Feedback/Critique On Position

Hi Guys,
I got back into the ring after a break and rode Intro-C. Can I get some (Keeping it kind!) feedback on my position ? When I watch the video, it looks like my riding gets overly clunky in the show ring. I see that I lose my left contact when I circle left.

What are the main flaws, like tipping, leaning, and stuff that throw my pony off?
I really appreciate it!
Sass dressage sept2021 - YouTube

While I am not a trainer, nor do I play one on Tv, the thing I noticed was in the posting trot your knees and heals go up and down indicating instability in your legs. I don’t know what causes it, but I would make sure you are not using your stirrups to push up to create the posting trot.

Super cute intro test! I think you are nervous and anticipating. I wish the test was a little less quick in the beginning (much better at the end), and you tend to lean forward with your upper body before your horse has transitioned to the next gait. Perfect example is your halt-trot transition out of the salute. Stay up and create some positive tension in your upper body, but I don’t want to see you lean back.

Your elbows should give and take as you post. Think of holding the weight of your rein in the back of your upper arm and close your hands on the reins. You also lost fluidity on your last long side in trot, around 3:35 on the video.

Just wondering, what kind of score did you get for this test? Despite the moments of inconsistency, training level is WELL within your reach. Cute pony!!

Love your mount! You two are such a fun pair. The biggest thing I took away was the need to draw everything up and together

Your hands are open, down, and knuckles up. Super super common and usually comes from trying to be soft and steady. This is tipping your upper body forward, which then makes your leg less effect. It seems like you have a decent amount of natural energy but with the forward lean of your balance your hand is blocking a little of that energy. Once everything is pulled up you will be able to use your leg to push up and out into your hand for more steadiness in the contact.

If you visualize balancing a plate on top of your softy closed hands it can help you get the feel of how your arms need to stay above the withers and a comfortable distance apart. If you really dwell on that visual when you post you can also feel how the elbow needs to be really loose to act as a shock absorber and through the tricep and upper back you need a soft stabilizing tension. If your hands drop or open, the plate is liable to go sliding while if the elbows are braced, it’s going to bounce right off your hands. It also helps you feel what it’s like to hold your own hands. When the fingers get open often the weight of the forearm and hand are relying on the reins as opposed to the rider holding up their side of the contact and inviting the horse to accept their end. Sometimes visualizations or the wrong visualization does diddly squat but that’s what came to my mind as I was watching.

1 Like

OH, I love your horse! What a great pair!!!

Your position: I agree with others about your leg and heel.your lower leg and heel move up and down when you trot. That happens with many people you can improve your leg by thinking about pointing forward with your knees (which are a tad rolled out) and toes. This will help put your leg in a better position and your posting won’t make your heel hit your horse every stride. That will kind of dull him to the aids.

Next, I’d suggest thinking about posting using your hips to swing forward from your knees (without gripping with your knees). This will make your lower leg action (or no action) independent from your posting. Same with your shoulders, try to make them still and independent of your hips moving forward when you post.

Arms: try to bring your elbows closer to your body and keep your hands a bit closer. Try to really follow his movement with your arms at the canter and walk especially. Going to the left looked more fluid in your elbows than going to the right.

Hands: keep the thumbs up like you are holding a mug of water.

Seat: really think about letting your seat move with the motion of your horse in the trot and canter. For example, look at your transition to walk and turn on the diagonal. Your arms are moving but your hips aren’t following at all. Relax a bit in your lower back, let your shoulders come back and let your hips flow with the horse independent of your legs and shoulders. This’ll all improve your transitions.

Are you coming from H/J land?

This is a long list - I’m sorry! It’s all fresh in my mind because I think about this stuff every time I ride! I have a wonky right arm that I’m always called out on. I’ve had other position issues (esp coming from H/J and then eventing land long ago) that I had to really work on. It is a journey, not just a quick fix! And look how well you’ve done with your pony! He was almost totally square on your first halt!

You both are doing so well!


My suggestion is the shorten your stirrups. A lot of what I am seeing you you reaching for your stirrups. Yes you shouldn’t rely on them, but as you are learning it will help a lot. As a saddle fitter, your saddle is not helping you at all. It appears to me that your seat is too narrow across where your sit bones sit. This is causing your thighs to rotate out with is destabilizing your seat. It is also putting you in a slight chair seat. This is most likely because it is an all purpose saddle with the wrong stirrup bars for dressage or the wrong seat size.

I will say you these all things to improve: however you look great for the level and should be proud.

1 Like

Thanks everyone! Good Stuff!

1 Like