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> Rider's Thread, Riding Concepts and Issues
Dave
post Jul 6 2006, 04:27 AM
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I'm a rusty dressage rider. I learned on my Arab mare, KOH May Girl aka Granny who I lost in 2002. She taught me more dressage than my warmblood who has a pedigree filled with GP and Intermediare horses. Granny was generous and very willing. She would give everything a try. She had her limits but she always tried to please. This is the difference between Arabs and the others.

As a take off on the thread on our sport clinic, I'd like to discuss riding issues. I think this would be a good thread to start since many of us think that Arabs and SEs in particular should be riding horses. It is my absolute conviction that the number one means of breed promotion is riding. People need to know what great riding horses Arabs are. We can also promote our breed by becoming the best riders and horse people possible. There's something about a well ridden horse and competent horsepeople that is very attractive to newcomers. I think that's one reason I got into Arabs - I saw Arabs ridden by very competent riders, one of which turned out to be my mentor.

Lets start with the rider's postion. Here's what I was taught - toes up and heels down but not jammed down, head and chin up and eyes looking forward, straight line from the knees to the toes and the same from the elbow to the heels, elbows at your sides, and hands just above the whithers, thumbs up with the hands tilted slightly inward, and knees closed on the saddle but not gripping lest you force your seat out of the saddle.

I'd like to hear how the rest of our riders ride and how this might vary by discipline.

I think this could be very enlightening since this is an international forum. Let's try to stay on topic but sense the natural progression of a thread as we branch off into other topics pertaining to riding. This should be fun.

Dave
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Jennifer
post Jul 6 2006, 05:23 AM
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Dear Dave

All great points. But for me as an instructor I think a very important point to bring across to any rider is balance. I teach that your seat is the main driving point, the energy center. I was lucky as a child as I was taught by some top riders and they all pushed this point, it didn't matter if I was jumping doing cross country or dressage.

If you are not balanced and happy through your seat then the rest will be hard to follow through.

I spend a lot of time with my riders making sure that they do not twist or drop their hip to one side as this is a real common fault which then puts everything else out.

Hand carrage will depend on your horse and age, younger horses I tend to carry my hand low older horses I carry my hands higher. I insist on a light hand contact I hate to see horse and rider gripping to bit and reins. Hamds tilted slightly inwards would worry me as you could make you hand fixed.

Theses are my points and how I teach and ride myself. smile.gif

Jennifer
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Guest_Guest_Dave_*_*
post Jul 6 2006, 05:33 AM
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Jennifer,

I agree with you about balance. To me this means an ability to go with the flow of the horse's gaits in a relaxed manner. Relaxation is essential otherwise the horse will pick up on the rider's tension and interfere with the motion of the horse's back.

Dave
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post Jul 6 2006, 06:26 AM
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Spend time riding your horse bareback, learning where the feet are at any one time. Once y ou develop a feel for this, progress to feeling it through the saddle. Once you are good at this, it will help with your natural balance, the horse's balance and also having that extra "feel" through your "sitting bones".

go from there.

kaz
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Jennifer
post Jul 6 2006, 07:13 AM
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I spent most of my childhood riding bareback, I did all my dressage training and jumping without a saddle. Main reason was if I used my saddle I had to clean in. tongue.gif Plus I enjoyed riding without it.

When I teach we spend time without a saddle plus without stirrups, as this helps the rider sit deeper into the saddle, teaches them not to grip up with the knees and really feel what the horse is doing under them.

I find pole work also helps the rider feel the horses true movement I use pole all the time in flat work smile.gif
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paelmchen
post Jul 6 2006, 12:53 PM
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Two important quotes:


The seat cannot be cultivated as an isolated entity, its quality is directly related to the correctness of its influence on the horse (Erik Herbermann)


Only with a correct position can correct aids be given. The elegant, calm and quiet position is rooted in function, not only in a sense of aesethics. The beautiful position is really beautiful because it is effective. Of course, you sometimes see riders who have a 'precious' seat - riders who try to look pretty, but never communicate with the horse - nice looks, but quiet ineffective. Then you have those who proclaim: "I know I have a few position faults, but my position is effective!". Neither is right. (Walter Zettl)


Me & My Newel (AAF Absolut x Amun Bint Kaishana) last week "warmup"
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HLM
post Jul 6 2006, 01:27 PM
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Dear Dave

yes, you are still on track, that was taught then and is taught today.

What I see 99times out of a hundred is that riders are looking to the inside and down, instead of between the horse's ears.another thing many do is twist their hands, making it impossible to work out of the wrists. We call this "driving a kinderwaggon". And another problem is that the upper body- i.e. from the hip up is often unsteady, out of control as you often see when riders ride an extended trott. It looks painful.

The worst I am seeing is with some endurance riders. I often cant believe what I am seeing. they adoped a style which is unbelievble ugly.

Jennifer

I never believed in bareback riding for a beginner. In most cases their legs are far infront of their hips. Mind you bareback is good for voltegier work, gymnastics with the proper voltegier girth of course.

there is realy only one way to sit a sadde well and in balance. This means many lessons on the longe line, without stirrups and reins, playing ball with both hands, making windmills, etc.etc.. When getting more steady jumps can be put up to 3,5 feet- cavaletties, and again without stirrups, reins, playing ball etc, going over it in a trott. when I say many hours, I dont mean many hours without stirrups or reins, this only should be done for intervals of may be 10 minutes. Mind you a 3,5 feet high cavaletti is not really a jump. And a lesson should only be as long as the pupil can be comfortable. Some get tired after 15 minutes, some after 30, and a lesson seldom is longer than 35 minutes in the sddle, and just training a young horse, one seldom goes over 30 minutes.

Yes, one rides with one's seat, but basically one rides with one's "spine" the lower portion of one's back. One pretends, one sits on a "swing" and pushes forward/upward. Our spine has a direct influence on the horse's spine. Some of you might have heard the saying" if the jockey turns around looking back, he loses the race". What it does, the jockey moves his spine from the horse's as he looks back, and that disconnection will do that harm. This is why the good jockey looks through his arm pit.Riding without stirrups, one now has to open that seat and sits in the saddle, instead of on top of it.

I have seen many instructors putting a pupil on a horse, without ever longing them off. this is absolutely no way to learn how to ride, get confidence and a good seat. They quickly learn to hang on the reins, and I always say" if God intended the reins to be hung on to, he would have grown a couple of handles on the horse".

Each part of our body has a function in riding a horse from the ancles to the head. A good intructor will ask the pupil to do excerciss at home, like rotating the ancles, putting toes up and down and to learn then to feel the pressure their calves produce. Toes down, no pressure, toes up lots of pressure. the instructor also must instantly and continously correct the slightest mistake they see.

I also agree with Jennifer that with a young horse our hands go way down, even sometimes wide sideways, like driving, without our seat in the saddle at all.
But this is only done here and there for moments. It is often done to get that nose down and relax the horse's back on long reins.

The SEs have a super intelligence and with it sensitivity. Example:
I would put two cavaletties on the ground five feet apart on one side. Khofo would trott over it a few times. while he is still in motion I have these cavaletties placed on the opposite site (two people involved for that). He now would trott over these cavaletties too but when getting back where they were originally, he still would "trott over them"- and they are no longer there.
We now say" the horse is cheating us". Believe me, that goes for anything learned new too, like two track work. However, when it is done "cheating" it is not done by our aids and in most cases incorrectly and must not be accepted.

Also the SE gets very quickly "bored" anticipates what you want to do next and it becomes a mental poker game, of who will outthink who first.
this is why it is wise to once, better still twice a week stop any training and just ride your fourlegged pupil around.

Circle" One does not ride it "round" but to each one of the four points
So draw a circle and than top,bottom, side and side make a mark. Ride straight from such marks- point to point, but when getting to the next one it is when you start bending and flexing into the new direction. that massages the spin, because one cant bend ribbs.

Never back the young horse back while you are on top. Wait at least 3 months of good training, otherwise it can hurt it hocks. Get off, take both reins in your hands (your are standing infront of the horse- make him chew the bit by agitating those little nerves in his jawls, and then ask him by voice to
go back- only 2-3 steps, no more. Reining back is a collection, and a young horse cant be asked to be collected as yet.

Another serious mistake many riders make is, that when finished training they just throw the reins away and get off. Now the entire training time has been wasted. One should again, after walking the horse on a long rein, collect it,
bring it on the bit, and then let the horse chew the reins out of the rider's hands. Now all is won. think of yourself, when doing gymnastics, eventually you will put your arms over your head and down to the floor and breath out. It feels good, right.
Your entire body is now relaxed. So will the horse's by rounding its back ,becoming longer and releaxing the muscle system.

There are other serious mistakes, we can go into later.

And we also can go later into five of the 7 systems a horse has, to learn to understand "the motor". It is absolutely necessary to learn these systems well.

I hope that Paelmchen (roland) will enter this discussion, and anybody else with either questions or answers.

Have a grand day
Hansi biggrin.gif
Serenity Arabian Farms
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deby
post Jul 6 2006, 01:57 PM
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Hansi, would you be opposed to me posting some pictures of me riding and you telling me whats right and wrong? I would love your opition.......
Dave, wonderful idea for a thread, maybe others should post pictures as well? We could make it like Georgre Morris's column, except with many opitions! What a great learning experience that would be!!!
Have to get some shots!!!

Deby
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Jennifer
post Jul 6 2006, 02:12 PM
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Just to clear something up I am a BHS Fellowship instructor and I would never allow a beginner ride without a saddle. rolleyes.gif

But my dressage riders gain so much riding the test without the saddle plus it's fun and isn't riding meant to be fun.

Hansi we very much look at riding and the training of the hosrse in the same way.

Jennifer
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HLM
post Jul 6 2006, 02:12 PM
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Please Debby go right ahead, so anybody else, if they like.
Roland, if you read this, may be also you can give your comments please.

Hansi biggrin.gif
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paelmchen
post Jul 6 2006, 02:15 PM
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Dear Hansi,

I´m already in this discussion!

@Deby
Like to see some shot´s of you riding.

Reading some of my favourite books these days, I found some food for thought for riders and trainers:

Horses have no remote control, one can not switch them on- or off.
Even the greatest machines are not so character-pedagogic as a horse, except with lovers, there is no moment in which two beings can melt as one ,like a person and a horse who harmonize with each other!
Horses are honest, uncomplicated, straight, direct, spontaneous and without mask!

I HAD FEAR, BECAUSE I COULD NOT CONTROL HIM.

HOWEVER, I LEARNED.TO REIN HIM AND MY FEAR.

HE HAD NO WALKING DESIRE, AND I HAD TO FIND IT FOR BOTH OF US.

I WAS A HOT-TEMPERED, AND I HIT MY HORSE.

I HAD A BAD CONSCIENCE AND LEARNED TO CONTROL MYSELF

SINCE HIS EYES SHOWED TRUE LOYALITY AND WERE QUIET ABOUT MY INADEQUACY.

My horse is my mirror which returns my bad and good mood genuine.

Look in the eyes of your horse, but do not get a fright at the truth.


Compare this two pictures, me and my Newel in trot, if you like, give your comments,where are the differences ?
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Guest_Guest_LMG_*_*
post Jul 6 2006, 02:16 PM
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Very good post:

I was taught that one held the reins as if one was holding a champagne glass stem in ones's hand and that if there was sufficient pressure to break the stem, then the rider had too heavy a grip and could not have the lightness necessary to feel the horse's mouth.

Head up, head up, head up (the rider's) and heels down, elbows in, sit down, and vary the horse's arena work. It is true that Arabians get bored fairly easily, so outside the arena work is just as important.

LMG
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deby
post Jul 6 2006, 02:48 PM
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I will be getting some pics as soon as I have someone to hold the camera!!!

Paelmchen, Please remember while I am critiquing that it is JMO and I in NO way would ever mean to offend you!
1st, upper body in front of the motion, and looking down. Thumbs in, allowing no use of your elbows. Deep seat, but if you were sitting up straighter it would be much easier to see. Good leg position but I would like to see the heel a little deeper, but this definatly could have been the timing of the shot, I know my heels come up a bit when legging on a particularly lazy horse.
Your horse seems a little heavy on the front and I think these few faults I can find are because you are trying to correct it.
2nd much straighter back but your still sloutching a little bit and allowing your eyes to wander down. Hands look great but I would bring the elbows back closer to your body ratehr then in front. And again your head hip heel position is great but heels a little bit deeper! In this pic your horse seems much more engaged, which leads me more to believe that the reason you were slouching in the first pic was attemping to pick him up.
Hansi, I would love to see through your eyes at these photos!!!

And I too would never have a begginer ride bareback, but I also think it is extremely fun along with giving you amazing grip! The strongest guy I know will not give me a piggyback ride if I grip with my thighs, and I owe it all to my instructor who made us learn to jump gymnastics with no saddle and no reins!! Not to mention, tumbling off while riding bareback is much less dangerous then with a saddle, I've had students who wanted to learn how to fall off and not get hurt (liek they have seen me do far too many times cool.gif ) and the best way to let them learn is on an extremely quiet horse bareback. I teach them emergengy dismounts and the tuck and roll this way, not to mention they loose a lot of fear if they know what to expect.
And Hansi, I absolutely agree with you about lunging students first, but there are times when it can not be done. For example I taught beg. western for UCONN for 3 years, in which time I was teaching between 6-10 students a lesson with me an an assitant, now if I had spent the time needed lunging all of them, I would have been fired for not giving everyone enough riding time. Thats one of the things that stinks about working for someone else and using their horses, you can't always do it the way you want. And with many of my student from UCONN, they rely on their reins far too much and I am able to work on that for the rest of semester, but it would have been easier not to have created the problem in the first place!

Off to ride and beg Chen to take some pictures!!!
Deby
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Guest_Guest_LMG_*_*
post Jul 6 2006, 02:53 PM
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I have a question about the way the toe is held in the stirrup, today. Since many of my instructors came from old school training, they taught the methods they learned. My Hungarian instructor went to the Italian Riding School as part of his training as an officer of the Hungarian Cavalry.

He did like to see riding without stirrups in the saddle and a series of exercises, at various gaits, taking one's foot out of the stirrup and putting it back in without looking down.

The difference I see today, in the way the toe is held, is that the toe seems to be turned away more from the body of the horse and the heel turned in. My instructors' taught me that when the toe was turned in and the heel turned out that this caused a rotation in the rider's leg, which, in turn, caused the femur (thigh) to rotate against the horse's side and permit the calf of the leg to be held away from the horse except when used as an aid .

Now, the question? Is this no longer held to be correct, and if not, why not?

LMG
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paelmchen
post Jul 6 2006, 03:18 PM
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Dear Deby,

everybody´s opinion is welcome, one never stop learning.

You´re right with you comment, in the first picture it is a demonstration of the forward downward movement, starting to let the horse chewing the reins from the riders hand(Zügel aus der Hand kauen lassen) and stretching the muscles.


The second one shows more collection, backhand more engaged,neck-line upright.

My problem is often that I´m to tall, I´m 188 cm, very long legs, so it is difficult for me to reach the horse without lifting the heels.

Look at this picture, I´m riding a WB of 180cm, this a better proportion for my long legs. biggrin.gif and then compare it with the right one, it shows me and our El Kaishaar at a competition against WB´s last year!

ciao roland palm
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