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View Full Version : [Rider] legs cramping on XC – WWYD? -- updated w/pics on pg 3



FrittSkritt
Jun. 6, 2011, 03:29 PM
Back story: I have fairly long legs, and I usually have to go up a good 5 holes from my flatting length for XC. At nearly every single event I've been to, I get about a third of the way around the course and my legs and feet start to cramp up. I have tried *everything* to fix this issue: I switched saddles, I practice at least 4 times a week with yanking up my stirrups 8 holes and riding in half seat, I put the "comfort wrap" pads on my stirrups, I ride without stirrups, I bike to work on days I don't ride (appx twice/week), I do squats and other strength-building exercises. At events, I drink lots of water and eat a banana before I jump. None of it seems to work, because I come off XC with no feeling in my toes and feeling awful because my poor horse has literally carted my lame ass around. Worst part is, I'm only doing Novice. I'd like to move up soon, but if I can't fix this issue, there's no way I'll make it around a Training course.

One of the things I attempt to do is not push all my weight into my heel and try to redistribute through my leg, but even then it hasn't helped much.

The other strange thing is that after I get off, my legs recover quickly and I'm rarely sore the next day.

What I don't understand is that it seems like no one else has this issue! I have a friend that goes Intermediate, and her fitness routine consists of schooling her horse and galloping him 1-2 times a week. They always make the time and she doesn't have any stamina issues.

I'm just majorly unfit or there's something seriously wrong with me... any advice?!

inquisitive
Jun. 6, 2011, 03:41 PM
Do your boots fit well or are they too tight or high? That is assuming you wear halfchaps at home and tall boots at shows :)

Heinz 57
Jun. 6, 2011, 03:42 PM
Are you actually cantering around in your galloping position when you school at home? And are we talking actual cramping up as in 'Ow, I need to stretch this out' or more the feet falling asleep, tired muscle tingle?

purplnurpl
Jun. 6, 2011, 03:44 PM
so you have any pics of you jumping?

I'm quite long legged. I ride with a longer stirrup than most. I just can't handle cranking my stirrups up. period.

Clinician always ask me about the length. I just tell them I have bad knees. (which is true).

When I do my flat work in my jump saddle my hole length is actually only 1 hole down. I might go up 2 holes for T/P XC but not much.

FrittSkritt
Jun. 6, 2011, 03:45 PM
inquisitive - they fit fine, I may put some insoles in as my fieldboots (albeit nice Konigs) don't have the Ariat footbed. :)

Heinz- more like a burning feeling, I guess. I'd liken it to that anerobic pain that you get when climbing up a long hill on a bike ride.

purp- I'll post some from this past weekend when they're up, they have a few shots of me galloping in between fences as well.

Dawnd
Jun. 6, 2011, 03:45 PM
You didn't mention your age or any level of fitness (or other cross training that you might do).

I don't have any recommendations but you seem to be doing all of the obvious first choices - how you eat, practicing two point, etc.

It might be time to bring in a personal trainer and discuss as much as you can about what riding is like (so that they might get it as a non-rider) and see if they have additional suggestions for you.

My guess is that a trainer will have you work on strength building, short-burst types of muscle building like jumping as many times and as fast as you can to push you to work in an anaerobic zone.

Here's something to consider trying - when you are practicing in your jump position, do it at a walk and time yourself for how long you can stay up. I find that practicing at the walk takes away the movement which makes holding the position easier. Then just keep building up from your starting point.

cllane1
Jun. 6, 2011, 03:50 PM
Have you tried riding with a bit longer stirrup? I'm 5'11" and have a crazy long leg, so even when I'm at x-c stirrup length my angle is more open than 90 degrees.

Sounds like you are hitting the obvious things. I dunno...maybe some kind of nerve getting pinched when you ride?

NCRider
Jun. 6, 2011, 03:50 PM
Are your stirrups wide enough? I had a similar problem riding in a borrowed saddle and never bothered to check the stirrup width but they were just too narrow for my feet. Also, a wider toed boot helps me a lot. Harder to find in tall boots though.

smilesthepony
Jun. 6, 2011, 03:56 PM
I get super super nervous and the same thing happens to me as well. My legs would cramp and it would feel like I had been in galloping position for hours not minutes. It would normally start about half way through cross country, and I think it was because I was tensing up muscles that were not used to being tensed. To make them relax so I could actually steer and use my legs I would choose a long stretch of canter and do circles of my heal and push my toe down. Also breathing exercises and just reminding myself we were just out there to relax and have fun. It seemed to loosen up my calf and free the stress enough that I could finish the course.
Good luck!

phoebetrainer
Jun. 6, 2011, 04:00 PM
I'd try a combination of all of this: wider stirrups, wider boots, looser fitting boots - remember that when you are working hard, your legs will need to swell / expand as they fill with more blood. You could try going XC in a pair of tidy half chaps or gaiters. You could also try a stirrup with a longer foot plate - more support for your foot.

Don't try to reduce your weight into heel - that will only put more work into your muscles and make the problem worse.

I am assuming you are not overweight and are reasonably fit.

purplnurpl
Jun. 6, 2011, 04:01 PM
Have you tried riding with a bit longer stirrup? I'm 5'11" and have a crazy long leg, so even when I'm at x-c stirrup length my angle is more open than 90 degrees.



I'm wondering if this isn't the issue.

This is my length for SJ and XC shown on three very different horses ranging 15.2h, 17h, 16h. BN to P.

http://i128.photobucket.com/albums/p189/xckaboom/boots1.jpg

http://i128.photobucket.com/albums/p189/xckaboom/trhp3.jpg

http://i128.photobucket.com/albums/p189/xckaboom/a.jpg

FrittSkritt
Jun. 6, 2011, 04:01 PM
Dawnd - I'm 28, I'd say a random fitness level. I briskly walk every day with some form of added weight (e.g., 20-30 minutes: to/from Metro or parking with my heavy-ish workbag, to grocery store and return with a gallon of milk and other groceries, etc.); I ride my bike to work; I ride my horse trotting/cantering nearly the entire time when we're schooling. I usually have two lessons a week - one hour of dressage and about 1/2 hr - 45 minutes jumping.

I eat well -- I never, ever, ever eat fast food or other junky food. (People are always commending me on my "good eating habits." ;)) I could probably stand to eat a few more veggies, but I do eat a good share of fresh fruit. :)

Two point at the walk is easy for me -- I can stay up pretty well, it's trotting/cantering that's more difficult for me.

Phoebe -- actually, it's funny... I bought new [used] boots about a year or two ago because my old ones were SO tight. The new ones are almost on the loose side... I can pull them off (with some difficulty) after a day at an event without a boot jack.

NMK
Jun. 6, 2011, 04:02 PM
Konigs--I have some and would never consider XC in them. I think they are cramping your style. For grins just grab a comfy pair of shoes/boots, throw on some leg wraps or borrow some half chaps and see what happens.

Other note on cramping, since I have some issues with this--alternate gatorade/water and do your hydrating the day before XC. Try eating a powerbar or something the morning.

But I'm guessing the Konigs don't have enough flex in them. The boots I ordered at WEG did this to me until they were broken in. You need a little wiggle room to be comfy.

Nancy

Equibrit
Jun. 6, 2011, 04:07 PM
Drink some of your horse's electrolytes !

EquineRacers
Jun. 6, 2011, 04:21 PM
Almost sounds as if you are still balancing on your toes and pinching with your knees. You have to really work on dropping all your weight into your heels, that should take the pressure off. I know first hand, since I used to get cramps the first few months of galloping racehorses. The more you do it, the eaiser it will get. Just keep at it.

tailspin
Jun. 6, 2011, 04:24 PM
Drink more. Water, that is!!! Muscle cramping is often one of the first signs of dehydration, and hydration level has a great deal to do with how our muscles function. And Equibrit is rigth, you should include electrolytes! If you can't stomach Gatorade or Powerade, try them diluted with plain water.

pharmgirl
Jun. 6, 2011, 04:32 PM
So has this cramping only occurred at shows? Are they one days, where all three phases are in one day (and usually close together time-wise)? Or, does this also happen when xc schooling? If it's only at shows, do you/have you schooled xc in the same attire (footwear, breeches, etc)?

My first thought was that you may need to try different stirrups (for myself, getting MDC Ultimate stirrups that were jointed and had the offset adjustable eye was a huge help with my leg and back pain!!), but if it's only at shows (and all other variables like boots, etc) are the same I would say it has to be some kind of nerves thing and to focus on being less tense? I know it's one more thing to think about on course, but try to remember to wiggle your toes in the stirrups- if you can do that then you aren't gripping with your toes and getting too tense in your feet.

WNT
Jun. 6, 2011, 04:50 PM
I thought about jointed stirrups, too. I had problems with sore knees and tired muscles, usually after long XC schools. I'm sure fitness was a huge factor, but I did notice improvement with jointed stirrups.

I would also bump up your electrolytes at a show, I think stress and nerves can really affect you. I have been going with Propel, there is not quite as much sugar in it. Or just add a pinch of horsey electrolytes to your water.

clpony
Jun. 6, 2011, 04:55 PM
i would research what endurance cyclists or runners do for cramping legs.
generally they take some type of electrolyte oral supplement gel or paste.
i am a runner/eventer and used to have the same problem.
i now take supplements to alleviate the problem.
no more cramps...

asterix
Jun. 6, 2011, 05:05 PM
I'm not convinced that this is some kind of fitness issue -- having just watched every single entry at Waredaca show jump, there are people out there at Novice WAY less fit than you, trust me!!

What happens when you do sets? Do you do sets? For my big horses, even at Novice I do sets every week -- 3x5 trots and 3x3 canters, bumping to 3x4 canters for Training.

When we prepped for the T3d they reminded us not to do A and C with XC length stirrups so we didn't fry our quads...so I always post the trot in my 3x5s, with stirrups a hole longer than SJ length.

Then I put my stirrups up to "real" xc length for the 3x3s or 3x4s (and drop them to rest in the walk breaks).

When you do that, dressed in half chaps and paddocks (or whatever), do you have this problem?

Trying to narrow this down to equipment/dress, breathing, or ... if it only happens in competition that gives us some clues...

GingerJumper
Jun. 6, 2011, 05:08 PM
GU--best thing ever. Helps a LOT with the cramping, etc.

Also, try looser boots. I prefer my tall boots (and chaps too!) looser, I find it lets the muscle flex more or something. The other thing I'd suggest is perhaps a wide-track stirrup, those helped me a lot.

I've not seen you ride (obviously) or pictures or anything but maybe you're sinking down TOO much in your heels when galloping? In galloping seat (which is kinda different than half seat) your heels should be almost flat. It helps a LOT, I've found.

NMK
Jun. 6, 2011, 05:10 PM
OP--forgot to add one thing...if you don't have jointed stirrups see if you can borrow them to try. One thing that helps me is to remember your legs do need to "breathe" so don't flex to the point where they can't move. I like to think of wrapping them around my horse and swinging up down within the canter.

If its a true electrolyte issue GU has new chews, and some good ideas about hydration:

www.guenergy.com

I use the Nuun electrolyte tablets in really hot weather.

www.nuun.com


You can get both at running stores or cycling shops, or on line. I used to do long distance duathlons and my favorite race food was baby food, in small snack bags. Plenty of natural ingredients, lots of water and the fruit ones (banana/peach) are actually pretty good. They never got "stuck" in my stomach like GU and some other energy foods. You may have to experiment to find what works and is tolerable to you. Too many electrolytes will have you visiting Mr. P. Jon. That won't work either!

Nancy

FrittSkritt
Jun. 6, 2011, 05:11 PM
The cramping/soreness does happen when I jump at home in my Ariats and half chaps, but not to the extent on XC since I'm rarely cantering a 5 minute long SJ course in our ring at home. ;) Toes get plenty of wiggle room in the Konigs and they're pretty broken in/flexible, but I'd like to see how they feel with some insoles in there. :D I'll try the toe wiggle trick to see if I really am gripping with my toes.

I was diagnosed with patellofemoral pain syndrome a month or so ago after visiting the orthopedist with 10+ years of infrequently occurring knee pain. (Rode my bike cross country/4000 miles in a summer, and apparently it misaligned my patella so much that it's affected me ever since.) I also tend to get pain in the front of my shin (like shin splints) when riding with short stirrups.

Auburn
Jun. 6, 2011, 05:14 PM
I agree with tailspin. Hydrate, hydrate and then hydrate some more. :yes:

You can change your boots and everything else that others have suggested, but I would try drinking a lot of water, first.

Do not just drink Gatorade. Their commercials are a myth. I thought that drinking their 1,2,3 system was all that I needed. I ended up in ICU for dehydration last summer. (High School physcial trainers will tell you that you need to drink two bottles of water, to every one bottle of Gatorade.)

You need to start drinking water the day before your competition. The day of cross country, try drinking a couple of bottles before you run. Have someone with another bottle waiting for you at the finish.

I believe that one of the first signs of heat exhaustion is cramping.

If your problem is just a lack of strength, then you need to incorporate a lot of two point and half seat into your conditioning schedule.

I rode in a Jim Graham clinic this past weekend. He had us trotting in two point, dropping our irons, then finding them. Next, we did the same at the canter. Finally we dropped them at the trot, then canter, and asked for a walk while still in two point. His next exercise was to trot a cross rail, then drop our stirrups, stay in two point and stop before we reached him. Even though I practice my two point a lot, my inner thighs were screaming at me. :)

If this is not a hydration problem for you, then you might try those exercises.

pharmgirl
Jun. 6, 2011, 05:19 PM
The cramping/soreness does happen when I jump at home in my Ariats and half chaps, but not to the extent on XC since I'm rarely cantering a 5 minute long SJ course in our ring at home. ;) Toes get plenty of wiggle room in the Konigs and they're pretty broken in/flexible, but I'd like to see how they feel with some insoles in there. :D I'll try the toe wiggle trick to see if I really am gripping with my toes.

I was diagnosed with patellofemoral pain syndrome a month or so ago after visiting the orthopedist with 10+ years of infrequently occurring knee pain. (Rode my bike cross country/4000 miles in a summer, and apparently it misaligned my patella so much that it's affected me ever since.) I also tend to get pain in the front of my shin (like shin splints) when riding with short stirrups.

Hmm. Then, I would def. try some different stirrup irons. Jointed may be a big help if you don't have them already. If you do have jointed ones already, see if you can borrow some MDC's and adjust the eye?

I have them on both my jumping and dressage saddles now, and for me they make a huge difference. I adjust the eye to the 45 degree angle, and even just that little bit helps. One time, I borrowed a trusty horse I used to lease for a lesson when my guy threw a shoe. Her saddle did not have jointed stirrups (I didn't think about it), and my knees and back noticed it even after one ride!

Vic_007
Jun. 6, 2011, 05:25 PM
Eat a banana and hydrate well.

Grasshopper
Jun. 6, 2011, 05:33 PM
My right foot falls asleep if I ride very long in 2-pt/shorter stirrups. I mentioned this to an instructor last year and she said that kind of issue tends to really be a knee issue. Since then I've focused on how I'm aligning my right knee and have noticed some improvement. I've also noticed that knee has a bit of a twinge (when standing/ walking/ jumping rope) at a certain angle so I've probably tweaked it at some point.

I have to remember to continually check my knee alignment and (for me) bring my right lower leg back a bit from where it wants to be. When the foot starts tingling, I have to stretch my toe down and do little toe wiggles and ankle circles to fix it.

Haven't tried the jointed irons but the wide-based ones seem to help a bit. So does a really supportive steel shank in my riding boots. Mushy-soled boots seem to make it worse.

Good luck!

Hilary
Jun. 6, 2011, 05:50 PM
[QUOTE=FrittSkritt;5649160]The cramping/soreness does happen when I jump at home in my Ariats and half chaps, but not to the extent on XC since I'm rarely cantering a 5 minute long SJ course in our ring at home. ;) QUOTE]

I'm leaning towards some kind of fitness issue then - can you be in 2 point for 5 minutes at home doing any kind of riding or conditioning?

If the only time you are up in 2 point for 5 minutes is on a XC course you can work on that at home.

Maybe I missed something in an earlier post?

How long can you go in 2-point without beginning to feel uncomfortable? Can you work through it at all? What about 2 point without stirrups. If that makes it worse (come on faster) , then it's more likely fitness, because there won't be any pressure from stirrups.

asterix
Jun. 6, 2011, 06:01 PM
Hmm, if you are only ever IN 2 point for 5 minutes at a time when you show, then I may retract my "not a fitness issue" assessment.

I think I'm pretty fit but if I don't do my conditioning with my ponies I would absolutely be tired or cramped in some way at the end of a xc round! I would try and increase how long you can do this, gently, over time, at home, until you CAN go 5 minutes without cramping....

(although the jointed stirrups sound like they might be worth trying!)

besum1
Jun. 6, 2011, 06:10 PM
It really sounds like you are doing all the normal things that would work so I wonder if it's something physical with you? Somehow your blood flow is getting constricted in your legs?

Grasshopper might be onto something with knee alignment being your problem since you said you had patella issues? This sounds like something I'd ask your Dr about- maybe he's got insight?

if it is a knee related issue like other people have suggested jointed stirrups and lengthening your stirrups might help? My feet use to go numb in normal stirrups but haven't noticed that being a problem since I started riding in jointed ones- it's a thought!!!

Watermark Farm
Jun. 6, 2011, 06:35 PM
I have the same problem and find that besides a banana, taking a calcium/magnesium supplement really helps w/ cramping. My OB suggested this when I was pregnant and had a lot of leg cramps waking me up at night. She said the cramps were an indication that I was not getting enough magnesium in my diet.

JER
Jun. 6, 2011, 07:18 PM
What helps with cramps is pickle juice (http://sweatscience.com/pickle-juice-stops-muscle-cramps/). There are a lot of studies on this dating back about ten years.

But if you're getting cramps in your feet, the problem is more likely related to your feet and their position rather than metabolism or hydration (which should be done according to THIRST, same as every other freaking species on the planet, as raising overall fluid volume -- including with sports drinks -- has the effect of lowering your electrolyte concentrations, and hyponatremia is way more dangerous than dehydration).

I suggest seeing a chiropractor who focuses on foot/ankle adjustments (there is a technique devoted to this) and have her/him take a good look at your feet and lower body alignment. Bring your riding boots with you so the chiro can see how they fit your foot.

MontanaDun
Jun. 6, 2011, 07:24 PM
You might try Wendy Murdoch's stirrup shims.

http://murdochmethod.com/shop/product_info.php?cPath=15&products_id=180&MMsid=dqhn2ulvm6po2d4lks631g5rp6

glfprncs
Jun. 6, 2011, 07:38 PM
I know a lot of people (myself included) who would get the leg cramping and fatigue you described, but generally only during XC. What I found is that if I put my foot more 'home' in my stirrup, thus limiting the amount of weight I shoved down into my heels, it allowed more circulation through my lower leg and feet, thus minimizing the cramping and leg fatigue.

Vic_007
Jun. 7, 2011, 09:09 AM
I have the same problem and find that besides a banana, taking a calcium/magnesium supplement really helps w/ cramping. My OB suggested this when I was pregnant and had a lot of leg cramps waking me up at night. She said the cramps were an indication that I was not getting enough magnesium in my diet.

Thats true and frequent leg cramping is an indicator of not enough magnesium in the diet... When your pregnant, or when you get older, you tend to not get as much as you used to.

Which could be why taking an energy drink could patch the problem too... But like you said, getting more magnesium in the diet through foor or actual supplement is the way to go.

Dehydration will also cause cramping.

Heinz 57
Jun. 7, 2011, 01:49 PM
Hmm, if you are only ever IN 2 point for 5 minutes at a time when you show, then I may retract my "not a fitness issue" assessment.

I think I'm pretty fit but if I don't do my conditioning with my ponies I would absolutely be tired or cramped in some way at the end of a xc round! I would try and increase how long you can do this, gently, over time, at home, until you CAN go 5 minutes without cramping....

(although the jointed stirrups sound like they might be worth trying!)

I agree with this. You don't have to be cantering around a *course* for 5 minutes, even just doing a 5 minute canter set in two point is sufficient. Preferably also making circles, changing directions, and collecting/lengthening while you're doing it. I find that just parking in two point for five minutes is a lot easier than actually trying to RIDE the horse as if on course for 5 minutes.

Start slow, as asterix said. And wear a watch! I try to incorporate a few trot and canter sets into my daily routine and spend most of the time in two point with my reins bridged (or in one hand). It really helps! Can't wait til the fields open up so I can do some real galloping and not-so-boring trot sets.

FitToBeTied
Jun. 7, 2011, 02:06 PM
I used to have the same problem. I switched to the HS jointed stirrups and my boots always have a steel shank in the sole. So for tall boots I have some mountain horse boots. For riding at home I ride in Red Wing work boots that have a smooth sole. I find a lot of riding boots have very soft soles and that caused me a problem.

Blundstone used to make steel shanked boots but I think they went to carbon fiber instead. You can look at the Red Wings at the Southern States stores in the area. They are also much cheaper and more durable than typical paddock boots.

tm
Jun. 7, 2011, 02:36 PM
What helps with cramps is pickle juice (http://sweatscience.com/pickle-juice-stops-muscle-cramps/). There are a lot of studies on this dating back about ten years.

But if you're getting cramps in your feet, the problem is more likely related to your feet and their position rather than metabolism or hydration (which should be done according to THIRST, same as every other freaking species on the planet, as raising overall fluid volume -- including with sports drinks -- has the effect of lowering your electrolyte concentrations, and hyponatremia is way more dangerous than dehydration).

I suggest seeing a chiropractor who focuses on foot/ankle adjustments (there is a technique devoted to this) and have her/him take a good look at your feet and lower body alignment. Bring your riding boots with you so the chiro can see how they fit your foot.

This. And a chiro may remind you to do stretches like these (http://walking.about.com/gi/o.htm?zi=1/XJ&zTi=1&sdn=walking&cdn=health&tm=13&f=00&su=p284.9.336.ip_p674.8.336.ip_&tt=2&bt=1&bts=1&zu=http%3A//www.walkinghealthy.com/Stretching/ShinStretches01.asp). Or suggest the above, or supplements of trace minerals.

yellowbritches
Jun. 7, 2011, 02:41 PM
What JER said...pickle juice. Or anything with more vinegar (kill two birds with one stone- eat a salad a day with a vinegar based dressing!). I know a certain hard core cyclist who NEVER cramps and does 12 and 24hr mtb races and never gets why her team mates cramp so much. Someone read the whole pickle juice/vinegar thing, realized how many salads with balsamic vinaigrette she ate, and started drinking pickle juice at races to see if it would help the cramps. It did!

FWIW, I've been a big part of trying to get to the bottom of this with Fritt because she used to be in my barn. The one thing I always tried to get her to do was change her stirrups to a wider foot bed (can't remember if you actually ever tried it, though...all I remember is the comfort pads). I still might be worth a shot.

How's your core strength?? You're legs are strong, but are you doing any core training? Possibly getting your core really strong will take some of the pressure off your legs.

Otherwise, you can try the multiple sport type stuff like GU, Cliff Shots, Sport Legs (basically sure concentrated electrolytes), etc.

JER
Jun. 7, 2011, 02:57 PM
There's an accumulation of bad science on this thread. Magnesium, bananas, sports drinks, over-hydration -- those ideas are quite prevalent but not supported by science at the moment.

The excellent blog The Science of Sport (http://www.sportsscientists.com/) (written by two exercise science PhDs) has a good series on cramps, reminding us that it's time to throw out the old models:


In science when the available evidence does not support the hypothesis, we must change the model. Based on this available evidence we see clearly that dehydration and electrolyte levels are not associated with muscle cramping during or after exercise, and therefore we must adopt a different model to explain what is causing them. We cannot just ignore the data we have shown here and keep on telling people that it is dehydration and electrolytes when new evidence suggests otherwise.

Part 1: Theories and Fallacies of Muscle Cramps (http://www.sportsscientists.com/2007/11/muscle-cramps-part-1-theories-and.html)

Part 2: The Electrolyte Depletion Model of Muscle Cramps (http://www.sportsscientists.com/2007/11/muscle-cramps-part-1-theories-and.html) (this is the old model)

Part 3: A Novel Theory of Exercise-associated Muscle Cramps (http://www.sportsscientists.com/2007/11/muscle-cramp-part-iii.html)

Basically, Part 3 posits:

the take home message really is that "Fatigue causes cramps, by interfering with the normal balance of spinal reflex control - it switches on the alpha motor neuron and the muscle contracts involuntarily."

Part 4: Do sports drinks help to prevent muscle cramping? (http://www.sportsscientists.com/2007/11/sports-drinks-sweat-and-electrolytes.html)

Part 5: Practical Steps to Reduce and Control Muscle Cramping (http://www.sportsscientists.com/2007/12/muscle-cramps-part-v.html)

Also, if anyone is interested in learning the actual science of hydration, there's also a good series on that. This post -- Why waiting until you are thirsty is not too late (http://www.sportsscientists.com/2007/10/fluid-intake-dehydration-and-exercise_26.html) -- explains why thirst is a good measure for fluid intake.

Happy reading!

Heliodoro
Jun. 7, 2011, 03:33 PM
Happy reading!

Thank you for the reading and the knowledge behind it! Really neat to understand how "we" have gotten these anecdotal stories given to "us" as facts. Days like these, it's good to be a science geek :D !

On another note, I DO drink Gatorade on show days, but NOT for cramps. I am one of those gifted people with naturally low blood pressure, so when the heat/humidity goes up, I end up on the ground. I drink it for the salt to keep my BP up and for the carbs in it, as I cannot eat during shows (dang nerves!) and I need something to keep me going.

FrittSkritt
Jun. 7, 2011, 03:52 PM
Okay, photos are finally up:

http://www.photoreflect.com/store/ThumbPage.aspx?e=8063291&g=0EBK00EO1U

FWIW, I usually have my heels down on approach to a jump and try not to gallop with them sunk down. :D

Haven't read JER's articles yet, but I was a bit dehydrated that day -- basically peed at 11 AM and didn't go again until 5. Go figure that I shoved half a tube of Stress Dex down pony's throat because I felt he wasn't drinking enough. ;) (It worked.) I also guzzled a bottle of water between SJ and XC.

Old Fashioned
Jun. 7, 2011, 05:11 PM
I used to have that type of problem. I switched to the Herm Sprenger 4-way Stirrups and started take a magnesium supplement. The situation seems to be fixed now.

MattMan
Jun. 7, 2011, 06:22 PM
I banana doesn't give me enough potassium so I usually will start taking a potassium pill a few days before and during the show.... if its true muscle cramping that should sort it out... along with the other info above... water, etc...

JER
Jun. 7, 2011, 06:35 PM
I banana doesn't give me enough potassium so I usually will start taking a potassium pill a few days before and during the show.... if its true muscle cramping that should sort it out... along with the other info above... water, etc...

Hello?

From one (http://www.sportsscientists.com/2007/11/muscle-cramps-part-ii.html) of the articles I posted:


One study published in 1990 showed that there was no association between potassium levels and cramps. In that study cyclists rode for up to five hours. Some of the subjects did cramp, but their potassium levels were not uniformly high or low, thus showing no association between that variable and the cramps. However beyond that study (and one more that was presented at a conference but apparently not published) there is little real data out there to support or refute this hypothesis that dehydration or electrolyte disturbances cause cramps.

FrittSkritt
Jun. 8, 2011, 11:01 AM
Read through the whole series, thanks for the links, JER! I realize Gatorade is hyped as being a cure-all, but sometimes when you've been drinking water all day, you need something with a little flavor and glucose to keep you going. ;)

I wonder if Medical Mike has any training advice... :)

Bogie
Jun. 8, 2011, 11:18 AM
Jointed stirrups have made a big difference for me when out foxhunting. I used to have the same problem. I would gradually lose feeling in my toes.

Stirrups with a wider bed also help. Look at Endurance stirrups and you'll see a lot are wider and more padded.

Perhaps there needs to be an innovation for english stirrups!

ottb
Jun. 8, 2011, 11:45 AM
Banana works for me. And if I forget the banana - I always know it.

SecondInCommand
Jun. 8, 2011, 11:54 AM
I'm no expert, but looking at your pictures, it seems like you may have an underlying strength and/or balance issue. In many pictures where you would traditionally be out of the saddle, including galloping shots (http://www.photoreflect.com/store/Orderpage.aspx?pi=0EBK00EO1U0008&po=8&pc=47) and shots at the apex of a fence (http://www.photoreflect.com/store/Orderpage.aspx?pi=0EBK00EO1U0019&po=19&pc=47) you seem to be sitting. One of two common issues is often at the root of this: either lack of strength (both legs and core), or lack of balance (either rider-based or saddle-caused).

As others have suggested, perhaps try riding in your two point more at home, and you should find an improvement on both fronts. When that gets easy, jack up your stirrups and you'll really feel your quads burn! Then normal XC length will feel like a walk in the park :)

As for equipment, even if you're opposed to fancy bendy/wide footbed/offset etc irons, I would at the very least upgrade from peacocks. While you look tiny enough to blow away in a strong wind, I have a girlfriend with an 'ask me how I know' story about peacock irons not being meant to support an adult.

Good luck!!

JER
Jun. 8, 2011, 12:17 PM
Banana works for me. And if I forget the banana - I always know it.

How so?

Br J Sports Med. 2004 Aug;38(4):488-92.
Serum electrolyte concentrations and hydration status are not associated with exercise associated muscle cramping (EAMC) in distance runners. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15273192)
Schwellnus MP, Nicol J, Laubscher R, Noakes TD.

ake987
Jun. 8, 2011, 12:38 PM
How so?

Br J Sports Med. 2004 Aug;38(4):488-92.
Serum electrolyte concentrations and hydration status are not associated with exercise associated muscle cramping (EAMC) in distance runners. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15273192)
Schwellnus MP, Nicol J, Laubscher R, Noakes TD.


Anecdotal evidence > science :winkgrin:

JennieRose
Jun. 8, 2011, 12:55 PM
Anecdotal evidence > science :winkgrin:

Around here, we refer to it fondly as "anecdata". And I'm a social scientist in the land of the qualitative study. :)

FrittSkritt
Jun. 8, 2011, 01:01 PM
2nd in Command -- thanks. :) The galloping photo posted is actually on approach to a fence, so I was sitting a little more deeply in the saddle. Cass has a ridiculous jump to him, so I tend to "snap back" too quickly on the landing side. (Something we're working on.)

yellowbritches
Jun. 8, 2011, 01:06 PM
I'm no expert, but looking at your pictures, it seems like you may have an underlying strength and/or balance issue. In many pictures where you would traditionally be out of the saddle, including galloping shots (http://www.photoreflect.com/store/Orderpage.aspx?pi=0EBK00EO1U0008&po=8&pc=47) and shots at the apex of a fence (http://www.photoreflect.com/store/Orderpage.aspx?pi=0EBK00EO1U0019&po=19&pc=47) you seem to be sitting. One of two common issues is often at the root of this: either lack of strength (both legs and core), or lack of balance (either rider-based or saddle-caused).

As others have suggested, perhaps try riding in your two point more at home, and you should find an improvement on both fronts. When that gets easy, jack up your stirrups and you'll really feel your quads burn! Then normal XC length will feel like a walk in the park :)

As for equipment, even if you're opposed to fancy bendy/wide footbed/offset etc irons, I would at the very least upgrade from peacocks. While you look tiny enough to blow away in a strong wind, I have a girlfriend with an 'ask me how I know' story about peacock irons not being meant to support an adult.

Good luck!!
SecondInCommand, this isn't directed JUST at you, BUT...does no one read for content??

From Fritt's OP

I practice at least 4 times a week with yanking up my stirrups 8 holes and riding in half seat
How many of us actually do THAT?? And I know she does it, because I've ridden in the ring with her while she does it. So, yes. She practices.

As for the pictures...considering what the next picture is in the sequence (jumping into water), I think she was sitting in the galloping picture because she was preparing to make sure he was well and truly going to go. I don't think that was a "galloping between fences" gallop picture. She does also note in her OP that the cramping in her legs makes it nearly impossible for her to maintain a proper position on xc...hence the post. She seems to know that she is lacking in "strength" or fitness or something. As for the jumping picture, I'm not offended by it (better than butts sky high and in front of the pommel ala bad hunter riding) and I know that boy of hers has a crazy big jump.

Sorry...I think I'm hot and tired, but it always frustrates me when people don't actually seem to READ and comprehend what someone is telling them. She does due diligence at home, or at least she doesn't see why what she does at home doesn't seem to work at an event.

Fritt, we used to wonder if you held your breath, which certainly wouldn't help. As silly as it seems, maybe try singing or carrying a running monolog while on course. If your singing/talking, you're breathing. :yes:

yellowbritches
Jun. 8, 2011, 01:06 PM
Posted at the same time!

FrittSkritt
Jun. 8, 2011, 01:24 PM
As for the pictures...considering what the next picture is in the sequence (jumping into water), I think she was sitting in the galloping picture because she was preparing to make sure he was well and truly going to go. I don't think that was a "galloping between fences" gallop picture.

Actually, that pic wasn't before the water, it was a downhill approach to a ramp-y type fence... I think fence #4. :) Water jump (#16) was right after that weird little path in the woods.

Photo #46 is probably the best example I can think of of what I look like when I'm typically galloping: http://www.photoreflect.com/store/Orderpage.aspx?pi=0EBK00EO1U0045&po=45&pc=47

SecondInCommand
Jun. 8, 2011, 01:38 PM
SecondInCommand, this isn't directed JUST at you, BUT...does no one read for content??

From Fritt's OP

How many of us actually do THAT?? And I know she does it, because I've ridden in the ring with her while she does it. So, yes. She practices.

As for the pictures...considering what the next picture is in the sequence (jumping into water), I think she was sitting in the galloping picture because she was preparing to make sure he was well and truly going to go. I don't think that was a "galloping between fences" gallop picture. She does also note in her OP that the cramping in her legs makes it nearly impossible for her to maintain a proper position on xc...hence the post. She seems to know that she is lacking in "strength" or fitness or something. As for the jumping picture, I'm not offended by it (better than butts sky high and in front of the pommel ala bad hunter riding) and I know that boy of hers has a crazy big jump.

Sorry...I think I'm hot and tired, but it always frustrates me when people don't actually seem to READ and comprehend what someone is telling them. She does due diligence at home, or at least she doesn't see why what she does at home doesn't seem to work at an event.

Fritt, we used to wonder if you held your breath, which certainly wouldn't help. As silly as it seems, maybe try singing or carrying a running monolog while on course. If your singing/talking, you're breathing. :yes:

You definitely got me - I didn't re-read the entire thread before replying and forgot about that part. :)

As for the photos, perhaps I should have highlighted this (http://www.photoreflect.com/store/Orderpage.aspx?pi=0EBK00EO1U0008&po=8&pc=47) galloping photo instead. Given that Fritt is sitting in this one and up in the next one (http://www.photoreflect.com/store/Orderpage.aspx?pi=0EBK00EO1U0008&po=8&pc=47) which appears to taken during the next stride, I'm guessing it's a truer galloping shot.

I suppose I highlight that presuming fatigue, though. Fritt, are your legs truly cramping? Or are they fatigued? If it's the latter, you've likely got a very good suggestion from yellowbritches about breathing. If not breathing is the culprit, you could have this kicked in no time.

Your horse looks like a little firecracker, and you're a lovely rider. Best of luck!

NMK
Jun. 8, 2011, 01:57 PM
Hey Fritt I'm looking at your 46 photo and I think you are correct considering insoles...it appears that the footbed of your boots is "bending' which definitely causes that "asleep" cramp you get. I got a little of it in my new boots that don't have a super supportive foot bed. I got those $30 things you wrap around your stirrups to increase the size and add comfy to it--worked like a charm. They have them at BOB.

Nancy

FrittSkritt
Jun. 8, 2011, 01:58 PM
You definitely got me - I didn't re-read the entire thread before replying and forgot about that part. :)

As for the photos, perhaps I should have highlighted this (http://www.photoreflect.com/store/Orderpage.aspx?pi=0EBK00EO1U0008&po=8&pc=47) galloping photo instead. Given that Fritt is sitting in this one and up in the next one (http://www.photoreflect.com/store/Orderpage.aspx?pi=0EBK00EO1U0008&po=8&pc=47) which appears to taken during the next stride, I'm guessing it's a truer galloping shot.

I suppose I highlight that presuming fatigue, though. Fritt, are your legs truly cramping? Or are they fatigued? If it's the latter, you've likely got a very good suggestion from yellowbritches about breathing. If not breathing is the culprit, you could have this kicked in no time.

Your horse looks like a little firecracker, and you're a lovely rider. Best of luck!

I'd say more fatigued than cramping: they definitely feel stiff/sore once I'm done, but I'm not limping around for the rest of the day.

I'm telling you, this would be freaking genius for breathing issues: http://www.tri-medinc.com/TM/mod24_26.jpg Too bad I'm already wearing an 8 lb vest...

He's a good boy... a total saint. :yes: I'd say this is the best set of photos I've seen of myself in terms of jumping position... and I'm VERY critical of myself. Good thing they didn't take one of the Trahkener, because I pecked that one pretty badly. ;)

yellowbritches
Jun. 8, 2011, 02:38 PM
Fritt, I know you don't want to hear it, but the teenager had a stability issue with her peacock stirrups. I thought maybe because they don't have the most even of weight distribution that maybe she was having a hard time getting her weight evenly distributed down into them. We switched her out (think we went to jointed), and the issue is much reduced (her new saddle helps, too!). She's long legged like you, and probably suffers a little bit of the same issue when it comes to the barrel of her horse (her long legs on a pony and your longer legs on narrow-ish Cass). I know that going from brick s**t house Vernon to greyhound Toby, that I can get fatigued and crampy in my legs, so I think barrel shape does come into play. Just a thought. May be worth trying different stirrups for an event or two.

DinkDunk
Jun. 8, 2011, 03:51 PM
I don't ride XC, but I did get numb feet - until I switched to wide footbed stirrups. I'm too cheap to buy the real ones, so I get these knockoff's:

http://www.doversaddlery.com/product.asp?pn=X1-0742&tid=froogle&CATALOG_CODE=1X814&EID=X1814001&zmam=1460880&zmas=1&zmac=88&zmap=X1-0742

They're still "hi-tech." Snort.

FrittSkritt
Jun. 8, 2011, 04:19 PM
I contacted Martin, the owner of MDC Stirrups, who recommended the flexible "Super Sport" stirrups with the wide tread and is shipping me a pair. (Go figure that I then found them online for $30 cheaper than what he charged... :p)

RAyers
Jun. 8, 2011, 04:45 PM
Photo #46 is probably the best example I can think of of what I look like when I'm typically galloping: http://www.photoreflect.com/store/Orderpage.aspx?pi=0EBK00EO1U0045&po=45&pc=47


This explains the whole issue. Your eyes are closed and you have a flak jacket on. I suggest riding with your eyes open. It also helps with the fence finding.

Reed

purplnurpl
Jun. 8, 2011, 05:43 PM
Read through the whole series, thanks for the links, JER! I realize Gatorade is hyped as being a cure-all, but sometimes when you've been drinking water all day, you need something with a little flavor and glucose to keep you going. ;)

I wonder if Medical Mike has any training advice... :)

I buy the little 8 pak of Sunny D. : )
For some reason it seems that those sugary drinks are colder on hot days as well.

As for Fritt:
I think you're just weird.
;)
(you guys are soooo cute on XC!)

purplnurpl
Jun. 8, 2011, 05:51 PM
Fritt, we used to wonder if you held your breath, which certainly wouldn't help. As silly as it seems, maybe try singing or carrying a running monolog while on course. If your singing/talking, you're breathing. :yes:

this was my problem. I didn't really figure it out or have to fix it until I started running Prelim with Boomer.
Pine Top had a 6 minute course in 2008.
at min 5 I was DONE. Apparently I can hold my breath for 5 minutes only. :lol:

I couldn't even sit up in my saddle.
I sat the rest of the course and tapped my horse on the shoulder with my stick to make him go--and held on to his mane. I could not close my leg.

In my case lack of O2 turned me into mush....I was ANYTHING but cramped...

not sure if lack of O2 would cause the leg cramping...

to kick the issue I had to breath like I was in labor while on course.
:rolleyes:

or, you could try turning your toe out a little bit. That will work your muscles a little differently.

Dawnd
Jun. 8, 2011, 06:12 PM
I think most are offering lots of great things to try (especially Reed). And it sounds like you are really working out enough.

My initial reaction was that your stirrups might be on the long side?

And again, I would try jump squats as many and as fast as you can perhaps holding a small amount of weight like a kettle ball or medicine ball (prob around 8 lb) and really force yourself to work under stress.

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xg38a4_bodyweight-jump-squats-plyometric-workout_school

fooler
Jun. 8, 2011, 10:09 PM
Fritt, you have good basic leg position, but something is "bugging me." And I may well be off base. ;)
It looks like you have a tenancy for holding your legs in position with some gripping or pinching with your knees. This keeps your weight from falling through to your feet. Take a look at pictures 21, 28, 31, 39-42, 46. #42 shows you almost pivoting, but you have enough skills to stay mostly in balance. #46 is a good example of what I see, knees in - lower leg away from the horse's side.
What I don't know is - are your stirrups so uncomfortable that you can't really use them or if you need to 'open your hips' so that you can sink in your legs and feet. Try different stirrups as others have noted. Also from a standing position move into a gallop/jump position. Note whether your knees naturally move inward or if you open your hips with the knees and lower legs parallel. You have knee issues and may be unconsciously compensating.

Many years ago Jimmy Wofford made an observation of fellow boarder who rode much like you. Jimmy said the individual needed to put more weight in the ankles. Made sense to me because many of us try so hard to put our heels down that we stiffen the leg.

You guys are well matched - good luck!

PS - Please let me know if my observations are valid or not. Always working on improving my eye.:yes:

FrittSkritt
Jun. 9, 2011, 11:36 AM
fooler - you're right, I tend to kind of grip with my thighs/knees because I have a horrible habit of throwing my shoulders forward and jumping ahead. (Ironically, wearing the Exo seems to actually help with that because it's harder for me to fling my body up his neck with a heavier vest on.) I also find myself doing some very weird things on the landing side of a fence when he jumps really big, e.g., my butt pops up over the cantle.

The balls of my feet end up hurting so much that I tend to sort of pivot my foot around in the stirrup to help disperse the weight, and I think that may be part of the problem.

39-42 was actually two of the best jumps on course because I didn't jump ahead, and got a nice 4 showjumping strides between the two fences (hence the huge grin on the other side, because it rode SO well). He's kind of a difficult ride sometimes because he can be really brave, but then spook like an idiot at a patch of dirt.

Reed - har har har. ;) How about developing an integrated oxygen tank in the Exo for me? :winkgrin:

fooler
Jun. 9, 2011, 12:38 PM
Fritt - thanks for the feedback.

Agree those were nice fences.

That you are uncomfortable standing on your feet is a problem. Check out different stirrups so that your feet are comfortable. Also you may need to do some special exercises to help with your knee issue.
Next step is to stop gripping with your thighs and knees. Easier said than done, as it is a bad habit that I had to unlearn.;)
Work on opening your hips so that you can open your stance on the horse. Right now your legs are 2 side of a triangle from your hips. You want to change that to a parallelogram, so that your knee and lower legs are equal distance from each other. An improved stance will allow you to sink down and wrap your legs around the horse's barrel. Then you are better able to deal with his big jump.
Talk to your trainer and about this. Again you two are a good match.

GotSpots
Jun. 9, 2011, 01:04 PM
Fritt - is there any chance you tend to torque your foot, particularly when you get fatigued? From the photos, it looks like you might want to roll your ankle a bit, putting weight into the outside instead of the inside of your foot. That not only weakens one's base of support, but puts a lot of stress on your joints. What happens if you shift weight to the inside as you sink weight through your ankles? It puts your ankles closer to the horse, tightens your leg, and generally keeps the cramping down (I've found - as a fellow ankle roller - I've gone around the last three jumps of a course all but leaning on the outside edge of my foot).

OTTB FTW
Jun. 9, 2011, 02:29 PM
I think you have some great suggestions here. Things that have helped me with the fatigue issue:

BREATHING harder than it would seem necessary, as I have asthma. I get the fatigue when I START to ride, and when my heart finally gets beating faster and my breath comes faster it goes away. Someone mentioned breathing like in labor lol, and thats what seems to help me. I have to say, that it isn't minor pain, its excruciating, seriously. My doctor tested me for MS lol. If you hold your breath, maybe that's the cause, or part of it.

Fatigue on course: I pinch with my knees if I'm not careful, no fatigue when I don't. Sometimes I catch myself riding with thighs clenched to hold me in place (which really doesn't work...who knows) and if I concentrate on relaxing my legs and focusing on my feet and ankles, while standing just a bit in the stirrups it doesn't happen.

One anecdotal experience that might hold some sort of clue for you, maybe others could explain the cause and remedy that worked for me:

Got up in the AM, and went to the barn, noticed my thighs felt a bit tired. Was teaching a lesson in the AM before going off to ride in a Derby-X. Was walking around and had severe muscle fatigue, and weakness. Nothing I did the day before was any different than any day. It got progressively worse as I walked and I wondered if I even would get home. Cramp in hamstring on right leg began, and I was weak and shaky in both. It was legs only, however those were the only muscles I was really using at the time. It was so uncomfortable that I had to go home and sit. I was upset at missing the Derby-X for no apparent reason. Looked up the old theories of muscle cramping online. Drank a huge glass of Pedialyte with extra added salt, and a few glasses of water. 20 min later, the fatigue was gone, and the hamstring cramp as well. Went and rode in the Derby-X without a problem.

I read the blog JER posted, and the new hypothesis presented. Don't know why that worked for me, and so quickly. My guess is experiences like that along with the marketing for sports products are why people stick with the electrolyte and hydration theories, despite it just being anecdotal evidence. Getting to ride in the Derby-X after all will have me try that remedy again if it ever happens lol.

ottb
Jun. 9, 2011, 03:03 PM
How so?

Br J Sports Med. 2004 Aug;38(4):488-92.
Serum electrolyte concentrations and hydration status are not associated with exercise associated muscle cramping (EAMC) in distance runners. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15273192)
Schwellnus MP, Nicol J, Laubscher R, Noakes TD. I'm not a Dr and I don't even play 1 on TV. Call it placebo effect if it makes u happy. My N=1 says banana works for me. I don't need to read a study to prove that I'm full of it. Often on hot/humid days if I haven't had a banana I get significant cramping after XC. If I've had a banana never happens. I never said it was causing her cramps... Only that it works for me. :)

JER
Jun. 9, 2011, 04:22 PM
I read the blog JER posted, and the new hypothesis presented. Don't know why that worked for me, and so quickly.

Well, by your own admission, you had to 'go home and sit.' Your hamstring was cramping while you were standing and walking, and then you sat down. Guess what? That changes the hamstrings quite a bit, which goes a long way toward relieving a cramp.

You also had some glucose. That can make you feel better for sure. The glucose effect is like the pickle juice effect, in that it starts when the glucose hits the oral membranes. You don't actually need to ingest it as the glycogen prompt seems to be part of a neuromuscular circuit.

There's also the placebo effect, which is one of our most important and most powerful medical tools. You do something to make yourself feel 'better', then you feel better. :) Personally, I love when it works that way for me.


My guess is experiences like that along with the marketing for sports products are why people stick with the electrolyte and hydration theories, despite it just being anecdotal evidence.

Don't forget that the sports drink/supplement companies also fund 'studies' through 'research organizations' like the Gatorade Institute. Truly independent analysis isn't as easy to find and those papers -- the ones that don't support commercial sports drinks/supplements -- don't get much publicity because there's no PR or marketing dept to tout them.

A lot of the good work on this subject comes via the University of Cape Town -- the two big names are Martin Schwellnus and Tim Noakes.

MattMan
Jun. 9, 2011, 04:45 PM
I am still going to stick with the potassium.... I know without a doubt that it works for me... and there is plenty of research to show that your muscles need it.

-Potassium is a mineral (electrolyte) in the body. Almost 98% of potassium is found inside the cells. Small changes in the level of potassium that is present outside the cells can have severe effects on the heart, nerves, and muscles.

Potassium is important to maintain several bodily functions:

* Muscles need potassium to contract.

Potassium is also a vital mineral for other bodily functions, including the muscular system. If potassium levels get too low, you may begin to experience numbness or a tingling sensation in your outer extremities. Often this symptom is accompanied by a spasm or cramping of the muscles in either the legs or the arms. -

Just because some cyclist in top form do not have potassium irregularities doesn't mean someone else will not.

FrittSkritt
Jun. 9, 2011, 05:00 PM
Also, isn't magnesium related to muscle/neurological function? (I know we're talking about potassium here...) E.g., you give magnesium to spastic horses to help calm them down. ;)

OTTB FTW
Jun. 9, 2011, 09:51 PM
This explains the whole issue. Your eyes are closed and you have a flak jacket on. I suggest riding with your eyes open. It also helps with the fence finding.

Reed

Your ass was too shiny up ahead of her....

OTTB FTW
Jun. 9, 2011, 09:55 PM
Fritt - is there any chance you tend to torque your foot, particularly when you get fatigued? From the photos, it looks like you might want to roll your ankle a bit, putting weight into the outside instead of the inside of your foot. That not only weakens one's base of support, but puts a lot of stress on your joints. What happens if you shift weight to the inside as you sink weight through your ankles? It puts your ankles closer to the horse, tightens your leg, and generally keeps the cramping down (I've found - as a fellow ankle roller - I've gone around the last three jumps of a course all but leaning on the outside edge of my foot).

Another fellow ankle roller, and the outside of my foot presses hard on the outside of the stirrup branch causing tingling and numbness. Stupid multiple ankle sprains... No new stirrup needed, just foot repositioning. Probably worth a try for you.

jetsmom
Jun. 10, 2011, 02:19 AM
Fritt, I know you don't want to hear it, but the teenager had a stability issue with her peacock stirrups. I thought maybe because they don't have the most even of weight distribution that maybe she was having a hard time getting her weight evenly distributed down into them. We switched her out (think we went to jointed), and the issue is much reduced (her new saddle helps, too!). She's long legged like you, and probably suffers a little bit of the same issue when it comes to the barrel of her horse (her long legs on a pony and your longer legs on narrow-ish Cass). I know that going from brick s**t house Vernon to greyhound Toby, that I can get fatigued and crampy in my legs, so I think barrel shape does come into play. Just a thought. May be worth trying different stirrups for an event or two.

I was going to post the same thing after looking at the pics.
Get some regular fillis irons. I know eventers like more foot in the stirrup, but try just a little less. In many pics, your stirrup is on your arch.

I do hav to say, I LOVE how soft you are with your horse. And you look so nonchalant...like, "oh, it's a water jump, how nice, ho hum..."