Tips please (position related)

Rana

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After 4 years out of the saddle, I finally got back on a horse yesterday (riding school). Had a fab time, and the horse really looked after me and my shattered confidence


I did get a bit nervous
, but just took things slowly and felt loads better at the end than I did at the beginning, so I'm sure my confidence will come flooding back.

Now, you would think that after 4 years not riding, my bad habits would have cured themselves. But no, sadly not


So, any tips for the following:

1 - dropping hands and not carrying them properly
2 - tipping forwards and dropping hands when going into canter (I do sit up again once the canter is established)

Both are bad habits which I've had for years, and haven't managed to cure them yet!

All suggestions welcomed
 

dressage_diva

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I'm not sure whether you're feeling up to it yet, but I'd find a really good yard with some proper schoolmasters and go and have some lunge lessons. I've ridden for over 15years but I also tend to drop my hands mostly because I'm using them to balance. However, last week i had a 30min lunge lesson on a dressage schoolmaster and the instructor made me ride in trot without stirrups and reins and just hold my hands in the correct place. The work without stirrups and reins helped me learn to balance myself properly and not be lazy and use the reins and my position improved so much during those 30mins.

The tipping forwards is probably because your seat isn't deep enough and you're also trying to tip forwards to make the horse canter (which will actually have the oppsotie effect, pushing his weight onto his forehand and making it difficult to get a nice uphil transition). Again, working on your balance and lots of work without stirrups will really help.

However, the most important thing is to work on your general confidence I'd say before nit-picking your position. once you feel more confident and a little bit braver, lunge lessons and work without stirrups will really help you I'd imagine. Good luck!
 

Hippona

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Cant really add to that......but I know exactly how you feel- I had 10 years out of the saddle, then went for some lessons about 5 years ago before I took the plunge and bought a horse again.....I couldnt believe what crap habits I had got into!

I must have been really leaning forwards...the instructor kept telling me to sit up straight -over and over again....I actually felt like I was lying flat backwards!

These days I get my son to video me so I can pick fault with myself......
 

MegaBeast

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To help prevent you dropping your hands try carrying a short whip between the two hands, tucked under your thumbs so that it's parallel to the ground, I find this really works and for me remembering to really look up helps me hold my hands up too!
 

spaniel

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Very few people EVER fall off the back of a horse.

You just need to sit up. I know its easy to say but sit yourself up so far that you THINK you are tipping backwards and let your elbows bend so your hands come up with you. Dont look at the horse.....look far forward and into the distance. If your eyes drop you will drop forwards again.

You are much more secure and have much more effective legs in this position.

You may not be being helped by the saddle you are riding in so beware of your lower leg shooting forwards and sitting you in a chair position.

To get the canter trasition, ensure you are in your upright position, look into the far distance, go to sitting trot. Stay in the upright position and give the canter aid.....THEN WAIT. Dont tip forward to urge the horse into the transition, just keep your position and keep giving the canter aid until the horse agrees.

I wouldnt bother doing the carying a whip across your hands thing. It gives you something else to fiddle about with and ensures that you have tense hands, tense forearms and then tense shoulders. Counterproductive and pretty useless once you get rid of the stick!

Good luck!
 

Rana

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Good advice peeps, thanks


Was thinking about some lunge lessons once I've built up my confidence a bit more. Also thought about asking a friend to video a lesson for me so I can actually see where I'm going wrong, rather than just being told.

I did used to have a nice deep classical dressage style seat and reasonably independent hands (if slightly too low). I did manage to get that for a few strides yesterday, but only while I was trotting without stirrups and on the right rein lol (I'm very right handed and I find this transfers into my riding as well).

Thanks again
 

MyBoyChe

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I so know how you feel, I had a lesson yesterday, my first for about 12 years after 8 years out of the saddle. I have been riding again since last July but boy, do i hurt this morning and we didn't do anything strenuous. Like you, I have picked up bad habits over the years and really want to improve my position and effectiveness. On the plus side, I really enjoyed myself, don't think horsey did, too much like hard work for him but I have another session booked for the weekend so onwards and upwards. Sorry, I know that hasn't offered you any help, just wanted to empathise!!
 

Rana

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Empathy is always good. My legs hurt!! I keep telling myself that it's good for toning, but I just keep saying "OOWWWWW" lol.

I'm booked in for next weekend too
Was surprised OH booked it, I thought he'd be a bit concerned about the cost, but he obviously enjoyed it too much lol.
 

MyBoyChe

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the couple who own our yard were supposed to be gardening yesterday afternoon but I could see them having a sneaky peek. Afterwards they did thank Emma and me for the entertainment!! Glad they enjoyed my suffering. Very brave of you to let OH watch, I'd have been far too embarrassed and god forbid he gets his video digital camera thingy out!!!!
 

sye777

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Pull the peak of your hat down slightly. This will make you have to lift your chin and sit tall to see where you are going. Sounds daft but ever so simple and does work. If your wearing a skull hat then tuck something (tissue etc) in the front to create the same "visor" idea!
 

Rana

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lol I don't let my OH watch - he joins in! He could ride before he met me (kind of how we got together but I won't bore anyone with that long story lol). So he's just getting back to it too


Good thought on creating a visor, will have to give that a go with a hankie or something lol. Not while being video'd though, that would just be toooo embarrassing lol.
 

martlin

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A good trick for dropping hands (it is ALL in your head, you know) is to think 'I must have a look at my thumbs' nails'. If you hold the reins, the only way to do that without falling over/off is to raise your hands and bend arms at the elbows in front of you, over the horse's withers.
For looking down and dropping forwards ditto the visor effect.
 
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