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Another once-a-week rider critique...

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  • Another once-a-week rider critique...

    The jumps are little and the video quality is bad, but this is me on a newish horse I may start doing in the Adults. Love this horse—he's a star.


    I'm working on getting my leg back underneath me (a few years of riding wild NCAA horses in college left me a bit defensive) and not leaning. But... considering I ride once a week (and am not nearly as fit as I was as a junior), I'm relatively pleased at the moment.

  • #2
    I think you look good! Adorable horse <3


    • #3
      You're right it is a hard video to watch. As an instructor I would first not have you going over any fences until you get more core strength. Your legs need to be solid and in contact with your horse before you start to think about fences, big or little.

      By working on the core and foundation you need, even one day a week under saddle, it's well worth the effort to make you a much better rider. Even when not riding you can workout to gain core strength. You seat and legs are your communication tools for your horses.

      If I were your instructor I would focus on flat exercises for now, grids, ground poles, gymnastics and small raised poles. No stirrups work too!

      It will come just don't rush the process.


      • Original Poster

        Originally posted by classicsporthorses View Post
        As an instructor I would first not have you going over any fences until you get more core strength. Your legs need to be solid and in contact with your horse before you start to think about fences, big or little.
        Did we watch the same video? I know some COTH critiques are strange, but I never expected to be told that I shouldn't be jumping—particularly when I'm doing the 3' divisions at shows.

        Thanks for your advice though. We do a lot of no stirrups and a ton of grid work.


        • #5
          I thought you looked good! I actually thought you looked better over fences than on the flat. You are a very soft rider.

          I know exactly what you mean about not being as fit as you once were. I went from riding 6-7 horses a day, 6 days a week to doing nothing while I had to get a few wrist surgeries. I miss being in shape like that! Maybe we need a new COTH clique for people like us! Keep doing what you're doing and good luck with the cute horsey!
          Originally posted by JSwan
          Prove it....Otherwise, you're just coming off as a whackjob.
          Founding member of the "Not too Klassy for Boxed Wine" Clique


          • #6
            I'm no instructor, but I would say that you should work on keeping your toes in. Other than that, you look great! And geez, I want that horse!


            • #7
              Very nice horse! Jealous.

              I don't see enough strength on the flat either to have you doing 3' divisions... Your upper body looks very loose to me and because of the lack of strength, you lean forward where it's more comfortable for you. You can't do much with your upper body if it has to be leaning forward the whole time. Work on your core strength so you can be strong enough to actually sit up- it'll allow you to do a lot more with your seat and not your hands.

              I would also say to continue doing a lot of no stirrups work...in general your whole position and riding on the flat just looked loose to me. Most pieces of your course flowed as far as the horse is concerned, but as an equitation critique, there was too much movement between your legs and upper body going on for me.

              Position over fences is pretty good but a little inconsistent with being in the center of gravity over the jump vs. overjumping. I think it's because a few strides out before every jump you begin to lean WAY forward and kind of shift your leg back as anticipation. Just remember, you don't need to jump for the horse. He will jump and it will push you out just enough. Plus leaning extra forward a few strides out is a good way to get yourself tossed over their shoulder if they decide at the last minute to refuse or run-out.


              • #8
                I think you look capable for a 3' division... though if it were me and if I could only ride once a week id probably spend the money on more ride time/lessons than showing. I think you look good. The horse is amazing, is he the one you'd be showing?


                • Original Poster

                  Originally posted by veetiepony View Post
                  I think you look capable for a 3' division... though if it were me and if I could only ride once a week id probably spend the money on more ride time/lessons than showing. I think you look good. The horse is amazing, is he the one you'd be showing?
                  The once-a-week issue isn't money-related; it's time. Believe me—if I could make the time to ride more than once a week, I would be.

                  And, yes, that's the horse. To clarify: I've been doing the 3' (and have done much more in the past!) so I'm not just now moving up. This is just a newer horse who I haven't yet shown. Here he is at WEF last year: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GOiSsJ5afTw

                  Thanks to everyone for their feedback.


                  • #10
                    What a cutie! If you only get to ride once I week you sure picked a good one to do it on!

                    No credentials here whatsoever, but it looks like quite often you tip your shoulder forward when you're one stride away from the fence? I only notice because I often get yelled at for similar movements just in front of a fence!


                    • #11
                      Love that horse! I think you have a lot more positives about your riding than negatives. You are a soft rider, I agree. Your hands are nice and steady and your previous training shows.

                      The 2 things I noticed were both things your trainer is already telling you. "Don't pinch with your knee" and "stay tall" coming to the jump.

                      Your lower leg swings a bit from pinching with your knees. That in itself will make your upper body look weak and destabilise your whole balance. I would work on getting your lower leg more stable and it will help you keep your upper body in place.

                      In the section where you are doing a sitting trot, you're leaning forward with your upper body and bouncing a lot. You ended up pulling on your horse's mouth and the horse lost impulsion and slowed down. For a sitting trot you need to sit tall, shift your weight deep into the saddle, and let the weight from your back and seat come down the back of your leg and into your heel. Your butt needs to be glued to the saddle, and your hips and pelvis should follow the horse's motion.

                      As you mentioned, you've picked up some bad habits from riding the less that perfect mounts in the past. It seems like you're a bit defensive coming into the jumps at times (but not all of them) and you're getting ahead of your horse. The knee pinching could be contributing to you getting ahead of the horse at the jump and losing a bit of impulsion.

                      But all in all, when you pull it together, you give your horse a very nice soft ride.

                      Just my 2 cents, hope it helps.


                      • #12
                        I think you look exactly like the rider you describe: a little rusty, a little defensive, but it's obvious you have done *something* in the past.

                        While you are a little loose, and your legs are out in front of you too far, you do not interfere with the horse's mouth (or back), on flat or over fences. So you obviously know how to stay soft and following over jumps. You just lack a little tightness.

                        It does look like you 'pump' with your upper body (perhaps in an attempt to add energy to his gait, keep the rhythm good, or some such). It really works the other way, as I have seen it- you get the horse in front of your leg (responding promptly and properly to a 'go forward' nudge, or a big kick or pop with the whip if necessary) and then sit quietly, the horse has an easier time keeping his energy up and forward. The more you pump, the less motivated the horse is to go forward. This is even more obvious with some misguided dressage riders-the more they shove the saddle back and forth with their seat, the tighter-backed and more sluggish the horse gets. You don't grind your seat into the horse's back, but you could indeed sit more still. Find out how still you can be with your upper body, and yet stay as beautifully soft and following with your hand as you have been. I think you would have an easier time keeping your leg underneath you if your upper body were more still.

                        If you lacked the ability to stay out of your horse's way over fences (and needed to develop more skills before jumping), it would be obvious by looking at the horse's expression and reactions throughout the video. Nice horse, and he nowhere seems like he has to take the short end of the stick because you did something wrong. I'm sure you'll ride better with better fitness.


                        • #13
                          I'm not a trainer, but I'd say sit UP, and work on flat work. The sitting trot looked absolutely painful for everyone involved. Lots of no stirrup work. Also, I personally would like to see a little more pace over fences.
                          Charlie Brown (1994 bay TB X gelding)
                          White Star (2004 grey TB gelding)

                          Mystical Moment, 1977-2010.


                          • Original Poster

                            Originally posted by AliCat518 View Post
                            I'm not a trainer, but I'd say sit UP, and work on flat work. The sitting trot looked absolutely painful for everyone involved. Lots of no stirrup work. Also, I personally would like to see a little more pace over fences.
                            The horse is super bouncy! I should have added that. Like, ridiculously hard to sit. Even my trainer agrees, haha.

                            Also, I don't really think more pace is necessary for such little jumps on a horse with a big step.


                            • #15
                              For a once a weeker, I can understand why you look loose

                              But yes, LOTS of no stirrup work- every chance you get

                              The horse is cute but travels kind of hollow- you need to get him working from behind a little bit more so he's working more through his back. But yikes... I can see why he hollowed out on that sitting trot!! More no stirrup work!!!! Did I say no stirrups?


                              • #16
                                Ugh, time issues.. any way you could take a little pay cut for ride time? Obviously, not. your rides were very pretty, non distracting, didn't seem to affect your pony's job... I think you should show him in the 3', do well and have fun!


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Tap2Tango View Post
                                  I actually thought you looked better over fences than on the flat. You are a very soft rider.
                                  Agreed. I wasn't impressed by the flat work at all and while this may sound a bit harsh, I thought there was no way this was you because I know you rode a lot (and well) as a junior. You looked like an advanced beginner on the flat, to be honest.

                                  But it definitely improved over fences. You are a very soft rider and all the pieces are there...it just looks you are weak. I wanted to tell you to sit up and get your shoulders back. That would improve everything by a zillion percent. Remember to stretch down into your leg, which will help keep it quieter.

                                  The good thing for you is that it's just a matter of strength. Once you can figure that part out...it will come together quickly.

                                  (BTW - after you posted the video of the other rider, I had an idea that horse was on the bouncy side. I sympathize with you there. I'm riding one right not that I hope to never have to do a sitting trot on, ever. Ugh....)
                                  Keith: "Now...let's do something normal fathers and daughters do."
                                  Veronica: "Buy me a pony?"


                                  • #18
                                    It looks to me like you have a good natural "feel" for a horse, but you're just out of shape. The thing that really bugged me the most was the bouncy hands at the sitting trot. I agree with other posters that I liked you better over fences. The two main things I'd have you work on are stretching up and back with your upper body and turning more with your outside aids, both of which your trainer was advocating. Overall, nice job for once a week, and what a lovely horse!


                                    • #19
                                      I'm no hunter rider but here's what I see

                                      ~stirrups too long
                                      ~no one's taught you how to properly sit the trot, and the ability to synch up with your horse and stack your body in this manner is a large key to improving in many other areas
                                      ~whole leg needs to rotate inward
                                      ~you guard in your shoulders
                                      ~you pinch your knee when you try to focus both on the flat and over fences
                                      ~abs don't seem to enter the picture as you rely alot on your shoulders this translates to hand riding
                                      ~you butt grab
                                      ~your gracilus muscle is incredibly weak, as is your transverse abdominals (if they were well developed you wouldn't be having all these core issues). Of couse the rest of the core muscles need developing too, but these in particular need attention.

                                      If you really want to improve, you'll find the time. "Losers make excuses, winners make it happen." Translates to any sport
                                      chaque pas est fait ensemble


                                      • Original Poster

                                        Originally posted by Petstorejunkie View Post
                                        If you really want to improve, you'll find the time. "Losers make excuses, winners make it happen." Translates to any sport
                                        Tell that to my boss.

                                        As I said, if there was any way I could find the time to ride more, I absolutely would, so I don't appreciate your comment accusing me of making excuses.