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Equitation critique *update; post 29*

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  • Equitation critique *update; post 29*

    Everyone complements me on my pretty eq, I just don't see it. I'm not being modest. I'm a big kid on a little pony that requires to be pushed around the ring. I worry about making lines and getting changes, so I rarely think about what I actually look like. My pony is finally getting things together, so I guess it's time to work on getting myself cleaned up. I know I have a strong leg, I just use it in strange ways sometimes . I would love to hear a critique from you guys, I have a link to the proofs from the last show we attended. Please ignore the flat and face photos (I asked nicely if they would stop taking head shots of me, but they weren't cooperative). Normally we show higher than this, and my pony has a nicer front end, but this show is famous for lower everything.

    '554 Just Morgan'

    (photo 28 & 29 was an eq-ish turn diagonal type thing, which is the reason for my open hand in the first part of it. And, I have no idea what's going on in 35, my pony has never done that before.)

    Last edited by theroanypony; Apr. 21, 2009, 07:17 PM.

  • #2
    Yeah, he does look like he's just stepping over them, but sometimes that happens.
    As for you? You're just awful! Go back to step 1 and start over!! No, seriously, you look like a beautiful rider! Congratulations on being someone we can all be jealous of! Don't be so hard on yourself and know that you DO have wonderful eq!
    "IT'S NOT THE MOUNTAIN WE CONQUER, BUT OURSELVES." SIR EDMUND HILLARYMember of the "Someone Special To Me Serves In The Military" Clique


    • #3
      I don't really critique, but I have to say I think you look fabulous! It looks like you have a really great foundation and will go on to great things! Keep up the good work! Oh, and you're pony is such a cutie
      Who is John Galt?


      • #4
        I am a dressage rider who has never ridden hunters, but I am quite an "equitation" fanatic - you know, dressage riders are typically quite "focused" on riding position. For whatever it is worth let me tell you what I see - and I see quite a lot that I like!

        The first thing that really stood out to me is how nicely you are balanced over the pony's center of gravity. SO many times you see people - even people who call themselves professionals - who are ahead of their horse in the jump. You are not. You may feel small on the pony, but I think you are quite a nice pair and do not look out of place on him/her at all. I absolutely LOVE your leg position. I think you realize that you have a very good, very strong leg position. Your leg appears to be very relaxed, with knee pointed forward, aligned over your toe, with the inside of your calf against your horse where it can be effective. [Hence - strong leg] So many people, especially in your discipline, seems to want to roll the back of their calf against the horse which leaves their knee/toe alignment also rolled toward the "outside". You can not use the leg nearly as effectively in this manner.

        Lets note some other things. You have a nice flat back; not hollowed out in the lower back with your bum stuck up in the air. I have seen that positional flaw a lot. Shoulders seems nice and square. One correction I would make if you were my student - keeping in mind I am a dressage riders and we tend to use our seat a little differently than h/j riders [although I'm not sure why this is - to my eye there shouldn't be much difference except that unless we are riding a very young horse or very green one we ride fully seated in the three point pelvic bone alignment]. I would have you site upright with a erect, "tall" torso, fully seated up to the jump. When you lean forward you are simply putting the horse on its forehand, which allows it to escape really having to take more weight on its haunches and "collect" up a bit more for you. Really good jumper riders do this, and many, many times you can tell right away which ones work from a strong basis of true dressage [not just "flatwork"].

        One other thing that you could work on is your hand position. I really, really like your nice rein alignment - straight from the horse's bit to your elbow. Think of your hands not ending in your hands but in your elbow. You want to maintain that nice straight alignment. In many of the photos you seem to stray away from the classical hand where the thumb is on top of your closed hand. Your hands appear to roll slightly inward and become more "puppy dog hands". Look at photos of really top, classically trained dressage riders and you will see what I mean. when we roll the hands even slightly inward we are changing the effect of the bit in the horse's mouth. It becomes more of a harsher effect because the bit becomes rolled down on the sensitive bars of the horse's mouth. In the "thumbs on top" hand position, the bit is gently brought more against the corners of the horse's mouth/lips where a finer level of communication is possible and the bit effect is not on the bars. Hard hands as you know can cause all kinds of resistances. I'm not saying that you have hard hands - you do not appear to have that going on at all - but in several of the flat photos your pony has backed off the bit, is a bit hollow, and not exhibiting the throughness to give you the best ride possible.

        Overall, I was simply struck by the lovliness of your photos. There is much you should be proud of. You deserve a pat on the back for all your hard work. If its any consolation, we all - not matter how good a rider we are - have areas that will need attention & correction. I would love to see you go to a really good dressage instructor with some basic positional help, and the occasional tune-up. It would do wonders for your confidence and ability, not to mention help you rack up a lot more wins in the ring!

        Edited to Add: Equitation is not just a "pretty" from. Equitation is the be-all-end-all in riding sport. Think of it as beautiful form [for the rider] which produces a beautiful and effective form in the horse. I hedge to say this because I don't want it to come off sounding snobby - but - sloppy riders produce sloppy going horses, no matter how beautiful nor talented they may be. Without functional, correct equitation the riders can not bring out the best in their horses. I just watched the videos from World Cup 2009 - check out the Steffan Peters ride as well as the Meredith Michael Beerbaum rides. Both exhibit beautiful equitation and get rewarded with stellar rides!
        Last edited by Strictly Classical; Apr. 18, 2009, 09:55 AM.


        • #5
          So here's the deal from my angle.... Equitation is "Form To Function".
          There are REASONS we do what we do in order to have "good equitation". And you're proving all the reasons in your extremely correct workmanlike position.
          BAD equitation is usually the result of bad riding habits.... and the reason they are bad is because they either don't work, or they created bad responses in your horse.
          I think the more difficult horses (and ponies) can sometimes create the best riding. When you ride a push-button horse, you don't really HAVE to keep your heels down, your fingers closed, your shoulders back...... But when you ride a brat..... well, you HAVE TO!
          Your fabulous leg position is testament to the function it must perform.
          Your straight wrist-to-forearm is because you need to keep correct contact.
          Your lovely upper body and lower back are completely useful for keeping your pony energized, balanced, and straight.
          THAT'S why people tell you have great Equitation!! It works.... like it's supposed to.
          hooray for you


          • Original Poster

            In my OP, I didn't mean to sound like someone begging for people to tell me that I have pretty eq. I know that's not what you guys did, but I just wanted to make sure I didn't sound like a loser. I also know eq is about getting your horse going well, not looking pretty. But I've always thought of my eq as workmanlike, and compared to everyone else, it just doesn't seem as soft and subtle.

            Strictly Classical - My trainer is a fantastic dressage trainer! That used to be my barn's main function. Even now my trainer makes us do dressage whether we like it or not! No matter what she does, she incorporates dressage into it. She's even told us to ride courses just like a dressage test. Different tack, different ring, same thing. I always feel like that gives me an advantage over most people I show against because learning dressage over the past year has made me balanced just that much. I don't understand why more people don't cross train in dressage, it's really hard but definitely worth learning.

            Thanks again everyone, for the advice and critiques.


            • #7
              Carry on then! Job well done! By the way, sounds like you have a great instructor - one who understands that good riding is good riding - regardless of discipline. Personally, I think there is no substitute for good equitation and also healthy doses of theory to support it. Too often there are instructors that tell you to do something, yet they don't seem to be able to explain how or why behind it. Those "hows" and "whys" are very important concepts.


              • #8
                I like your equitation a lot! You look very secure but relaxed in the saddle. The only comments I can give are to close your hands a bit more, thumbs up, turn your toe out just a touch, release towards the bit, not along the crest, and look up. Your pony says, "Ma, this is way too easy for us."


                • Original Poster

                  Originally posted by IsolaBella09 View Post
                  Your pony says, "Ma, this is way too easy for us."
                  It is! Normally the shows jack the jumps up higher than they're supposed to, its odd that this show would make them too low. We're point chasing this year though, so we went in and did the baby jumps. It was also a good opportunity to work on changes without worrying too much about the fences, it definitely paid off too! Thanks for the critique!


                  • #10
                    You do have lovely equitation. And an adorable pony.


                    • #11
                      i really like your eq it's very solid.

                      you have a solid leg and release. your back is straight for the most part, though it does look like you have a tendancy to curl/hunch your back a little bit. you have a fairly straight line from hip to ankle. your leg is fine where it is, but it might look a liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiittle bit better if it were just a teensy bit more forward, closer to the girth. (think as if it's almost on top of the girth, like it is when you're on the flat. when you're coming up to a jump, think about locking your leg right into place where it is, at the girth. this will be hard if your pony has a tendancy to rush to fences, so if he does, avoid that, but otherwise, it's a good technique to keep your leg in place over the fence)

                      overall, very nice

                      Blitz <3 & Leap of Faith <3


                      • #12
                        I'll start by saying i rarely say things "nice" when critiquing....

                        get rid of your crest release, you are ready to rid yourself of such rubbish

                        if you're keen you'll take that as a compliment
                        chaque pas est fait ensemble


                        • #13
                          Love the eq, love the pony, I'll go ahead and add your blog to my Google Reader, I always love seeing what other riders are up to!


                          • Original Poster

                            Originally posted by Petstorejunkie View Post
                            get rid of your crest release, you are ready to rid yourself of such rubbish
                            Wait, what other releases are there? I can only think of an automatic release. You think I should be doing an automatic release? If so, I'll definitely take that as a complement! But...do people still do those? At local levels?


                            • #15
                              You definately have good eq and it's very natural-looking and effective. The only thing I saw was that you had broken wrists in the the flat (even though you said ignore those) and that your release should be a couple inches lower, so your hands are resting on his crest, not the top of his mane. As someone else said, you could start doing an automatic if you and your trainer feel you are ready. And yes, people still do them at all levels, though many people never bother to use one. You will do much better in the higher eq classes with an auto. You guys really do look awesome together! I'm jealous!


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by theroanypony View Post
                                Wait, what other releases are there? I can only think of an automatic release. You think I should be doing an automatic release? If so, I'll definitely take that as a complement! But...do people still do those? At local levels?
                                You bet. I prefer an automatic release over a crest release anyday. In the middle of the air I just think, hands towards the bit, not along his mane. Works for me.


                                • #17
                                  [QUOTE=theroanypony;4032254] But...do people still do those? At local levels?[/QUOTEhistory lesson: before george morris there was no such thing as a crest release. You used to have a neck tie on your horse you grabbed about midneck so that you wouldn't catch a horse in the mouth while developing your base. The crest release was created as a temporary fix btween the neck tie and automatic release. It was never meant to be something you did at a show! Crest release is a tool that got thrown way out of proportion. George himself announced publically a few years back that rider equitation wasn't as good as it should be because his own invention!
                                  Yeah get rid of the cr judges with knowledge of the styles history will appreciate it.
                                  chaque pas est fait ensemble


                                  • #18
                                    You have very nice eq! I feel the same way a lot of the time. Last summer I was training a pony and I took him into his first over fences class. I came out of the ring and said, "Oh god. My equitation was just awful!" She laughed and said that I had actually looked very nice. Turns out that I placed third in the class. Sometimes it's just a matter of how the horse is balanced (I was riding a very green pony), the size of the pony relative to you, or how much you're focusing on your equitation. If you've had eq hammered into your head, then you probably have really good equitation when you're not thinking about it; so if you're just concentrating on the course and your horse, then you probably just aren't thinking about it!


                                    • #19
                                      Nice eq. cute pony. The only thing I could say is your leg slips back a teeeennnnyyyy bit in a few pictures but you are very lovely over. I'd say get rid of the crest release and start working on an auto release. Your strong enough to do it and have great position of it. It will also make your horse jumping even better.
                                      Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole


                                      • Original Poster

                                        Thank you everyone! My trainer has asked me if I was ready to think about the auto release, but I didn't see any point in learning it if the crest release was just as good. Also, no one in our circuit does it, or at least very few. But if it makes me ride better and stand out more, I'm all for it! I looked through old books and love the fact that you keep contact over the jump, not just throw it away. Will talk to my trainer tomorrow, if she's still game, I'm sure I'll ask for a new critique soon!