Critiquing Your Ride


Areas to Critique (What You Want to Accomplish!)

1. Free Forward Movement: Energetic steps forward through a relaxed topline.

Willingness to stretch down forward toward the bit

Steady rhythm

Acceptance of aids - responds to leg by engaging hind legs and reaching for bit; does

not drop the contact, brace or pull against your hand

2. Suppleness: Ability to shift balance forward or back (longitudinally) and side to side


  Requires relaxation through topline

  Horse is more responsive to aids.  Rein aids and half-halts more effective on hind legs.

  Allows horse to be connected (back to front) or "through"

  Lack of tension and resistance

3. Balance: Ability to carry and shift weight from side to side (laterally) or forward and back (longitudinally) for ease of movement according to athletic demands


Organizing the Critique

1. General "overall" statement about how the ride went. Give your general impression and try

to be positive and sound positive.

2. State specifically what you worked on in the following order:

1. How the horse moves and what its resistances are

2. What specific problems did you work on?

3. What exercises you used (for warm-up critiques); what techniques for course work

4. Whether the exercises/techniques helped

*Keep this section SIMPLE and FOCUSED, using the 3 areas above as guidelines.

3. What problems will you address next, and how.  A candidates should include ideas for future training, may discuss use of cavaletti, longeing, other groundwork, etc.



When critiquing a jump course, comment on the following:

1. Pace (speed, rhythm, tempo)

2. Balance

3. lmpulsion

4. Lines (approaches, distances, turns to fences)


Terms to Know and Use in Critiques:






On the aids




Balance (lateral, longitudinal)





Suppleness (lateral, longitudinal)