Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Let's critique each other!

I have got to take a break from studying for two midterms tomorrow. I'm reaching the point where I'm just re-reading sentences and nothing is processing. No bueno. I'm also trying to suppress my excitement for The Hunger Games. I'm trying, I really am!

So, what to do as a quick break besides eat stuff?

CRITIQUE MY RIDING! I mean, how self-centered does one have to be? Oh, well!

Also, I got a hold of this article in Practical Horseman and felt I could definitely use those tips. But which ones, which ones? Let's see....

The Pogues FTW :)

#2... I have gotten much better on keeping my shoulders back and my chest open. It's so much easier in dressage... or if I didn't have the torso of a spider monkey. Well, the body of a spider monkey, really. There was a couple of jumps during this ride that I actually kept a no-tension ideal over a fence! Definitely a lot of core control to move forward with the horse's body, and not necessarily release with your arms (which causes my entire upper body to collapse) but more with my torso, if you get what I'm sayin'.

#3... used to be a problem, and I only did it once on the second fence of the outside line combination, and it felt so bad. That's how I knew I've just about made it a habit to sit up and not truck around like a vulture towards a jump. It's hard, and it's not perfect, but it's getting there.

#8... I kind of have a problem with this, but mainly because my stirrups were a hole or two too long (they were actually two holes shorter, but felt too short, and now they look too long in this video), Butters does not have a lot of barrel to stabilize against (small horses are good in that they can scramble out of a bad situation better than a large horse can, but they don't give you much leeway as far as staying on if you're a taller rider), and this saddle obviously is not forward enough for my Sasquatch thighs. Seriously, if ever I get a jumping saddle, those flaps better be long and FOR-WARD. That's going to be fun trying to find!

#10... I surprised myself here. In dressage mode, my heels usually sink so far down that they will slip from my stirrup. The balls of my foot are just barely touching them! I really could have them pulled out from under me and I'd be fine! Jumping? hahahahaha... no. Totally different balance and set of muscles. This might also once again have to do with having my stirrups just a touch too long. And Pam Baker did bring up a good point in keeping your horse's shoulders in front of you. That is VERY hard to do on Butters. He can do lovely dressage, but getting him to that point is way too hard. Possible, but hard. And he has a lovely tendency to duck out at the last minute on fences (happened several times during this ride, I stayed on, but they were some icky stops) if he doesn't feel confident. It's not always telltale several strides before the fence either. So sometimes in my defensive riding and steering his shoulders to the fence, he will get behind me. And I draw my heel up to urge him on when calf pressure doesn't work. BAM PROBLEM SOLVED. And it's really not that bad, but I can do better.

Also, I still get left behind sometimes. I think that has a lot to do with core control and just becoming more comfortable with the movement and timing of a jump. And I still obviously don't have enough balance in a jumping saddle, so I revert to ancient habits of balancing with my hands, which would probably account for the pumping.


What do you guys think? What are you riding faults you want to work on?


  1. Well, you're definitely a more graceful jumper than I am- that's for sure.
    The only thing I would say is to 'breathe' more with your hands over the jump.
    Then again, I've been told frequently my contact it to light- so perhaps you shouldn't listen to me.

    And just for funnies:

    Dressage saddle, dressage stirrups- after a dressage test. Critique that! (lol)

    1. Ah, yes, the ever-prevalent release issues! I like to do automatic releases, they just feel more comfortable to me. Butters does not like automatic releases, strange horse, so I do a really cruddy crest release, which is seen in this video, aka not-much-of-a-release at all. I need to hop on a horse that I can do automatic releases on lol!

      THAT VIDEO IS TOO FUNNY! I would have totally done that too. Really, I would have been even sillier and gone up it haha!

  2. You might have an easier time with the balance/leg and the release thing if you let yourself get a bit more out of the saddle while cantering. Then you'll just have to bend at the hip as the horse jumps, whereas now you have to make a bigger movement (and you get left behind, as you pointed out). Andrea is a super-solid rider O/F, so maybe look at some vids of her to see what I mean.

    Looks like you're having loads of fun though, and Butters is super-cute!

  3. It seems like you are pumping in the canter, this could be because Butters doesn't have enough forward. I would try doing a lot of riding in your two point position and in balance to really get that lower leg strong so it can support your upper body. As for getting that little pony moving forward off of your leg, try warming up with some hand gallops, a very forward canter, anything to get him super energized and responding to your leg before you start jumping, that way you aren't struggling as hard to create the energy, just containing it. Have fun!


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Thanks guys!