View Full Version : Jumping Position Issues...

Apr. 19, 2010, 10:08 PM
Hi All!

Well my MAJOR jumping position flaw that i cant seem to fix is that my entire leg turns 90 degrees every time i jump... When i really focus on this, it gets better but is still very unattractive.

Here is a pic: http://brantgamma.exposuremanager.com/p/gore_kristen_sp4/sp3p2134_3_56_80

Does anyone have any suggestions for how to fix this??

Apr. 20, 2010, 09:18 AM
No, but I'm exactly the same ... let's get this darn toe thing fixed this year !


Apr. 20, 2010, 09:27 AM
First of all you guys both look GREAT! I would not be so picky!
I think George Morris has some sort of answer about the toes out phenomenon, but I can't remember what issue PH had it.
I know I have done this most of my jumping life. I tend to pinch with my knee and as a result I don't have the strongest leg position. When I jump without changing my stirrups from flatwork length, I cannot seem to keep the toes from swinging out. Longer stirrups tend to make me use the BACK of my calf in order to stay in contact with my leg, rather than the flat inside part of my calf which I suppose is more proper. However I think it really does depend upon your own personal conformation and how well you use your lower leg and how strong it is. I know that when I am not strong, when I step down in the stirrup, to be more secure, such as jumping a fence, my toes go out when the stirrups are too long.
This question reminds me to make sure and at least post without stirrups today on one horse....:) THANKS.

Apr. 20, 2010, 09:34 AM
My home coach wanted me to raise my stirrups before this last show, and my away coach pointed it out as soon as she saw the pics (Hey - get me - I have a home and an away coach !) We decided not to raise them right there in warm-up, but it's definitely a job for this week :) Am I pinching with my knee ? My lower leg STILL slips back an awful lot, and some of my toe shots are freaking hilarious ...


Apr. 20, 2010, 10:36 AM
I see a couple of things going on here - bearing in mind that it's hard to judge anything from a static photograph and of course, talk to a coach/trainer about the overall issue. First, I'd want to shorten your irons about two holes, and encourage you to work on stepping down into your heel and around your horse. Think of pushing your heels down and around your horse every stride of the canter. I'm less concerned about where your foot is per se, than the overall leg position - what I see here is an overall looseness in your leg, which is causing you to grab with the back of your calf and your heel. I'm guessing you might not have your horse really in front of your leg, and might be encouraging him/her off the ground with your body. As your body comes forward in a bit of an overreaction to this fence, your leg swings back and you pinch with the heel to try to both motivate off the ground and to hold in place. Consequence is the overall loose leg in the photo, and the collapsed upper body.

So (once the irons are up), the first thing I'd do is make sure I really have my horse in front of my leg to the jumps and I'm keeping my leg on all the way to the jumps. The idea of showing the soles of your shoes to the fence works for me, as does the idea of doing absolutely nothing to the jump: just maintain the position you have on the way to the jump and let the horse do all the work. I find grid work quite helpful for this, particularly if done on a safe horse with no reins (arms out to the side). You'll very quickly figure out where your leg is! A friend of mine swears by the grids with a whip behind your elbows exercise, which I think is very hard but a great test as well.

Honestly - and it is one of the hardest things to learn in riding - but very often less is much more (and something I struggle with to the jumps as well).

Apr. 20, 2010, 10:36 AM
We decided not to raise them right there in warm-up, but it's definitely a job for this week :)

Your away coach made me shorten my stirrups a hole in XC warmup! I grumbled about having less control of my upper body and got the look.

Anyway- work on strengthening your lower leg and getting your leg locked in underneath you. When your leg slips back, the inclination is to turn your toe out so you have some base of support. If its underneath you, it won't be as bad.

ETA- GotSpots posted while I was posting and everything she said is absolutely correct and way better than what I said. :)

Apr. 20, 2010, 11:30 AM
Definitely my issue too:

Any other good exercises for fixing it? I would like to shorten my stirrups but in this saddle my knees go over the flap if I do. Forcing my heels down seems to make it worse. I've been working on lots of two point, also jacking my stirrups up to jockey length to work on balance.

Apr. 20, 2010, 12:27 PM
I have this same issue! It is so annoying to look at a perfectly nice photo and be distracted by my stupid toes/lower leg.

I have been fighting this issue for a long time. It has been mentioned by every coach I have ever worked with. One of them had the bright idea to tie my stirrups to my girth to keep my toes from turning out too far. That was a painful and useless process (my toes still turn out).

I too think shortening the stirrups and riding without stirrups would help fix the problem, but as with HER's problem, my legs go over the flap of the. That causes problems with my balance. Because of the ill-fitting saddle, I am unable to put my stirrups in a position to be underneath me, therefore contributing to my insecure lower leg.

I'm not making excuses for my position flaws, but saddle fit is really important, and judging by the number of other people with this problem, I wonder how many people are riding around in saddles that really don't work for them?

I am in the process of finding the perfect saddle (and saving the money for it). Good luck everyone!!

M. Owen
Apr. 20, 2010, 01:10 PM
Ugh, I have this problem also. I do feel better when I shorten my stirrups a bit for jumping, I'll have to see if the pictures look any better. I think the toe problem is worse in the pictures where I am jumping ahead/ over closing, so GS' explanation above makes sense. I will have to try all of these things, I've been fighting this problem off and on for ever. Thanks all!

Apr. 20, 2010, 06:25 PM
Shorten stirrups, but mostly: jump without reins with your hands out to the sides and once you do not have his neck to keep you from pitching off over his shoulder, forcing you to keep your hip and upper body back, you will not feel the need to grab on with your leg.


Apr. 20, 2010, 07:38 PM
This looks like an issue that could be greatly helped (if not solved) by getting you leg more secure. When your leg is more secure you won't have as much of a tendency to clench/grip w/ your heels. The most effective method for me is 5-10 minutes of sitting trot w/o stirrups every time I ride.

Apr. 20, 2010, 09:35 PM
For all of you with saddle flap issues:

New saddle time. Hate to say it, but it helps tremendously.

Apr. 20, 2010, 09:51 PM
Epona: agreed, I actually just bought my first County saddle (errrgh pricing hah) and the blocks within the saddle helped me tremendously along with a more forward flap than I'm used to. I just felt more secure. That being said, I ordered it and am waiting for it to ship in a few weeks :)

Eventr: Hey Kristen! I agree with the comments above, just work on your strength and security especially with shorter stirrups and see if you find a difference. Again, agreeing with Epona about a saddle fitted to you and your horse, I LOVED the one Beth fit to Jerry and myself. Just try a few things and see-- have you asked David about it??


Apr. 21, 2010, 01:50 PM
I wrote a best seller and sadly, somehow my computer ate it.
Lets see if I can remember what I wrote:

I'm a biomechanist so I know a little bit about the subject. If your ENTIRE leg is closed on your horse/saddle flap, your feet cannot rotate at such an angle.
What you need to do is close your knee. Or, as others have said, strengthen your leg position.
Now remember, closing your knee is drastically different from pinching with your knee.
Pinching with the knee causes a lack of stability in the lower leg and consequently it slips back.

So many people come on the board and protest that they pinch with their knee, but when you see the pics their feet are sticking straight out like Yo Samity Sam. This is not possible.
If the knee is pinching, the tibia/fibula cannot rotate out wards--and allow the ankle to rotate out wards. If it can, I would think that you would be in pain. ouch.

As you will notice, all of the pics above show the riders with knee rotated outward/air between knee and saddle flap--and result in a pinching calf/heal.

And luckily, I have a huge collection of photos for examples!

used much needed lower leg before fence but am sloppy with my knee. My knee rotated out wards. you can see air between my knee and the saddle flap.
result: Yo Samity Sam feet.

closed knee. correct angles throughout.

another. correct angles.

and yes! saddle type plays a big part in leg position!

This pic shows a saddle with knee rolls only. This saddle offers me no support.

Here, the same exact type of rider (poor) jump form with a saddle that has knee/calf BLOCKS. result = much more stable leg position. But I no longer get scooted out of the tack.

gymnastics are really good for practicing leg position. They give you many jumps in a row to correct yourself throughout and the horse does all the work so you can concentrate on your leg. ; )

Apr. 21, 2010, 02:08 PM
Love pic #2. There must have been monsters under that rolltop because that's one big (but very pretty) jump. :D

Apr. 21, 2010, 02:57 PM
Yosemite Sam. (http://www.yosemite-sam.net/Sam/Yosemite-Sam-History-Facts.htm) :)

Apr. 21, 2010, 04:05 PM
Yosemite Sam. (http://www.yosemite-sam.net/Sam/Yosemite-Sam-History-Facts.htm) :)

I think Yo Samity Sam must be his hipper, urban cousin. :lol:

Apr. 21, 2010, 04:26 PM
Purplnurpl: PERFECTLY VERBALIZED!! I am in total agreement. You explained that SO well!

Apr. 21, 2010, 05:23 PM
I think Yo Samity Sam must be his hipper, urban cousin. :lol:

thats hysterical.
I'm not going to change it though because then no one will know what the laugh is about.

I googled it for the spelling and didn't think much past the 1st search result.

Apr. 21, 2010, 05:26 PM
Love pic #2. There must have been monsters under that rolltop because that's one big (but very pretty) jump. :D

lol. He's cute. That was his 1st jump school. Sadly, he's not so impressed anymore...except for his effort over the oxar (pic #1).

Sometimes you wonder what they are thinking....