Dressage Rider

Discussion in 'Critique My Horse' started by GentleGiant1, May 19, 2017.

  1. GentleGiant1

    GentleGiant1 Full Member

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    So this is me and my 21 year old Trakehner at a dressage clinic today. We're showing first level and schooling second. He's done Prix Saint George and Intermediare 1, so I'm the "green" one in the situation. Lol. These pics are from when I was sitting the trot. :)
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  2. slc

    slc Senior Member

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    It looks very good.

    A couple things to think about - it looks like you aren't 'getting down into the saddle' - really sinking your seat down and wrapping it around the deepest part of the saddle. Partly because you push your shoulders back, partly because of your leg position.

    Look at the bottom picture, which shows your right side, and notice how much of your left leg(thigh) you can see in the picture. That's how you can tell that you're not glued down into the saddle.

    Work without stirrups, long enough so you're too tired to brace your legs, could help. If you think about getting your toes to face forward, it will help to 'unlock' your hips and help you sink down into the saddle.

    And you need to 'sit up straighter'. You tend to push your shoulders back and your chin forward, instead, you need to 'stack' yourself so your shoulders are right on top of your hips. Trying to push the back of your neck against your collar and looking up(way up, like count rafters in the indoor arena or look at the clouds in the sky outside), will help you to straighten your neck - this would be without pushing the shoulders farther back.

    A good exercise is to ride with one hand on the reins at the normal height, and one hand lifted to the level of your face, occasionally stretching your arm up as far as you can reach. When you ask for a canter, try stretching your inside arm up as far as you can reach.

    As sort of a 'feeling exercise', stand with the back of your head, shoulders, butt and heels, pressed against a wall. It's a little bit of a shocker.

    You can also do a 'mobilization' - take a larger play ball and put it right at that point in your spine that juts out backward when you push your chin forward and shoulders back. That spot is a prominence(of the bones of the back) about an inch below where your neck joins your shoulders. Bounce against that basket ball with the ball pressed against the wall. This is just to give you a feeling for how that area should not jut backward.

    These changes in your position will make it easier to influence your horse so you can start getting him to use himself and bend his joints and carry more through half halts, and will lessen wear and tear on your lower back and neck. Basically what you need to be working at third and 4th level.

    In the bottom picture you're getting pushed back some to the back of the saddle, but you're not taking your shoulders as far back, and what you can see in that picture is that your arms have a little more bend, and look a little more flexible and the horse looks lighter and more carrying in the bridle. So even among just these 3 pictures you can see how the change in position affects the horse.
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2017
  3. GentleGiant1

    GentleGiant1 Full Member

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    Thank you so much! When my legs slide forward and brace, then my heels come up which then causes my to fall behind the motion. My horse tends to get strung out and heavy in the contact, so we worked a ton on half halts and bringing him back when he gets a little unorganized. Basically everything that you said. I will definitly try what you suggested. I'm exciting to apply all these new things that I'm learning. :)
     
  4. Alsosusieq2

    Alsosusieq2 Senior Member

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    Agree with you there ^. Looking good-!!
     
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  5. slc

    slc Senior Member

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    Oh we're never happy with that alone....because....we are....taken....to the dark side.....as are our instructors....if you felt a miraculous change in your horse, if you sank into your saddle and rode like a centaur, in perfect collection and piaffed with the horse's knees up to his eyeballs....your instructor would say...

    "Nnnnnnn....that's a LITTLE BIT BETTER, NOW, if you could just....." Furthermore the horse would be saying, 'Yeah, could you just..."
     
  6. XxLiveToRidexX

    XxLiveToRidexX Senior Member

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    Your stirrups look to short. Overall though, not bad!
     
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  7. Rhythm 'n Blues

    Rhythm 'n Blues Senior Member

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    I'd really like to see you in a different saddle. I truly feel the saddle is halting your progress and creating the position issues that can be seen & have been spoken about. It's just really a poor match for you st this point in your riding/learning curve. It isn't giving you the support that you need.

    I'd look for something with a less open seat (I'm not saying a bucket that you're stuck in, but this is a very very open style seat) and something that suits your leg better. It's clear you haven't quite mastered the art of dropping your weight down the back of you back & leg into your heel, so something that keeps the leg is a better position would be best.

    I'm also wagering that you're stirrup leathers aren't even - left one longer is my guess & im willing to bet money you hold the left foot ahead of the right. Those are things I would look at correcting right away, as it will help realign your pelvis & allow you to sit down more & truly feel what each limb is doing under you.

    Happy riding!! I love hearing of someone learning from such a skilled horse! Congrats!! You're part of a minority for sure.
     
  8. slc

    slc Senior Member

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    OH! Thought of another exercise you need.

    Without stirrups, take your entire leg away from the horse so no part of your leg is near the horse. All the way up to your seat. And just sit on your seat. Most people do these 'thigh stretches' to a count of 3 or 5, and repeat them.
     
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  9. Kristal H

    Kristal H Senior Member

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    I agree, it looks like you are fighting the whole balance and seat on that saddle. Like you are sitting on a slide and bracing yourself to prevent your self to prevent more slippage. Lovely boy, enjoy!
     
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  10. Garfield70

    Garfield70 Senior Member

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    Saddle might be too big for you or otherwise not supporting a correct position.
     
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