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Critique - be honest but gentle!

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  • Critique - be honest but gentle!

    I have the feeling that putting this out here may be a personal mistake, but here goes anyway (as her palms begin to sweat...)

    My leg and body position have never been the greatest, but over the winter I've been watching video/analyzing photos of riders that I think have good positions and ride well (both ammy and pro riders.) I dug through some of the photos of my rides from last year and have posted this one for your evaluation and constructive comment.

    Qualifying info:
    1. Jackets were excused - it was 90+ outside that day
    2. It's only a 2' oxer, so he's not putting a lot of effort into the jump. (he does jump square, honest.)
    3. Yes, I know my stirrup leather is too long and I should have tucked it under the flap.

    Let me know if there are problems with the link....

    http://i981.photobucket.com/albums/a...723/Image5.jpg

  • #2
    Well, I think you look lovely. Stop worrying!
    If I were George Morris I might nitpick about your heel being not as deep as it could be or you being a bit butt-high/out of the saddle for such a small jump...
    but it's a classic position in terrific balance.
    The big man -- my lost prince

    The little brother, now my main man

    Comment


    • #3
      I agree with Asterix 100%, but one thing I must bring up, does your horse really need to be that bitted up???? What happened to the old days where we had single reins with plain snaffles and no martingales??? Do we NEED all this 'extra' stuff and gagets to beable to control our horses????????

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by EquineRacers View Post
        I agree with Asterix 100%, but one thing I must bring up, does your horse really need to be that bitted up???? What happened to the old days where we had single reins with plain snaffles and no martingales??? Do we NEED all this 'extra' stuff and gagets to beable to control our horses????????
        Seriously? The horse is wearing a pelham. It's one of the oldest, most traditional bits in the ring... "old days"? A pelham is a perfectly acceptable bit, and one that has been used for aaaages on many, many horses.
        Here today, gone tomorrow...

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by FrenchFrytheEqHorse View Post
          Seriously? The horse is wearing a pelham. It's one of the oldest, most traditional bits in the ring... "old days"? A pelham is a perfectly acceptable bit, and one that has been used for aaaages on many, many horses.
          Yea, I am serious! I can't stand the way the horse world is going these days with all these gagits and harsh bits and yada yada yada, buck up train and ride correctly or get out! IHO
          and not to hijack the OP tread, I will not respond to this tread reguarding my posts.........

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            ER,

            At the time he was going better in the Happy Mouth pelham than in a broken snaffle (degree of thickness didn't matter) -- he would get really heavy and drag me anywhere he wanted to go in the snaffle. He was more settled in the mullen mouth pelham and I didn't have to be so strong with him. But I don't disagree with you that he's wearing a lot of hardware - we could discuss, but will start a train wreck. Just go with the knowledge that I was having some serious issues with my back at the time. I probably shouldn't have been riding in the first place... But not to worry; having the winter off has been good for the both of us. He's now happily hacking around in a french link (he adores that bit!) and jumping quietly at shows in a Myler mullen mouth, which he also likes. Hopefully by the end of the season we'll be jumping in the french link too.

            Asterix, thank you for the kind words. Unfortunately, my heel will probably never be much deeper than that, but I keep trying. And you, my instructor, and GM seem to be on the same page as to the height of my rear-end!

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by EquineRacers View Post
              Yea, I am serious! I can't stand the way the horse world is going these days with all these gagits and harsh bits and yada yada yada, buck up train and ride correctly or get out! IHO
              and not to hijack the OP tread, I will not respond to this tread reguarding my posts.........
              What do you mean "these days"????? The pelham is a VERY traditional bit that's been used for decades, both in the ring and the hunt field. I fail to see how the use of a pelham- a bit that is so traditional, it is one of the more common bits seen in sidesaddle classes- is a gadget or a harsh bit used in place of training???
              Here today, gone tomorrow...

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                Originally posted by EquineRacers View Post
                Yea, I am serious! I can't stand the way the horse world is going these days with all these gagits and harsh bits and yada yada yada, buck up train and ride correctly or get out! IHO
                and not to hijack the OP tread, I will not respond to this tread reguarding my posts.........
                ER,

                Just poking a little (hopefully) harmless fun at you, but would it help if I find the PH article where GM said that for some reason, some horses just seem to go better in a pelham than a snaffle, (tho' you'd think it would be just the opposite?)

                Comment


                • #9
                  I think you look great. Nice release, head and eyes up, back flat, leg down by the girth. Ok, so maybe a teeny bit high in the rear end department, but such a little thing. You're with him, not jumping ahead, not interfering, he's happy. What more could you want.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by EquineRacers View Post
                    Yea, I am serious! I can't stand the way the horse world is going these days with all these gagits and harsh bits and yada yada yada, buck up train and ride correctly or get out! IHO
                    and not to hijack the OP tread, I will not respond to this tread reguarding my posts.........
                    It's a freakin' pelham. It looks much more hunter-y than a snaffle and if anything is more traditional. I have an OTTB who goes far better in a rubber mullen mouth pelham than he does in a D ring or any broken bit so far--the only other one he'll tolerate thus far is a jointed Uxeter kw.

                    GirlGeek: nice release! Like asterix said, maybe your heel could be a little deeper but if everything else works....
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                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by EquineRacers View Post
                      I agree with Asterix 100%, but one thing I must bring up, does your horse really need to be that bitted up???? What happened to the old days where we had single reins with plain snaffles and no martingales??? Do we NEED all this 'extra' stuff and gagets to beable to control our horses????????
                      It's a happy mouth short shank pelham. Seriously?



                      And as far as the "good ol days" and too many gadgets.....check out this pic from 1921. I spy running martingales and a pelham.....

                      http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_473nrD5vEv8/SrdWwAwMQEI/AAAAAAAAB6E/mGaDqfqO-UQ/s1600-h/fox-hunt.jpg

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        First of all, relax! You are doing a lot better than what you think.

                        To start, you have a lot of good things going for you. Your leg is EXCELLENT, with your heel down, calf tight, and great base of support. The security of your leg has put your body in a very balanced position. You are jumping with the horse, not ahead of him, which is a very good quality to have... considering that so many of today's riders have the problem of jumping ahead. If anything, I might like to see your butt a *smidge* closer to the saddle. But you are, by no means, causing a dangerous situation where you are now.

                        Your release is the only real problem for me. And when I say problem, it's actually not as bad as it sounds. The contact in your release is actually quite good - with even contact from your hand to the bit. The only issue I'm seeing is that your release seems to be neither a crest nor an automatic release. Your hand is kind of floating in the middle of your horse's neck. Ideally, you should have your hands raised about two inches for a proper crest release, OR, drop your hands about three inches to create a straight line from your elbow to the bit, for an automatic release.

                        Overall, I think you're doing great! Honestly. Stop worrying so much! The problems you are having are very minor and easy to fix. Nice job!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Looks really promising! Keep up the good work!

                          You and your horse look pretty darn good. Overall, he looks like a really nice horse who should be able to handle the height with no problem as long as you have the control. He is jumping way high and out over this little fence! You look like you are a capable rider who is determined to get the job done. You have a really good start. The devil is in the details!

                          The basics are there.
                          If you want my "GM" take on it...
                          Your lips are pursed as if you are a little worried. I know as a trainer the LAST thing I look at is the riders face, there being so many other place to look and fix. However, the riders expression is a good indicator of how they are feeling. If you can relax more you will look more elegant and polished.

                          You are looking ahead and your back is flat and not overly arched. Nice! Your elbows are creeping away from your body a bit. They should be tight alongside his neck/shoulder. Your heels came a smidge up and back because you ducked a bit at this fence. It is not the DEPTH of your heel I worry about, it is where your heel stays in two point and over fences that concerns me. It should be under your hip not sliding out behind. You can do that with your toes just higher than your heel and not have to worry bout jamming your heel to a 90 degree angle.

                          It is a small fence but the horse is not jumping that way. He got a little deep and looks like he was coming in with some power so he really made a big effort. (Maybe that is why you look tense?) I can sympathize as I ride the a horse that does that to every fence bigger than a cross rail every day. He looks to be super capable and has a great expression. But with the double reined Pelham and the power on a 90 degree day, plus I am assuming a warm up, he seems to be a strong horse then needs to respect your aids, specifically your hands more. I just read your last post and I understand why you had it in him and I am happy to see your in a softer bit. There really is no substitute for good basic dressage. It only makes the jumping better.

                          To nit pick further... his hooves need polish, His lower legs should have been brushed off before going in. Unless this is a jumper class, he should braided, (I always braid, even for jumpers and schooling shows. Just looks nicer. I taught myself and do a nice job!). His tail needs to have the yellow removed and his coat could be a bit shinier. The bottom (sole) of your boots should be cleaned before you go in. Seriously! GM picks on this all the time. Grey horses are a lot of work to keep clean! I don't envy you that!

                          Those Mountain Horse boots are tough to get that super shine on without lots of elbow grease. I had them for a long time. I never wore them at shows, comfy as they are! I have a really old pair of Devon Aire black tall boots I got from State line or Dover like 15 years ago for $100 that are my show only boots. They NEVER see the barn and I am religious about cleaning them right after the show.
                          Anyway, to get SUPER picky, the pad is too big, yes your stirrup leathers are long. You look to be in good shape don't hide it with a baggie shirt. There are shirts that are a little more tailored to fit better. 100% cotton does not stretch well.

                          Good luck!!!
                          "I am a sand dancer... just here for the jumps!" - Schrammo
                          http://atoxcequestrian.com/
                          https://www.facebook.com/groups/127749947563045/

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            BTW GirlGeek, your horse has a kind, easy expression and your position is quite nice. I would agree about your heel and that you are a tad too far out of the saddle, but the overall picture is nice.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I think if you sent this picture to GM his response would be very, very positive. He would critique aspects, of course, that what the column is about, but I do not think he would be negative.

                              From my point of view you are doing a great. I dare say that your overall position is better than 95% of the riders I see out there today.

                              Jack up those fences and go get 'em girl!!!

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                George would have to comment about how the standard is obstructing his view of your leg, though

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  Wow!

                                  I'd like to thank everyone for their wonderful feedback (EquineRacers, you're included too! I ain't mad atcha!).

                                  But Ctab, your address might be NY, but I think you are living in the stall next to my horse - your observations from a single photo are uncanny! And you're only wrong about one thing...and I'm really glad you were!

                                  Facial expression: yes and no...maybe. I'm still trying to figure out if I was licking my lips or was worried. Probably both - last year was my year of getting over some riding issues with another horse. I loved my former horse, but we didn't click well over fences, and I had become a headcase over jumping lines. This gray wonder was his replacement and is teaching me how to be brave again.

                                  Heel sliding back: you are correct (and how can you see that through the standard???) That's my biggest bugaboo - the leg slides back and I end up jumping ahead. I'm getting better, but not 100% yet. I agree my elbows are moving away from my body, but won't having them along his neck/shoulder lead to that jumping ahead/body in front of the pommel sort of position? Or do you mean that I just need to bring them closer to my body, not laying on his neck/shoulder?

                                  You described him to a tee as far as his jump, the heat, and his strength. He will occasionally flop over a low jump, but generally he's going to JUMP because he knows that's his job, and I'm ok with that.

                                  Turnout: mostly guilty as charged. My ring help is wearing the black shorts on the bleachers in the background... Lack of shine - he had just been sponged off before we hit the ring. Braiding - eh, it was a schooling show. I know....

                                  Seriously, the only thing that your eagle eye was wrong about (and I'm sooooo glad) was this:
                                  "You look to be in good shape don't hide it with a baggie shirt." Honey, the 25-30 extra pounds in that kangaroo pouch that's laying on his withers needs the space in that baggie shirt!

                                  Again, I'd like to thank everyone for your comments - I'll keep working on things and maybe post again later in the season!

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by theinstigator View Post
                                    George would have to comment about how the standard is obstructing his view of your leg, though
                                    Hahaha I was just thinking that exact thought!

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      I'll have a talk with the show photographer...

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Funny my forst thought was how cool it was that the standard is where it is because it shows how good your leg is. That standard goes right down the middle of your leg which means that your leg is perpendicular to the ground. Your release is actually a perfect example of a crest release... your posture is lovely, your back is soft and relaxed. You could have waited just a bit with your upper body and your equitation would be pretty near perfect.

                                        Comment

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