suckering me into letting him get crooked and babying him. So, I am having to be hyper vigilant with the straightness and paying attention, even to the tiniest little seemingly meaningless step. And, his noodling gets us into some trouble over fences (changes the canter), so, it is an all encompassing theme these days.
                                    Amanda

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      for me its rider fitness. I seriously doubt that there is a more out of shape rider than me out there. I've had 3 yrs off due to horse injury, bought new horse and got to ride and jump for 3 months before new guy went unsound. It's been 2 months of no riding for me. So I'm doing a mix of home exercises (Success in the Saddle fitness DVD's) yoga ball DVD's. And everyday crunches and wall squats. I have got to get fit if I'm going to survive rehabbing the red irish horse.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Oh dear, my riding is so full of holes it's like cheesecloth. :P

                                        Right now I'm concentrating on using ALL of my aids. Old trainer is very handsy. Started working with a new trainer last spring and am basically relearning how to ride all over again, this time with my whole body.

                                        The good news is that I'm loving it, and more importantly, Baxter is loving it. He is much more relaxed under saddle and his topline is beautiful now.

                                        Now I just have to find the motivation to step up my out-of-saddle exercise routine. Ugh.

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