Saturday, November 23, 2013

Ride 38 (trotting video) & hubby rode Chrome!!!

Okay before we move on to the fun stuff (pictures and video) I have to mention a few things...

1.  Sorry for the double post!!  It stopped raining, so I knew I had to ride while I had the chance, but I had already scheduled the previous post, so you get two today because I want to keep his riding posts on the actual day of the ride if possible.  :)

2.  Chrome does sink his back under the saddle when standing still and walking, but not at the trot, so I agree it is a strength issue.

3.  My hubby rode Chrome!!!!  He rode him . . . without a helmet . . .  oops!!  I was wearing my helmet because I got on Chrome first to make sure he was okay.  I didn't want Chrome to spook and wrench hubby's messed up back.  Then I completely forgot to take my helmet off and let him wear it!  Please don't yell at me lol.  Chrome was perfect, so no harm done.

4.  My hubby has not ridden more than a handful of times in the last twenty years (he rode almost daily as a kid and teen) due to college, work and his back injury so his position is not great.  However he said you can laugh and make fun of him all you want because he doesn't care LOL!  I wish I could have that attitude about my own riding.  :D  Also I didn't realize until after these pictures that the stirrups were way too long for him.  I know I am half an inch taller than he is, but I didn't realize my legs were so much longer.  :)

So here are pictures of my hubby riding Chrome.  Aren't they so cute together??

Dang Chrome looks as long as a bus in this one for some reason, but I LOVE that neck!
And yes he's holding the rein wrong in his left hand because he has a fractured finger...

 See how the stirrups are too long and his toe is sliding too far in the stirrup?  This was the up part of the post too and he was tense because his back was starting to hurt.  He needs to stick with walking for now, but at least he got to feel Chrome's trot!  :D  Also look at Chrome's back behind the saddle.  It looks round to me, even though his head is up.  I think he looks super cute for a green horse!!

And now a couple of pictures of me . . .

 My position makes me want to gag!  Ahh!  Between the jeans being too short and showing my socks (I really need to start wearing my breeches and paddock boots), leaning forward, my hands in my lap, my back arched, my toes out, etc. but hey at least I'm looking up!  Score!  LOL.  I need lessons (on a school horse and on Chrome) soooo bad!  Sticking my toes out and dropping my hands in my lap are my worst faults.  My trainer had to remind me constantly to stop doing that lol.  I wish bad habits died as quickly as good habits.  :)

So here is the video to show you how bad my leg swings.  I know how crappy my position is, but I can't figure out what I'm doing that causes my lower leg to move around so much.  Is it the saddle, my position, my lack of core strength, lack of practice posting (haven't posted a trot since 2007 either since I sit the trot on my friend's broke western horses), wearing jeans (someone said breeches and half chaps might help but I can't find my half chaps since the move...), etc.  My knees don't look like they are pointed down like they should (I miss knee blocks on a dressage saddle!), but my leg seems to move less in the second clip where my knees are up . . . I'm confused.  I can't wait until I can afford lessons again because I so bad need to practice posting on a trained horse again.  Posting on a green horse is tough although his tempo is staying steadier now.  Anyway sorry for rambling, here is the video . . . I just hope after taking lessons I can look back on this and laugh at how bad I am.  :D

So what do you think?  Also if you don't care about dressage/position/etc. I hope you at least enjoyed looking at my cutey Chrome!  :)

ETA:  I did figure out that the Aussie saddle is too wide for Chrome, so I'm going to use my thick fleece saddle pad next ride.  :)

ETA 2:  This is just for my records because I think I forgot to mention it.  My ride and my husband's ride combined was only 25 minutes.


  1. Wow that video makes Chrome look long... weird! Also after watching it again I really think my knees are too far forward... I have to figure out how to get them down in the Aussie saddle or find another saddle (that I can't afford!). Sigh. I still want to hear what you guys think though! Pretty please!

  2. I haven't seen anyone in an Aussie saddle in a long time, I'd try upping your stirrups a notch? And BOOTS, tennis shoes IMO don't help foot position. Otherwise, for me its part saddle, but mostly muscle (or lack thereof).

  3. Ha! Good point about the tennis shoes. I'm so bad about that. I can slip my tennis shoes on and run out the door, but I have to actually stop, sit down, put on and zip up my boots... so I don't lol. I'll try that next time and see if it helps too. Thanks!

  4. Chrome looks happy and willing in that video. You've done a nice job with him. :D

    You might check out Mary Wanless' Ride With Your Mind. Great info about how biomechanics effect riding.

  5. Chrome looks adorable, you and your husband look great on him too! :) (especially for not riding much lately!).

    I second the Mary Wanless idea, haven't done a lot with her stuff but I'm auditing some dressage lessons with a trainer who uses her method and like what I see so far!

    Also, do both your legs move about the same? I know I have a weak leg that tends to wobble more than the other...two-point practice helps me, also an exercise my old trainer called "Titanic" where you stand in the stirrups but keep your head-shoulder-heel alignment by opening your hip angle ALLL the way...kind of hard to describe!

  6. One of the things about an Aussie saddle is that it is designed to kick your leg out in front of you. It is designed to be ridden in a western style (sitting trot, controlled lope). They do not make good dressage saddles, because they don't position you correctly for dressage. I can also tell you that if they don't fit, it will make your horse's back sore. When I was trying to ride Ashke in an Aussie saddle ALL of my weight was over his kidneys. He hated me.

  7. Thanks guys. I will definitely check out Mary Wanless.

    Actually, yes both of our legs moved in the saddle. My husband had his feet further forward because his injured back made it too hard to get them back underneath himself. I was able to get mine back further, so mine swung more. I know Aussie saddles are bad about kicking your feet forward, I was just hoping I could work around it, but I guess not. :( We got it really cheap and a lot of people have told me it's great for bad back/knees so I guess we could still use it for trail riding. I will have to figure something else out for dressage work. I wish I had the money to get a new saddle. Actually I wish that dressage saddle a friend gave me fit, but it is waaay too small for me.

    Karen, the Aussie saddle is just a bit wide in the front. With no weight in it, it sits perfectly level, but with weight in it the front drops a bit. It doesn't touch his withers, but there's not much clearance. I was hoping a thicker pad might make it work until he builds up some muscles and gets wider. I could send it in to have it adjusted, but with work he's going to get wider... then I would just have to send it right back in lol. I'll just keep saving money and see if I can get something else. It just seems like there are so many other things that take priority (like a kitchen! Also my old dog's meds...).

    Thanks again guys! I really appreciate your advice and suggestions. :)

    Oh and Briana I am definitely going to start doing some two point. I was told it helps build up weak legs, so I definitely need to work on that. Now that his tempo is getting smoother maybe I can work on that. :)

  8. I would suggest riding in the saddle without stirrups at the trot and see if your position gets any better. I agree that aussie saddles do not make great dressage saddles because they do position you poorly for (traditional) dressage. It really looks like your stirrups are actually too long in the video, not too short. If you are able to still your upper body, your lower leg may quiet itself naturally. Without seeing more than a 5 second clip, it may just be acting as a pendulum for your upper body.

  9. don't be too hard on yourself- it's hard to be perfect on a horse with shifting rhythms and balance. I agree with suggestions of proper footwear and shortening the stirrups. Another thing to consider is to put a strap across the pommel to help balance so you don't use the reins.

    on the good side- his back is up and he's really swinging.

  10. Good grief! Appy that's genius. I'm totally taking the stirrups off to see if that helps. :D

    Teresa, thank you! I was happy to see in the video that he's actually using his back at the trot. :) Our Aussie saddle has a horn which I was using when I would get totally unbalanced. My reins are actually fairly loose... I don't think I was using them to balance, but I'll watch it again to see. I even held them at the buckle for one trot, but he was wanting to veer off of the driveway, so I had to pick them back up to steer. :)

  11. Wow, Chrome is really cute! And while yeah, a quieter leg will be a nice thing to develop, I am pretty impressed with the relative stability of your upper body.

    I do sense a knee pinch, but mostly I wonder how much the tack is working against you here, especially in combination with the sneakers (and their probable lack of grip on the stirrups)? I don't know the first thing about Aussie saddles, but that's my instinct watching the vid...

  12. Thanks Hannah! I was going to ride again today with breeches and paddock boots to get video while my hubby is home but it got REALLY cold today and I can't stay out longer than it takes to feed the critters without my ears and hands hurting, so I changed my mind. :) I did find my breeches and paddock boots though so I'll do it soon. Now I just hope I can find my half chaps.... one day I will know where all of my stuff is again hehe.

  13. Chrome is adorable.

    Check how your position is in another saddle. I found that my position went to shit in an Aussie saddle. A very heartbreaking development as I've always lusted after them!

  14. All great advice! I agree on two-point being one of the best exercises for stabilizing your lower leg. As long as they fit in your stirrups, you can even use hiking boots instead of the sneakers if you don't want to wear your paddock boots. Having grip in the stirrup makes a big different.

    I'd keep an eye on the fit of the Aussie as Chrome's body changes. I've heard they can be real back breakers for horses. One little Arabian at my barn developed back problems with an Aussie saddle from a brand that is specifically made for Arabians here in the US.

    Some people hate them, but I personally like Wintecs and you can find the flocked models for next to nothing on eBay. Perks? You can switch out the gullet. And with wool flocking, the stuffing in the panels can be adjusted to a certain extent.

    And wow what a beauty Chrome is! He truly combines the best of both the Friesian and the Arab.

  15. I agree with the previous comment to try without the stirrups. That's how my riding teacher had me work on my form. Oh, and, yes, no sneakers please.

    Mango Momma

  16. Thanks for the comments guys!

    Thanks for the info on the Aussie saddle. I am disappointed to learn that they aren't great for the horse's back, but it's good to know I guess. I actually do love Wintecs, I just can't afford another saddle right now. I'll keep saving and hopefully things will get better soon. I have so many things I need to do right now that cost so much money (like finishing my kitchen and getting my car running again), that horse stuff is just going to have to wait unfortunately.

    Great idea about the hiking boots, but I don't have any!! I might have to get some though since finding riding boots in my size is next to impossible.

    I will try to practice without stirrups, but I hate to flop around on a green horse's back while trying to strengthen my position. I really need lessons, but again... can't afford them right now. It's okay though, because I know it will all work out!


I appreciate all comments, advice and questions! Your comments are what makes blogging so worth it. I love to hear from my followers, so thanks for taking the time to share your comments. :)