Here’s a great read from Olivia over at Hellomylivia!
Fellow riders, we’ve ALL run into those people who tell us, “How hard can riding really be, you just sit there and the horse does all the work!”
And we’ve all struggled to control that fiery ball of rage in our chest and politely say, “there’s actually a lot more to it than that,” instead of bursting out like we want to and screeching, “LISTEN BUDDY YOU HAVE NO IDEA.”
So to help you out, feel free to print multiple copies of this guide to hand to anyone who just doesn’t get it.
All the Things Going Through My Mind All at the Same Time at Any Given Moment During My Ride
*Not like that, your ankle looks broken when you do it like that
*Keep the inside of your calf in contact with his side
*Well don’t just pop your knee off the saddle
*But soften your knee
*Push your knee down
*Why are you struggling so much with your knee
*Relax your seat
*Shouldn’t you be engaging your seat more?
*Lighten your seat
*Get up out of your saddle
*Get in the back seat and DRIVE him forward
*Don’t arch it though
*Shoulders down and back
*Why is JUST your left shoulder hunched? That’s super weird
*Keep your shoulders even
*Like your shoulders are headlights and you want them pointing straight ahead to illuminate the road
*But still look around your turn
*Don’t look down at the jump, you’re not trying to go to the jump. You’re trying to go OVER the jump.
*Seriously stop looking down. There’s nothing for you there.
*LOOK THROUGH YOUR TURN
*Relax your jaw, you’re getting a tension headache
*More outside aids to help him around the turn
*Keep your weight even in the saddle
*Your hips are to the inside and your shoulders are to the outside. That is SO not even.
*Close your fingers
*Keep your thumbs on top, it looks like you’re playing the piano Mr. Bojangles
*Get your hands up out of your lap
*Get your hands below the level of your collarbone
*Get your hands out of his mane
*Go ahead and grab mane
*Get your hands…I don’t know, just move them somewhere else because this clearly isn’t right
*Soften your elbows
*You look like you’re churning butter with your arms
*Elastic contact on that outside rein
*Play with that inside rein a little to get him to soften
*DON’T JUST JIGGLE THE REINS THAT’S NOT WHAT I MEANT TO DO
*Keep your leg at the girth
*Except sometimes move it just behind the girth
*But not right now, you fool
*Use your inside leg to push him into that outside rein
*NO STOP YOU’RE OVERBENDING STRAIGHTEN HIM OUT
*OK now do all that but sit up straighter
*Close your hip angle a little
*NOT THAT MUCH YOU LOOK FETAL
*Let him jump up to you
*Your leg shouldn’t be that far back
*Stop bracing your leg forward
*Don’t pinch with your knee
*What are you doing with your knee why are we on knees again
*Don’t get left behind the motion
*STOP JUMPING AHEAD OF THE MOTION
*Elbows on top of the mane when you crest release
*But maybe this time try an automatic release
*Reach towards his mouth
*Not that much, it looks like you’re making out with his mane
*Hands too high
*No, now they’re too low
*Why is “towards his mouth” so hard to figure out?
*You need to do soooooo many sit-ups so you don’t collapse on his neck when you land
*Bend him around your inside leg through the turns
*Except this turn, you should counter-bend through this turn
*Gallop up to the base!
*Hold a little to the base, why are you just running him at it?!
*Remember your course of 13 jumps with crazy turns, if you go off course that’s $50 just to get disqualified
*He gets slow away from the in-gate, and that line is on a bit of a hill, and Mercury is in retrograde, so make sure to consider that while on course
*Slow down this isn’t a race!
*Well I didn’t mean that you should trot every jump
*I don’t care if you “don’t like flower boxes,” your job is to jump over flower boxes bucko
*Count your strides in that line and so help me god if you leave one out
*But that doesn’t mean you should add
*Someday we’ll make the standard striding like A NORMAL HORSE YA DINGUS
*Throw out “pretty” and get the job done
*Don’t throw it out that much, you look heinous
*Don’t be nervous, the worst that can happen is you fall and get terribly injured and your horse will never walk again!
*Pass left shoulder to left shoulder
*Unless you’re that girl apparently. She gets to pass however she wants. Apparently.
*Be aware of all other horses in the warmup ring BUT KEEP YOUR FOCUS
*Don’t look so terrified, you do this for fun
What else would you add to this list?
A little bit about Olivia:
Olivia is what happens when that horse-crazy girl you knew in middle school grows up. She moved to Virginia after college, and over the past few years has gotten back into the saddle to join the ranks of the Adult Ammy Brigade with her gelding Frankie, with whom she competes in the jumper ring. He likes nose smooches and carrots, she likes reading fantasy novels and listening to movie soundtracks, and together they like jumping over colorful sticks at heights that make her father nervous.