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Equitation Help?

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  • Equitation Help?

    I'm just a lurker here, but I felt like I wanted to post this soo...
    Basically..I'm just really really really fed up with my eq
    I only get one lesson a week and trust me, my trainer drills me. I ride hard horses so I really try to focus on them (excuse much?! still, just pointing that out!). I'm now starting to lease a nicer warmblood that I might show and ideally (in a perfect world), we have schooling shows around here that have medals although I'm focused on the hunters at the moment. So, I'd lovee to qualify for one which is like 2'9" (just to see why everyone my age is so into the big eq, lol!). I really can't afford many lessons, but I ride like 6 times a week on a variety of horses..
    Ok, done explaining my situation and done ranting!

    What are some really useful ideas/tips that really help you drill yourself to GET something? I KNOW what I need to do, I just really can't FEEL it if you know what I mean? I'm doing no stirrups on one horse I ride almost everyday for as long as I need it (which will probably will be a while). Back to the question...I really need help! I know I'm not like horrible horrible (I can stay on at a 3ft course but I look at the tapes and ehh!) and like I said I know my issues and I try to work on them A LOT but it doesn't "click".
    Tips, ideas, excerises..whatever works for you, let me know. Everything is considered.
    Like I said, I'm being really hard on myself but I want to push myself to be a better rider.
    Thanks! I hope this can help out some other COTHers, too!

    (Sorry for the useless ranting..lol).

  • #2
    can you post some pics or a video? You might get a better response if you do.


    • #3
      I don't know where you are located but if you have any big shows near you, go and watch the schooling/warm up rings. Listen to what the trainers are saying to their students and learn different ways to approach any problems you may have.

      You can also learn a lot by doing the same thing at smaller shows. Watch the rings and see whose students consistantly lay down the best trips. Stand by the in/out gate and listen to what the trainers say to them before they enter the ring and once they come out.

      In general, a true eq course will require a thorough plan that the rider will try to adhere to in order to have a smooth ride. Equitation is not about sitting pretty, it is about getting the job done well and smoothly while maintaining a classic seat.

      If you are able to ride five or six times a week than you should have plenty of time to practice. Also, pick up a couple of books on equitation. "Hunter Seat Equitation" by George Morris is excellent and there are a couple of books by Anna Jane White-Mullen that are good too.

      Good luck to you.


      • #4
        post pics or video and we'll be glad to critique. you'll get some great advice here.
        "ronnie was the gifted one, victor was the brilliant intellect, and i [GM], well, i am the plodder."


        • #5
          Look at your tack too - if you're trying so hard to get something, but just can't seem to nail it, perhaps your saddle is inhibiting you. For example, I can ride not too badly, but put me in a Wintec and I practically fall off immediately. I'm not sure if it is the way the saddle is built, or if it's the synthetic material, but my leg can't stay still, I either climb the neck or get left behind, and I have zero stability. Just a thought.

          Some horses also really don't let the rider equitate well I doubt this is the reason behind your problems if you're having the same issues on all your horses, but some just plain are not equitation horses.


          • #6
            I've always had a problem connecting what I feel like with what I look like. If your arena has mirrors sneak a look once in a while. Get someone to video you or take pictures. Ask a friend - are my shoulders back? (I always swore my shoulders were back when in reality they were not even close.) Doing all these things will help you develop muscle memory of what good equitation feels like.


            • #7
              What are some specific problems you have? Its kind of hard to offer advice without any idea of your issues.


              • #8
                1. dont be so hard on yourself. perfection takes lifetimes and improvements on 1 stinkin body part can take months. so take a deep breath and cut yourself some slack.
                2. Get a video camera, and tape yourself. Video your lessons too so that you have something to go back and study. Even if you dont learn anything from the vids right then, when you look back at them in a year you'll see how much you have improved.
                3. get sally swift's book centered riding. read it, memorize it, become it.
                4. this could be a case of sucky trainer. if that is what's going on it's better to lesson once a month with someone amazing than once a week with someone who sucks. Remember their riding ability doesnt really matter, its how they TEACH and what they know.
                5. post some pictures here and get advice. If you are not comfortable putting yourself out there to the sharks, feel free to PM me, i'm happy to help.
                chaque pas est fait ensemble


                • #9
                  It takes a lot of time and work.

                  Equitation is more than just sitting up there and looking pretty. It is invisible aids to the horse. Things that get the job done but to the naked eye it is flawless.

                  My old HDR saddle would perch me forward. I ride in a different saddle and I sit right. All of the sudden I started placing much higher in Equitation.
                  Insignia MC - Spanish PRE mare
                  Tuggy - RIP at the bridge (9/12/2016)
                  Theodore the Boxer - RIP at the the bridge (10/5/2017)


                  • #10
                    Pics/Videos would help but if you can't do that than knowing what your actual eq. problems are; rounded back, unstable leg, release, etc. would help


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Small Change View Post
                      Look at your tack too - if you're trying so hard to get something, but just can't seem to nail it, perhaps your saddle is inhibiting you. For example, I can ride not too badly, but put me in a Wintec and I practically fall off immediately. I'm not sure if it is the way the saddle is built, or if it's the synthetic material, but my leg can't stay still, I either climb the neck or get left behind, and I have zero stability. Just a thought.

                      Some horses also really don't let the rider equitate well I doubt this is the reason behind your problems if you're having the same issues on all your horses, but some just plain are not equitation horses.
                      Totally agree about the tack possibly causing a problem. I had a dressage saddle that I couldn't even post in without practically falling off. It was humiliating going from being a decent (well, not great but I could stay on) a/o jumper rider to rank beginner. Needless to say, the saddle was sold!


                      • #12
                        First of all, relax. You might be trying too hard--I tend to do this. Don't make yourself crazy for the pursuit of perfection. It's not worth it.

                        Second, ask your trainer for "homework." It's hard for us to give you advice because we've never seen you ride. Maybe write down what you did in your lesson the same night and review that during the week.
                        I love my Econo-Nag!


                        • #13
                          Let's get down to basics

                          Here's my best suggestion. Let's get away from the word "equitation" for a moment and just get down to - do you want to be a better rider? If the answer is yes and you are on a limited budget/mounts my suggestion is simple - work on balance.

                          I have been riding for 25 years, and am still working on balance issues. Some people are naturals but most are not and have to work on it. Here is how I do it.

                          Find a friend, a groom, a boyfriend...someone who can safely hold a lunge line. Now get on one of your horses and start from scratch. Have someone lunge you on the horse so you can work strictly on YOURSELF and not worry about the horse. Give yourself a lesson picking apart everything. Start at the walk, then trot, then canter. as yourself questions - are my heels down? where is my weight - is it centered? are my shoulders back? You can tie a knot in your reins and drop them and start working with your arms out to the side - relax everything. Really begin to feel what is happening with your body when you ride.

                          I do this regularly. Walk, trot, canter. With stirrups, without stirrups, with reins, without reins. Learn the basics. Learn to sit in the saddle at the canter and begin to feel one with the horse. If you are with a professional you can even do this with a gogue (mispelled maybe) and then have a rounder horse that is easier to sit on.

                          One of the worlds best riders helped me learn balance and told me a story of what another top 100 rider tortured him to learn balance. I would NEVER do what he did but he did show me to prove to me it was possible. He jumped small jumps with his legs and knees in front of the flaps of the saddle (picture putting your leg forward to tighten the girth) so he understood where the weight of his body was and would have to stay centered on the horse because he only had 1 point (his seat) touching the horse. I would NEVER try it because he told me stories of landing on the ground repeatedly on his first days of attempts but ultimately he became the rider he is today - ranked in the top 100.

                          It's all about balance and feel and then equitation comes...Good luck.


                          • #14
                            I grew up taking one or two lessons per week and riding a bunch of different and difficult horses in between. It is the best way to learn to be an independent and thinking rider. What you want is very do-able (and will be quite good for you in the long run), you just have to be very conscious of what you are doing when you're on the horse.

                            After your lesson, write down as many things as you can remember you went over with your trainer. Write down the exercises you did, and what you had to fix, etc. The next horse you ride, pick one or two things to focus on and drill those. Be aware of what your body is doing. If your trainer keeps reminding you about your heels, spend every step pushing your heels down until you don't have to think about it anymore. Video as much as you can. I spent most of my junior years watching video of myself riding and then going back out the next day and trying to fix what I saw was wrong. There's nothing wrong with self study. If you have an idea that might make something work better, try it out. You'll only find what works for you by experimenting and practicing.

                            If you're having issues with the fences, set up poles and pole exercises around the arena and practice. Ask your instructor for some 'homework' help and hints. He/She should be more than happy to provide you a list. If not, pick up a book (101 Jumping Exercises, etc) and pick one a day and practice.

                            You may not initially look like those eq kids who ride in lessons 5 days a week on three different horses, but you will be gaining invaluable experience on how to think for yourself. You'll develop an inner dialogue that will become your audio track and will help you solve problems on your own. Don't be discouraged - the funny thing about horses is that you're always learning something.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by AppendixQHLover View Post

                              My old HDR saddle would perch me forward. I ride in a different saddle and I sit right. All of the sudden I started placing much higher in Equitation.
                              I've also had a similar experience with HDRs. I'm 5'7" and longer legged. They seem to fit shorter legged riders better. I'm definitely not a fan and usually spend three-quarters of my time fighting to keep my leg in place in the HDR. Tack fit is incredibly important and definitely worth the investment.


                              • #16
                                It's amazing how much a saddle effects your equitation. I ride best in a pancake saddle, but I wanted knee rolls to save my butt because my mare has a good buck. It took a while to find a suitable saddle but it's helped 110%.