Canter & Candor

Canter and Candor; an honest account of an amateur equestrian and her life with an OTTB

The Core of My Problems


Hey guys. I’ve safely arrived across the pond and am currently traipsing around the Yorkshire dales in pouring rain. I assume C is doing well– no updates yet but I plan to harass the lovely folk riding him for them soon. With no access to pony, I’m spending some time reviewing videos and pictures from this past year.

So this is me (mid-Dec).

Screen Shot 2016-01-09 at 3.11.57 PM

Let’s talk about it.

I’m one of those people who, on the rare occasion I have video, I watch it a zillion times and freeze it at every point over the jump to see where my position is at. It’s not the best way to approach my faults, but I freely admit to being a nitpicker and this is how I cope with it in my riding. Once I’ve found a frame I don’t like, I analyse it and then go compare it to any other videos I can find– which I also freeze, screenshot, and compare.

When I first stumbled across this little gem, I think I threw up a little in my mouth. Once I did a little more research, I understood a little more why I felt so horrible about it, and also why it’s not all bad.

Good points:

  1. I gave him his head. It’s not a pretty release, but at least my hands aren’t tucked into my armpits! I’m not bopping him in the mouth, but there’s enough contact to re-organize after the jump.
  2. My heels are down. I struggle hard with this over bigger fences, so it’s good to see it’s still in place over smaller ones. This also means I probably haven’t slammed all my weight into his back.
  3. I am balanced in the stirrups. You know what they say– if you erase the horse from a photo, the rider should be in a position where they’re be balanced standing on the ground (and yes, I am crying laughing at this picture).


Bad points:

  1. I still bopped him in the back, right where the cantle of the saddle hit me. I think this is mainly because he jumped bigger than I expected, but is still problematic.
  2. My core has completely collapsed. This is my biggest issue with the snapshot, and I think my biggest overall. It’s why one of my primary resolutions is to improve my core strength. I need to be able to hold myself more efficiently.

Here are some shots of me and people in the same post-jump position. Intro, BN, Training, and Intermediate consecutively.

Compare the position of my midsection/abs to those of the competing riders’. My body has caved in– my torso and shoulders are straining forward for the release, and my hips have been flung back with the motion of the jump. As we can see, the set-back hips are pretty typical of a defensive eventing position. Which, overall, is good for me because I started out with a tendency to lean, which is a tendency I’m still working against. And I’m giving a decent enough release. So upper half and lower half? Decent! Workable! Better than okay on a green, athletic, huge-jumping C!

But that core? Oh, nuh-uh.

Guys, I see pilates in my future. And a lot of no stirrups work.


C laying roses on my legs’ grave

— M


7 thoughts on “The Core of My Problems

  1. I have a lot of core work to do myself! We should start a support group 😛


  2. You should definitely not get too down on your collapsed core over that fence compared to the other riders. You got jumped out of the tack a bit, and they are all coming off a jump where they expected the size! So your body is getting out of the way however it can, and it’s pretty good that you kept so much of your form!

    But core. Yes. I can feel it now… thinking of hurting. Wah. Core.


  3. newer reader here – just wanted to pop in and say i do the *exact same thing* as far as analyzing my frame-by-frame position over fences lol… really tho, it seems like all your “good points” are kinda the bigger more important issues anyway (balance ftw!), and the strength bit will improve in no time


    • It’s an addiction, I swear! Yep, I’m hoping extra dressage work as well as taking some sitting trot lessons on school horses will speed it up a little. In the meantime, pilates!



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