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Rel6
Apr. 4, 2011, 10:58 AM
Hey everyone! I'm 5'1'' and regularly ride big warmblood types. I am soon going to be moving up to some bigger fences (moving from 3'6'' to 3'9''-4ft) and was wondering if anyone can give me some tips on how to keep my leg stiller. I have a hard time wrapping it around a horse's barrel so it slides forward slightly and then slides pretty far back over fences.

Any exercises on or off the horse would be appreciated!

supershorty628
Apr. 4, 2011, 11:09 AM
You need to get your legs super, super strong. No stirrups for you! I'm also wondering if your saddle doesn't put you in the best position, since you said your leg slides forward slightly. It is so, so important to have a saddle that fits you when you're tiny - I know I had a lot of trouble in some IHSA saddles because I was swimming in them and couldn't hang on very well (at Nationals, I had a tough time staying with my horse because the saddle was HUGE for me).

You have to think not to brace in your heels to try and compensate for your height. I'm also around 5'1'' and occasionally found myself doing that in IHSA flats when I was on big horses who got heavy; I was always better without my stirrups because I couldn't brace my foot that way.

Treasmare2
Apr. 4, 2011, 11:15 AM
I feel your pain...I am 5'1 on big barrelled warmbloods who are 17hh. No I was not foolish enough to buy them that way. I am stuck with what I have bred. I have not found anything that really helps except to have a strong core and use stick'um. A short person on a big barrelled horse pops off easily if the leg moves even a little. Sometimes I pray there is a horse under me on landing and certainly the more push they give (like over a bigger fence) the harder it is to manage my body. I have been thinking recently I need a thin horse or a bad jumper that has no push. I will be watching this thread for suggestions too.

Rel6
Apr. 4, 2011, 11:41 AM
I'm also wondering if your saddle doesn't put you in the best position, since you said your leg slides forward slightly. It is so, so important to have a saddle that fits you when you're tiny - I know I had a lot of trouble in some IHSA saddles because I was swimming in them and couldn't hang on very well (at Nationals, I had a tough time staying with my horse because the saddle was HUGE for me).
.


My saddle has a long flap. -facepalm- I know. Why did no one tell me that was a bad plan?! I would love a saddle that fits me better (I've been cruising used ones online) but I just can't afford it at the moment.

Also, what level are you in IHSA? I'm open/open and I have heard that when you're shorter you really have to fight for your ribbons because you're just not going to make as pretty a picture as a taller rider (and in open you have really solid eq in the flat classes anyway.)

supershorty628
Apr. 4, 2011, 11:44 AM
I did open/open and had no trouble getting ribbons, particularly on the flat. I have pretty good proportions for equitation though; I have a short upper body and comparatively long legs. I did have an alarming tendency to draw enormous horses, but it almost always worked out.

This is what I looked like on a relatively narrow 16.1 hand horse at Nationals -- I fit him pretty well because he didn't have a huge barrel. http://pets.webshots.com/photo/2752406380054933411fmbUzd

Whereas one of our shows up here, I drew an 18 hand behemoth (he was lovely to ride, I just felt like a flea or a Thelwell kid sitting up there) and looked ridiculous: http://pets.webshots.com/photo/2128610730054933411wNuGnZ

My mare is 15.3 7/8 hands but has a big barrel, so I look kind of small on her too, especially when I have my stirrups hiked up for big classes: http://pets.webshots.com/photo/2428220130054933411dYjRnh

kahhull
Apr. 4, 2011, 11:48 AM
I'm about the same height and have been stuck on horses of all sizes for as long as I can remember. My first big jumper was a 16.3h Hanoverian I leased at age 11... you can imagine how tiny I must have looked up there! But yes, lots and lots of work without stirrups to get your leg strong. Through practice I also got a really good sense of where my horse was going to be (this is harder when you ride a variety of horses) and could anticipate where I needed to balance if we got a bad distance to a fence. Also, I found that both vaulting and yoga helped with the strength and balance (particularly the vaulting). I know those aren't options for everyone, but I found they both really helped with my riding - not to mention are extremely fun. :)

Rel6
Apr. 4, 2011, 12:22 PM
Its funny because I have also tend to gravitate towards big horses. I did the short stirrup on a 16.2 ottb!

My last horse was a jumper, and she was about 17.2 with a belly.

I have to say I haven't found my height to be that detrimental. I've definitely had some solid places, and if I didn't do well on the flat I usually knew why (horse was head tossing, my leg got a little loose, bouncy horse in a sit trot, etc.) But my coach has mentioned it a few times and was curious to see if anyone else felt the same.

Couldn't see the fb pics, but I imagine myself on an 18h horse and can probably get a fairly accurate mental picture!

STA
Apr. 4, 2011, 01:25 PM
Whether you are short or tall strong legs are a must. I have the opposite problem, very tall. No barrel to put my legs around.
If you have a good ground person, have them lunge you on your horse a couple of times a month. No stirrups, no reins.

rwh
Apr. 4, 2011, 03:13 PM
I did open/open and had no trouble getting ribbons, particularly on the flat. I have pretty good proportions for equitation though; I have a short upper body and comparatively long legs. I did have an alarming tendency to draw enormous horses, but it almost always worked out.

This is what I looked like on a relatively narrow 16.1 hand horse at Nationals -- I fit him pretty well because he didn't have a huge barrel. http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/photo.php?fbid=1262008234475&set=t.1357770419&theater

Whereas one of our shows up here, I drew an 18 hand behemoth (he was lovely to ride, I just felt like a flea or a Thelwell kid sitting up there) and looked ridiculous: http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/photo.php?fbid=1371880059135&set=t.1357770419&theater

Can't see the pics. Can you chance the settings? (Don't mean to be a pain I'd just like like to see :)

JBCool
Apr. 4, 2011, 03:56 PM
If you're concerned with your saddle fit, then definitely keep hunting! I bought a new saddle last year with a short flap (I'm 5'2") and it made a huge difference. I actually rode in my old saddle the other day and within 10 min, I was like "oh, right, I remember now...) I know it won't help for IHSA, but I also know you're not doing 3'6"-4' in IHSA. ;) Haunt Beval's used site and any consignment tack shops near you. Good luck and congrats for making it to 3'6"-4'!

Rel6
Apr. 4, 2011, 04:21 PM
If you're concerned with your saddle fit, then definitely keep hunting! I bought a new saddle last year with a short flap (I'm 5'2") and it made a huge difference. I actually rode in my old saddle the other day and within 10 min, I was like "oh, right, I remember now...)

What kind of saddle did you end up getting? I haven't seen a lot of brand that offer a shorter flap.

mvp
Apr. 4, 2011, 04:28 PM
I too am usually short-on-wide. It's the wrong conformation and look. But I do like me a phat ol' hunter.

I'll do a somewhat technical riff on what others have said.

Yes, to no stirrups. You do need a lot of muscular strength so that you aren't temped to just jam your heel down to get the job done.

Yes, to a short-flap saddle that you aren't fighting. Chances are that you have ridden in saddles that haven't supported you the way the "more normal" sized tallies get from theirs. You may not know what you are missing.

Yes, to more core strength than your average bear.

But you need to put the leg- and core strength together. What makes your leg hold still is two things, IMO;;

1) Strong, flexible hips that let you turn your whole leg forward from the top. It makes your leg pretty and gives you the best shot at relaxing your hips.

2) The ability to find and relax your hips as you ride. Think of them as the "shock absorber" or "the middle man" between your thigh and everything higher up. Lots of people hold their hips stiff in order to stabilize their upper-body. But then your leg will swing.

It takes some time and practice to figure out how to relax those deep muscles around your hip joints If you are strong everywhere else, it's easier to "not cheat" and stiffen them. But good hips are key to that Centaur look where your thigh down is rock solid and part of the horse and you do whatever you like with your upper body.

saddlesore
Apr. 4, 2011, 05:42 PM
Hey, I can relate, too. There is no substitute for a strong leg, so yep we have to ride without stirrups. But we shorties still have to compensate for less leverage. It can be done - watch Margie Engel ride over big courses! Saddle fit is a good point, too. I had a variety of top saddles - Hermes, Butet, etc. - but I didn't realize how much the fit would help me until I worked with a saddle fitter. Finally, one trainer (who is also short) told me to turn my toes out more than typical for equitation. This really helps get "more" leg on my horses - all round warmbloods. A dull, round spur with a longer neck can also help with some horses. They look big, but they aren't severe and give a little more "reach."

faraway46
Apr. 4, 2011, 07:26 PM
I too am 5ft "tall" (if you want to call that tall...) and am showing two different horses. Both have big barrels, long strides but are totally different in height: one is 16h and the other is 17.3h.
I have found that not only embracing your horse with your legs is an issue but also the leverage, as someone stated before. I have watched Margie Engle over and over and what I see is that she keeps herself very centered and her horses tend to jump a little more high-headed and somewhat more flat (not letting them use all their bascule completely...). Horses with more natural impulsion seem to be a must and her release is a bit tight (not because she wants to but because of arm length). Correct me if I'm wrong in any or all of this...
Both my horses are a little difficult for me: one because of size (17.3 although fortunately uphill and pretty light) and the other because he is very downhill with a big stride and long back (that's where the leverage problem kicks in...). Big mare is easy to get impulsion and balance but her jump is too powerful at times, the smaller gelding is a little unbalanced and hence comfortable impulson is hard to achieve.
Keep the input coming. This is very interesting!

supershorty628
Apr. 4, 2011, 08:42 PM
Ack, I don't know how to link Facebook pictures anymore with that stupid slide show way of showing them...I'll save them to my laptop and upload them to another website...

EDIT: Revised links should work now.

To the MAX
Apr. 4, 2011, 08:46 PM
Ack, I don't know how to link Facebook pictures anymore with that stupid slide show way of showing them...I'll save them to my laptop and upload them to another website...

Press F5 to refresh the page (it will come up with the old format) then right click and copy the image's URL. :)

supershorty628
Apr. 4, 2011, 08:52 PM
Press F5 to refresh the page (it will come up with the old format) then right click and copy the image's URL. :)

You're my new best friend for telling me that.

jay0087
Apr. 4, 2011, 09:00 PM
I am 5'1 and just went through the whole process of trying to find a saddle to fit my leg. I was looking at saddles at Dover for under 1,500 and alot of them were ruled out because it was to long on my leg. I ended up with an ovation. The first time I rode in it I felt like my leg was all of a sudden there. I have only had it a week but I feel so much strong on my 17h. wb cross.

I hope strong enough to stop him from bucking at the first show.

Rel6
Apr. 4, 2011, 11:00 PM
I am 5'1 and just went through the whole process of trying to find a saddle to fit my leg. I was looking at saddles at Dover for under 1,500 and alot of them were ruled out because it was to long on my leg. I ended up with an ovation. The first time I rode in it I felt like my leg was all of a sudden there. I have only had it a week but I feel so much strong on my 17h. wb cross.

I hope strong enough to stop him from bucking at the first show.

I actually have an ovation! Maybe I should see if it would cost me anything to trade my used one for another used one with a regular flap...

*JumpIt*
Apr. 4, 2011, 11:08 PM
Just to jump in, I am 5'1 IHSA rider too! I have been lucky and I usually draw horses that fit me pretty well.

Any ways, I have a 16.5 Antares that I found well priced on ebay and I couldn't recommend it more, fits my petite self really really well.

Montanas_Girl
Apr. 4, 2011, 11:45 PM
This is my worst short rider/tall horse IHSA photo: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=30926524&l=765e870926&id=52700902
:eek::eek::eek:

I physically COULD NOT make that horse go forward. We jumped two fences and then he just dropped to a walk and refused to go any faster, despite me flapping my legs like a pony kid. I finally just rode out of the ring in defeat. The next day (and for the rest of his IHSA appearances), he had a 5'4" height minimum.

For my entire IHSA career, if there was a horse over 17 hands in my class, I drew it EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. It was miserable. School horses as a rule are pretty dull (especially in novice fences; I had fewer problems with my intermediate flat draws) and even the "sensitive" ones are just so HEAVY that I phsyically couldn't have good rides on the behemoths.

My personal horse is a 15.1 hand (extra-wide!) Arab cross, and I feel both in control and effective on him. http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=31488153&l=25794ef7ee&id=52700902. I took a lot of lessons on a trainer's 16.1 hand jumper mare and didn't have the control/effectiveness issue because she was also light, sensitive, and forward. I loved flatting the super nice 17.2 hand uber hunter but could NOT jump him well because he was just too big for me to package and influence when he got rolling.

I ride in a Barnsby Aurora and adore it. The flap is shorter than many that I tried, and - more importantly, I found - the stirrup bars are set far enough back that I'm not reaching forward in a chair seat to get to my stirrups. I found that the stirrup bar placement on Crosbys, Bevals, and other popular brands is too far foward for my conformation, and this also caused many IHSA challenges.

*JumpIt*
Apr. 4, 2011, 11:51 PM
I would also point out that if I ever draw a horse that is taller than 16h I lengthen my stirrups a good 1-2 holes, not dressage length but getting close. Even if it doesn't look idea at least I can somewhat wrap my leg around the horse which looks better than just sitting on top of the horse.

SarahandSam
Apr. 5, 2011, 06:32 AM
Press F5 to refresh the page (it will come up with the old format) then right click and copy the image's URL. :)

Thank you, thank you, thank you. (:

I'm interested in this thread too... I'm 4'10 1/2" and have the same issue, never thought about it being related to height, but it does make sense, because my leg moves more the wider the horse/pony is. I also have a longer flap on my saddle (Collegiate Diploma), but I had to sacrifice fit for me in order to find a saddle to fit my darn horse, so I may have screwed myself over a bit on that one...

supershorty628
Apr. 5, 2011, 08:52 AM
You know, at Nationals last year, there was the usual height/weight draw, but there were also horses that had a minimum height requirement (I think it was if you were 5'2'' or smaller, you couldn't ride them - I know I was a minimum height rider). Maybe we should petition the IHSA to include that...I don't know what that would do to regions like mine, though, where there aren't a lot of horses to begin with.

JUMPERROUND
Apr. 5, 2011, 09:20 AM
5 ft even, and I have a big mare. Center, center ,center. A strong leg is a must and stay in the center! That has saved my butt many times. To make things even more difficult is my trainer is about a foot and a half taller then me. He doesn't even have to deal with the leverage issues I have with her, as she really does go in a hunter frame. I had a big barreled jumper (now retired) who was really too athletic for me. She would break at the bascule at the higher jumps, and off I went.

NMK
Apr. 5, 2011, 09:48 AM
I'm 5' and found that riding in a monoflap has made all the difference. Just being able to get my leg where it needs to be has stabilized my core. I have a Devocoux that also has a stabilizer to keep the leg from moving back.

That saddle and riding without stirrups at least for a portion of the flatwork and some jumping has been a game changer.

I know while maybe not fashionable, the monoflap is more functional for the barrel challenged. I found out totally by accident and I'm hooked.

Nancy

Rel6
Apr. 5, 2011, 01:11 PM
You know, at Nationals last year, there was the usual height/weight draw, but there were also horses that had a minimum height requirement (I think it was if you were 5'2'' or smaller, you couldn't ride them - I know I was a minimum height rider). Maybe we should petition the IHSA to include that...I don't know what that would do to regions like mine, though, where there aren't a lot of horses to begin with.

I have one of those pics too! http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1332148547956&set=t.760575643

I don't think there should be a height restriction. But then again, I'm a short rider blessed with a strong leg and a hot seat. I actually school all the big slow horses at our home show to get them moving. I don't think there's an excuse for an open rider not having a leg that can make horses go.

On the other hand, a 5ft w/t/c rider on 17.3 dead slow warmblood isn't fair :/

StoneleaFarm
Apr. 5, 2011, 03:14 PM
Not trying to hijack, but a saddle option for those of you who are on the shorter side might be this new Prestige (http://www.vtosaddlery.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=VTO&Product_Code=NPJJS&Category_Code=).

Rel6
Apr. 5, 2011, 05:47 PM
Looks it would work really nicely...wish I could afford a new saddle :/

I just got into the EAP though so leasing a horse to do that on is eating up my finances right now (plus you know...college tuition >_<)

ElementFarm
Apr. 7, 2011, 02:13 AM
Totally share the frustration expressed above and I'm enjoying this thread. As a 5 footer (in boots) w/ a 17.2hh hanoverian, I also struggle with balance and leverage over bigger jumps. I recently owned a little jumper who was so springy that I litterally got jumped out of the tack over a bigger oxer. My trick was to have my toes out a bit more than preferable, but also to stick my lower leg out a bit in front of me just at takeoff. I look like I'm jumping ahead in some of the pictures but I had to really close my hip angle and stay close to the neck in the air to keep from being jumped loose. I'd never win a big-eq medal that way, but I did quite well in the jumper classes we did in Germany, and my little kangaroo of a horse quickly adjusted to my style. My big guy I have now is more of a leverge struggle for me, as he can land quite strong after a fence, no matter how light and soft he was to the base. When he puts that long neck down and runs, he just pulls me forward and I have no leverage to sit him back on his butt. I find lots of flat schooling and low jumps to teach him to be light and carry himself are my only fixes. I just don't have the depth or strength to hold him together. It's a slow process, but when others ride my horse they are all impressed how light and soft he is for a big boy, and once he can carry that over to a course, I know we'll be fine. It's just getting there....

Anyway, glad to know others share my struggle.
on an off thread, how do you all find boots short enough for your short legs, but still proportioned for adults? I find kids boots too narrow in the calf and all the off-the-rack brands run 17-18 inches tall, and I need like 14 inches....

Rel6
Apr. 7, 2011, 11:34 PM
Anyway, glad to know others share my struggle.
on an off thread, how do you all find boots short enough for your short legs, but still proportioned for adults? I find kids boots too narrow in the calf and all the off-the-rack brands run 17-18 inches tall, and I need like 14 inches....

BANE OF MY EXISTENCE. Beval Puissance tall boots work but are quite pricey (but probably some of the least expensive semi-customs.)

I have a short leg, a super skinny leg, but a size 8.5 foot :(

I ended up with Ariat Crowne Pros, size 8, short regular. I could not find any boots that carried short/slim that were under a grand. The crowne pros fit pretty well, but are still fairly loose in the ankle. However the spanish cut top make my leg look longer!!! :DDD

Rel6
Apr. 14, 2011, 10:07 PM
Btw guys, I just got a 16'' beval stamford off of ebay...and just realized my old saddle has a 14'' flap!!!

Hopefully this fits my leg A LOT better :D

StrawberryFields
Apr. 14, 2011, 10:28 PM
smaller horse ;)

Rel6
Apr. 14, 2011, 10:33 PM
smaller horse ;)

not really an option!

Rio Blanco
Apr. 14, 2011, 10:38 PM
To answer the tall boot question, go with the new Tredstep boots. I'm barely 5'4" with a long femur, so there's not much from the knee down on me, and the regular height size 8.5 DaVinci's fit me.

Rel6
Apr. 14, 2011, 10:48 PM
To answer the tall boot question, go with the new Tredstep boots. I'm barely 5'4" with a long femur, so there's not much from the knee down on me, and the regular height size 8.5 DaVinci's fit me.

actually Tredstep heights run pretty standard...same as "medium" height crowne pros and ariats :) you might have a longer leg than you think you do!!

Rio Blanco
Apr. 14, 2011, 10:55 PM
lol The size charts are wrong. If you get the size chart from Tredstep it is quite different than what is advertised through tack stores. My old Beval tall boots were listed to be the same height as the DaVinci's and the Beval's are taller, even being 7 years old and having broken down quite a bit in the ankles.

DamonsDuet on here has the Ariats though and they fit her legs pretty good. I just would never personally invest in a pair with their reputation for zippers busting.

Rel6
Apr. 14, 2011, 11:17 PM
lol The size charts are wrong. If you get the size chart from Tredstep it is quite different than what is advertised through tack stores. My old Beval tall boots were listed to be the same height as the DaVinci's and the Beval's are taller, even being 7 years old and having broken down quite a bit in the ankles.

DamonsDuet on here has the Ariats though and they fit her legs pretty good. I just would never personally invest in a pair with their reputation for zippers busting.

Actually the size chart I looked at was from their website...weird. Doesn't matter :) I do like the way the ankle seems comfy

And I have ariats too...crowne pros in short and the height is perfect!

*JumpIt*
Apr. 14, 2011, 11:38 PM
And I have ariats too...crowne pros in short and the height is perfect!

I have shorts too but I always am bugged because I also need a slim calf, so I have to choose between having boots that fit my short legs or my skinny legs. I always end up with the short boots that are a bit too wide in the calf. Anyone else have this issue?

Rel6
Apr. 15, 2011, 12:29 AM
I have shorts too but I always am bugged because I also need a slim calf, so I have to choose between having boots that fit my short legs or my skinny legs. I always end up with the short boots that are a bit too wide in the calf. Anyone else have this issue?

I have the same exact problem! Why no one makes short/slims is beyond me. Bevals Puissance and some semi-customs offer them, but they're expensive. I found that Ariat Crowne Pros are only 1/4inch wider than regular slims tho

kahhull
Apr. 15, 2011, 01:33 AM
Just to jump in, I am 5'1 IHSA rider too! I have been lucky and I usually draw horses that fit me pretty well.


I had almost forgotten about IHSA as a shorty... ugh! Always having to ask, "can you shorten the stirrups?... No really, a lot... keep going... maybe a different saddle?" Aye. So glad to be back in my own tack now.

Rel6
Apr. 15, 2011, 11:34 AM
I had almost forgotten about IHSA as a shorty... ugh! Always having to ask, "can you shorten the stirrups?... No really, a lot... keep going... maybe a different saddle?" Aye. So glad to be back in my own tack now.

See I let me saddle be used and I have child's leathers on it, so when anyone tall would draw the horse with my saddle they would probably have the opposite complaint! Now we just stick it on our heighted pony and it works fine :)

faraway46
Apr. 15, 2011, 05:14 PM
Saddle wise I think I'm ok (don't feel it's hijacking anything...). Work without stirrups has helped but I feel a more flexible lower back to buffer all those big moves is crucial. Unfortunately a shorter back tends to have less mobility than a longer one because the vertebrae are shorter (I guess, it just sounded logical when a chiropractic explained it...).Here's a photo of my big girl, all 17'3 of her's and my whopping 5ft (on a good day...:winkgrin:):

http://pets.webshots.com/photo/2461493850049866518VOHYFE