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Ready Freddy & I - Photo Critique

Updated on November 2, 2018
Ellison Hartley profile image

Ellison is a professional horse trainer and riding instructor. She runs a summer camp program and offers kids a safe introduction to horses.

This is Ready Freddie. I worked him for about 6 months,and he is one of my all time favorite horses. He was very green when I first started with him, but a real trier!
This is Ready Freddie. I worked him for about 6 months,and he is one of my all time favorite horses. He was very green when I first started with him, but a real trier! | Source

Ready Freddie

Freddie was very green when I started working with him. He really was a people pleaser though and always tried to figure out what I wanted him to do.

I enjoy looking at these pictures because I can see a big difference in my riding since they were taken.

Such a handsome boy he was.
Such a handsome boy he was. | Source

Upper Body Position

It looks as though I'm looking up and ahead to where I'm going. My hips though are collapsed back and forward. Which is bringing my shoulders forward of where they should be. Which is making a vertical line from shoulder, to hip to heel.

I needed to push my hips forward and my shoulders back. I'm in a close contact saddle in this picture, which tends to sit you more forward in the saddle. I still should have lifted my chest up, hips open and forward and my shoulders back.

Hands

My elbows are close to my sides where they should be, but my hands are too low. My hands should not be so low that they are almost sitting on his neck. They should be up off his neck and floating somewhere between my belly button and the saddle. I probably felt I had to move my hands low to find a connection since the reins are too long. I should have had my reins shorter and lifted my hands higher.

The feeling of the downward pull of the bit in his mouth is probably what is causing him to brace his neck muscles and right side of his mouth against my hand.

I can also see that my connection is not even on both sides, because if you look under his neck, you can see a lot of slack in the left rein. Telling me I had no connection there and was leaning on the right side of the bit.

Leg

My leg is pretty okay. It looks as if I'm using my heels trying to send him forward, so my leg is just slightly back and my heel slightly up from where I would like to see it.

Because he was bracing against my hand, this is probably why I was having to push so hard with my leg to keep him moving forward. This also relates to how my lower back is a little collapsed instead of sitting with my hips forward and shoulders back. I was pushing with my seat bones to help back up my leg.

Overall Impression

If I would have been sitting up tall with a straight line from shoulder, hip to heel, I would have been able to more effectively use my seat bones to help push him forward.

Then if I had lifted my hands up off his neck, there would have been a straight line from my elbow to my hands to the bit.

That way as my leg sent him forward, I could have lightened my seat bones as he began to move forward, which would allow him to lift his back up.

With my hands up in the correct position, all the energy from the hind end would have come up over his back and neck. His neck muscles would have softened, as well as his jaw. Especially on that right side that he seems so braced on.

When his back and his neck softened, I would have softened my hands and seat and he would have lowered his head into a proper frame. A frame that was soft and had equal weight in both hands.


If I knew Then, What I know Now

I knew then, what I knew now, Freddy's training would have progressed a lot more quickly. He was a wonderful horse like I said, one of the favorites I have ever interacted with. I learned so much from him.

It is amazing how looking back on an old picture of my riding, and Freddy is still teaching me. Not to mention helping me train my eye, so I can be a better trainer to my students.

Never stop learning!

Freddy and I had a special bond.
Freddy and I had a special bond. | Source
My smile says it all. I had a lot to learn back then. Freddy was an amazing step on my horsemanship journey. I will never forget him.
My smile says it all. I had a lot to learn back then. Freddy was an amazing step on my horsemanship journey. I will never forget him. | Source

Comments

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  • Ellison Hartley profile imageAUTHOR

    Ellison Hartley 

    18 months ago from Maryland, USA

    Lucky you!

  • Rick Benningfield profile image

    Rick Benningfield 

    18 months ago from North Texas

    It rarely snows here in Texas, usually about once every 5 years. We are overdue but I doubt it and if we do it won't be around long at all.

  • Ellison Hartley profile imageAUTHOR

    Ellison Hartley 

    18 months ago from Maryland, USA

    It has rained a lot more than usual here in MD this year as well. Hope that doesn't mean that we are going to get more snow than usual this year.

  • Rick Benningfield profile image

    Rick Benningfield 

    18 months ago from North Texas

    Thank You I will need that. It is still muddy and it hasn't rained in a week! Major is Ok now and wants out of the stall, his stall is 20'x12' so he can stay in a little longer, I don't want to hurt himself again and a little longer in the stall will be beneficial to his well being.

  • Ellison Hartley profile imageAUTHOR

    Ellison Hartley 

    18 months ago from Maryland, USA

    Fingers crossed for you!

  • Rick Benningfield profile image

    Rick Benningfield 

    18 months ago from North Texas

    Well after Major strained his back legs I had no choice since it is very muddy which is not Texas Weather at all. I pray that soon it will dry up and go back to normal.

  • Ellison Hartley profile imageAUTHOR

    Ellison Hartley 

    18 months ago from Maryland, USA

    Oh no that is no good about your horses being on stall rest. That is a lot of rain! We have had a lot of rain in Maryland but nothing that extreme.

  • Rick Benningfield profile image

    Rick Benningfield 

    18 months ago from North Texas

    Since the middle of October it has been very muddy here. Major strained his back legs while motivating in the deep mud and now he is confined to the stall which he doesn't like, but so be it and now Apache is also confined to the stall due to the mud. They are coming used to it. In October we received 17" of rain in 14 days, and this is TEXAS which is beyond rare for this area! Be careful and remember Safety First!

  • Ellison Hartley profile imageAUTHOR

    Ellison Hartley 

    18 months ago from Maryland, USA

    Yep, I agree to be safe and in control is the most important thing! I do love black and white paints, I wish I would have bought that one for myself.

    Being relaxed is just as important, I totally agree.

  • Rick Benningfield profile image

    Rick Benningfield 

    18 months ago from North Texas

    I have ridden Western Pleasure all of my life. This English is something different that is for sure but it does appear that you have control of the situation and that is what matters. Do like the paint, I have always liked horses of color! Usually what I do is to post and then kind of relax in the saddle, the horse gets to do all of the work kinda sorta (cowboy term). I had a little problem with Major the other day-I put on some chinks instead of my chaps but he got over it.

working

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