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Better w/o stirrups?

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  • Better w/o stirrups?

    I can do no stirrups all day long. Yes, it does burn (didn't used to when I was 12 , but that's the price I pay for getting older!). However, I feel so much more solid without stirrups (except when jumping, but I haven't really tried it very much so that is probably just due to a lack of jumping experience.

    When I ride with stirrups, I feel so much less balanced. I have a lot of trouble trying to find the correct position for my foot. I think part of the issue is I have very small feet (size 5-6). Of course I also need to work on the depth in my heels.

    Right now I have relatively cheap Dublin boots (I think they're the Heritage ones or something). Do you guys think different boots would be helpful?

    More than spending more money on new boots, I would really like some suggestions on exercises to improve my riding with stirrups!

  • #2
    Yup Yup Yup. I can sit so much better without stirrups. I do get tired posting without, but for canter work or sitting trot, I prefer to drop my stirrups. And I have no idea how to change that .

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    • #3
      I have the same problem. I have a better leg position without stirrups than I do with. Part of my situation may be that I naturally toe out like a ballet dancer and so I find it hard to deal with the constraints that stirrups place on my legs and ankles. When I ride without stirrups or bareback, I have less of an issue since my leg can hang in a natural position.

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      • Original Poster

        #4
        Ah SnicklefritzG I do the same thing since I did ballet for a number of years and the turned out position is very ingrained for me. I'd never thought about being the problem for me keeping my foot in the stirrups, though.

        Glad to see I'm not the only one... now if only someone knew how to fix it!

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        • #5
          I have to think carefully about what I'm doing with my inner thigh and calf and not try to force my foot to do any particular thing. The more time I've spent bareback the easier this seems to be.

          I'd like to try some of these stirrups that let you change the angle that it hangs off the saddle, but they are pretty pricey. I'm hoping I can find someone at my barn who has them so I can try them out. Have you ever tried something like that? I',m curious if you've noticed a difference with them.

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          • #6
            I used to dance ballet too. I see a trend here...

            How many have the problem who didn't do ballet?

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            • #7
              I did ballet a gazillion years ago (I'm 48 now and quit that when I was 12!), so I don't think ballet causes my toes to go out at this point . My right toe goes out because of the conformation of my right hip, the whole leg comes out of the socket pointing toward the outside, I walk with my right toe out a bit and my left one close to straight.

              I do have some of those MDC Comfort Stirrups with the adjustable eye. It helped for quite a while, not to keep my toe in, but to take some pressure off my knee from the torsion of having to twist my right foot to line it up with the stirrup. I turned the right one out by 45 degrees. Recently, however, I've turned it back to normal...I have some new field boots I'm breaking in and the support in the ankle means I don't really need the stirrup twisted and it actually makes things worse right now.

              What I have started doing, which has helped already, is taking lunge lessons from a dressage trainer to really fix how I place my legs and pelvis...stop gripping with my thigh so hard, get my leg longer and more relaxed, toes not so much in "airplane" configuration and getting my leg placed properly from the hip, rather than the knee.

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              • #8
                For all of you who are riding better without stirrups- maybe lengthening your leathers by a hole or two would help when you are using your irons?

                Once upon a time I could WTC and jump courses without stirrups without batting an eyelash. I very clearly remember needing to lengthen my stirrups quite a bit during that time period in order to be effective and comfortable when using the irons.

                Just food for thought, YMMV
                Originally posted by Martha Drum
                ...But I don't want to sit helmetless on my horse while he lies on the ground kicking a ball around without a bridle while Leatherface does an interpretive dance with his chainsaw around us.

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                • #9
                  I also have the same problem. I find it is much easier if I stretch. I find my joints/tendons get stiff which does not allow me to flow and absorb the movement of the horse. Then I brace against the stirrup causing problems. If I stretch everyday, it is much better.
                  Jacobson's Saddlery, LLC
                  www.thesaddlefits.com
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                  • #10
                    I had the same problem. I uses the MDC stirrups as well (which I love). I thought it might be the tred on my boots aslo. Long story short. I ended up just putting the 'cheese grater" stirrup pads in my stirrups and it has helped soo much! I swear by those things now

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                    • #11
                      OP-What size stirrups do you ride in? I wear a 5 1/2 so I buy 4 1/4 children's irons, it makes a big difference. I got Royal Riders for christmas and I absolutely love them! The wider footbed is much more stable and the lightness of the irons helps them stay with you instead of you following the irons.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        For dancers, dancing causes you to rise into your core where as riding requires us to drop into our core.

                        So fixing your problems, try dropping into your position. Especially make sure you are pushing your knee down and tucking your tail bone under while pushing your seat to the front of the saddle.

                        Until you have a VERY solid leg, I would not try any of the lightweight stirrups. They are harder to drop into and your leg will move too much.
                        "Using draw reins without spurs is like going to the bar with no underwear on. You're just waiting to get f***ed."

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Kestrel View Post
                          I used to dance ballet too. I see a trend here...

                          How many have the problem who didn't do ballet?
                          *raises hand* But I have turnout to make ballet instructors weep that I didn't. (And male ballroom pros cringe. It's gotten to be a sport seeing if I can gross them out by how far I turn out my feet.) Though my issue doesn't really get fixed stirrups vs. no stirrups as I still have to force my toes to get somewhere near 45 degrees rather than 90. (I can lie flat on my back and my feet will naturally fall into first position and I can stand with one foot pointing backwards while the other points forward. I'm VERY open-hipped.) And keeping my heels down has never been a problem, either--in fact I find I like the cheap nickle-plated stirrups I have with no pads in them better than the heavy ones I used to ride in, and don't have a problem with losing them or my heel coming up.

                          My knees ALWAYS feel like they're not quite pointed the right way, but as my Rhythm/Latin teacher back in Boston put it, "Are your legs even attached?"
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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Kestrel View Post
                            I used to dance ballet too. I see a trend here...

                            How many have the problem who didn't do ballet?
                            Me.

                            I have no idea how to fix the problem either, OP. Let me know when you figure it out. I think for me it's an orthopaedic problem; I have ITBS, and I am fairly certain that is the culprit. My legs are just not that strong when I have weight on them. I think putting any weight in the stirrup throws everything off.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Kestrel View Post
                              I used to dance ballet too. I see a trend here...

                              How many have the problem who didn't do ballet?
                              I never did ballet AND I walk naturally with my toes pointing straight ahead. I find it very difficult to have any outward angle for my feet when I'm riding (useful for dressage, not so much for H/J). I totally am much more comfortable and effective when I drop my stirrups. I'm also short (5' 2").

                              Any advice for me?

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by ReeseTheBeast View Post
                                For all of you who are riding better without stirrups- maybe lengthening your leathers by a hole or two would help when you are using your irons?

                                Once upon a time I could WTC and jump courses without stirrups without batting an eyelash. I very clearly remember needing to lengthen my stirrups quite a bit during that time period in order to be effective and comfortable when using the irons.

                                Just food for thought, YMMV

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  I have tried making my stirrups longer, but that just makes me reach for my stirrups (part of what makes my leg weak is trying to keep my foot in the stirrups).

                                  I also walk turned out even though I quit ballet when I was about 12 (picked it up last year for a bit because I thought it would help with riding-- interesting point about dancing making you rise into your core vs. dropping into it for riding holaamigoalter).

                                  I ride schoolies mostly so I don't really know what size stirrups their saddles have. Has anyone else had good luck with smaller stirrups? If there's a trend I might have to consider investing in some.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Kestrel View Post
                                    I used to dance ballet too. I see a trend here...

                                    How many have the problem who didn't do ballet?
                                    Right here... BUT I have naturally turned-out hips. Ballet would have been very easy for me in terms of turn-out... mine is better than that of a few friends who DID dance.

                                    You may be letting your hip roll out, relying on your seat, and not distributing your weight through your leg and down into your heel. I might make sure your stirrups are the correct length and get up into two-point.
                                    If we have to nail on talent, it's not talent.
                                    Founder, Higher Standards Leather Care Addicts Anonymous

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                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by wildhorse188 View Post
                                      I have tried making my stirrups longer, but that just makes me reach for my stirrups (part of what makes my leg weak is trying to keep my foot in the stirrups).

                                      I also walk turned out even though I quit ballet when I was about 12 (picked it up last year for a bit because I thought it would help with riding-- interesting point about dancing making you rise into your core vs. dropping into it for riding holaamigoalter).

                                      I ride schoolies mostly so I don't really know what size stirrups their saddles have. Has anyone else had good luck with smaller stirrups? If there's a trend I might have to consider investing in some.
                                      I use to have the same problem keeping my feet in the stirrups. I think it came from sinking down into them so deeply (long heel cords) that the stirrups would just pop off my feet. I don't seem to have that problem now that I am using irons that flex. I don't know if that will help you or not, but worth a try.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by pattnic View Post
                                        Right here... BUT I have naturally turned-out hips. Ballet would have been very easy for me in terms of turn-out... mine is better than that of a few friends who DID dance.
                                        .
                                        Are we long-lost twins or something?
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