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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec. 28, 2009
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    246

    Default Position w/out stirrups vs. Position w/stirrups

    So I took the plunge and took the stirrups off my saddle. And surprisingly enough I am finding my riding to be much better and things coming easier, I find my position to be far more effective, however I am having a very hard time keeping that same position when I take my stirrups back.
    Without stirrups I feel like my hips are more open, my seat is much deeper and I get such nice contact with my legs (my mare is incredibly narrow/petite she does NOT fill out your leg at all you have to think to wrap around) it just feels nice!
    With stirrups I find my legs like to creep forward and I brace slightly through my ankle (put them down too much) and my upper body comes forward, any tips for getting a no stirrups ride....but with stirrups? Perhaps I'm riding with too short of stirrups?
    Any tips/input is much appreciated! TIA
    the "I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday" clique



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug. 16, 2009
    Posts
    665

    Default

    Sounds like the balance is off on your saddle. What do you ride in? Do you have pictures?



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr. 29, 2006
    Posts
    4,085

    Default

    It could depend on where the stirrup bars are positioned or the type of stirrup leathers you have. Leather wise - I find the more 'cushy', thinner leathers tend to put my leg in an odd position.
    Last edited by Come Shine; Aug. 24, 2010 at 06:52 PM. Reason: speling



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun. 17, 2002
    Location
    Go Bucks!
    Posts
    3,634

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by sptraining View Post
    Sounds like the balance is off on your saddle. What do you ride in? Do you have pictures?
    I second this.....a saddle that doesn't fit you or your horse can really throw your off balance. Do you have a trainer or knowledgable person who can evaluate your saddle fit? Are there other saddles where you ride that you can try?

    Also, while riding w/out stirrups is a necessary evil for all of us, I also recommend you ride regularly in a two-point at the trot. It reinforces correct leg position and hip angle. There's a reason George Morris stresses this exercise and says it's a cure for many position problems.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec. 15, 2007
    Location
    Summerville, SC
    Posts
    327

    Default

    You're very likely making the all-too-common mistake of pushing your heels down when you ride with your stirrups, which will have the effect (thanks to Newton's third law, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction) of straightening your leg (opening your knee angle, lower leg too far forward) and pushing you up and away from the horse's back. Think instead about letting your leg hang loose and supple from your hip joint as gravity pulls the weight of it down, allowing you to hold your stirrups effortlessly, and pull the toes up instead of pushing the heels down. You will then be able to maintain the proper alignment of your heel under your hip as well as the same depth and security of seat you enjoy while riding without stirrups.

    You of course don't have the problem riding without stirrups because there is no stirrup to push on!

    I do agree that the balance of the saddle could also be at fault...it sounds like the OP is describing sitting behind her leg instead of over it, in which case she needs a saddle with its balance point (lowest part of the seat) closer to the stirrup bar. In any case, if she has any tendency to push into her stirrup, it will exacerbate the problem...

    Best of luck, and keep us posted!



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec. 13, 1999
    Location
    Greensboro, NC
    Posts
    38,811

    Default

    Pictures would help a lot. If the stirrup bars are not in the right place for your leg/seat, taking your stirrups will change your balance.
    ______________________________
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun. 10, 2009
    Posts
    1,683

    Default

    I would also question the balance of the saddle/stirrup bar position.

    Out of curiosity, when you ride without stirrups do you maintain a heels down, toes up position?



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr. 13, 2006
    Posts
    921

    Default Need more information.....

    But first, I am not surprised by your fit and feel comment.

    Questions though:
    Do you have this same balance "problem" other horses?

    Is your heel really going down or is it failing in response to the rising trot?

    The leg going forward.....Is it hip to foot or knee to foot.

    Is the more effective position you get w/o stirrups translating to a more responsive horse?


    Generically what you describe in the last paragraph has several causes (horse and or rider related).
    My best initial guess:
    Foot that is too far forward with:
    A. Timing the (or lack of) impulse of the horse to get you out of the saddle properly
    B. too short a stirrup..

    I'd be curious though....how long is your leg hip to floor and how wide is your horse where you sit over it?

    Regards,
    Medical Mike
    equestrian medical researcher
    www.equicision.com



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec. 28, 2009
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    246

    Default

    This is great input!
    -1st for you saddle fit peeps I will try and get a picture this week I would love to hear a critique, although my saddle isnt to old so that will be a bummer if its because of that! I ride in a Detente Kestral, its a british saddle that I could through Advanced saddle fit...im still holding out for my County one day.
    -MedMike: I don't feel this way on my older mare, she is a much taller thicker horse, and a bit less sensitive, I find I can sit up better and hold my leg in position better, however I am always slightly prone to "bracing" and allowing my leg to come forward and my shoulders to come forward. My foot going forward seems at first glace to be knee to foot, but I felt a huge difference in my hips and the influence they had over my horse when I was without stirrups so I could be wrong. But it is definitely giving me a far more responsive horse. I am 5'3 but have very short legs/long torso. Ill have to measure my leg and let you know!
    -Ludger I def think you might be right on this one, I'm going to try your advice tomorrow (as long as it doesn't rain)
    -Skipchange: I generally do try to maintain the weight going down through my heel with my toes up
    -Chawley I agree I need more two-point big time...ugh
    the "I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday" clique



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun. 24, 2010
    Location
    West Michigan
    Posts
    447

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by LudgerFan View Post
    You're very likely making the all-too-common mistake of pushing your heels down when you ride with your stirrups, which will have the effect (thanks to Newton's third law, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction) of straightening your leg (opening your knee angle, lower leg too far forward) and pushing you up and away from the horse's back. Think instead about letting your leg hang loose and supple from your hip joint as gravity pulls the weight of it down, allowing you to hold your stirrups effortlessly, and pull the toes up instead of pushing the heels down. You will then be able to maintain the proper alignment of your heel under your hip as well as the same depth and security of seat you enjoy while riding without stirrups.

    You of course don't have the problem riding without stirrups because there is no stirrup to push on!

    I do agree that the balance of the saddle could also be at fault...it sounds like the OP is describing sitting behind her leg instead of over it, in which case she needs a saddle with its balance point (lowest part of the seat) closer to the stirrup bar. In any case, if she has any tendency to push into her stirrup, it will exacerbate the problem...

    Best of luck, and keep us posted!
    This ^ ^ ^
    Concordia means "Harmony" in Latin.
    Full Time Dressage Addict



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr. 13, 2006
    Posts
    921

    Default Off horse strengthening

    That would be the place to start.
    To be sure, "more two-point" I guess would be one way to do something,
    however IMO without a strong calf to stabilize the foot, that exercise is less effective.

    Lastly, try NOT sinking into your heel. Stand in the stirrup with a more home foot. If you are dominating with adductor/quad combination, getting your weight in the stirrup will give you more help from your hams/glutes and calf, making it less likely your knee to foot will kick out.

    Now if you are feeling more forward, then it is lack of strength and timing at the hip joint and probably hamstrings/glutes/calves.

    Best of luck
    Medical mike
    equestrian medical researcher
    www.equicision.com



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