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Compensating for shorter arms?

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  • Compensating for shorter arms?

    I had my first lesson with a new trainer who told me I had shorter arms compared to my lower body. This probably explains why I'm always hunched forward with stiff arms in order to get my hands down like I've been told by other trainers. My new trainer told me to hold my hands up a bit more to create a more natural line and so I'm not hanging on his mouth. I found that it really helped a LOT, especially in the canter, but it made me start wondering how it would look in EQ classes.

    Do you think that a judge will think that I'm just not keeping my hands down and dock me on that? It's making me feel like I'm automatically at a disadvantage...
    Last edited by EmJae; Oct. 13, 2009, 06:41 PM. Reason: Better title

  • #2
    If you've got a straight line from bit to hand to elbow nobody can really complain.

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Thanks! It feel so unnatural and awkward for me since I'm used to riding a certain way that I was worried that it would still look that awkward.

      Comment


      • #4
        If it is effective, don't worry about how it looks. I am sure that a nice straight line from elbow to bit will look lovely, even if it takes some getting used to!

        Comment


        • #5
          I'm not saying to go out and buy a different horse, but riders of this conformation (and generally those with long upper arms and short lower arms, but especially when combined with a long upper body) generally LOOK better on horses with a higher, rounder head/neck carriage as they can carry the hand higher (as is necessary to keep the straight line from elbow to bit) and not look out of place in the equitation classes.

          Perhaps those of you out there with this conformation who are looking for equitation horses might find this a helpful tidbit.

          Comment


          • #6
            Ludger is right. A horse built more upright in the front with a higher head carriage will suit better then the lower and level Hunter types-and that's actually true across the board in serious Eq competition. The higher carriage allows a higher and more correct hand position which in turn translates into a much better upper body position and allows a deeper seat in the saddle with longer leg.

            BUT, you ride what you got as best suits your body type and the way the horse goes. Most of us are not looking to win the National level Medals on an Eq specialist horse, just do well at 3' and under and also show in the Hunters. OP, do as your trainer advises, sounds like they know what they are talking about. You will be fine, it's EQ and the higher hand is appropriate.

            You want to get serious and really go after that 3'6" Eq? Then you might want to look at a different horse to showcase you.
            When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

            The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

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            • #7
              I've heard this a lot, that short arms caused a person to be stiff there. Personally, I don't buy it. Stiff arms are stiff arms, whether they are short or long. I could see short arms influencing location of the hands when compared to the withers, but not the stiffness. Stiffness usually comes from pinching the elbows to the sides, tight shoulders and thinking about holding the hands/arms in one place. The arms aren't usually independent of the body and they often bounce a lot.

              Good hands/arms remind me of partner dancing. A good dance frame isn't stiff and tense: It's alive and moving while still maintaining structure. You can pick out the tense couples in a second...everything is off because they can't communicate clearly because of the tension. Signals get missed, motions are jerky because someone is holding their arms in a "correct" position but has not ability to react quickly because of the tension. Etc.

              You want a soft, following arm with a straight line from elbow to mouth. That really has nothing to do with how short your arms are.
              Keith: "Now...let's do something normal fathers and daughters do."
              Veronica: "Buy me a pony?"

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              • #8
                Think about it - a person who's arms are long in proportion to her torso is going to be able to hold her hands very low, still and quiet while making slight adjustments to her upper body. It's the soft elbow and the ability to keep the hands low and still that give the appearance of effortlessness and grace. People like me who's arms are short in proportion to the body have to keep the body very still to keep the hands still; we just have to work a little harder at looking good. My friend's daughter has really long arms and legs, like a spider, but looks fabulous on a horse despite still being a beginner!
                Man plans. God laughs.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Flash44 View Post
                  Think about it - a person who's arms are long in proportion to her torso is going to be able to hold her hands very low, still and quiet while making slight adjustments to her upper body. It's the soft elbow and the ability to keep the hands low and still that give the appearance of effortlessness and grace. People like me who's arms are short in proportion to the body have to keep the body very still to keep the hands still; we just have to work a little harder at looking good. My friend's daughter has really long arms and legs, like a spider, but looks fabulous on a horse despite still being a beginner!
                  Still doesn't make sense to me. Maybe I'm thinking about it incorrectly. The only thing short arms should do is put the hands closer to the body instead of out over the withers.

                  The body should have nothing to do with the hands...whether arms are short or long. If moving the body moves the arms, there is too much tension in the shoulders/upper back/upper arms.
                  Keith: "Now...let's do something normal fathers and daughters do."
                  Veronica: "Buy me a pony?"

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by RugBug View Post
                    I've heard this a lot, that short arms caused a person to be stiff there. Personally, I don't buy it. Stiff arms are stiff arms, whether they are short or long. I could see short arms influencing location of the hands when compared to the withers, but not the stiffness. Stiffness usually comes from pinching the elbows to the sides, tight shoulders and thinking about holding the hands/arms in one place. The arms aren't usually independent of the body and they often bounce a lot.

                    Good hands/arms remind me of partner dancing. A good dance frame isn't stiff and tense: It's alive and moving while still maintaining structure. You can pick out the tense couples in a second...everything is off because they can't communicate clearly because of the tension. Signals get missed, motions are jerky because someone is holding their arms in a "correct" position but has not ability to react quickly because of the tension. Etc.

                    You want a soft, following arm with a straight line from elbow to mouth. That really has nothing to do with how short your arms are.
                    Ditto this! Stop worrying about how you "look"!!!! Ride correctly and effectively and all will be well.
                    Seb
                    Aca-Believe it!!

                    Comment

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