Okay, so here is the deal. I have been riding for a longish time (10+years) and have done hunter/jumper to eventing and dressage and then back to hunter/equitation during college. I have been struggling recently with my leg position. I am fine to ride all kinds of horses or ponies in my boots and half chaps but as soon as I put on my tall boots I feel like I can't ride anymore. It was less so with my older pull on ariats. Now I have these: http://www.doversaddlery.com/tredste...d3ki45vkml0ifg
I can't seem to put my foot in the stirrup right or have a good leg position unless I jack the stirrups way up with these boots to jumping length. It's almost as if these boots don't offer any support AT ALL. In my old tall boots this wasn't a problem. Am I crazy? I am fine to ride without stirrups and can w/t/c and jump without stirrups pretty well. However, my trainer at college is an old fashioned eq trainer who wants the leg in and glued on the horse's side with the toe positioned out slightly. When I try to do this it hurts my ankles and gives me the funky leg position. It is so uncomfortable! When I ride with my toes forward and ankles slightly down it feels much better. What is the deal? I never used to have this issue. I am truly an event rider at heart and can't wait to get back into it after school is over in a semester but until then I need to figure out how to ride again, LOL. Would these stirrups help :http://www.doversaddlery.com/mdc-ult...d3ki45vkml0ifg ? I will never be a beautiful eq rider because I'm 5'2" with short legs (with most of my length from my hip to my knee) but I want to be a CORRECT rider as well as effective. Also, is it correct riding to have the toe forward and relaxed against the horse's side? (that's what I was taught for dressage). What is a better leg position? It really is much more comfortable for me in these boots when I ride like that. Also these boots are pretty much broken in 100%. I can never get "comfortable" because I can't find the right place to put my foot in the stirrup. I am constantly fidgeting around trying to find that comfortable place. It doesn't help either that all the stirrups I ride in are too wide for me. She also doesn't want any of the horses to be "round" like I'm used to-she wants their noses poking out so that is hard for me get used to. It is easier to ride and try to have nice equitation when the horse is moving correctly, underneath me, with my legs draped around its sides with my toes forward, IMO. Tips and help needed! Sorry for the rambling but I really need help! It's like I can't find my base of support anymore....
Wofford teaches that the angle of your foot in the stirrup should mirror the angle your feet have when you stand/walk. So, no one size fits all angle of placement.
On your boots I'd wonder if you are more reliant on grip and the texture of the leather and how it grips instead of being balanced over your feet. Grip is great, but not at the expense of having your weight distributed down through your stirrup and being balanced there.
I really don't have a solution for you as I think you are stuck between two disciplines here...
I too came from Hunter land as a kid and it took me years to develop my dressage seat and leg correctly-because they are TOTALLY different! In my totally biased opinion, the dressage seat and leg are more correct, and allow better communication with your horse, but I'm pretty sure your Eq Coach will disagree!
I event as well, and with the exception of much shorter stirrups, my leg alignment doesn't change much from my dressage leg. I obviously put more weight in my heel and ride in two point or half seat, etc but my toes still point forward, and I'm not gripping in my leg or jamming weight down into my heels or the back of my calf. Works very well for me, but not perfect Eq.
I can put together a lovely Eq look for you on request, but it's a look, I don't find it particularly functional, and it's definitely tighter in a bad way (IMO). Your coach is coming from a very different perspective than you are...looking for a show ring "look" and not neccessarily the most effective/correct way to ride.
Not sure she will come to your way of thinking, if you want to compete in Hunter or Eq classes, you may have to develop another way to sit, even though you know it's not the best solution...
Try new boots? If they don't feel right then they are not right. Riding well when you are thinking that some part of your equipment is not working properly is difficult.
As to the nose pointing out: one way of riding, but possibly not yours - so try new horse/trainer/discipline. IMO, good riding is good riding and it is not about extreme positions and putting a horse into a way of going that is not efficient or comfortable.
It's definitely easier to write than to do! I am only riding in this discipline now bc I don't have a horse and I want to at least ride no matter the style! However I'm starting to think of looking for other ways to do this. I just got these boots but alas I may have to save for new ones if I can't figure something out. I'd really like to keep them though bc I can't afford new ones
Maybe try turning your leg out a bit from the hip (it will rotate your thighs a little, and move your knee a little bit further from the saddle flap)? That will naturally turn your toes out and may help "lock" your leg into place.
You're right that a good position shouldn't hurt. And that it's easier to maintain a good position when a horse is using itself properly.
Can you maintain this position with your half chaps?
I think the only way to really get used to a new pair of boots is to ride in them more. You might just have to fight through it for a while, but it's better to do that at home than to have to do it at a show. As for your differences in theory with your trainer... maybe you can find someone different to ride with?
Yeah I can do it with my half chaps. I don't want to find a new trainer because I really like this one she's the best in the area and has helped me a lot with my position (which is never a bad thing!!) and has helped me develop my eye. It's just this stupid leg thing lol