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mrs.smith
Jul. 12, 2011, 04:47 PM
Another post got me thinking about my riding position. For years, I've always ridden with my right stirrup one hole longer than the left. I've done this no matter what type of saddle, western, dressage or close contact. I've always dismissed this as my right leg being longer than my left (possible, as I have mild scoliosis. However, it also could be that I ride crooked to that side.

My dressage instructor has never mentioned me being crooked, but it is a possibility (I am somewhat new to dressage). Does anyone else ride with uneven stirrups, or anyone used to and has found a good exercise to correct this?

Equibrit
Jul. 12, 2011, 05:00 PM
I once was a demonstration rider for a USDF Instructors clinic. I cleaned my saddle the night before and left one stirrup leather about 5" longer than the other. Was rushed in to the ring without a chance to make the adjustment, so just left it, and was expecting somebody to notice. Nobody did.

Give and Take
Jul. 12, 2011, 05:00 PM
i ride with my right a half hole longer so i keep my weight in my stirrups more evenly. lots of scar tissue around my right ankle left me feeling like my right knee was way higher.

having your weight even is more important, imo, and being adept at moving it evenly from side to side.

horses mirror so much of our crookedness...

stryder
Jul. 12, 2011, 05:14 PM
My stirrups are uneven, but I don't think I'm crooked. One hip is stickier than the other and so that leg doesn't drape as well. And I don't have any trouble riding without stirrups, so I don't think my weight is uneven, either.

yaya
Jul. 12, 2011, 10:46 PM
I've ridden with my right stirrup longer than my left (sometimes 2 or 3 holes!) for over thirty years, through multiple disciplines. Started when I broke my ankle when I was 12, which also caused hip issues. A chiropractor has helped, and my stirrups are almost even now.

But all this time, every instructor I've had has commented on how well-balanced I ride, (I also tend to ride with a loose girth), so I don't think uneven stirrups has ever been a detriment for me.

altershmalter
Jul. 12, 2011, 11:16 PM
There was on Olympian who's name is escaping me right now, who rode with un-even stirrups.

candysgirl
Jul. 12, 2011, 11:29 PM
I ride with my right stirrup a hole longer than the left. My instructors have never commented that I'm sitting unevenly though. I have an old knee injury though and it actually feels like they're even when I have the right one a hole longer.

Dogsandponies
Jul. 13, 2011, 12:31 AM
I, too, ride with stirrups of unequal length. I started doing this when I noticed (don't ask me how) that my left leg is longer than my right. Up until that point, I had always felt like I was reaching for my right stirrup and now I feel, and am, square and even.
Good post- I have wondered the same thing.

Simbalism
Jul. 13, 2011, 12:34 AM
I ride with my right stirrup one hole lower than my left. I did break my hip years ago and this is what makes me feel balanced.

Pocket Pony
Jul. 13, 2011, 01:07 AM
I've ridden with my left stirrup a half hole to one hole longer than my right forever, it seems. I never feel like they are even. Finally I took a look at my stirrups BEFORE I mounted, and they were already uneven! :lol: Now I make adjustments to my saddle with my stirrups dropped and on the same holes before I mount and I must say it makes a difference if they start out properly balanced! :winkgrin:

CFFarm
Jul. 13, 2011, 11:34 AM
If you always mount from the left I would think the leather and even the hanger would stretch somewhat unless you make a habit of switching the leathers. And as no rider or horse is perfectly straight I say, "whatever works".:D

angel
Jul. 13, 2011, 03:32 PM
Most, if not all of us are crooked. The problem with riding with one stirrup different from the other is that does not fix the upper body crookedness. The crookedness through the rider's shoulders leads to incorrect contact with the horse's mouth.

When the stirrups are equal, the rider can work more to develop the feeling of equal weight in the stirrups by adjusting through the shoulder area. I have also noticed that when I ride a horse whose barrel better fits the width of my pelvis, the stirrups do not seem to be as much an issue.

Previously, I had ridden smaller horses, with one of those even being slab-sided. I am now riding a 16' horse, and suddenly, my leg position is not the problem it was previously. Still have to watch where those shoulders are going though. Sigh!

netg
Jul. 13, 2011, 04:56 PM
Most, if not all of us are crooked. The problem with riding with one stirrup different from the other is that does not fix the upper body crookedness. The crookedness through the rider's shoulders leads to incorrect contact with the horse's mouth.

When the stirrups are equal, the rider can work more to develop the feeling of equal weight in the stirrups by adjusting through the shoulder area. I have also noticed that when I ride a horse whose barrel better fits the width of my pelvis, the stirrups do not seem to be as much an issue.

Previously, I had ridden smaller horses, with one of those even being slab-sided. I am now riding a 16' horse, and suddenly, my leg position is not the problem it was previously. Still have to watch where those shoulders are going though. Sigh!

That's a tall horse! ;)


I agree that you shouldn't address just "length of leg" but all evenness. I know I can't tell my own unevenness without someone else pointing it out to me. Sometimes a leg truly is longer - but usually one hip is more relaxed than the other, so that leg hangs longer - and the legs put uneven pressure on the horse keeping it from being straight, plus weight, shoulders, etc., are all uneven as well. Physical issues of course mean you balance things out and do the best you can. So if you have a hip which was injured, you do your best, but realize you may have unevenness due to your physical limitations. Horses can do surprisingly large amounts to compensate for our crookedness, too, so if you have your own horse you could well be straight and forward even if you sit a little crooked!

purplnurpl
Jul. 13, 2011, 05:33 PM
i ride with my right a half hole longer so i keep my weight in my stirrups more evenly. lots of scar tissue around my right ankle left me feeling like my right knee was way higher.

having your weight even is more important, imo, and being adept at moving it evenly from side to side.

horses mirror so much of our crookedness...

I have 20% more dorsiflexsion in my right ankle there fore if I leave my stirrups even then my right leg is longer.
I have to hike that stirrup up 1/2 a hole and shove that foot in the stirrup further otherwise my toe ends up pointing just about straight up.
I think the term for my oddness is: hyper-mobile.

Also, no body has two legs that are exactly the same length--
just something to think about.


Also, I had a bad fall a year ago that damaged my left lower leg. Achilles tendon, gastrocsoleus complex, and bruised my tibia. I could not put my foot down flat for quite a while but hopped up in the saddle as soon as I could hobble to the mounting block.

I had to raise that stirrup up 6 holes to make up for not putting my heal down.
6 HOLES!! Makes you realize how much relaxing your leg and having your heals down LENGTHENS your leg. :yes:

nasalberry
Jul. 13, 2011, 05:42 PM
Yes. I ride with left stirrup 1 hole shorter: Bilateral multiple pelvic fracture 3+ decades ago left my left leg shorter by at least 3/4 inch.

CosMonster
Jul. 13, 2011, 06:55 PM
As with most things regarding horses, my answer would be "it depends." It certainly can be a sign of rider crookedness, but many people also do have physical reasons to ride with uneven stirrups as this thread shows. ;)

I do think it often is a sign of crookedness, though. If there is nothing physically wrong with you and you prefer uneven stirrups, you probably should really carefully evaluate your riding (preferably by going to an instructor who has a good eye for equitation--and that's not all of them) to make sure you don't have some subtle unevenness (or at least, more than we all do :lol:).

But sometimes it just doesn't mean anything, or it means that you need to switch your stirrup leathers out more often because one is stretched out. :lol:

mrs.smith
Jul. 13, 2011, 07:12 PM
Thanks for all your replies. I feel normal now. :) Honestly, with my stirrups even the right one always feels too short so I lower it a hole and I'm good to go.

hrsmstr
Jul. 13, 2011, 07:17 PM
But sometimes it just doesn't mean anything, or it means that you need to switch your stirrup leathers out more often because one is stretched out. :lol:[/QUOTE]


Oh my gosh. Light dawns on me. It never occurred to me. Thank you. (and I'm not even the originator of the thread.)

hrsmstr
Jul. 13, 2011, 07:24 PM
This thread has got me thinking. I ride bareback often. I prefer it, honestly, although I won't go trail riding bareback. I don't bounce as well as I used to in my youth.

Is it possible to ride bareback and still be crooked? What if the HORSE is crooked, i.e. one shoulder built up more than the other? Do we compensate for that when riding bareback?

slight
Jul. 13, 2011, 07:34 PM
I love bareback riding too :). It's kind of like the fountain of youth for me and takes me back to pony days.

I ride with my right leather one hole shorter...no instructor has ever mentioned it. I also tried even stirrups with the outcome of feeling like I was reaching for my stirrup (I've tried many times, and have come to the conclusion of many here: it's O.K! )

As to the horse making us crooked, or vice versa - absolutely! I tried a gelding that made me walk like a pirate when I dismounted (he was pretty off poor guy).

A vet that one of my boarders had out addressed this issue and said he can always tell the physical issues of the rider by the way a horse goes. Interesting!

Kaluna
Jul. 13, 2011, 08:41 PM
Thanks for all your replies. I feel normal now. :) Honestly, with my stirrups even the right one always feels too short so I lower it a hole and I'm good to go.

I'd say that unless you have a physical injury/issue you're probably crooked in the saddle. More people are crooked than you'd think. Why not fix it if you can? Ride without stirrups and take lunge lessons to improve your seat. Then see where your stirrups should be. Ride a horse who will go crooked if you sit crooked so you can really see how straight (or not) you seat is. I don't know anyone who rides with uneven stirrups who doesn't have a physical issue.

Arathita
Jul. 13, 2011, 09:38 PM
I'd say that unless you have a physical injury/issue you're probably crooked in the saddle. More people are crooked than you'd think. Why not fix it if you can? Ride without stirrups and take lunge lessons to improve your seat. Then see where your stirrups should be. Ride a horse who will go crooked if you sit crooked so you can really see how straight (or not) you seat is. I don't know anyone who rides with uneven stirrups who doesn't have a physical issue.

Yes.

CosMonster
Jul. 13, 2011, 09:39 PM
Oh my gosh. Light dawns on me. It never occurred to me. Thank you. (and I'm not even the originator of the thread.)

:lol: Glad I could help. I learned in Pony Club to switch my leathers every time I cleaned my saddle to avoid that, since pretty much everyone's stirrups stretch unevenly due to mounting primarily on the left side and the fact that most riders weight one stirrup a little more. Never heard it mentioned outside of PC, though! I've gotten in other people's saddles and found the stirrups to be wildly uneven despite being on the same numbered hole just because they never swapped them. ;)

MEHDressage
Jul. 13, 2011, 11:42 PM
I sometimes ride with a certain stirrup a half of a hole or a full hole longer than the other, but it is usually on how I feel in the saddle (saddle searching :/). Make sure your stirrup leathers are even, but if your horse feels even going both directions, it shouldn't be a problem.

HappyTalk
Jul. 14, 2011, 10:00 AM
I have one leg slightly shorter than the other and I wear a lift in my shoe to even things out. I also wear the lift in the my boot and ride with my stirrups even.

Lost_at_C
Jul. 14, 2011, 10:10 AM
I generally agree with Kaluna but the caveat is that most human beings have naturally developed crookedness in some way or other... just like horses do. However, we need to work on straightening ourselves both in the saddle and out, rather than compensating with uneven stirrup length. Working on it in the saddle alone doesn't suffice - the best thing you can do is find a good physio, yoga teacher, Alexander teacher or the like who can spot the origination of your natural crookedness for you and suggest ways of correcting it.

HydroPHILE
Jul. 14, 2011, 10:17 AM
I've always dismissed this as my right leg being longer than my left (possible, as I have mild scoliosis. However, it also could be that I ride crooked to that side.

If I don't ride with one stirrup slightly longer than the other, I am in pain. I also have scoliosis (of course, I wasn't diagnosed until five years ago. So much for those, "bend over, and touch your toes" examinations,) and my ortho. doc has attributed the need to do so due to the malformation of my spine and its affect on, well, everything.

hrsmstr
Jul. 14, 2011, 06:05 PM
As to the horse making us crooked, or vice versa - absolutely! I tried a gelding that made me walk like a pirate when I dismounted (he was pretty off poor guy

Did you have to make the Arrrrrrrr sound? ;-)