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Position Problems...

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  • Position Problems...

    It has been driving me crazy ever since I saw a video of myself riding a few months ago.
    One of my biggest issues with position is my toes. They like to stick out, and I have very unflexible ankles. I would really like for them to point forwards at least. I also have this horrible habit of drawing up my heels!
    The second issue is that I look down far to much. I hate this in myself, and when I look up, things are a whole lot better with feel and such (understandably!) However my eyes always drift back to the poll.
    I'd really like to develop a long and stretched leg, I know this will take a lot of practice and time, but I'm interested in suggestions on and off horse that can help me with these two issues.
    Unfortunately lunge lessons are out of the question. I have an excellent coach that does remind me regularly about toes, and relaxing my ankle. I have ridden far to many years without good instruction, and finally switched to dressage and found a great coach. Have to unlearn some terrible habits. Hope you guys can help me out! Thanks!

  • #2
    You can do some ankle stretching/workout if stairs, at home or at the barn. Just hold yourself at the end of one stair with your tip toes pointing straight (where you would actually put your iron) and have fun standing there lowering and rising your heels!

    In the saddle, have your stirrups few holes higher and push in your heels as stretching exercises. Usually when people lift their whole leg and heels is because they are pushing on the stirrups.

    Combine this with some 'no stirrups' sessions while riding.

    For longer legs, best thing to think of is to lower (and back up a bit) your
    knees and lenghten your upper legs downward. The rest usually follow.

    For a better toe angle, you'll have to stretch your thights inward and yes bring your knees closer to the saddle. (not gripping, closer) This will 'open' your
    hauches and gives you a deeper seat while maintaining proper angles in your now longer leg. It will also allow you to really turn your toes in without much pain and stress!

    Don't forget to breath and enjoy suffering!
    ~ Enjoying some guac and boxed wine at the Blue Saddle inn. ~

    Originally posted by LauraKY
    I'm sorry, but this has "eau de hoarder" smell all over it.
    HORSING mobile training app

    Comment


    • #3
      I completely understand the toe out, back of leg on the horse thing, as I showed hunters from about 7 yrs until I was 18. When I finally made the commitment to switch to dressage a few years later, the toes straight ahead and INSIDE of the leg concept was very difficult! It has now been 25ish years of dressage, and started dabbling in jumping again. I now jump like a dressage rider!

      Body position, correct alignment and posture are super important to me, as I used to teach dance and be a cheer leader (goal was to have fun and not injure ourselves!). I incorporate this into my dressage teaching. Here are some excercises that I have students do who struggle with the drapped leg concept - so that they can feel how their leg should be:

      1) Stand with feet flat on the floor shoulder width apart, hands in riding position, and with a straight line from ear, to elbow, to heel. Now turn your toes towards each other about 4" apart.
      - Slightly bend the knees while your body is erect.
      - The leg always stays directly below the knee, just as it would if you were riding.

      2) Now, move your feet apart about 2', keeping the same erect posture and softly bent knee. THIS is about as close as you can come to riding leg position off the horse as you can get.

      As for how your feet and ankles will feel when correct, it will almost feel as though your heel is up. In reality, the bottom of your foot is nearly level. The ankle is straight down. If the ankle breaks outwardward towards the horses body (foot rolls outwards in stirrup) in an effort to get the inside of the leg on the horse, then this is incorrect. The ankle needs to be corrected back to hanging straight underneath the rider.

      KEY: Your riding position should be so that if you were to suddenly have the horse removed out from under you, you would land flat on your feet, and not fall forwards or back.

      And, if it hurts or there is suffering, you will know that you are not quite in the right position.

      Good luck!

      Comment


      • #4
        Don't focus only on your feet. Focus on your hips and thighs. You need to rotate your hip joints inward. It can help to lift your leg off the saddle, grab the muscle (and/or fat!) on your inner thigh from behind, and pull it back so that the inner front of your thigh rests on the saddle. Think of kneeling in the saddle with your thighs and knees softly rotated inward and your heels softly out.

        Personally, I have very short achilles tendons, which means my heels don't drop. (If I squat down, I roll over backwards before I can sit on my calves!) I did the stand-on-the-stair thing for hours, but it never helped loosen them. What did help was many hours in two-point at the trot. I think that just broke them down a bit, lol.

        It's hard not to break outward at your ankle if you just try to point your toes in. Rotate the upper leg and let the lower leg just drape from there. (And then learn how to aid that way, lol)
        Ring the bells that still can ring
        Forget your perfect offering
        There is a crack in everything
        That's how the light gets in.

        Comment


        • #5
          I find having students FORCE their toe OUT, more out than it already is, works better than trying to turn it in.

          It exhausts the muscles that hold the toe out and allow it to rotate forward.

          Hips need to open in both directions to allow the leg to drape.

          Instead of lifting your heel, push your lower leg forward, again tiring muscles that "hold" the leg.

          The other suggestions you have gotten from other posters are very useful if they work for you.
          “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”
          ? Albert Einstein

          Comment


          • #6
            I think it's great to watch your self on video-I think that's the fastest way to learn what you're doing!
            I personally cheat about looking down. Keep your head up, and just move your eyes down, LOL

            It's not your toes, it's your hips. You'd be amazed at how many ways a rider compensates for their stiff hips!

            Comment


            • #7
              The toe problem can be solved from your hips -- work on opening your hips (yoga etc.), then you can rotate "inner spiral" your thighs and voila, your leg will fall down nice and long and your toes will point forward. Eventually -- that is quite a process, ask me how I know .

              And your heal doesn't have to be down -- I have a trainer who yells at me to get my heals *up* (as in parallel to the ground) so my leg is ON my horse etc. etc ....

              The looking up problem... other than having someone constantly yell at you, try focusing going to a specific letter in the arena, so you can keep your eye on it, or work over ground poles (even a couple of single ones here and there in the arena) -- it makes you pay attention where you're going. Also ask me how i know .

              A good position is always a work in process...
              "Reite dein Pferd vorwärts und richte es gerade.” Gustav Steinbrecht

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by horsefaerie View Post
                I find having students FORCE their toe OUT, more out than it already is, works better than trying to turn it in.

                It exhausts the muscles that hold the toe out and allow it to rotate forward.

                Hips need to open in both directions to allow the leg to drape.

                Instead of lifting your heel, push your lower leg forward, again tiring muscles that "hold" the leg.

                The other suggestions you have gotten from other posters are very useful if they work for you.

                That's a real good idea!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by toesforward View Post
                  It has been driving me crazy ever since I saw a video of myself riding a few months ago.
                  One of my biggest issues with position is my toes. They like to stick out, and I have very unflexible ankles. I would really like for them to point forwards at least. I also have this horrible habit of drawing up my heels!
                  The second issue is that I look down far to much. I hate this in myself, and when I look up, things are a whole lot better with feel and such (understandably!) However my eyes always drift back to the poll.
                  I'd really like to develop a long and stretched leg, I know this will take a lot of practice and time, but I'm interested in suggestions on and off horse that can help me with these two issues.
                  Unfortunately lunge lessons are out of the question. I have an excellent coach that does remind me regularly about toes, and relaxing my ankle. I have ridden far to many years without good instruction, and finally switched to dressage and found a great coach. Have to unlearn some terrible habits. Hope you guys can help me out! Thanks!
                  if your toes are out then your legs are not on the sides of the horse
                  common rider error

                  go here and read page one on how to alter your stirrups which will help with your position
                  http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/sh...d.php?t=178116

                  Comment

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