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oxLetsGoCanterxo
Feb. 26, 2012, 10:49 PM
I have a really bad habit of turning my toes waaay out. No matter how hard I try, my toe is still too far out. I am really good with sinking my weight down in my heels and I have a very flexible heel and ankle also. In fact, I stretch my heels daily. My trainer kind of put my foot at the angle it should be....and it actually hurt my ankle and felt uncomfortable. I keep the stirrup angled across my foot and everything. I don't know if it is the anatomy of my foot or what....but any suggestions?? Thanks.
Here is a picture of me riding...just to get an idea...
(sorry if you don't use facebook)

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=368174713207123&set=a.368174256540502.89834.100000437911792&type=3&theater

collegialequestrian
Feb. 26, 2012, 11:31 PM
It probably isn't an issue of ankle flexibility, but muscle memory. You need to get in the habit of putting your weight where it needs to be--in your heels--but without hyperflexing your ankles.

Try rolling your feet very slightly inward (not so much that it's uncomfortable) so that some weight shifts to your pinky toes. That will keep your stirrups from slipping and it should keep the angle of the stirrup.

Also make sure you're squeezing with the correct part of your leg--you shouldn't be kicking or nudging with your heel, but rather with the inside of your calf. Differentiating between using your calf vs. using your heel is essential if you ever use spurs.

Hope that helps.

Laurierace
Feb. 27, 2012, 08:49 AM
Your link doesn't work so I am just guessing but a lot of time the toes turning out too much comes from higher up.

DarkStarrx
Feb. 27, 2012, 08:54 AM
I had this problem, and it does come from higher up, you have to connect through your thighes, and sort of push your knees down the flap. Make sure you're keeping your leg underneath of you as well.

classicsporthorses
Feb. 27, 2012, 10:37 AM
Actually it comes from your hips. If you do not have the flexibility in your hips/seat bones, then you can't get around your horse. Riding with your toes out opens your hips and pelvis angles and makes the rider ride on top of their horse instead around the horse.

It also makes the rider ride with the back of the calf more. It's a strength and stretch thing. Also, check your stirrup leather length and make sure iron is in the correct place.

I tell my riders, especially the beginners, "toes to the nose". Stay at the walk until you have this mastered. Second work on stretching the muscles of the leg-upper and lower. At first it may hurt like heck, but once the muscles stretch and gain new memory it will be easier and you will notice a great improvement in your riding.

One of the best exercises I do with my students is have them ride bareback, at the walk on a nice round horse-I have a few so hopefully you have one available. If not use the horse you have. Think of your position I just talked about and you have to come around your horse in order to stay on (bareback). Hope this helps and feel free to PM is you want more assistance.

Mad Mare
Feb. 27, 2012, 10:56 AM
. . .Try rolling your feet very slightly inward (not so much that it's uncomfortable) so that some weight shifts to your pinky toes. That will keep your stirrups from slipping and it should keep the angle of the stirrup.. . .

That's a great way to rip the achilles tendon and/or develop plantar fasciitis. Ask me how I know.

Toes forward comes from the hip, not the knees or ankles or rolling your foot in the stirrup by putting weight on the little toe.

Work on rotating your hips outwards, not forcing your foot into a pretzel.

You can do this by standing in your stirrups: rotate your legs from the hip so that your knees touch the saddle. Sit straight down and let the inside of your knee caps brush the flaps. You'll see your toes pointed forward. Any time you lose the position, stand, rotate, sit.

Eileen

pattnic
Feb. 27, 2012, 02:16 PM
The problem probably originates in the hips, rather than the ankles. Start there - make sure your inner thigh is against the horse, rather than letting it roll open/out (so that the back of your thigh is against the horse).

pattnic
Feb. 27, 2012, 02:25 PM
Actually it comes from your hips. If you do not have the flexibility in your hips/seat bones, then you can't get around your horse. Riding with your toes out opens your hips and pelvis angles and makes the rider ride on top of their horse instead around the horse.

It also makes the rider ride with the back of the calf more. It's a strength and stretch thing. Also, check your stirrup leather length and make sure iron is in the correct place.

I tell my riders, especially the beginners, "toes to the nose". Stay at the walk until you have this mastered. Second work on stretching the muscles of the leg-upper and lower. At first it may hurt like heck, but once the muscles stretch and gain new memory it will be easier and you will notice a great improvement in your riding.

One of the best exercises I do with my students is have them ride bareback, at the walk on a nice round horse-I have a few so hopefully you have one available. If not use the horse you have. Think of your position I just talked about and you have to come around your horse in order to stay on (bareback). Hope this helps and feel free to PM is you want more assistance.

Basically everything classicsporthorses said, with the exception of what I bolded. It is not necessarily a problem with lack of flexibility in the hips, though it can be.

trabern
Feb. 27, 2012, 03:20 PM
You might check out the thread "standing at the canter" and try the exercises detailed in the last 2 pages of the thread at all gaits. Work your legs out by standing straight up (clear the seat but knees bent), balance there with even pressure down your leg around the horse's barrel, and slowly slowly lower (while your quads SCREAM at you) lightly into the saddle. Check your feet--they are likely straight as an arrow to the front.

Also, I cannot get your pic to work, do you by chance have a saddle with hugely padded knee blocks that push your knees out? I had a student whose knee was kind of forced out by the knee rolls and caused her to habitually point toes out. Try riding for awhile in a minimalist saddle like an older Crosby PDN, or bareback, with focus on putting inside flat of thighs along the sides of the horse.

classicsporthorses
Feb. 27, 2012, 05:42 PM
To clarify, The muscles of your hips, and those of the front and back of your legs and those of your lower back insert/attach on your pelvis.

You the rider have to have flexibility on this area in order to bring your legs around and your pelvis to relax so the legs stay in the position they need to be to come around your horse.

Try sitting cross legged on the floor. Draw your legs in just a touch. Now lean forward. Oh yes, feel that stretch.

chi.adult.hunter
Feb. 27, 2012, 05:59 PM
I almost cringe to write this, because I'm sure the days of this being acceptable have passed... However,

When I was a kid, my trainer took bailing twine and tied my stirrups to the girth. When the twine was tied to the right "tightness," I COULDN'T turn my toes dramatically outwards. This gave me the "feel" of toes forward, which I was able to replicate after the twine had been removed.

I'm sure that doing the above was not the safest thing in the world (even though, at the time, it was done under a professional's supervision). Maybe the 'safe' alternative is to do this with Peacock stirrups, or to try the exercise on a sturdy saddle stand - just so you can feel that "toes to the nose" stretch.

lucky_jump253
Feb. 27, 2012, 07:10 PM
I have the same issue. Too much ballet I guess:) Really, the only thing I can do about it is just work on developing the muscle memory. I'm a lot better about it than I used to be, but they still turn out more than they should when I'm cantering though. Practice practice practice!!

Mad Mare
Feb. 27, 2012, 07:34 PM
I have the same issue. Too much ballet I guess:) Really, the only thing I can do about it is just work on developing the muscle memory. I'm a lot better about it than I used to be, but they still turn out more than they should when I'm cantering though. Practice practice practice!!

Lucky_Jump,

Practice the first position -- backwards. Instead of heel to heel, you want to be toe to toe. Knees straight, feet flat on the floor. Once you get that, bend backwards. I do this before every ride and it sure stretches those hips out.

Eileen

pattnic
Feb. 27, 2012, 09:12 PM
I almost cringe to write this, because I'm sure the days of this being acceptable have passed... However,

When I was a kid, my trainer took bailing twine and tied my stirrups to the girth. When the twine was tied to the right "tightness," I COULDN'T turn my toes dramatically outwards. This gave me the "feel" of toes forward, which I was able to replicate after the twine had been removed.

I'm sure that doing the above was not the safest thing in the world (even though, at the time, it was done under a professional's supervision). Maybe the 'safe' alternative is to do this with Peacock stirrups, or to try the exercise on a sturdy saddle stand - just so you can feel that "toes to the nose" stretch.

Aww, hell, I still do this! I use velcro straps, however - they're secure enough to hold until normal pressure, but will give if need be. It is a very useful tool.

Also, OP, if you have short legs (can't see your pic), and especially if you also ride wide horses, it may be a compensation mechanism. Doesn't make it right, but just sayin'...

classicsporthorses - thanks for clarifying, and I think that in most cases you are right... but I maintain that it *is* perfectly possible to be very flexible and still have this issue! (Perhaps not common, but possible! :)) Sadly, my personal experience has taught me this! :lol:

oxLetsGoCanterxo
Feb. 27, 2012, 10:37 PM
Thanks for all of the feedback!! Sorry about the link.....it should work now... so everyone can go look!! Just one question: what do I need to make more flexible? Some of you guys said I need to be more flexible in my hips, but I don't quite understand what you mean by that...I still need a little clarification (:
Any exercises I could do to improve my bad habit would be great :) Some of you guys have already suggested some....so keep them coming!! Thanks

Laurierace
Feb. 27, 2012, 10:51 PM
Now that I see your pic it doesn't really look like your toes are turned out too much to me. What I have found that helps is literally take your inner thigh muscle and push it backwards a little bit so your thigh itself is closer to the saddle. It doesn't stay there but gives you an idea of what you are striving for. Also lots of no stirrups work helps. Even at the walk while alternating pointing your toe up and down can help.

NSRider
Feb. 27, 2012, 10:59 PM
As most everyone has said, look to the hips there. If you don't have the flexibility in the hips, it will translate down the leg. Make sure that the side of your thigh is in contact with the saddle, knees are pointed forward, inside of the calf in contact with the horse along with the inner part of the ankle.

One thing to check is how do you normally walk? Are your feet slightly turned out/in? If they have a tendency to turn out, then it can be corrected slightly, but only to a point. You can only work against how you're built so far.

The standing in your stirrup exercises will help you understand where your ankles/toes should be, along with helping you not hyperflex/jam your ankles since you'll need them to be soft to balance.

oxLetsGoCanterxo
Feb. 28, 2012, 11:38 AM
Okay :) I am definitely going to try the stand-up exercise. Thanks !!

Burgie
Feb. 28, 2012, 07:53 PM
http://www.facebook.com/joedysgirl#!/photo.php?fbid=245803505457946&set=t.100002799128629&type=3&theater


Feel better?


:D

I walk turned out, I ride turned out, etc. I'd also fail a PPE as I have wonky legs. No excuse for the chicken wings, unfortunately...

In all seriousness, no stirrup work and thinking 'toes to the nose' helped me a lot. Good luck!

JohnGalt
Feb. 28, 2012, 10:02 PM
While the problem generally does originate in the hip, if you think about lifting your little toe only and rolling your ankle into the horse, that seems to help. You have to re-train your muscles but if you continue to think about it, it should help.

CoriC
Feb. 29, 2012, 03:26 PM
Another great exercise it to do "up up down" at the posting trot post up twice then down. Like standing it helps you get your balance in your stirrups and not in your seat.
Also having your toe turned out too much can be a problem as you may be inadvertently rubbing your horses side with your spur or the back of your heel which can result in rub marks and or a horse that becomes numb to leg aids.

There is a great video on Equestriancoach.com that talks about toe angle, it points out that toe angle can be affected by the riders confirmation and by habit. The bit about toe angle is around the 4-5 min mark.

http://www.equestriancoach.com/content/building-blocks-great-position-part-1

Here is another video on the site (free video) where Bernie is teaching a pony club clinic and briefly discusses toe angle (and leg position). That is very informative. (2 min mark)
http://www.equestriancoach.com/content/pony-club-clinic-bernie-part-1-flat-phase

Good Luck!

Mad Mare
Feb. 29, 2012, 05:48 PM
While the problem generally does originate in the hip, if you think about lifting your little toe only and rolling your ankle into the horse, that seems to help. You have to re-train your muscles but if you continue to think about it, it should help.

Again, putting stress on the ankle and toe is tantamount to injuries to the foot and calf.

Plantar fasciitis HURTS and it can take years for it to go away, if it ever does.

Eileen

Electrikk
Mar. 9, 2012, 09:17 AM
My toes used to turn out a lot, but then I started just walking my horse around bareback. It allowed me to really stretch out my legs so that when I used stirrups, it felt more natural to have my toes more forward. Bareback is great for reworking muscle memory with this kind of thing because you don't have the stress of your stirrup on your foot/ankle.

Individualblue07
Mar. 9, 2012, 12:49 PM
im all for bailing twine! It definitely does help with building that muscle memory.