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Critiques on my equitation please?

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  • Critiques on my equitation please?

    Hi there, I would really appreciate some constructive critiques of my equitation on a few pictures. The dark bay in the first few ones is my 16hh Thoroughbred gelding. He's been off the track for a while but still has a tendency to get hot and try to pull you around the course. I ride him in a snaffle and I sometimes have a hard time trying to keep my leg as still on him since he's so narrow, but I'm getting better as I work on it and as he fills out more. The photos of him are in 2'3" jumpers (he's still learning yet). If you could generally give me an opinion of him as well, that'd be wonderful. I'm not currently riding with a trainer, so the more comments I get, the better.

    http://img822.imageshack.us/img822/7...9432610506.jpg

    http://img8.imageshack.us/img8/3508/dfawf.png

    The next three are on a 17hh Thoroughbred gelding that belongs to my aunt. It was my second ride on him (first being when we tried him out to buy less than a week before). Please just do a critique of my equitation, not the horse. It was a very small low-key schooling show, I believe this class was 2'6".

    http://img268.imageshack.us/img268/1...4175381100.jpg

    http://img408.imageshack.us/img408/8207/mgnhghhj.jpg

    http://img691.imageshack.us/img691/7829/cghj.jpg

    Thank you!

  • #2
    You look like two different riders.

    Horse 1:
    Of all the pics, I like your leg the best in the first photo (though you are behind the motion/opening early or late to the 2-pt and balancing off your hands).

    You appear to be riding defensively (roached back, hands locked at the crotch, etc). The horse appears to be overly bold.

    I would spend a lot of time working on a slow, sitting trot and gentle halt after each fence. He needs to learn to wait. He is also quite hollow through his back and his head is sky high. Perhaps some time jumping out from a deep spot will get him to use his back and neck more. I'd also spend a lot of time doing grid work - lots of bounces to tidy up his front end and slow him down. Clearly, this height isn't a problem for him (as he appears to be over-jumping by a few feet. )

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Originally posted by Burgie View Post
      You look like two different riders.

      Horse 1:
      Of all the pics, I like your leg the best in the first photo (though you are behind the motion/opening early or late to the 2-pt and balancing off your hands).

      You appear to be riding defensively (roached back, hands locked at the crotch, etc). The horse appears to be overly bold.

      I would spend a lot of time working on a slow, sitting trot and gentle halt after each fence. He needs to learn to wait. He is also quite hollow through his back and his head is sky high. Perhaps some time jumping out from a deep spot will get him to use his back and neck more. I'd also spend a lot of time doing grid work - lots of bounces to tidy up his front end and slow him down. Clearly, this height isn't a problem for him (as he appears to be over-jumping by a few feet. )

      Thank you.
      Yes, he has gotten very bold. I started him in hunters and he actually used to do a lot of nasty dirty stops in that ring, but since starting jumpers, he is braver. I've gotten him to the point where he isn't actually bolting at the fence and taking off bucking afterwards- now he will collect and come into my hand a lot better around a course but he still is extremely strong.

      We have been doing a lot of slow trots to the fence and halts after- believe me, we don't spend a ton of time cantering around- but sometimes the more we do this the hotter he gets. Any suggestions?

      We'll definately work on the bounces and gymnastics. He actually gets extremely round over his fences at home when he's not as excited, it's just when he goes off the farm and gets more excited.

      We've been working on 2'9" and under for a while now, we went back and did some major flatwork for a while and then built up from crossrails. Do you think there's a chance he may be getting bored of the low height? He doesn't have an issue, but we were working on the in-between the fences stuff.

      Thanks again!

      Comment


      • #4
        I agree that you look defensive on horse #1. He also looks a bit defensive, like he is used to having his head restricted in the air by your defensive hand. That, I think, is what is causing his hollow back. It also is probably causing him to get quick before and after the jumps.

        I've found that will more sensitive horses (which he appears to be), you are much better off when you let go of their faces and just let them canter. It feels wrong at first because you will be certain that they are going to run away, but in reality most of them will relax into a nice pace and breathe a sigh of relief that you are out of their face.

        That said, I think horse #1 is really cute. He does need to learn to use his neck and back a bit better, but my guess is that that will come along as you learn to stay out of his face and give him a more supportive/less defensive ride.

        Your leg looks much better on horse #1 than on horse #2. On horse #2, your leg is weak and has slipped back quite a bit. You probably don't do this on horse #1 because he will run away with you bucking upon landing if your leg slips back that much, lol! Your overall position looks a bit weak on horse $2 as well. You are a little tipped and pinching with your knee. My guess is that if you worked on your overall strength and balance, you would not feel the need to ride so defensively on horse #1. The defensive ride probably comes from not having a solid base, which causes you to overcompensate by not releasing enough, opening your hip angle too soon or too late, etc.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Crown Royal View Post
          I've gotten him to the point where he isn't actually bolting at the fence and taking off bucking afterwards- now he will collect and come into my hand a lot better around a course but he still is extremely strong.
          You've certainly done a lot of good work then! Maybe spend some time with a dressage trainer and work on bending and lifting the shoulder?
          When my mare gets frazzeled, she coverts to freight-train mode. If I get control over her shoulder, I get control over the ride.

          Originally posted by Crown Royal View Post
          We have been doing a lot of slow trots to the fence and halts after- believe me, we don't spend a ton of time cantering around- but sometimes the more we do this the hotter he gets. Any suggestions?
          Also try setting up two perpendicular fences in the center of the ring so that you can figure eight over them. Depending on the size of your ring, you should have room for several strides coming off the wall to the jump and from the jump to the wall. Try to land straight and halt at the wall. Pick up the correct lead, proceed through the corners, and halt before coming off the wall. Canter/trot to the next jump.


          Originally posted by Crown Royal View Post
          Do you think there's a chance he may be getting bored of the low height? He doesn't have an issue, but we were working on the in-between the fences stuff.
          Could be.
          My mare is not as respectful over a cross pole as she is over 3 ft. That said, she's a heck of a lot harder to get back after she plows through my hands over bigger fences. I'd keep working on consistency and continuity over the smaller stuff.

          I'd also like to commend you for sticking with a simple snaffle and not bitting the crap out of horse #1. Stay with trying to find a training solution rather than a harsher bit. Well done.

          I'm also not sure that I agree that you have a weak base of support. Is it safe to say that horse #2 is a far less complicated ride?

          In my estimation, when you are used to defending yourself (as you have been with #1), you tend to not take the well behaved ones quite as seriously...just a thought.

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            Originally posted by FineAlready View Post
            I agree that you look defensive on horse #1. He also looks a bit defensive, like he is used to having his head restricted in the air by your defensive hand. That, I think, is what is causing his hollow back. It also is probably causing him to get quick before and after the jumps.
            Thank you for the constructive criticism! I'll definately keep what you said in mind. I do usually give him his head though- this was the second fence in a line of three and I did keep getting defensive with my release (well, lack thereof). I would have more pictures up, but they were blurry. :/ He typically drops his head and rounds up over the fence, and would have if I would have let him.

            Originally posted by Burgie View Post
            You've certainly done a lot of good work then! Maybe spend some time with a dressage trainer and work on bending and lifting the shoulder?
            When my mare gets frazzeled, she coverts to freight-train mode. If I get control over her shoulder, I get control over the ride.
            I was really thinking about doing that- I think it would help enormously. I just have to arrange times that my aunt can let us borrow the trailer to take him. We only have a grass field at home to ride in.

            Originally posted by Burgie View Post
            Could be.
            My mare is not as respectful over a cross pole as she is over 3 ft. That said, she's a heck of a lot harder to get back after she plows through my hands over bigger fences. I'd keep working on consistency and continuity over the smaller stuff.

            I'd also like to commend you for sticking with a simple snaffle and not bitting the crap out of horse #1. Stay with trying to find a training solution rather than a harsher bit. Well done.

            I'm also not sure that I agree that you have a weak base of support. Is it safe to say that horse #2 is a far less complicated ride?
            I'll work on that. I usually build him up slowly in a schooling, and if he starts getting too hot, we go back and work on rhythm and collection to smaller fences until he gets his head straight again.

            Thank you, he really is a lovely horse to work with. Willing and kind and definately not stupid, just very excited about his job!

            Yes, the second horse is far easier. He was an eventer before we got him, and although he raced a short bit, you could never tell. He's a very slow slow horse that takes a lot of leg to keep his impulsion going and the course was very tight so I was having to work hard to keep him going. But other than that, he's kinda a point and shoot. Definately a heck of a lot different from my horse in the first pictures. I like riding hotter horses more than lazy.

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              Any more? I'd love a range of opinions.

              Comment


              • #8
                To me, your worst fault is pinching with your knee, which causes your lower leg to slide back and be ineffective. Try a few different saddles (especially an Antares) and see if your leg feels more secure. A too narrow twist will encourage knee pinching in a flatter thighed rider.

                Agree with not trying to hang on the mouth of the horse in pic 1. Add supporting leg (which seems counter-intuitive but helps many hotter horses), and soften your reins. Use half halts to balance rather than a constant pull.

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Originally posted by jetsmom View Post
                  To me, your worst fault is pinching with your knee, which causes your lower leg to slide back and be ineffective. Try a few different saddles (especially an Antares) and see if your leg feels more secure. A too narrow twist will encourage knee pinching in a flatter thighed rider.

                  Agree with not trying to hang on the mouth of the horse in pic 1. Add supporting leg (which seems counter-intuitive but helps many hotter horses), and soften your reins. Use half halts to balance rather than a constant pull.
                  Thank you. I actually have a Crosby PDN with no padding or blocks on it. Everytime someone else rides in it, they complain about the zero grip. I bought it several years ago for just $500 and can't afford to purchase a nicer saddle. Even the used ones are beyond what I can pay for a saddle right now. I also think the flap may be too short for my leg- could that contribute to the knee pinching? I have long thighs but I've had this saddle since I was 12 and I am now 16 so I've grown. I have improved though! I used to be an awful overjumper. Here's a photo from 3 years ago when I first purchased my horse- he was a move up from my ponies and was fond of long spots.

                  http://img22.imageshack.us/img22/2769/lexw.jpg

                  Could the fact that he's build downhill also contribute to him being difficult to gather nicely around a course? Again, he's a moveup from otherwise riding a very uphill jumper-type 12.3hh Welsh-cross I have, and a bouncy uphill 14hh Arab x Qh- both that I started and have soft mouths.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Crown Royal View Post
                    I actually have a Crosby PDN with no padding or blocks on it. Everytime someone else rides in it, they complain about the zero grip.
                    I grew up in the days that padded flaps/blocks were a big NO NO in the hunter rings, plain flaps were the standard. Might be frustrating, especially if the saddle does not fit you correctly, but the plain flaps will make you a better rider in the long run . Every time I get on my jumping saddle, with lovely padded flaps and front/rear blocks....I have a little voice in the back of my head say, "CHEATER, CHEATER" .
                    It is a fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness."

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Originally posted by NE_Rider View Post
                      I grew up in the days that padded flaps/blocks were a big NO NO in the hunter rings, plain flaps were the standard. Might be frustrating, especially if the saddle does not fit you correctly, but the plain flaps will make you a better rider in the long run . Every time I get on my jumping saddle, with lovely padded flaps and front/rear blocks....I have a little voice in the back of my head say, "CHEATER, CHEATER" .
                      It's funny how when I ride in anyone else's saddle, my leg doesn't move a bit! But I still love my Crosby. But the padded saddles are all normal for the most part now- it's funny how a lot of people that haven't ridden in a plain flapped saddle are in a panic when they sit in mine! But I wouldn't consider you a cheater. Everytime I ride in a padded saddle, I sometimes wish I had that luxury!

                      Comment

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