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Lower Leg Likes to Creep Upwards

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    Lower Leg Likes to Creep Upwards

    Hello everyone!

    For the first time in me and my guy's 14 years together we are finally and officially training to go to schooling shows. He's nearly 23 and looking so good! I'm really excited for this chapter in our partnership.

    Unfortunately everything is indefinitely postponed so I've been working on accuracy and technical bits of my rides with my trainer.

    Here's the real question.
    I often feel as though my foot is hovering in the stirrups. My stirrups are the right length for my leg and when I'm paying attention this doesn't happen. This isn't a real issue, but I have composite stirrups that are known to kind of just leave the foot area without my foot pressing them down.

    Do you guys have any exercises to help me keep my feet, for lack of a better term, heavier in the stirrups? I'm just looking for something to practice on my own between lessons.

    I often do exercises without stirrups and seem to not have as much problems keeping my leg elongated.

    Thanks!

    #2
    I would say do a lot of two-point. Do you think trying a different stirrup would make a difference? I use composites and love them, but many of my friends prefer the metal stirrups.

    Congrats! I’m rooting for you and your horse!

    Comment


      #3
      It could be your hip flexors are overly contracted, causing the knee joint to flex and pulling your lower leg up. Yoga poses that help to release tight hip flexors/psoas will help allow your leg to lengthen and drape. Contracted hip flexors can also cause an anterior tilt of the pelvis (think "duck butt" ), so helping your hip flexors to relax will also help your pelvis stay in neutral position.
      Important to keep in mind ~ continually lengthen the spine (ie don't round the back when folding forward while sitting cross-legged, for example) and watch knee/foot alignment (center of knee lines up with 2nd toe of same foot - sometimes knees like to move inward to escape tension on the hip flexor, esp during lunges). And breathe.
      Googling "hip openers yoga" and searching in YouTube will bring up a lot of resources.
      Here's an example: https://www.yogajournal.com/poses/yo...ep-hip-opening
      How fun for you and your boy to start this new adventure - have a great time!
      www.dressageclinics.org

      Comment


        #4
        Lots of riding without stirrups.
        Check out Sally Swift's book Centered Riding.
        Yo/Yousolong April 23rd, 1985- April 15th, 2014

        http://notesfromadogwalker.com/2012/...m-a-sanctuary/

        Comment


          #5
          Yes, hip opening exercises!

          Yoga (and Feldenkrais exercise/lessons) can be very helpful to opening the hips and "stretching" the hip flexors without force. Tight hip flexors (as a result of too much sitting in a chair or a car seat) will result in the knee creeping up.

          You need to practice the "kneeling seat"; you will want to grow your knees forward/down like you are kneeling on a church pew (not that this is anything I have personal experience with, LOL), and open your heel so that the inside of your thigh is placed against the horse; this will open your hips. Any time you roll onto the back of your leg it causes the knee to come up, so rotate your knee softly IN, and sink "down around" the horse.

          Allow your heels to sink down and back with a light foot and a soft ankle; forcing the heels down will cause the leg to brace and the lower leg will creep forward, causing the hip flexors to tighten and the body to tip forward defensively.

          You want to feel the front of your body opening (float the sternum up, open your ribcage, lift the belly button), and the lower body should sink down and fall into place when you "kneel" on the horse's ribcage.

          If you focus on lengthening your leg this way (heel out, thigh softly hugging, kneeling down, pelvis centered in the saddle), you should be able to lift your toes while weighting the stirrups and allowing the heel to drop back and down towards the horse's hind toes.

          Riding without stirrups can be helpful (especially during the first 10 minutes of walking warmup), but make sure you aren't rolling onto the back of your thigh, since this just causes gripping and bracing patterns and puts you "behind" your leg.

          Are you riding in a dressage saddle? Obviously all of this is more difficult if you're in a jumping saddle since it wants to put your leg more in front of you and close your hip and knee angles based on the position of the flap and seat.

          Avoid "jamming your heels down" to keep your stirrup. Losing stirrups is often the result of the knee creeping up (see above), so "allowing" the knees to grow forward/down will put the weight of your lower leg where it should be; back and under you.

          Wendy Murdoch, Sally Swift and Mary Wanless are all GREAT resources for improving position and understanding biomechanics They have transformed me (and my teaching!)
          "Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."

          "It's supposed to be hard...the hard is what makes it great!" (Jimmy Dugan, "A League of Their Own")

          Comment

            Original Poster

            #6
            Thank you for the yoga ideas! Based on what you're saying I bet my hip flexor are probably the problem as I've been having hip troubles for a while.

            I'm excited to try!

            Comment


              #7
              Great advice in this thread so far. I've also struggled with my tight hips. Stretching has made a difference. I was "clamping" my legs as one trainer said, due to the tightness.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by LawsofMurph View Post
                Thank you for the yoga ideas! Based on what you're saying I bet my hip flexor are probably the problem as I've been having hip troubles for a while.

                I'm excited to try!
                I have very tight hip flexors that relates mostly to tight piriformis and find yoga is the magic bullet for me. I have to do daily stretches to release my piriformis muscle. If you search it on youtube, you will find illustrations of this stretch because it is difficult to describe. Do this. It works.

                Comment


                  #9
                  I use one of those big yoga balls to kneel over (think of sitting on it like you would on a horse, with your knee pointed down). This has done wonders for my tight hip flexors and has changed how I can use my leg more effectively when riding.

                  Comment

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