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Ridng critique, suggestions, help me?

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  • Ridng critique, suggestions, help me?

    Ok so before I start, I am pretty darn scared to even post these pictures... and before anyone suggests this I *AM* working with a trainer - but I am coming here for other suggestions, ideas, exercises that we can work on, and just all around other points of view.

    I have had horses for 15 years. Most of that time I have either had lame horses or complete green beans.. I have not taken consistent lessons in probably 10 years - just a few here and there. My eq is pretty non existent to be honest. To make things worse I have lots of holes in my foundation.. I had several medical problems which made riding difficult for me but I wanted to do what the other kids at my barn were doing and my original trainer just let me do it, even though I really wasn't ready. To top THAT off last September I was thrown from another mare and fractured my spine. I have MAJOR major issues with relaxing my lower back. I had issues with this before the accident, but now it feels like a solid board or something. I can SEE what is wrong with it when I look at pictures/videos of my riding position, it's just breaking ALL the bad habits I have gotten in to and physically DOING it. Still would appreciate critiques as well, though because I'm sure there is a lot I'm looking over as well. One of my biggest problems, aside from my chair seat, hands too low, legs,legs, legs some more, butt not underneath me, etc etc etc - which you can't see so much in the pictures is that I actually ARCH my back.. think the opposite of a roach back? Any suggestions on that?
    Anyway the point of this is I'm wanting to return to riding/showing and in the next week or two will start back working consistently with my trainer who has been instructed to go completely drill sargent on me. We'll be pretty much starting completely over.. on her calm school pony - on the lunge, no reins or stirrups.. and go from there. I'm basically looking for any suggestions for exercises to do (on the lunge or once I'm past that point) or things to help me relax (not nervous anxious type, just tense if that makes sense) or just..I dunno.. words of wisdom? Tell me it's not impossible to fix my horrible riding and that I shouldn't just give up and learn saddleseat (no offense to any SS riders out there!!!)

    I originally started riding dressage, which I still plan to do but am also wanting to go more in the H/J direction with my new gelding which is why I posted this here.

    Riding pics can be found at:


    The lastest is the one taken outside, dated 3.29.11.

  • #2
    I'm not going to be much help because I do not do face book, but I just want to say that that you're taking a step in the right direction working with a trainer again. I, too, have ridden on my own for far too long. I picked up some bad habits that I, too, am finding hard to fix. I know I do it (jump ahead, pinch with knees) but have trouble fixing it at the time it's happening. BUT now that I've been working consistently with a trainer I am STARTING to be able to catch it before some of the jumps. Not all of them yet, but it's a start. I'm more aware in the present.

    Good luck!
    “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
    ¯ Oscar Wilde


    • #3
      Wowza - I was expecting much worse from your description! Have you tried riding in a different saddle that may fit your body and put your leg in a better position?

      Maybe your trainer can help with your self esteem as well!!!


      • #4
        to get more weight in your heels try standing in a half seat for 5 trot steps, then posting for 5, etc. That will help get your leg underneath you as well. I give you a lot of respect for your post! Best wishes


        • #5
          Originally posted by Jo View Post
          Wowza - I was expecting much worse from your description! Have you tried riding in a different saddle that may fit your body and put your leg in a better position?
          Those were my thoughts exactly! Your horse obviously responds to you, so you can't be as bad as you claim IMHO you look like you've got more of a dressage-y seat, and that's about it. Maybe watch that you don't plant your hands. Otherwise, find a different saddle, hike up your stirrups and I think you'll be fine. My coach loves the girls coming into the IHSA with a dressage background-they make equitation queens with just a little tweaking.
          "Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out." ~John Wooden

          Phoenix Animal Rescue


          • #6
            I think one easy thing to do would be shorten your stirrups about 3 holes and put bend in your leg. I think a lot of your position (forward leg, seat in the back, heel up) is coming from 'reaching' for your stirrups - then theres no general base or support in your seat because your legs are all over trying to find their home base. Your horse looks lovely - and I agree with the other posters, I was expecting something HORRIBLE from your description! You're not far off
            “There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.”
            -Winston Churchill


            • #7
              Move your saddle back about 3 inches. It's sitting much too far forward, which is no doubt tipping you back and forcing you into a chair seat. It looks like your equitation problems are caused by tack problems rather than anything you're doing.
              Against My Better Judgement: A blog about my new FLF OTTB
              Do not buy a Volkswagen. I did and I regret it.
              VW sucks.


              • Original Poster

                Thank you everyone for all your suggestions! I will be sharing all this with my trainer, and looks like we willl probably be saddle shopping in the near future. I sort of knew some of it was my saddle (you can tell a difference if I ride in my trainers - not magic or anything, but I don't have to work quite so hard) but MAN I just love that saddle haha. Thanks again guys, I very much appreciate all your comments - keep them coming!


                • #9
                  I think you look pretty good! Agree with what the others have said - work on putting more weight in your heels and bringing your leg back a little bit. Also work on posting more towards the front of your saddle - as another poster mentioned, moving your saddle back a few inches would probably help tremendously. Working in your two point position would help get your leg underneath you. If you felt comfortable you might also do some no stirrup work.

                  Also, not in all the pictures, but in some, it looks as though you are looking down at your horse. Make sure you keep your eyes up and looking where you are going.


                  • #10
                    These pictures are not as bad as I was expecting! Give yourself some credit, girl! You have a few things to work on, but we all do!

                    First, that saddle is doing you no favors. Shorten your stirrup at least 3 holes and get your leg under your hip by bringing both your butt forward and your leg back. This will give you the base of support that you need. If you can't keep your leg in that position with this saddle, I would seriously think about getting something that fits you better. This one doesn't look like it is helping you out very much.

                    I think your upper body looks great, especially considering your leg position. Get your leg under you and you will feel more comfortable with using your upper body.


                    • #11
                      I agree with all of the other posters. You don't look terrible and it seems to be a tack problem rather than rider error.

                      Your horse is CUTE!!
                      Every one of them had that look of a girl infatuated with horses, the happy, fated look of a passenger setting sail on the Titanic.


                      • #12
                        Shorten your stirrups, dressage queen!


                        • #13
                          Agreed with everyone else, and also just wanted to say what a beautiful horse!! You'd mentioned a problem arching your back -- it's not that apparent in the pics, but I find if focusing on tightening my abs gives me a more neutral spine and prevents the hollow back. It helps me to think of the position of my pelvis instead of the straightness of my back. Good luck!


                          • Original Poster

                            Thanks guys! Haven't had a chance to ride (stupid rain, and I'm feeling so motivated haha) but I put up my stirrups 3 holes for the next time, and am currently scheming how I can come up with money for a new saddle lol.