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View Full Version : Correct stirrup length: GM vs. Steinkraus



LudgerFan
Oct. 13, 2009, 11:38 AM
Edited: I apparently am not allowed to say '"trivial" or "mundane"...how about "the usual?"

In any case, in hopes of stimulating some interesting discussion (other than "the usual") here on this forum, I hereby relay two differing points of view on stirrup length. The first POV will be that of George Morris, as stated in "Jumping Clinic Classics: Lots to Like" found at www.equisearch.com:

"This picture of an excellent rider is obscured slightly by the jump wing. Still, it's clear from her ankle, knee and hip angles that the stirrups are the correct length: For a fence at or below three-six, the stirrup should hit the bottom of the ankle bone; over higher fences, the middle of the ankle bone."

Steinkraus addresses correct stirrup length as well in his book Reflections on Riding and Jumping, first edition, p. 29-30:

"...you can afford to ride pretty long for ordinary work on the flat or for elementary dressage, with the tread of the stirrup level with a point just below the ankle bone when your legs are fully extended. Some serious dressage riders ride even longer, but to my eye they seem to be fishing for their stirrups much of the time. For ordinary hunter riding and jumping small fences, I come up a hole or two, so that the stirrup tread falls somewhere between the middle and the top of my ankle bone. For bigger fences, I come up yet another hole or two; and for puissance fences, one or two on top of that, because there's nothing worse than a feeling of insecurity on a horse who's making the maximum effort that very big fences require."

In my experience, I agree with Steinkraus. I fully believe riders today regardless of level tend to ride with a longer stirrup than the height of fence should dictate, which may seem like a trivial detail at first thought, but then upon reflection makes sense as to why we see more daylight between seat and saddle over fences, as well as more errors of the upper body, and too little use of the automatic release. (A rider with too long a stirrup will NEED to support the upper body with a crest release, and with too long a stirrup the foundational balance required to use the following hand is absent....experiment at home with this as I have and you will see...or at least it will make for more stimulating discussion!) On a side note, I also think that the trend of flat-jumping equitation horses murdered any possibility of seeing (much less teaching) the following hand...if the horse fails to bascule, there is no forward/down action of the neck to FOLLOW, and therefore no logical reason for using it, thus the current dominance of the crest release. I think if we saw a resurgence (and I suspect we are starting to) of equitation riders riding rounder-jumping horses, we will see the resurgence of the following hand. People are wanting to see and teach it...it just takes a truly round jumper to teach/use it well, round from nose to tail over the fence.

Another side note: I think the teaching of "heels down" and "deep heel" a la GM and followers versus Steinkraus' "pull the toes up" "toes slightly higher than heel" also has a lot to do with what we are seeing these days. Food for thought!

Enough of my musings...anyone else care to comment?

hellerkm
Oct. 13, 2009, 11:50 AM
I am by far an expert, BUT right now as my daughters are working on the flat their stirrups hit at the bottom of their ankle bone, we do NOT move them to trot poles or jump small ( less than 2') fences , when they jump bigger we raise them one hole.
If you remember there was a huge discussion on this right after pony finals, from what I have seen this year at the bigger shows many kids could benefit from raising their stirrups a hole or two over fences, JMHO of course!!! A good base of support with weight in the heel over fences is VERY easy to spot, it results in a kid who is out of the saddle just enough and in a kid who is able to ride WITH the pony instead of ahead of or behind the ponies motion! I personally think this is one of the hardest "basics" to teach younger kids!! Again JMO< but based on what I have encountered over the past 10 mos.

Hunter Mom
Oct. 13, 2009, 11:52 AM
In my own, limited and elementary opinion, I'd rather see a rider with a slightly too short stirrup than a slightly too long. The base of support is better, the heel can be dropped easier, thus allowing the weight to be where it belongs.

However, reading these two passages (I've read the GM book, but not the WS one) it would seem that the two are referencing different styles of riding. Before you get your hackles up, I TRULY believe that good equitation is paramount as the basis of all, regardless of if you're hopping over small cross rails, riding a pony hunter, tackling a hunter derby or competing at the Grand Prix level. Having dabbled in small eq, hunters and jumpers, the mindset and styles are different.

When one is riding a hunter round (GM) style is paramount. You can't look bad or it reflects poorly on your horse. Having that uber-quiet leg, soft hand and light seat is crucial. Any and all corrections must be subtle and seamless. At the end of it, looks matter - and the rider is a huge part of that look. Having a leg that is lovely helps to make the round look nicer.

When one is riding in the jumper ring, however (WS), looks don't mean a thing. Yes, one must ride effectively but the whole ride is different. You must attack the course more, and if that means not looking as nice, so be it. Your guidance and corrections don't have to be invisible - not even subtle. You do what you need to get the job done. Having your stirrups where they're comfortable for you is vital.

JM2CW

klmck63
Oct. 13, 2009, 11:53 AM
You'll probably get a lot more interest if you remove the preface. In my opinion, it makes you seem condescending. If what we talk about is trivial and mundane, why are you bothering? Your overly active mind seems to have given you a lofty ego.

Anyways. I guess I would have to go with George on this one. I have three worn holes on my stirrup leathers. I prefer my stirrups just below the ankle bone (bottom hole) for dressage work, at the very bottom of my ankle bone for flatting before I jump and jumping caveletti (sp?) sized fences (middle hole) and on the upper half of my ankle bone for anything from 3'-3'9" (top hole). Since I don't yet regularly jump higher than 3'9", my stirrups don't usually get raised any higher than that. When I start schooling higher than that I imagine they'll come up a hole.

Before I took dressage lessons I always rode with my stirrups pretty short. Now I find that I can't get everything I want to accomplished with them that short and therefore drop them a hole or two depending on what I am doing.

I was in a clinic last spring and was surprised, when the clinician asked everyone to show their stirrup leathers, how few people actually changed the length of their stirrups depending on what they were doing.

trubandloki
Oct. 13, 2009, 11:55 AM
I tire of trivial discussions on this forum. Perhaps "trivial" is an offensive choice of words; possibly "mundane" would be less likely to trigger a negative response from fellow posters. Not to say there is not a time and place to ask advice on what to wear in an equitation class, or ask assistance in naming one's horse....I guess I am just one with an overly active mind that views riding as something truly academic and worthy of much thoughtful reflection. Maybe that's just me...



Probably not the best way to start a thread....

I think stirrup length is a some what personal thing. Some people are not comfortable with the short short stirrup length but like them a little longer and do not look like they are reaching.

I personally prefer shorter than longer.

LudgerFan
Oct. 13, 2009, 11:57 AM
Thanks for your thoughtful posts and insights. It does perhaps seem that a difference of only ONE HOLE in stirrup length would have minimal effects on rider position, but in ACTUALITY the effects are rather significant.

As an afterthought...it is not my intention to pit GM against Steinkraus. I just happened to find two differing opinions on the subject and thought it would be thought-provoking and stimulating to all...and often these forums are in need of just that.

The opening statements were intended to be a bit provocative! Call me a troll, I can take it. ;) I intentionally want to stir up a hornet's nest because I want to know that people really DO care, because that's not what I SEE out there. I feel that there is so much emphasis on riding as a SPORT (thanks to Nike's "just do it" philosophy) and what we WEAR that we have lost much of the appeal of riding as something more intellectual. What would happen to golf if the Nike philosophy was applied? The seemingly insignificant details are important! If everyone out there does "whatever works for them" we lose the standard and the ability to apply it. Clearly I do not subscribe to the modern relativistic philosophy that "everyone has their own opinion, and what's right for them is what's right for them." I do believe in black and white, good and bad, better and worse: the same physical laws apply to all bodies in motion!

trubandloki
Oct. 13, 2009, 12:00 PM
Thanks for your thoughtful post. It does perhaps seem that a difference of only ONE HOLE in stirrup length would have minimal effects on rider position, but in ACTUALITY the effects are rather significant.



Again, it depends greatly on the person. One hole might not affect a person with a long upper leg the same as it would a person with a short upper leg.

Things are not near so black and white as you are trying to make them. Even your quotes give ranges.

Trixie
Oct. 13, 2009, 12:06 PM
I tire of trivial discussions on this forum. Perhaps "trivial" is an offensive choice of words; possibly "mundane" would be less likely to trigger a negative response from fellow posters. Not to say there is not a time and place to ask advice on what to wear in an equitation class, or ask assistance in naming one's horse....I guess I am just one with an overly active mind that views riding as something truly academic and worthy of much thoughtful reflection. Maybe that's just me...

You can view something as academic and "worthy of much thoughtful reflection" while still enjoying discussion on the lighter, smaller aspects of it. I think it's a bit condescending to suggest that others do not take it as seriously as you apparently feel that you do. :rolleyes:

That being said, I'm agreeable that we've been seeing a fair amount of too-long stirrups in the show ring. Riders shouldn't be reaching for their stirrup over a fence, as it leaves them having to compensate otherwise.

However, individual comfort and comformation plays a role as well. If someone's more comfortable with a longer stirrup and it's not impeding their ride, particularly over lower fences, I don't see it as problematic whatsoever.

George also suggests that advanced riders can have a spread of from “two to four holes, depending on the height of the fences they’re jumping. Most people are lazy about this and, as a consequence, develop a ‘chair’ seat.”

SkipChange
Oct. 13, 2009, 12:07 PM
To me it is important to balance short stirrups that let you really get off the back over bigger fences (3'6"-4ft is bigger to me) with having stirrups long enough that still gives you an effective leg between the fences. As a short rider (5'2") usually on big horses (16.1-17.1) if my stirrups are too short I feel like the horse isn't quite as responsive to turning/engaging/etc if my leg ends too high up the horse's barrel. That said, I am constantly accused of riding too short by my trainer who stands by long stirrups rather than short ones.

LudgerFan
Oct. 13, 2009, 12:18 PM
Again, it depends greatly on the person. One hole might not affect a person with a long upper leg the same as it would a person with a short upper leg.

You are right about this. I am one of those with a long upper leg...but I find that what is key is not altering the length of stirrup to accomodate this, but rather the position of the lower leg over the fence. Case in point: contrast Christ Kappler and Ludger Beerbaum. Both built very similarly...lower leg positions on each end of the spectrum. Which would lead to another very interesting discussion!

myvanya
Oct. 13, 2009, 12:19 PM
If you looked at my stirrup leathers you wouldn't see very many wear marks on different holes. The reason why is that if am doing flat work, I will go do flatwork in my dressage saddle where my stirrups aer longer and I can ride correctly for that type of work; if I am jumping, even with a flat warm-up I ride with them jumping length so I can focus on balance and security on the flat at that length first then appreciate it over fences. I don't think I can get truly excellent dressage work in a jumping saddle.

I think that GM and Steinkraus make similar points and perhaps Steinkraus simply extends the concept to much higher jumps than GM due to audience of the various books, but I could be way off on that. I have a feeling if you put them in a room together and asked them a question about the correct stirrup length for various activities they wouldn't disagree too much. Very much depends on the riders' build as well- that can't be stressed enough. what works for me at 5'8" with super long legs probably won't work as well for someone who is 5'8" and more balanced leg to torso.

lauriep
Oct. 13, 2009, 12:58 PM
I don't think they differ at all. Billy just goes into more detail as the jumps get bigger, whereas George deneralizes for over 3'6". I can assure you, GM would completely defer to Billy's feelings on jumping a bigger fence. And, if asked, would probably tell you exactly the same thing that Billy does.

LudgerFan
Oct. 13, 2009, 01:06 PM
I don't think they differ at all. Billy just goes into more detail as the jumps get bigger, whereas George deneralizes for over 3'6". I can assure you, GM would completely defer to Billy's feelings on jumping a bigger fence. And, if asked, would probably tell you exactly the same thing that Billy does.

But their initial starting point (hunter flatwork length) was different, no? Steinkraus' dressage length is GM's flatwork and jumping to 3'6" length. Is that not significant?

DMK
Oct. 13, 2009, 01:08 PM
I intentionally want to stir up a hornet's nest because I want to know that people really DO care, because that's not what I SEE out there.

Yes, but wouldn't it be smarter and more productive to stir up a hornet's nest about the topic you introduced rather than to stir up a hornet's nest about your perceived attitude towards the average poster?

LudgerFan
Oct. 13, 2009, 01:12 PM
Yes, but wouldn't it be smarter and more productive to stir up a hornet's nest about the topic you introduced rather than to stir up a hornet's nest about your perceived attitude towards the average poster?

Perhaps. But oftentimes occasionally offending and polarizing people causes them to really THINK when they normally not even really HAVE an opinion, and then to go out and APPLY/EXPERIMENT, and thereby LEARN.

lauriep
Oct. 13, 2009, 01:13 PM
Actually, in your quote, George doesn't specifically address flatwork. But if you take his lower level (fences below 3'6") being at the bottom of the ankle bone, and Billy saying flatwork should be at bottom of ankle bone, even if GM went down one more hole for flatwork, it would still be at bottom of ankle bone, more or less.

I think the meaning of both is that 1) you shouldn't ride with a too-long stirrup and 2) as you jump, you need to go up 1-2 holes as you progress in height.

I really don't think you need to pick this pretty obvious concept apart as disagreement. GM thinks no one does it better than Billy, and would most certainly not disagree with his explanation of stirrup length.

Arall
Oct. 13, 2009, 01:14 PM
When one is riding a hunter round (GM) style is paramount. You can't look bad or it reflects poorly on your horse. Having that uber-quiet leg, soft hand and light seat is crucial. Any and all corrections must be subtle and seamless. At the end of it, looks matter - and the rider is a huge part of that look. Having a leg that is lovely helps to make the round look nicer.

When one is riding in the jumper ring, however (WS), looks don't mean a thing. Yes, one must ride effectively but the whole ride is different. You must attack the course more, and if that means not looking as nice, so be it. Your guidance and corrections don't have to be invisible - not even subtle. You do what you need to get the job done. Having your stirrups where they're comfortable for you is vital.

I agree! I recently switched from hunters to jumpers. While doing a course 2 weeks ago, my trainer said, "I don't like where your stirrups are." and proceeded to move them up 4 holes on both sides. 4 HOLES (well they are half holed so I guess that means 2, but still:eek:). I told her they were too short and she said they were not too short because my horse is a jumper, a very scopey, forward moving jumper and I need the security.

Now after riding for two weeks I agree with the change. They still feel a little short but I am sure that I am not going to lose my stirrups. Plus I like having them shorter when we are coming up to a fence because my horse will gallop/bolt through a whole course if you let her. The shorter stirrups give me a secure base so I can sit down in the saddle and try to keep her together. It may not look pretty, but I feel safe.

LudgerFan
Oct. 13, 2009, 01:30 PM
Actually, in your quote, George doesn't specifically address flatwork. But if you take his lower level (fences below 3'6") being at the bottom of the ankle bone, and Billy saying flatwork should be at bottom of ankle bone, even if GM went down one more hole for flatwork, it would still be at bottom of ankle bone, more or less.

To clarify: Steinkraus' DRESSAGE length is the same as GM's length for jumping up to 3'6"...

JumpWithPanache
Oct. 13, 2009, 01:33 PM
I do all my flatwork and a few small jumps (2'6 and under) in my dressage length, top of the stirrup tread at the bottom of my ankle bone. I do put them up a hole to jump school, and the stirrup tread is at the top of my ankle bone when jumping 3' and higher. Can't say I've done much bigger jumping of late, but I plan to have a saddle that fits before I start raising my stirrups more than this. I used to ride in too short stirrups (by about three holes) until riding with an Eventer and learning classical European dressage. I also appreciate the chances to jump without stirrups as I get a better feel for the horse's motion on approach, flight, and landing.

findeight
Oct. 13, 2009, 01:53 PM
Well, if you have ever watched GM teach and really listened, you'd realize he considers anything UNDER 3'6" as too low to bother with raising the irons for most riders.

He most certainly advocates a shorter length when riders get to decent sized fences, not so much 3' and under...more personal preference. And he DOES like the longer length for flatwork to allow full use of the leg aids.

He has also repeatedly said everybody should be comfortable in a 3 to 4 hole range to allow for flexibilty determined by fence height or flatwork and the barrel shape and size of whatever you are riding.

There is no argument here when you put it in context.

LudgerFan
Oct. 13, 2009, 02:21 PM
Well, if you have ever watched GM teach and really listened, you'd realize he considers anything UNDER 3'6" as too low to bother with raising the irons for most riders.

Clearly. No argument. I truly believe Steinkraus' "smaller fences" were considered to be anything below 3'6". The point is, Steinkraus' dressage length is the same as GM's length for up to 3'6". I find THAT problematic.

evans36
Oct. 13, 2009, 02:33 PM
I haven't read this entire thread, but I think it also depends on rider conformation. Something about the way my legs are put together makes it so that if I use my anklebone as a guide, I'm always riding too long. I think it's because my thighs are longer than normal when compared with my lower leg.

I think it's more important to look at the angle behind the knee than where the stirrup falls on the anklebone - it's that angle that really tells you how much "get up" you have.

I also find that the length of stirrup varies with shape of the horse. On my wide-barreled horse, I have to ride a bit longer.

Trixie
Oct. 13, 2009, 02:47 PM
The opening statements were intended to be a bit provocative! Call me a troll, I can take it.


I intentionally want to stir up a hornet's nest because I want to know that people really DO care, because that's not what I SEE out there.



But oftentimes occasionally offending and polarizing people causes them to really THINK when they normally not even really HAVE an opinion, and then to go out and APPLY/EXPERIMENT, and thereby LEARN


I feel that there is so much emphasis on riding as a SPORT (thanks to Nike's "just do it" philosophy) and what we WEAR that we have lost much of the appeal of riding as something more intellectual. What would happen to golf if the Nike philosophy was applied?

Or, maybe we just like discussing simple mundane things on a discussion board. I can discuss philosophy all day long, but it doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy a good fashion thread. Frankly, while sitting behind my desk, in my office, in a concrete jungle called Washington, D.C., it’s a nice breather to be able to talk about something as mundane as dressing myself appropriately for a horse show. That doesn’t mean any of us are incapable of taking an “intellectual” approach to riding – and while I’m sure I’m feeding the troll here (okay, now I used that word), it just means that’s what the discussion is at the time. If you patently dislike that, you can either change it, or don’t participate.

But, stating that your approach is more “academic” and intellectual” than everyone else, well, it’s sort of hilarious. I agree that your overactive mind appears to have given you a lofty ego. :yes:


The seemingly insignificant details are important! If everyone out there does "whatever works for them" we lose the standard and the ability to apply it. Clearly I do not subscribe to the modern relativistic philosophy that "everyone has their own opinion, and what's right for them is what's right for them." I do believe in black and white, good and bad, better and worse: the same physical laws apply to all bodies in motion!

I don’t feel that’s necessarily correct. Sometimes, if people take one idea and adapt it, new philosophies are born, and consequently, in this case, the sport may grow. I’d say that folks should learn the by-the-book CORRECT way first, and then yes, adapt as needed.

ambar
Oct. 13, 2009, 02:49 PM
Another side note: I think the teaching of "heels down" and "deep heel" a la GM and followers versus Steinkraus' "pull the toes up" "toes slightly higher than heel" also has a lot to do with what we are seeing these days. Food for thought!


I should first say I'm not an H/J rider and I don't belong in this forum. :) But this was so striking I had to comment -- a major issue I've been working on in my dressage lessons was jamming my heels down as far as they would go, a leftover from my eq days. "Don't lock your knee" my instructor would say, and I FINALLY figured out that means "you're jamming your heels down and have no way to absorb the motion at sitting trot". So now when she says "you're locking your knee", I *gasp* bring my heels up so my toes are as you describe, just slightly higher than the heel.

And now I can sit the trot. Dayum. Who knew? (Steinkraus, obviously! :D )

findeight
Oct. 13, 2009, 02:55 PM
Well, GM has said "If it works better for you and you are riding correctly, do it" when referring to stirrup length. He even accepts personal preference from rider as a reason IF they know what they are doing.

I suspect most of the so called "master teachers" do/did not consider it an etched in stone always correct way to adjust length that works all the time in all situations. Despite individual quotes and snippets.

superpony123
Oct. 13, 2009, 03:02 PM
I personally prefer to ride just a tad long. I generally jump with the treads just at the bottom of my ankle bone. I only go up one hole if I'm jumping above 3' (i'm on a pony, though! so 3'3'' and 3'6" feel kind of huge on him ;))

I can't really ride comfortably with my stirrups any higher than the lower-middle of my ankle bone. Partially because I have long legs for my height (okay, i'm short, but i DO have spider legs and a very short upper body) and if they go up any higher, my knee and ankle get SUPER cramped, and my knee would probably be going past the knee rolls. Basically it hurts pretty bad if I go up anymore.

Stirrup length is very personal, and there's really no right or wrong length i guess (in this comparison). Both too-short stirrups and too-long stirrups can cause problems that are equally bad. Both can make it very easy to jump way ahead when jumping, too. They just cause it in different manners.

BTW, the opening of you OP is completely unnecessary--perhaps even, dare I say, trivial? Toot toot, the ego train is pulling into your station! ( now see, the train part was a bit uncalled for, wasnt it?)

LudgerFan
Oct. 13, 2009, 03:25 PM
Good grief, guys. I'm admitting my original post was provocative, and why. It's called the Socratic method!!!!!

You have to admit that generally the threads on this forum are NOT academic in nature. I was craving a little academic discussion and I knew a simple post on stirrup length wasn't likely going to generate much interest nor discussion. So I put myself out there on the hook, and boy did you guys take it! Never did I call myself holier than thou, just bemoaned the fact that there were not fewer "fluffy" issues/ideas being talked about on this forum. You have to admit it's generally fluffy. It's a fact...look at the threads! NEVER did I say anything about my approach being more "academic or intellectual"...I simply stated that I would enjoy more substantive conversation. When did I ever discuss "my" approach, other than a general philosophy that seems to be at odds with the modern one?

touchstone-
Oct. 13, 2009, 03:30 PM
Good grief, guys. I'm admitting my original post was provocative, and why. It's called the Socratic method!!!!!

You have to admit that generally the threads on this forum are NOT academic in nature. I was craving some academic discussion/debate and I knew a simply post on stirrup length wasn't going to generate much interest nor discussion until people polarized a bit. So I put myself out there on the hook, and boy did you guys take it! Never did I call myself holier than thou, just bemoaned the fact that there were not less "fluffy" issues/ideas being talked about on this forum. You have to admit it DOES get a little trivial...

You sure you know what the "Socratic method" is?

FrenchFrytheEqHorse
Oct. 13, 2009, 03:41 PM
You have to admit that generally the threads on this forum are NOT academic in nature. I was craving some academic discussion/debate and I knew a simply post on stirrup length wasn't going to generate much interest nor discussion until people polarized a bit.

Well, since it appears that you aren't fulfilled here, and that you know more than most of us about the nature of a good discussion, perhaps it would be in your best interest to start your own board on which you can feel free to degrade people and pit them against one another. In the meantime, it might be in your best interest to tone it down a bit, lest you end up on a few too many "ignore" lists.

TheJenners
Oct. 13, 2009, 03:44 PM
I agree with the poster who said that, within reason, the stirrup length is individual and personalized by the rider's conformation. Me, I'm 5'3''-ish with a long femur. I prefer and feel more comfortable with a shorter stirrup, even for flat work. In fact, I'm using youth leathers right now and I'm in the eighth hole from bottom. Because of this, I use a more forward flap as well, to accommodate my leg. But any longer and I feel like I'm reaching, loose and can't get my heel as deep.

foxhuntingkiddo
Oct. 13, 2009, 03:51 PM
I am 6'2" and my jumping length is about 6 holes shorter than my dressage length. anything longer than that and I have a difficult time keeping my upper body correct and not jumping ahead. It forces my leg to be tight and secure. So I am with jenners on conformation had tremendous effect on stirrup length

LudgerFan
Oct. 13, 2009, 03:57 PM
I agree with the poster who said that, within reason, the stirrup length is individual and personalized by the rider's conformation. Me, I'm 5'3''-ish with a long femur. I prefer and feel more comfortable with a shorter stirrup, even for flat work. In fact, I'm using youth leathers right now and I'm in the eighth hole from bottom. Because of this, I use a more forward flap as well, to accommodate my leg. But any longer and I feel like I'm reaching, loose and can't get my heel as deep.

That's fine if that's your PREFERENCE. But our preferences are not always right. (Look at me, for example. I PREFER more substantive discussions, something dealing with actual IDEAS and, in the case of my OP, written contradictions, but apparently that's not right.) My first question to you would be: have you perhaps gotten contracted since riding in a short stirrup? Is that perhaps why you feel destabilized in a longer stirrup? My point is, what FEELS right is not always right. Perhaps your hip flexors have gotten tight and you need to work on stretching them out. (I'm not saying this is so, just saying it's something to consider.)

TheJenners
Oct. 13, 2009, 04:01 PM
Erm. Eh. Ok. Your OP was your opinion; mine post was the same.

I don't think my hip flexors are the only thing contracted in this thread.

trubandloki
Oct. 13, 2009, 04:03 PM
I don't think my hip flexors are the only thing contracted in this thread.

:yes:

LudgerFan
Oct. 13, 2009, 04:04 PM
I am 6'2" and my jumping length is about 6 holes shorter than my dressage length. anything longer than that and I have a difficult time keeping my upper body correct and not jumping ahead. It forces my leg to be tight and secure. So I am with jenners on conformation had tremendous effect on stirrup length

If you're jumping over 3'6" that would be right on according to Steinkraus. Unless your dressage length is longer than below the ankle bone. If you ride longer than that for dressage and are jumping less than 3'6", you'd still basically be on target.

FrenchFrytheEqHorse
Oct. 13, 2009, 04:12 PM
Don't you think your claims are a little bizarre? I don't think GM or BS would propose that there are universals applicable to all riders, regardless of shape or size. That's ludicrous- for the same reason many of us ride in custom saddles or wear custom made boots. We are all different. The claims made by both masters are meant to be guidelines, but absolutely not intended to rule out the legitimate claim of variance based on conformation or utility.

Aside from this, clearly, as one advances in skill, a personal technique is developed that becomes unique to that rider. This individual skill-set is characterized by the many techniques that rider has picked up over the years. It even extends to factor in (GASP!) variance between horses to make for a more individualized ride. Example: my trainer, when hacking my 17hh horse, will ride with his stirrups at a certain length. When hacking a large pony, his stirrups go up several holes. This has nothing to do with jumping, and everything to do with the conformation of the horse being worked. As a professional, he has honed his skills enough to be effective at both lengths, and can make other adjustments where necessary to get the best ride from each horse.

Though well-written, I believe your posts lose credibility when you start insisting that you subscribe to certain absolutes. In a sport so filled with diversity (horses, tack, riders, discipline, etc), absolutes cannot exist unless one is seeking to limit the success of people and horses that exist outside of a "norm".

LudgerFan
Oct. 13, 2009, 04:19 PM
What absolutes did I say I subscribe to, exactly? I don't believe I NAMED any, just that I believe in them. I know it's not a popular philosophy. These were not MY absolutes on stirrup length. Nor do either GM or Steinkraus deal with this idea in absolutes. In fact, Steinkraus actually gives suitable RANGES of stirrup length. GM's comments are very general. He says just below the ankle bone for jumping up to 3'6"...actually, that sort of sounds like an absolute.

I presented two apparently contradictory opinions on stirrup length and asked for discussion on such. In his book Steinkraus states that most riders ride too long....I simply agreed. If indeed there is a difference or a contradiction between GM and Steinkraus, what do we make of it? Maybe LaurieP is right and they really mean the same thing. But what if they didn't?

whbar158
Oct. 13, 2009, 04:29 PM
I personally like shorter stirrups, I am short 5'2", and still ride a lot of smaller horses and ponies. When I ride big horses I do have to lower them, but honestly I don't like big horses for that reason. My horse is very big barreled and even at 15.2 I sometimes ride him on the flat with a longer stirrup because of that, plus he HATES flat work so I really need use of my leg to work on the flat. If I forget and/or too lazy to change them to go jump (~2'6" usually) I can feel a difference. I tend to throw my upper body more and my leg slides back even though I am not truly pinching with my knees.

It is a personal preference, but as a whole right now I see many riders with stirrups I think that are too long and looks like it is hurting their riding.

Also times I have helped people and try to get them to shorten/lengthen their stirrups they always say too long/short and dont' want to. But often they will get use to it. And I have found sometime shortening stirrups for awhile then putting them back down (just a hole each way or so) can help with leg position.

FrenchFrytheEqHorse
Oct. 13, 2009, 04:48 PM
What absolutes did I say I subscribe to, exactly? I don't believe I NAMED any, just that I believe in them. I know it's not a popular philosophy. These were not MY absolutes on stirrup length. Nor do either GM or Steinkraus deal with this idea in absolutes. In fact, Steinkraus actually gives suitable RANGES of stirrup length. GM's comments are very general. He says just below the ankle bone for jumping up to 3'6"...actually, that sort of sounds like an absolute.

I presented two apparently contradictory opinions on stirrup length and asked for discussion on such. In his book Steinkraus states that most riders ride too long....I simply agreed. If indeed there is a difference or a contradiction between GM and Steinkraus, what do we make of it? Maybe LaurieP is right and they really mean the same thing. But what if they didn't?

You seem to have edited most of your posts, but luckily, one poster managed to quote you beforehand:

"The seemingly insignificant details are important! If everyone out there does "whatever works for them" we lose the standard and the ability to apply it. Clearly I do not subscribe to the modern relativistic philosophy that "everyone has their own opinion, and what's right for them is what's right for them." I do believe in black and white, good and bad, better and worse: the same physical laws apply to all bodies in motion!"

This is where you seem to subscribe to absolutes. Again, where your argument became weak, IMO.

LudgerFan
Oct. 13, 2009, 04:55 PM
When one is riding in the jumper ring, however (WS), looks don't mean a thing. Yes, one must ride effectively but the whole ride is different. You must attack the course more, and if that means not looking as nice, so be it. Your guidance and corrections don't have to be invisible - not even subtle. You do what you need to get the job done. Having your stirrups where they're comfortable for you is vital.

While I agree that no matter what you have to get the job done (as will everyone here, I think) even if it means sacrificing form for a moment (and that is key), that should NEVER be the attitude in general. (Okay, that was an absolute, I admit.) To Steinkraus, deNemethy, and GM, jumper riding should be the epitome of correct and effective equitation, never an excuse to let it all hang out because "it's the jumpers." Looks still mean A LOT, and correctness and subtlety of the aids USED to be desired, even in the jumpers.

LudgerFan
Oct. 13, 2009, 04:56 PM
You seem to have edited most of your posts, but luckily, one poster managed to quote you beforehand:

"The seemingly insignificant details are important! If everyone out there does "whatever works for them" we lose the standard and the ability to apply it. Clearly I do not subscribe to the modern relativistic philosophy that "everyone has their own opinion, and what's right for them is what's right for them." I do believe in black and white, good and bad, better and worse: the same physical laws apply to all bodies in motion!"

This is where you seem to subscribe to absolutes. Again, where your argument became weak, IMO.

AGAIN....I said I believed in them, however I did not name any...and the fact that you say there are no absolutes is, in fact, an absolute...

By the way, I generally edit ALL my posts. I despise typos. And I often feel the need to rephrase things so they read more clearly or to add things as they come to mind. Doesn't mean a thing. The quote of mine that you reference above was omitted by mistake, I only meant to delete the part about trivial and mundane threads, but I figured since it was quoted in subsequent posts, I didn't need to add it back. Nevermind, I found it in my second post.

Trixie
Oct. 13, 2009, 05:03 PM
Well, since it appears that you aren't fulfilled here, and that you know more than most of us about the nature of a good discussion, perhaps it would be in your best interest to start your own board on which you can feel free to degrade people and pit them against one another. In the meantime, it might be in your best interest to tone it down a bit, lest you end up on a few too many "ignore" lists.

Totally agree.

LudgerFan
Oct. 13, 2009, 05:43 PM
Read what I actually said, people!

I presented what GM says about a correct stirrup length, and what Steinkraus says about it. They appear to contradict.

I said that in my opinion most people ride in too long a stirrup. Steinkraus says the same thing in his book. I agreed with Steinkraus. NEVER did I say there was an ABSOLUTELY CORRECT stirrup length, or a length that was correct AT ALL TIMES. However, if there was not a "correct" stirrup length for various activities (flatwork, jumping, etc.) then neither GM nor Steinkraus would bother teaching such. I happen to agree with Steinkraus' stated ranges of stirrup lengths, and he addresses it at greater length and detail. I find that helpful, and thought others would as well.

What people are objecting to is my statement about believing in absolutes. I never directly applied it to stirrup length. I expected people would come back with statements about riding at lengths that are "comfortable" for them and put a relativistic spin on things. (Fine, that's their prerogative, their opinion, and they are entitled to express it. I have never attacked anyone for speaking their opinion.) If a relativistic approach to correct stirrup length was acceptable, why would GM and Steinkraus even address correct stirrup length at all and not simply leave it to personal preference? It's because there IS "correct" and "incorrect" and I'll be darned if that sounds almost like black and white and much less like gray area...

lauriep
Oct. 13, 2009, 05:54 PM
To clarify: Steinkraus' DRESSAGE length is the same as GM's length for jumping up to 3'6"...

"you can afford to ride pretty long for ordinary work on the flat or for elementary dressage, with the tread of the stirrup level with a point just below the ankle bone when your legs are fully extended"

From your quote. Plain flatwork addressed.

lauriep
Oct. 13, 2009, 06:01 PM
While agree that no matter what you have to get the job done (as will everyone here, I think) even if it means sacrificing form for a moment (and that is key), that should NEVER be the attitude in general. (Okay, that was an absolute, I admit.) To Steinkraus, deDemethy, and GM, jumper riding should be the epitome of correct and effective equitation, never an excuse to let it all hang out because "it's the jumpers." Looks still mean A LOT, and correctness and subtlety of the aids USED to be desired, even in the jumpers.

With this, I absolutely agree.

George also thinks that people ride with too long a stirrup today. Attend one of his clinics and listen...

LudgerFan
Oct. 13, 2009, 06:36 PM
"you can afford to ride pretty long for ordinary work on the flat or for elementary dressage, with the tread of the stirrup level with a point just below the ankle bone when your legs are fully extended"

From your quote. Plain flatwork addressed.

Hi LaurieP,

OK, I see your point here...I guess I interpret Steinkraus' comments after that regarding ordinary hunter riding to be typical hunter flatwork length...and apparently he sees a difference between ordinary work on the flat and typical hunter riding. Perhaps Steinkraus meant both "typical hunter riding and jumping small fences" as work over fences. I could see that interpretation. I would welcome your input here. But Steinkraus does not say that is a suitable length for jumping, and GM says it is suitable for up to 3'6". I guess my point is that if GM is complaining that riders are jumping in stirrups too long and he says that the below ankle bone length is ok for up to 3'6" and what GM says is what most people follow, then why not give more exact guidelines like Steinkraus? At the very least GM's stirrup length for jumping less than 3'6" is two holes longer than Steinkraus. Unless I'm missing something in his book...or perhaps he has clarified in later editions? I think I have his first edition, so I wouldn't know.

Janet
Oct. 13, 2009, 07:03 PM
I think you MAY be comparing apples and oranges.

GM says

" For a fence at or below three-six, the stirrup should hit the bottom of the ankle bone; over higher fences, the middle of the ankle bone."

I assume this means with the leg "hanging" naturally, rather than "stretched down".

Steinkraus says:

"...you can afford to ride pretty long for ordinary work on the flat or for elementary dressage, with the tread of the stirrup level with a point just below the ankle bone when your legs are fully extended. "

Note "legs fully extended".

When my legs are "fully extended" (hips opened as for dressage), my ankle bone is at least one, and probably two holes longer than when I just let them hang naturally, as before picking up my stirrups for jumping.

So I don't think there is as much disagreement as you think.

Mac123
Oct. 13, 2009, 11:09 PM
Wow. Some people need to take a chill pill. :yes: I, for one, think it's nice to have an intellectual alternative to the endless naming threads and fashionista questions.

People are misapplying Ludgerfan's statement about absolutes.

Stirrup length should never be primarily reduced to personal preference. NOTHING in horses should be primarily reduced to personal preference. There are reasons for everything and quite often, us humans are wrong. What we feel isn't always correct. A stirrup that feels right at a certain length may not BE right. Regardless of you like that length like you like the color pink.

THIS is where having an absolute comes in. There IS a correct range of stirrup lengths for biomechanical and physiological reasons. And your personal preference doesn't have a damned thing to do with it.

Beyond that, within that range, there will be preferences. I, for one, have some physical reasons that cause me to prefer to ride on the short side. NOT too short. On the short side of correct.

As to the GM v. Steinkraus, Janet, that is a very interesting observation that very well could explain this discrepancy.

However, I will say this: GM's lack of clarity on technical things, or generalizations, as I think it was lauriep so accurately described, is very frustrating to me. In this as well as many other matters, GM does not go into detail. He makes things attainable, easy, simple. And there is a time and place for that. But to rarely go beyond that tells people that there is nothing beyond that. GM laments the multitude of simplistic, largely ignorant riders in the US right now. But other than advanced clinics for the priveledged or expensive clinics with him, what has he done to further his own presentation of the American system? Where is book two that goes beyond his simplistic address of riding hunters and equitation? He is no doubt a wealth of knowledge that is far deeper than his book lets on and I wish we all had access to even just a bit of that the way we have access to Steinkraus and De Nemethy through their books.

He may defer to Billy on all matters jumper.......but then SAY that and promote that book as well for the riders who want to go deeper. Anyway, I respect GM, but that's just a personal frustration.

I agree with Ludgerfan (and it seems GM) 110% that riding in the jumper ring DOES NOT mean that "equitation" goes to hell in a handbasket because "no one cares what you look like."

Here's a wake up call, folks. The HORSE cares what you look like because he is affected by what you look like. You should care about that before any ribbon. You want to ride like shit, with legs swinging and arms waving "because it's the jumpers and it doesn't matter," then I pity and offer apologies to your horse for you obvious ignorance about how what you do affects him.

WHY does no one teach this????????? Where have the finer points of riding gone?

EQUITATION IS NOT AN END UNTO ITSELF. You don't ride differently in an eq class v. a hunter class v. a jumper class. You ride correctly. THAT is an absolute I firmly believe in. There may be a range of correct, but beyond that range is simply wrong, and I don't care if you're foxhunting or doing dressage or riding a jumper or eq class.

I firmly agree with CdK that we have bred the superhorse that tolerates the minimalist rider - and that this breeds mediocrity in every way.

J. Turner
Oct. 14, 2009, 01:39 AM
As some others have mentioned, rider conformation does have an effect in certain cases. I have crap leg/joint angles for riding with short stirrups. Extreme turnout in the calf, knock kneed and extremely closed/stiff in the hip. The more weight I have in the stirrup, the less I can compensate for my turned out toes and the stiffer my hips become. The solution seems to be to ride without stirrups, something George would be quite happy with. Unfortunately you can't show without stirrups, nor tie your feet to them. Riding with longer stirrups helps on the flat but not so much over fences for the jumping ahead reasoning. <sigh> Maybe I should just resign myself to dressage or western.

lauriep
Oct. 14, 2009, 07:49 AM
He goes into more detail in "The American Jumping Style."

There is a whole chapter on position, and a lengthy paragraph on stirrup length, too long to copy here. But the part directly about what you are doing and the length required is:

..."A more accurate method is, once in the saddle, to stretch the leg down and feel where the stirrup iron hangs in relation to your ankle bone. For dressage riders, the iron should reach below the ankle bone; for all-purpose flat work, slow galloping, and low jumping, to the bottom of the ankle bone; for jumping bigger fences, to the top of the ankle bone; and for fast galloping and very big fences, just above the ankle bone. Stirrup length is critical to the rider's function...."

And then he goes on to talk about stirrup PLACEMENT on the foot.

Don't even go there about GM being too general. NO ONE places more attention on the details then he does. Mac123, I said that particular quote was generalized, not George's teachings in general. Don't use my statement to further your argument, because that isn't what I was talking about.

BTW, he also calls Steinkraus "a great friend and MENTOR."

Trixie
Oct. 14, 2009, 09:33 AM
I agree with Ludgerfan (and it seems GM) 110% that riding in the jumper ring DOES NOT mean that "equitation" goes to hell in a handbasket because "no one cares what you look like."

Well, no one DOES care what you look like.

However, if you want to be GOOD at it, you still need to be riding correctly, because the whole idea behind correct equitation is that it’s EFFECTIVE. And in order to truly be effective, for most of us mortals, the simplest and best way to do that is to be correct.

No one here advocated swinging legs or flapping arms.


By the way, I generally edit ALL my posts. I despise typos. And I often feel the need to rephrase things so they read more clearly or to add things as they come to mind. Doesn't mean a thing. The quote of mine that you reference above was omitted by mistake, I only meant to delete the part about trivial and mundane threads, but I figured since it was quoted in subsequent posts, I didn't need to add it back.

So what you’re saying is that you cannot make a concise, “intellectual” argument without typos and taking back statements to rephrase and eliminate?

LudgerFan
Oct. 14, 2009, 10:07 AM
He goes into more detail in "The American Jumping Style."

There is a whole chapter on position, and a lengthy paragraph on stirrup length, too long to copy here. But the part directly about what you are doing and the length required is:

..."A more accurate method is, once in the saddle, to stretch the leg down and feel where the stirrup iron hangs in relation to your ankle bone. For dressage riders, the iron should reach below the ankle bone; for all-purpose flat work, slow galloping, and low jumping, to the bottom of the ankle bone; for jumping bigger fences, to the top of the ankle bone; and for fast galloping and very big fences, just above the ankle bone. Stirrup length is critical to the rider's function...."

And then he goes on to talk about stirrup PLACEMENT on the foot.

Don't even go there about GM being too general. NO ONE places more attention on the details then he does. Mac123, I said that particular quote was generalized, not George's teachings in general. Don't use my statement to further your argument, because that isn't what I was talking about.

BTW, he also calls Steinkraus "a great friend and MENTOR."

Thank you, LaurieP. That's exactly what I wanted to know. I have read almost everything out there except that one book...and will now add that one to my library, too. I'm glad he goes into more detail, although I would still insist that at the bottom of the ankle bone is too long for jumping even the tiniest of fences. Apparently if this is the length that people are using for up to 3'6" as he teaches and he is not liking the length of stirrup that people seem to be using these days, perhaps the fault lies with him as he is the ultimate authority these days. For any jumping activity whatsover, Steinkraus would recommend a minimum length from mid-ankle to top-of ankle bone. I do think that is what many of the bad habits todays riders are developing are stemming from.

Nothing against George. I wrote him a letter long, long ago asking to come train with him and received a lovely handwritten response via AIRMAIL from the Netherlands stating that I was a bit too young and to wait a while before coming east.

I was eleven. :D He was incredibly encouraging and oh so gracious...I will treasure that letter forever. I will always have a soft spot for George. I think most anyone else in his shoes would have completely ignored an eleven year old kid. I definitely got a chance to see the soft side of the man.

LudgerFan
Oct. 14, 2009, 10:08 AM
So what you’re saying is that you cannot make a concise, “intellectual” argument without typos and taking back statements to rephrase and eliminate?

What I deleted was not part of the argument. It was the preface.

Whatever, Trixie. I'm done debating with you. I have cancer to fight today.

LudgerFan
Oct. 14, 2009, 10:20 AM
I firmly agree with CdK that we have bred the superhorse that tolerates the minimalist rider - and that this breeds mediocrity in every way.

I think he said "the minimal rider" actually, and he goes on to state that such a rider reduces the superhorse to their level of equitation. That's from The Ethics and Passions of Dressage. I was finding inspiration from it yesterday, in fact. Funny you should mention it on the same day. It is a book not terribly well-known and yet should definitely be required reading for all riders regardless of discipline.

In terms of education and equitation, I think being a "minimalist" rider might perhaps actually have a POSITIVE connotation. No need for gadgets, etc. Simple, effective, correct. CLASSIC.

TatteredDaydreamer
Oct. 14, 2009, 10:48 AM
You're the one who started a debate in an attempt to offend and polarize people. You didn't only delete the preface to your first post, you edited MULTIPLE other posts.

Secondly, cancer? What does that have to do with anything here? You were baiting people.

klmck63
Oct. 14, 2009, 11:10 AM
What I deleted was not part of the argument. It was the preface.

Whatever, Trixie. I'm done debating with you. I have cancer to fight today.

My goodness. You are the one who wanted to start an intelligent discussion, but every time someone disagreed with you you told them how they were wrong. That's not the Socratic method, if that's what you were going for.

Your first post seemed very logical and well thought out and it just slid downhill from there.

Now you've made it personal?

I think most people are all for some intelligent discussion, about stirrup length or otherwise, but it should be a DISCUSSION, not an argument. It shouldn't be personal, it should be academic. And, at the same time, what's wrong with a good fashion thread?

Mac123
Oct. 14, 2009, 11:15 AM
Don't even go there about GM being too general. NO ONE places more attention on the details then he does. Mac123, I said that particular quote was generalized, not George's teachings in general. Don't use my statement to further your argument, because that isn't what I was talking about.

BTW, he also calls Steinkraus "a great friend and MENTOR."

You know...I typed out several responses and deleted them all. It wouldn't do any good. You obviously support 100% everything GM and think anyone who dares to offer criticism should be chucked off a bridge.

Like I said, I highly respect GM and I do not question what he knows. What I personally wish - and long for - is for someone to approach this sport with the intellectualism of Steinkraus and de Nemethy. While GM has made portions of his system very attainable for the common person, there is far more to this sport and to what he knows than what is contained in his books. I yearn for more - and I believe that if more was presented from the very beginning, more people would understand that there is more to horse riding than being packed around on a saintly horse. That horses can be developed into something more than they are at one moment in time. That the seat is a valuable aid. Etc. Etc. Etc. I know he knows this and much more and yet I don't hear him talking about it. And it's unfortunate that the entire sport rests on his shoulders - that there is no co-leader helping him out. I certainly wouldn't want that burden. Maybe it's not fair to expect this from him. But who else is there?

And your comment about GM and Steinkraus being buddies is a complete red herring. Who here has said anything remotely to the contrary????


Well, no one DOES care what you look like.

THANK YOU, for pointing out the simplest and saddest reason for the decline in our sport. You're right. No one does care. And you're okay with that? Other people are okay with that?

Oh, how the true masters of this sport (back when riding was viewed as an art form) would turn over in their graves to hear that. It is ALL about what one looks like because what one looks like is the soundest indicator of the rider's effectiveness and quality, second only to what the rider's horses look like (which, amazingly enough, is actually influenced by what the rider looks like).

GM himself discusses in an article published in the COTH about how he and his contemporaries would pour over photos of themselves and critique them to pieces for hours and hours - photos of the JUMPERS, no less - because they understood these very principles.

Btw, I love how your ad hominem attacks on Ludgerfan have displaced comments of substance or worth towards her other points on this thread.

findeight
Oct. 14, 2009, 11:23 AM
..."A more accurate method is, once in the saddle, to stretch the leg down and feel where the stirrup iron hangs in relation to your ankle bone. For dressage riders, the iron should reach below the ankle bone; for all-purpose flat work, slow galloping, and low jumping, to the bottom of the ankle bone; for jumping bigger fences, to the top of the ankle bone; and for fast galloping and very big fences, just above the ankle bone. Stirrup length is critical to the rider's function...."


I guess I am the guilty party in stating personal preference influences stirrup length. I should have added personal preference should fall within the 4 hole range, which I also mentioned but did not go into any detail. This ought to clarify that point because I certainly never suggested they could hang wherever you want. Not if you want to be secure and get top effort out of your horse.

And people DO care what you look like in the Jumpers if you scare them. One needs to remember the horse world is small and riding like an idiot does nothing for gaining respect. Waaaay too much of that going on in the lower Jumpers.

LudgerFan
Oct. 14, 2009, 11:30 AM
Wow. Let's all get in a tizzy that I admit to editing my posts. Go look at all my other posts. Generally ALL edited. NONE edited for any other reason that to correct spelling and make things read better from a grammatical standpoint. I admitted to deleting the apparently offensive opening statement about the trivial or mundane or heaven forbid NON-ACADEMIC nature of the majority of posts on this forum. I did NOT delete anything else. Did I not say that there was a time and place for asking advice on what to wear in one's eq class or ask for ideas on naming a horse? OF COURSE there is a time and place for that. It is simply for the most part the majority of threads on this forum. That's a statement of fact. Did I think that people would get as riled up as they did and want to burn me at the stake for calling the usual posts mundane or non-academic? No. A certain amount of riling up is good for stimulating conversation and debate, but apparently what was intended as a tongue-in-cheek critique of the nature of the majority of posts on this forum people took personally (notice I never mentioned specific posters or specific threads, however.) I intended it as a critique and a call to deeper thinking, not a personal attack. If it were PERSONAL, I would have named names, addressed certain individuals, which I do not do. Go look at all my other posts.

As far as the cancer, I am simply deciding to put my energies into debating something LESS TRIVIAL than my editing choices. I want to fight cancer, not Trixie. Enough said on that. Perhaps my view of the mundane nature of the majority of posts on this forum stems from the fact that dealing with cancer causes one to look at things a little differently.

Trixie
Oct. 14, 2009, 11:34 AM
Oh, how the true masters of this sport (back when riding was viewed as an art form) would turn over in their graves to hear that. It is ALL about what one looks like because what one looks like is the soundest indicator of the rider's effectiveness and quality, second only to what the rider's horses look like (which, amazingly enough, is actually influenced by what the rider looks like).

Did you miss the second part of what I wrote?

Where I said, specifically:



However, if you want to be GOOD at it, you still need to be riding correctly, because the whole idea behind correct equitation is that it’s EFFECTIVE. And in order to truly be effective, for most of us mortals, the simplest and best way to do that is to be correct.

I care how I ride. I work rather hard to make it as correct as is absolutely possible – given that I’m not one of the sport’s great riders who has been granted artistic license to interpretation of standards. I find that striving to be as correct as possible sets me up for a foundation to fall back on if something goes wrong.

That doesn’t mean that in a jumper class, I won’t be beaten periodically by someone whose leg is out behind them flying through the air, riding straight out of the kick-and-yank school of equitation.

Admittedly, what I should have said is not that NO ONE CARES, it’s that in a jumper class, equitation is not BEING JUDGED. That does not, by any stretch of the imagination, make equitation irrelevant to one’s performance.

KristieBee
Oct. 14, 2009, 11:42 AM
"I tire of trivial discussions on this forum. Perhaps "trivial" is an offensive choice of words; possibly "mundane" would be less likely to trigger a negative response from fellow posters. Not to say there is not a time and place to ask advice on what to wear in an equitation class, or ask assistance in naming one's horse....I guess I am just one with an overly active mind that views riding as something truly academic and worthy of much thoughtful reflection. Maybe that's just me..."



I find the topic to be refreshing, your concern with other threads to be trivial, and your condescending tone to be tiresome :lol:

....and my own, perhaps, overly active mind then wonders if your life is so mundane that you must entertain yourself by judging what is interesting to others. :winkgrin:

LudgerFan
Oct. 14, 2009, 11:43 AM
My goodness. You are the one who wanted to start an intelligent discussion, but every time someone disagreed with you you told them how they were wrong. That's not the Socratic method, if that's what you were going for.

When and where did I ever tell anyone they were wrong?

RugBug
Oct. 14, 2009, 11:44 AM
Apparently if this is the length that people are using for up to 3'6" as he teaches and he is not liking the length of stirrup that people seem to be using these days, perhaps the fault lies with him as he is the ultimate authority these days.

Just because George said it, doesn't mean people are doing it. So to blame him for the too long stirrups you see in the ring today is faulty logic.

I find that people are riding with too long stirrups in a silly attempt to make their legs look longer, for the "ideal eq" picture, NOT because they are following GM's suggestions on stirrup length. The stirrups end up too long, there is no even weight distribution and even those stick figure girls with legs to their chins end up looking bad. "Long" legs comes from a proper length stirrups and proper weight distribution.

The last time my 5' friend showed, I told her to put her damn stirrups up because I was tired of watching her reach, jump ahead and then fall behind. She put them up a hole, which she hated doing because it made her already short legs look shorter, in her opinion, and immediately looked better in my, the trainer's and the judge's opinion.

Personally, I'm not great with changing my stirrup length. I can manage a hole between flat and jumping (2'9" and under)...and when I play at dressage I can go a hole or two down from flat length, but it does take me a bit to open my hips up and ride with my stirrups rather than ride as if I had no stirrups.

findeight
Oct. 14, 2009, 11:48 AM
Hey, Ludger, don't take anything personally. I edit most of mine too, spelling usually or sometimes adding a thought or streamlining the wording.

At least this is an actual riding discussion and not a "she has a better horse and a groom and that means she is an ignorant percher that's no fair" or whining about having a judge screw you in the Champion of Champions 18" crossrails class for bay geldings born on Tuesday that cannot canter.:rolleyes:

Too much of that on here lately.

KristieBee
Oct. 14, 2009, 11:55 AM
Hey, Ludger, don't take anything personally. I edit most of mine too, spelling usually or sometimes adding a thought or streamlining the wording.

At least this is an actual riding discussion and not a "she has a better horse and a groom and that means she is an ignorant percher that's no fair" or whining about having a judge screw you in the Champion of Champions 18" crossrails class for bay geldings born on Tuesday that cannot canter.:rolleyes:

Too much of that on here lately.

I agree but my interest in this thread was temporarily overridden by the annoyance provoked in me by the OP's incredibly smug, superior tone. Even if she has a point I am definitely not a fan of the way she made it!

It did give me a laugh though. So I guess there's that. ;)



Side note, I'm an unashamed self-editor too, typically for grammar and clarity.

LudgerFan
Oct. 14, 2009, 11:59 AM
Just because George said it, doesn't mean people are doing it. So to blame him for the too long stirrups you see in the ring today is faulty logic.

You're quite right. Point taken. :)

RugBug
Oct. 14, 2009, 12:08 PM
Did I think that people would get as riled up as they did and want to burn me at the stake for calling the usual posts mundane or non-academic? No. A certain amount of riling up is good for stimulating conversation and debate, but apparently what was intended as a tongue-in-cheek critique of the nature of the majority of posts on this forum people took personally (notice I never mentioned specific posters or specific threads, however.)

You didn't think that telling people they were trivial, mundance, non-academic would get them riled up? Your first post was so rude and condescending I avoided the thread for quite some time. It's an interesting discussion...but you were quite insulting and more than a bit pompous.

And while I am very sorry to hear that you are fighting cancer and wish you all the success/luck in the world in that fight , to bring it up at this point is an appeal to pity that just doesn't fly.

LudgerFan
Oct. 14, 2009, 12:10 PM
I agree but my interest in this thread was temporarily overridden by the annoyance provoked in me by the OP's incredibly smug, superior tone. Even if she has a point I am definitely not a fan of the way she made it!

It did give me a laugh though. So I guess there's that. ;)



Side note, I'm an unashamed self-editor too, typically for grammar and clarity.

Sigh. Apparently I should have spend MORE time editing. Wishing now I could have submitted a voice message so the tongue-in-cheek nature of my preface was conveyed more clearly. Written words fail when spoken words do not, I guess. I was flipping through an old Sidelines mag the other day and enjoyed reading all the blurbs about various people written by old whats-her-face in that very supercilious tone, which was sort of my inspiration because normally I don't read that kind of stuff and she got me interested. It works for her. Apparently not so much for me. Geez, people, how many of us would pick up a copy of The Inquirer and thumb through it if there wasn't something shocking or offensive or NOT ORDINARY on the cover????

RugBug
Oct. 14, 2009, 12:18 PM
Geez, people, how many of us would pick up a copy of The Inquirer and thumb through it if there wasn't something shocking or offensive or what have you on the cover????

I don't EVER pick up the Inquirer. I don't read Perez Hilton, I don't read TMZ. I don't read Cosmo. I might read the headlines in the checkout line, but all they usually elicit from is some rolled eyes. I don't need to be riled up to discuss something. I just have to be interested in the topic.

LudgerFan
Oct. 14, 2009, 12:37 PM
And while I am very sorry to hear that you are fighting cancer and wish you all the success/luck in the world in that fight , to bring it up at this point is an appeal to pity that just doesn't fly.

It wasn't an appeal to pity. Anyone that knows me knows that pity is the last thing I want. I've sat here at my keyboard trying to figure out why in the world I threw that in there. Near as I can surmise, it was akin to an alcoholic standing up at AA and admitting that he has a drinking problem. Admitting it makes it real, and something he or she has to stop ignoring and deal with. It is something I have largely denied until now. If that's pathetic, so be it. Writing is cathartic. Apparently I have things to purge.

I promise I won't mention cancer again.

Truthfully, this whole thread is trivial. My original post. Everything. The fact that I want to discuss STIRRUP LENGTH when people are starving all over the world is ridiculous. The amount people spend on horses is ridiculous. It's all utterly ridiculous. I still stand by my original statement that the vast majority of threads on this forum are trivial. I will now amend that statement to add: ALL the threads on this forum are trivial. Let's put things into their proper perspective, people. People are starving, people are dying from various diseases, children are being sold into sexual slavery...so YES! Absolutely. The threads on this forum are trivial. I think by now you will all agree. Perhaps I should have made this point at the beginning and no one at all would have been offended...but then who would have felt like discussing ANYTHING?

In a way, I'm sorry I care so much about riding, and seek to do it to the highest standard. It's all-consuming. It costs me sleep at night and hour upon hour of tortured thinking and analyzing. I can't just ride for fun...because I know that every time I sit on a horse I leave it better or worse. There is no neutrality. It's an enormous responsibility. I seek to learn and assimilate everything there possibly is to know, see if there's anything I can contribute, and pass it on to those who want to learn it. And yet, it's all somehow...ridiculous. I can't take it with me when I go, be that sooner or later. I can pass it on...but too few do or really WANT to care. And I can't really say I blame them. So what's the point in all of it? (This is a rhetorial question, BTW.) And yet, I can't NOT care.

klmck63
Oct. 14, 2009, 12:38 PM
:yes:


I don't EVER pick up the Inquirer. I don't read Perez Hilton, I don't read TMZ. I don't read Cosmo. I might read the headlines in the checkout line, but all they usually elicit from is some rolled eyes. I don't need to be riled up to discuss something. I just have to be interested in the topic.

RugBug
Oct. 14, 2009, 01:30 PM
It wasn't an appeal to pity. Anyone that knows me knows that pity is the last thing I want. I've sat here at my keyboard trying to figure out why in the world I threw that in there. Near as I can surmise, it was akin to an alcoholic standing up at AA and admitting that he has a drinking problem. Admitting it makes it real, and something he or she has to stop ignoring and deal with. It is something I have largely denied until now. If that's pathetic, so be it. Writing is cathartic. Apparently I have things to purge.

I promise I won't mention cancer again.


Please be sure that you know when I said "appeal to pity" I meant it only in the logical fallacy sense...not that I pity you. I wish you all the best in your fight. KICK CANCER'S ASS!

And you mentioning it is fine...there is great support to be had on this board. Just maybe not in the context/timing you did, when people were calling you to the floor for being a bit harsh.



In a way, I'm sorry I care so much about riding, and seek to do it to the highest standard. It's all-consuming. It costs me sleep at night and hour upon hour of tortured thinking and analyzing. I can't just ride for fun...because I know that every time I sit on a horse I leave it better or worse. There is no neutrality. It's an enormous responsibility. And yet, it's all somehow...ridiculous. I can't take it with me when I go, be that sooner or later. I can pass it on...but too few do or really WANT to care. And I can't really say I blame them. So what's the point in all of it?

I too care about riding more than I should. I think about it all the time. How can I be better? What does my horse need to be better? Why can't I figure out how to get even weight in my left stirrup? Am I screwing up my horses? Does it matter? What types of shoes and food and stabling do they need? Should I even spend this much time/money/effort on such a selfish pursuit?

And yet I still like to discuss trivial stuff, too. What they heck do I do if Mr. Horse's mane lays on the left and I want it on the right? What are their favorite treats? Why don't I know that yet for the new one?

There's room for both

tidy rabbit
Oct. 14, 2009, 02:20 PM
I too care about riding more than I should. I think about it all the time. How can I be better? What does my horse need to be better? Why can't I figure out how to get even weight in my left stirrup? Am I screwing up my horses? Does it matter? What types of shoes and food and stabling do they need? Should I even spend this much time/money/effort on such a selfish pursuit?

And yet I still like to discuss trivial stuff, too. What they heck do I do if Mr. Horse's mane lays on the left and I want it on the right? What are their favorite treats? Why don't I know that yet for the new one?



Get out of my head RugBug! Quit it! Where's my tinfoil hat?

tidy rabbit
Oct. 14, 2009, 02:29 PM
LudgerFan,

Best of luck with your health. Here's to hoping for a complete and speedy recovery.


As to the stirrup issue, I find that there are so many variables. Some horses I like my leg shorter on, some longer. The saddle fit can have a lot to do with it too. I'm 6 ft tall so for me saddle fit is often an issue. What may fit the horse great might not fit me so great. So sometimes I end up riding with a stirrup that is a little longer than I may prefer. But, I always try to find what feels most secure to me which may or may not present a classical picture to someone else.

LudgerFan
Oct. 14, 2009, 02:47 PM
In frustration I logged off for a moment and found myself face to face with the photo I am currently using as my wallpaper. It is a photo of a long-time student, now my dearest friend. My heart smiles when I look at it. It doesn't make everything right in the world, but it confirms what my place in the world is: to produce riders and horsepeople like this. This is my inspiration, my passion...and apparently what drives me insane. ;)

http://tocatchamonkey.blogspot.com/

RugBug
Oct. 14, 2009, 02:54 PM
In frustration I logged off for a moment and found myself face to face with the photo I am currently using as my wallpaper. It is a photo of a long-time student, now my dearest friend. My heart smiles when I look at it. It doesn't make everything right in the world, but it confirms what my place in the world is: to produce riders and horsepeople like this. This is my inspiration.

http://tocatchamonkey.blogspot.com/


LF: is that a picture of Mac123? I remember that she was a student of yours.

lauriep
Oct. 14, 2009, 03:12 PM
LF, I would bet that if you were able to measure the too-long stirrups of today's riders, you would find that they are below, not even with, the bottom of the ankle bone. A la dressage length in most cases.

Mac123, you have clearly never listened to a GM clinic or lesson. If you had, you would see that he speaks to all of your concerns. Why do I support him so vigorously? Because in the 35 years I've known him, his message has never changed, he continues to do what he can to help those interested in being helped (REALLY, he doesn't NEED to teach clinics in his off season, or between international competitions. He does it because it needs to be done/said, and he loves it), and he continues to be the finest instructor I've known.

It is indeed unfortunate that we are so dependent on this one man for carrying the banner of correct, effective, classical riding (helped by Katie, Joe, Frank and a few others). It is also indeed unfortunate, no, tragic, that so many of today's trainers don't give his method and teachings the time of day, and go on their merry way dumbing down the riding and the sport.

I will continue to support him because I believe in him and his method. When someone comes along with a better mousetrap, then I'll listen to that person. But I don't see that happening.

Mac123
Oct. 14, 2009, 04:47 PM
LF, I would bet that if you were able to measure the too-long stirrups of today's riders, you would find that they are below, not even with, the bottom of the ankle bone. A la dressage length in most cases.

Mac123, you have clearly never listened to a GM clinic or lesson. If you had, you would see that he speaks to all of your concerns. Why do I support him so vigorously? Because in the 35 years I've known him, his message has never changed, he continues to do what he can to help those interested in being helped (REALLY, he doesn't NEED to teach clinics in his off season, or between international competitions. He does it because it needs to be done/said, and he loves it), and he continues to be the finest instructor I've known.

It is indeed unfortunate that we are so dependent on this one man for carrying the banner of correct, effective, classical riding (helped by Katie, Joe, Frank and a few others). It is also indeed unfortunate, no, tragic, that so many of today's trainers don't give his method and teachings the time of day, and go on their merry way dumbing down the riding and the sport.

I will continue to support him because I believe in him and his method. When someone comes along with a better mousetrap, then I'll listen to that person. But I don't see that happening.

Laurie, you may have a point. While I have read all his books, including the assimilation of his COTH articles, as well as ridden in a clinic with him in my younger days, I have not been able to afford clinics with him since. So perhaps what I hear and have read and is not the whole story. I just wish that he would publish some of the more technical things that he must teach so that those who cannot afford to ride with him can have access to that as well.

I think I am not communicating my frustration clear enough. My frustration is a compliment for his knowledge and a desire for more.

While the clinic I rode in supports some of my theories and other opinions, it was admittedly a good 10 years ago and I dont completely rely on my recollections as a child to make a final judgement. Unfortunately he does not clinic in my area anymore and living 15 hours from WEF I cannot usually afford to get down for the free horsemastership clinic he offers.

Here's a question for you: If you ask the common trainer whose methods they ascribe to they will often say GM. Or if you ask their opinion of him they will breathe compliments and accolades and agree with all his teachings and methodologies. And yet, as you say, the good aspects of his system are pervaded in the trainer's own students - or they aren't there at all. Why do you think the trainers speak out of both sides of their mouths?

RugBug
Oct. 14, 2009, 05:18 PM
Mac,

I think it's VERY hard to learn everything a person has to teach, without actually training with them. Theories are often simplistic sounding until they are put into practice. GM could write an even more extensive book, to accompany HSE, but it would be more practical applications of the HSE theories. That's a difficult book to write, IME.

Even taking a clinic with GM isn't going to come close to touching his knowledge base. There's just too much there and it's only going to come out as different situations come up.

As for trainers saying they prescribe to his theories but then don't really teach them? Happens in all walks of life. Most people say one thing but do another. Some people think they are teaching GM's theories when they aren't even close. Some only understand on a basic level and therefore can only ever teach to that level. Sometimes it's like playing telephone: the message is so garbled on the out-end that it hardly resembles the original theory.

lauriep
Oct. 14, 2009, 05:28 PM
I think RugBug has it right. Most of the trainers who purport to "teach" GM don't understand, nor have they ridden, his techniques and methods. Oh, they can give lip service, but obviously, they can't walk the walk. And it isn't magic. It is just good, classic forward seat riding. I would doubt they read Gordon Wright, Bert, Billy, or any of the classical texts. They don't "need it."

Mac, even in GM's clinics, the regular ones, I think you would still be frustrated. There is such a wide range of ability, even within the jump heights, that he rarely gets to the real nuances. If you could get to the Wellington gig, you would hear more of what you want to hear, because the kids ride so well to begin with, that when he adds a new tool to the kit, they usually can do it immediately, and you see an INSTANT result. Or, if you could listen to him in the schooling area helping a jumper rider...

That said, at the regular clinics, even his basic advice makes a HUGE change in the students that try to incorporate it. The more advanced stuff isn't even necessary until such an advanced level of riding. Just the basics will take you so very far!

findeight
Oct. 14, 2009, 05:47 PM
. Why do you think the trainers speak out of both sides of their mouths?

Ahhhh...because they think that is what you want to hear and they have no idea what the hell they are talking about let alone teach.

My favorite is all the "I worked for GM"s you meet that were fired after a week-as a mucker. Or the "I rode with GM"s that took a clinic. Once. 15 years ago.

Yet another argument for certification or some kind of standards among those who call themselves "trainers".