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Pics of my pony - critique?

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  • Pics of my pony - critique?

    Hi Everyone, newbie over here. Just wanted to share pics of my pony and I. I haven't really ridden in about 8 months. I have Crohn's disease, been very sick and just had bowel surgery 8 weeks ago. So I'm about 2 weeks back in the saddle and have put about 3 rides on him since getting back into riding. He's been ridden by a student of my trainer's while I've been laid up in the hospital and at home recovering. He just came home on Friday and this is the second time I've ridden him since he's been home.

    He's been very strong since coming home, I think its because he's getting used to being home, and that he's stalled 1/2 the day now, whereas before he lived outside 24/7. He soon will be back to almost 24/7 turnout, but my lovely husband accidentally cut my electric fence with a stump grinder last weekend. So my turnouts are kind of ..... incapacitated.

    Anyway! Feel free to critique but remember that I'm VERY weak and have no security in my entire body. I have a 10" vertical incision in my abdomen so I'm very insecure about falling right now.

    I would love tips on things to work on though! That's always helpful. I know my lower leg can come back a bit and I need to get my feet out of the stirrups too - again, I think this has to do with my fear of coming off of him and I'm in defense mode. Did I mention I fell off of him last week? Yea, it was fine and I didn't damage anything but I'm for sure more "aware" of that possibility.

    Oh, and he's a 9 yo. Haffie cross, 14 h. And I'm 5'4" for the record.

  • #2
    could just be me. but in a few photos it looks like you have a death grip on his face. you need to get him to relax and come towards you, into the bit.


    • #3
      My advice is probably not even worth two cents, but here goes:

      I actually think you look tense in your shoulders. Which is totally understandable given where you are coming from physically. I'd try to breathe, open your ribcage and roll them back a bit and I think your arms and hands will follow (and then you won't break at the wrist either).

      He's braced in the one, but no biggie. What I don't like is where he is breaking over on the last picture. I don't think he's working through his back, but just breaking behind the poll. Looks like he's behind the leg.

      You guys are cute!
      DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/


      • #4
        Looking pretty good given your circumstances. I'm just going to give you ONE bit of advice that I think will help all the little faults - lift your eye. If you get your gaze out of the dirt/horse's neck, your whole body will open a bit and you'll have to "feel" for the moment when the pony rounds and softens vs. staring down and seeing his head breaking over. So many people fall into that trap - they see something going on in front of them that looks round, and get focussed in on it so much that they can't feel the lack of impulsion and push from behind underneath them.


        • #5
          You have been through a lot... that's great you are getting back at it. Pony is cute and looks like a nice mover (even if it's a still pic)

          I will offer up what I think will help you. As an older rider on huge horses; I dont want to fall.... So one thing I did that has helped me SO much is got a different saddle.

          The saddle you are riding in looks like my old saddle. Does that happen to be an older Crosby w/ no knee roll?????? If so, get rid of it.

          Once you ride in a modern saddle with knee rolls that's not slick as snot, it will offer so much more security, you will never go back.. I just got a used Beval for 450.00.. and it makes all the difference in my riding. You can find some really nice used saddles - expecially these days...

          You leg looks forward at the girth - or should I say your shoulders/hips and heels are not aligned... but putting it farther back will only create a pendulum effect and possible pinching w/ the knees...... A different saddle will help you out. You can try droping your irons down a hole.. or put your heel down more. In the first pic it looks like your iron is too short.. or you need to put more weight in the heels.

          Exersizes to build strenght; two point working on using your calfs and stretching down in your heels.. this will give you stability... Ask me how I know... HA HA.

          After a jump the other day my horse (which he never does this - Ever) threw out a BIG BUCK.. I mean BIG. And I felt very secure because I was using my calf and sitting and looking up.

          If I had not been riding like that I would have ate it for sure.

          Exersizes for your guy - trotting one pole..... focusing on getting him to relax down into a soft hand with a round soft back. Maybe if he feels too strong, can you change bits to see what he likes. Beg or Borrow from someone???

          Maybe if you have a good local trainer - take some flat or dressage lessons... dressage is really helpful.

          I have found so many people don't train enough at the walk. You can accomplish A LOT at the walk. Bending; balance, softness... ask for a free walk, transition to a medium walk, turn on the haunches, forhand.. you get the idea......and it's safter for you too......

          I know how hard being ill can be. I have fibromilagia and my body dictates what we are doing each day... some better than others....

          Good luck and I hope you are feeling well very soon.
          Live in the sunshine.
          Swim in the sea.
          Drink the wild air.


          • Original Poster

            Thank you everyone!
            I have read and re-read everyone's post and will keep everything in mind my next ride out!

            I know things will improve for both of us once we get a few more rides under our belt.


            • #7
              Try not to twist your wrists downward and remember to look forward not down at the ground.

              When you raise your eyes this will help you raise your hands so that you don't pull down.

              Close your fingers to effectively pull back wards, which is what you want to do, then open your fingers slightly when you pony gives to the pressure.

              Thats to stuff to work on, now here's what I like. You appear to be confident even though you have been sick, that's awesome. Your stiffness I think will subside the more you ride,I believe its temporary.

              Your lower leg is slightly forward, but that's only related to what you need to fix with what I've already said, so that again will fix its self. Good luck and keep at it!


              • #8
                I had an intestinal twist years ago which required surgery that left me with a similar incision (12" vertical abdominal.) Never felt pain like that ever! Be slow and easy with yourself in the saddle. It has taken me YEARS now to realize that I probably have a lot of scar tissue in there from that surgery and used my back instead of lower abs for years. Those are essential CORE muscles that need time to heal and rebuild. I was in a hurry to ride (did so like 6 weeks afterward) and didn't take the time to strengthen the muscles again. I hope you are being kind to your body!

                Your pony is darling btw.


                • #9
                  You and your pony are such a cute pair! Just enjoy him and don't worry about anything!


                  • #10
                    I had a kidney transplant 5 years ago and I well remember the first few rides...actually the first few weeks back in the saddle. First of all, your core strength is NOT going to be there for a while. So, give yourself a break. Having been through a similar incision (mine was bigger since they had to also remove a kidney, which they usually dont have to do) and it takes a long time to get the core strength back...but it does come!!!!

                    Second is the whole "if I fall and hurt the incision/new organ/surgical fix/etc..." thing. Its a feeling of vulnerability that WILL affect your relaxation, and for good reason. Its your body's protective mechanism kicking in. So, I think you look fabulous -- better than most people I see ride who have not had major abdominal surgery 10 weeks ago - LOL!!!

                    Did the Docs give you a hard time about riding? They didnt want me on for 12-6 weeks...I was like...yeah, ok!! I was sitting and walking at 8 weeks but not really riding til about 10 weeks.

                    The ppony is cute and the haffies I have worked with are not always easy to get round and working from the back end.

                    I have ahckney that I never let live outside but recently he has demanded to be out with the others. I found he is so much easier to deal with when he stays out all day and night. He comes in in rain or etreme cold/heat though. So, I totally get where youa re with the change in turnout. My biggest mistake was keeing him in the night before the last show. He basically bucked his way through the first two courses of the day.
                    Save a life...be an organ donor! Visit www.Transplantbuddies.org


                    • Original Poster

                      Yes, surgeon gave me the ok.
                      I did fall recently but it was a stupid slide-off-saddle slipping incident so I wasn't "thrown".

                      And yes, I am so afraid of hurting the insides! So I kind of "protect" them.
                      Thanks to those who have been there! Its so hard to explain or understand if you haven't lived it!!!


                      • #12
                        I think you look pretty good for having been through all that!
                        They're small hearts.


                        • #13
                          I'd drop your stirrups a hole for flat work. Lift your hands about an inch or two. Look up, and inhale deeply so your chest raises. Doing that will open your chest and put your shoulders back without tightening them and causing tense elbows.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Trixie View Post
                            I think you look pretty good for having been through all that!

                            I agree.... getting over any surgery is not easy... I have had gallbladder removed (when I was 6 months pregnant) and a tubal pregnancy rupture surgery... That one was really hard because of cutting across the muscles.

                            Looks like you are doing really well... it's hard not to want to be where you were before and it feels really weird.. I know. Expecially after having five kids and gaining a bit of extra weight.... Each time... uggg. then taking it off again and again.... and wanting to just go ride.. but there is a process...
                            Live in the sunshine.
                            Swim in the sea.
                            Drink the wild air.


                            • #15
                              Understandably, you look like you're riding like you are afraid of falling off. I've been there, and it takes time, but try to relax into your leg. Think elastic, elastic, elastic. This will keep your leg still and more solid- kind of like a shock absorber on a car. Try to let go of his face a little- he's lovely and looks like a darling. Trust him.

                              And considering the circumstances, I think you look fantastic!
                              "My shopping list is getting long but I will add the marshmallows right below the napalm." -Weighaton