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evans36
Dec. 8, 2009, 01:50 PM
OK so I've been riding a friend's horse since I sold mine. He's a REALLY good kid... packs her around BN and knows more than that. I'm trying to use this time to work on me, since years on a greenie without a trainer on the ground have shot my equitation. I've been working without stirrups, and have a secure leg for 2x around the ring (I stop when I'm not secure anymore!), I'm working up to more.

The problem is that the horse, being a good boy, feels me squeezing more than I normally do with my leg, so he picks up speed. It's nothing dangerous, but it's got me wondering if I'm doing something wrong since he's such a good boy. I really don't think it's anything to do with the rhythm of my posting, or other variables. He just has a nice, responsive "go" button.

Is there a way to post without stirrups and not put your leg on the horse? I'm using mostly my thighs, but I can't seem to take my calves totally off the horse and still have a tight leg. Would love any insights you want to send my way! Thanks!

Galadriël Fëfalas
Dec. 8, 2009, 05:34 PM
been a long time since I did rising trot without stirrups but I think I used to grip with my knees...

goeslikestink
Dec. 8, 2009, 05:46 PM
OK so I've been riding a friend's horse since I sold mine. He's a REALLY good kid... packs her around BN and knows more than that. I'm trying to use this time to work on me, since years on a greenie without a trainer on the ground have shot my equitation. I've been working without stirrups, and have a secure leg for 2x around the ring (I stop when I'm not secure anymore!), I'm working up to more.

The problem is that the horse, being a good boy, feels me squeezing more than I normally do with my leg, so he picks up speed. It's nothing dangerous, but it's got me wondering if I'm doing something wrong since he's such a good boy. I really don't think it's anything to do with the rhythm of my posting, or other variables. He just has a nice, responsive "go" button.

Is there a way to post without stirrups and not put your leg on the horse? I'm using mostly my thighs, but I can't seem to take my calves totally off the horse and still have a tight leg. Would love any insights you want to send my way! Thanks!


you dont grip - gripping is asking the horse to go forwards
push up from your arse into your stomach and make a little movement upwards
not a huge great big gap
ok time the beat 1 2 1 2 ok, left right left right left right
so up on the left down on the right or up on one down on 2
pretend you have a tube of toothpaste under your bum, so its sit then squirk
if sitting trot you hlding tube of tootepaste between yer bum cheeks
if rising - its little movement upwards then sit squirk - not sit blast and knoock out the perosn behind you lol
little movements --
try going long side of the arena in straight line- rising then collect to half halt stride then sit in the short sides, so do this free walk short side then active walk long side ie medium walk then short side sitting trot then long side rising trot then back to free walk -- each time extend the time and length of the rising trot - sn shorthen the time spent doing free walk medium walk and sitting trot - so if you feel you losing it you go back to walk compose yourself but still have the horse going forwards but in control
use the half halt stride is every tansitions as this allows you to inform the horse something going to change ie from a faster pace to a slower pace

look here at my helpful links pages on thre i explain how to do the half halt stride which you should be ble to perfrom with or without stirrups

http://chronofhorse.com/forum/showthread.php?t=178116

once you get the hang of it you can then move onto canter counter canter and jump with or without sitrrups

and dont think you cant becuase you can as when you jumping sometimes ones loses there stirrups so one doesnt want to be looking down or atopping trying to get ther foot back in , one would carry on and find it without looking as they go -

The Centaurian
Dec. 8, 2009, 05:51 PM
The first possibility is that the irons are bothering him. Are you crossing your stirrups over the pommel, or just letting them dangle? Some horses can be sensitive to the irons banging their sides, so they pick up the pace.

If it's the squeezing that's the problem and not the irons, you will need to focus on letting his trot "throw" you out of the saddle more, rather than pinching with your knees and trying to "stand up" with your knees.

Duramax
Dec. 8, 2009, 06:46 PM
I think that posting w/o stirrups can actually be counter-productive b/c it encourages you to grip through your inner thigh and knee. FWIW. I think sitting the trot w/o stirrups is a much better exercise. :)

riderboy
Dec. 8, 2009, 08:10 PM
I think that posting w/o stirrups can actually be counter-productive b/c it encourages you to grip through your inner thigh and knee. FWIW. I think sitting the trot w/o stirrups is a much better exercise. :)
And feel the burn baby! My co-workers tell me the horse is doing all the work. A good dressage instructor could have Arnold Schwarzenegger crying lke a baby for his momma in no time at all.

Falconfree
Dec. 8, 2009, 08:20 PM
I have the latter problem, too. My new dressage trainer won't let me post without stirrups anymore, something I used to do a LOT when I rode huntseat. I still ride without stirrups, most of the time in fact, I just sit the trot now. She does this because I have learned the (hilarious) habit of clenching with my butt! :lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol:

I don't know how common of a problem that is... but sitting the trot without stirrups has definitely helped me stretch and open my hip angle more. so if you're into that kind of thing... sitting trot might be something to try :)

:lol:
I also have trouble with posting without stirrups because I tend to try to post off of my legs too much and clamp down with my knees. Tell you what though, I never thought the sitting trot was that big a deal when I had my old mare; she must have had a smooth trot. When I got up on a lesson horse after selling her he just about tossed my teeth through my skull when I tried it with him! XP

fatorangehorse
Dec. 8, 2009, 08:41 PM
Unless your horse i pretty dead-sided, the whole thing is very confusing to them. W, T and canter without - but sit. I've worked so hard to make my horses more sensitive to my leg. the last thing I want to do is teach him to ignore me.

KBG Eventer
Dec. 8, 2009, 11:43 PM
I think that posting w/o stirrups can actually be counter-productive b/c it encourages you to grip through your inner thigh and knee. FWIW. I think sitting the trot w/o stirrups is a much better exercise. :)

Do you have any suggestions for how to practice for the C3 rating and up when you have to jump through a grid with no stirrups?

I'm terrible at posting or half seat without stirrups.

I think I'm pretty good at sitting without stirrups, especially on my horse. I actually like warming up and then riding without stirrups first because I can get my leg on the horse better and get them forward. On other horses with bigger trots I definitely get tired quicker because I have to really use my core to stay with them.

I was looking for videos and found this one of a girl at her B rating and thought it was pretty impressive. I can't find it anymore, but she came posting up to the grid and rode through it without her leg moving at all. Automatic release. I thought she had stirrups the first time I watched it, but she didn't. It was cool!

SkipChange
Dec. 8, 2009, 11:53 PM
KBG, i'm afraid you're really going to need to practice posting trot and two point/half seat without stirrups if you want to be able to hold yourself off his back over fences. As much as I agree with others on sitting trot. You're going to want to have a good base of support before you start jumping through grids without stirrups so you don't hit your horse's back over the fences and discourage his effort. Try to avoid pinching with your knees and keep your leg stretched long even when posting. Sitting trot and canter without stirrups will still be very beneficial and you can go to those when you need a rest from posting. Best of luck on your C3 from a fellow (well past) pony clubber!

flyracing
Dec. 9, 2009, 04:51 AM
It's all about your core muscles not your legs! Yes, your legs will still burn, but if you abs are not also burning you are likely gripping somewhere. I highly recommend mastering the 2 point at the trot with out stirrups and then begin posting. The 2 point is the up phase of the post and once the up phase (2point) and sitting phase (3 point) are mastered separately the posting trot will be much easier and more likely to be correct.

technopony
Dec. 9, 2009, 09:18 AM
KGB,
I passed my C3 two years ago, with flying colors on the grid without stirrups. I did what I was told to do by a C3 examiner at a prep, and it worked. I hiked my legs up and *gasp* gripped with my knees. I also held onto a big chunk of mane. I'm not sure that will fly at the B, but honestly I ROCKED that part of the C3. I was actually a little peeved because the 3 examiners told everyone to hike their legs up and grip with their knees right before we jumped... I felt like they were giving away my secret!

Good luck. If you have any other questions about the C3 feel free to PM...

Equestryn
Dec. 9, 2009, 09:37 AM
I wouldn't start gripping with the knee. It's a bad habit that's hard to break. Besides that, it's uncomfortable for the horse as you're putting pressure on his shoulders with your knees. I'd sit the trot and canter a lot. Have you tried low crossrails with no stirrups? It's really not that hard as long as you stay centered and balanced. As long as you're off your horses back, you don't have to have the gap under your fanny as if you had stirrups. It's much more about the core than the legs. I'm working with a walk trotter (preparing her to canter) and I want her core built up a bit more so I'm having her sit the trot with no stirrups to build balance and her core.

The only help I can give is to advise you NOT to start gripping with the knee. It's incorrect and will only hurt you in the long run. Do it the right way and you'll be better off. :) Good Luck!

evans36
Dec. 9, 2009, 10:40 AM
Thanks everyone! To answer a couple questions - it could be the stirrups. I leave them down because I have yet to find a comfortable way to cross them (yes, I pull down the buckles, I have done everything I've ever been told/shown but it still pokes my thigh). I'm not quite comfortable enough to pull them off the saddle and just ride without.

I love sitting without stirrups. I do a lot of this... it makes me feel really secure and "plugged in." But I'm always looking for an excuse to do more! :D

As far as gripping with the knee... I'm trying not to develop the habit. But I used to ride hunters and I could ride (small) courses without stirrups. I'd like to get back to being that fit. When I start to really pinch with my knee, I go back to sitting and let them drop down, but I really have yet to find a way to be really open in the hips while posting without.

For those of you that don't post without because it's counterproductive, how else do you really solidify your leg strength/position? I'd love some other exercises!! I'm more worried about leg than core, the ability to hold myself above the horse in the air without dropping back and while in 2 point @ canter. I find I can balance ok up there for a while, and I don't lose everything when a stirrup goes, but I've also been reading those Practical Horseman articles about using the winter to get yourself fit and it seems that POST WITHOUT STIRRUPS comes from every corner as the sine qua non of riding fitness!

subk
Dec. 9, 2009, 11:12 AM
For those of you that don't post without because it's counterproductive, how else do you really solidify your leg strength/position? I'd love some other exercises!!
Go do a six minute trot set in 2-point! Actually it's doubtful most people can hold the 2-point without balancing with their hands on the neck for six minutes. I much prefer doing that to no stirrup work--mostly because it doesn't ever punish the horse. The balancing with your upper body in 2-point is great core work. And sinking you weight into you feet is great work to help you keep your leg still, strong and underneath you.

Wonders12
Dec. 9, 2009, 11:31 AM
Visiting from Hunter land... we have to do no stirrups work during every single lesson. I'm a firm believer of it, but it must be done right. Like a couple people said, allow the horse to post for you, don't try to make it a big movement. All you really need to do is enough for someone watching to tell what diagonal you're on. No reason to try launching yourself around. Think about making your leg long and soft. Trying not to have your calf on him has made your grip with your knee. He could be moving off of that tension as well. A leg (even lower leg) is ok, as long as it's soft and consistent.

Also, once you can do that, try 2 up 2 down at the trot. Up, up, down, up, up, down. Do it with stirrups until your figure it out, then without stirrups. It's GREAT for your leg because you can't brace. It works on your half seat a more correct way. Most people working on a half seat just do what a previous poster said and pinch like hell to survive it. This helps eliminate that.

And... while I don't agree with making a habit of it, I don't see a problem with "hike them up and grip with your life" for your test. Just be aware of it and don't practice that way.

Festivity
Dec. 9, 2009, 01:14 PM
Another option, though not for the faint of heart, is to work on posting bareback. It is a lot harder to grab with your knees and not come off bareback. The horse also lets you know a lot faster when you are pinching. Same thing also works for 2-point, if you can do it bareback then without stirrups in a saddle is no big deal. Just watch the withers, if you post too high you will catch them and it won't be pretty.

Interesting about being told to hike up your knees and hang on for the C3. When I passed mine, admittedly that was a while ago, they were death on us grabbing with our knees. I distinctly remember earning x number of laps of posting without stirrups for pinching with my knees over fences in the rating prep.

LuckyStar
Dec. 9, 2009, 01:27 PM
Possibly take the stirrups off the saddle all together. Normally, they are quick and easy to take on and off. This makes the exercise more comfortable for both you and the horse. If you want to ride part of the time with the stirrups and part without, just bring them along.

If the horse is speeding up you may also be starting to tilting forward/ changing your balance. It can be helpful to sit a few strides, get reorganized, and begin posting again.

evans36
Dec. 9, 2009, 05:00 PM
Another option, though not for the faint of heart, is to work on posting bareback.

OOO Good Idea! I hadn't thought about this... the horse I just sold had the meanest sharkfin wither. Obviously I had pretty much given up riding bareback. Also, warmer for the winter! I'll be trying it out this weekend :)

Festivity
Dec. 9, 2009, 05:18 PM
OOO Good Idea! I hadn't thought about this... the horse I just sold had the meanest sharkfin wither. Obviously I had pretty much given up riding bareback. Also, warmer for the winter! I'll be trying it out this weekend :)

Glad to help. :) Let us know how it goes.

yellowbritches
Dec. 9, 2009, 08:14 PM
I am another who feels posting without stirrups is counter productive. I can and do post without them, but I usually post without them if I feel my horse needs a break (so I might be posting sans stirrups while letting him stretch) or if I need a break.

If you're trying to build strength, balance, and stability, do 2 point. If you want to work on your seat, sit the trot and do dressage canter sans stirrups. :yes:

Duramax
Dec. 9, 2009, 09:08 PM
And... while I don't agree with making a habit of it, I don't see a problem with "hike them up and grip with your life" for your test. Just be aware of it and don't practice that way.

And that is exactly what you do at your testing! :lol:

RugBug
Dec. 9, 2009, 09:21 PM
Go do a six minute trot set in 2-point! Actually it's doubtful most people can hold the 2-point without balancing with their hands on the neck for six minutes.

I can do entire rides (30 minutes) in two point with little effort. I would rather ride in two point than sit, if given a choice. :shrug:

I took riding 11 times a week for me to finally feel like I could drop my stirrups with no real effect on me. Before that, I could post decently, but would get tired after a lap or two. But boy, once I started riding more than once or twice a week, the ability to ride without stirrups increased exponentially.

fatorangehorse
Dec. 9, 2009, 09:28 PM
I agree. Work up to doing 20 minute trot sets entirely in your 2 pt - an honest 2 pt - not just standing in your stirrups. that would get you pretty far down the road . . .

If your horse isn't that sensitive and doesn't mind it, there's certainly no harm in posting without your stirrups. With my horse, I find I have to work @ getting him sensitive off my leg again once I've done it. It's more important to me that, I get an immediate response from a light leg aid, than what you're working @.

If your horse is too sensitive, do you have access to a school horse?

Celeritas
Dec. 10, 2009, 01:22 PM
Poking my head in from hunter land...

Coming from an equitation barn, I can say that the best way to get strong with your no-stirrups work is to just take them clean off the saddle (or leave the left on for mounting if you need to). This is the most comfortable way, and won't induce you to cheat!

While pinching and gripping with your knees is certainly counter-productive, I find that I personally only do it when I start to get tired. So when we did a no-stirrup month at my barn this spring, I started with just doing one or 2 laps posting. If I got tired, I'd sit for a little bit or walk. Gradually, I'd push myself to go further and further posting, but when I got really tired and caught myself pinching or gripping, I'd sit or walk. The first week is the worst- if you can get through that you'll be strong in no time! Once you gradually build up your strength, you'll be able to properly post, along with 2-point at the trot and canter, and small jumps.

I agree that the pinching or gripping is probably pushing the go-button, and do just let the horse's movement push you up; you don't have to make much of an effort to post, just to control your body and keep yourself in the correct position.

yellowbritches
Dec. 10, 2009, 06:23 PM
If I got tired, I'd sit for a little bit or walk.
Funnily, when I'm riding around without stirrups, I POST to rest for a second. I do find there is a difference (sometimes drastic) in hunter/Eq sitting trot and dressage sitting trot, so maybe there in lies the difference.

Serendipity
Dec. 10, 2009, 07:00 PM
There's some really useful advice on here!



I agree. Work up to doing 20 minute trot sets entirely in your 2 pt - an honest 2 pt - not just standing in your stirrups. that would get you pretty far down the road . . .

Newbie question - what is an honest 2-pt vs just standing in your stirrups?

Thanks!

Celeritas
Dec. 10, 2009, 07:27 PM
Funnily, when I'm riding around without stirrups, I POST to rest for a second. I do find there is a difference (sometimes drastic) in hunter/Eq sitting trot and dressage sitting trot, so maybe there in lies the difference.

Hmm, that could be! (Back to hunter land... :D )

Duramax
Dec. 10, 2009, 08:58 PM
Newbie question - what is an honest 2-pt vs just standing in your stirrups?


I'd say that it's actually having your heels down and your knee angle fairly closed (although your knee stays soft and "bouncy") and your seat fairly low vs. cheating and standing up a little straight legged. The "correct" way you actually feel a little stretching down the back of your calf- the cheating way you are really just gripping with your knees and leaning on your hands.

Here is a picture from the USPC D Manual:
http://sports.webshots.com/photo/2459408720059512712HWKBDx?vhost=sports

oharabear
Dec. 11, 2009, 01:39 AM
pretend you have a tube of toothpaste under your bum, so its sit then squirk
if sitting trot you hlding tube of tootepaste between yer bum cheeks
if rising - its little movement upwards then sit squirk - not sit blast and knoock out the perosn behind you lol


This is the BEST visual aid EVER!!! :lol:

From now on I will imagine toothpaste when I am sitting the trot!!

Serendipity
Dec. 11, 2009, 07:40 AM
I'd say that it's actually having your heels down and your knee angle fairly closed (although your knee stays soft and "bouncy") and your seat fairly low vs. cheating and standing up a little straight legged. The "correct" way you actually feel a little stretching down the back of your calf- the cheating way you are really just gripping with your knees and leaning on your hands.

Here is a picture from the USPC D Manual:
http://sports.webshots.com/photo/2459408720059512712HWKBDx?vhost=sports

Thanks!