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Uneven legs.

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  • Uneven legs.

    I am a jumper for about 10 years, but I have finally gotten proof that my legs are not the same length. I do notice that while in flat work, my shorter leg swings a lot especially at the canter/gallop. I know that my stirrups are of an equal length .I do know that my shorter leg has larger muscles because, even in walking, it has to compensate for its lack of length. I was wondering if anyone had any ideas on how work with issue. Will I need to shorten the one side a bit to math my leg length (and would that be a problem in the show ring), or would I need a lift in the shoe? Any other suggestions.

    (If this is in the wrong place, I do apologize. I just registered today. Please comment with where this would belong and I will move it)

    Thank you very much for the support.

  • #2
    My legs don't quite match because I broke my left femur as a teenager and when they fixed it, they had to guess at how tall I would be. The left one is slightly longer (visible in that one knee is lower than the other when I am standing square).

    I usually punch a half hole in my left stirrup leather and ride with that one a half hole lower.

    However, the horse I have now has some issues (long story) and I actually ride with my left one an entire hole longer (and so does my trainer).


    • #3
      I'd ride with what's most comfortable. Is your leg swinging because your keeping the stirrup at the same length as your other one just because?

      My legs aren't uneven from what I know but if I were to get in the saddle, adjust my stirrups so I feel comfortable and even, then got off and compared them, they would be different by a hole or two.


      • Original Poster

        Thanks. My problem is genetics really. But it seems like the same overall issue. Now does that effect you in shows (equation scores etc)?


        • Original Poster

          MY stirrups where even because that was what my trainer adjusted them to, so I thought it was something that was necessary. But after being in an MRI and having to all checked out I started to question it. Thought I would ask for several opinions.


          • #6
            I don't see if effecting you in one way or the other in the ring if one of your stirrups is shorter than the other because you have one leg shorter. In fact, I would think it will help as you won't be riding around with one leg swinging. You will run into problems, I would guess, if you have a completely different knee angles because then it will look like you just don't know how long your stirrups should be. I also have legs that are different lengths and I adjusted my stirrup leathers (with multiple holes because I messed up ), and no one even noticed until they rode in my saddle and took a look.


            • Original Poster

              Well thank you everyone. I think I will do a few tests with some adjusted stirrups and see how it goes. Thanks again!


              • #8
                I used to have a student with this same issue. She found out her one leg was truly longer while playing with some new equipment at her job (she made prosthtics).

                The answer is that you should do your best to correct all your footwear to make your hips level. Why? Because walking on uneven legs will mess up your hips and entire alignment which will carry over to your riding as crooked will feel normal. If this makes your riding boot too thick/deep to be safe in your stirrups, then raise your stirrup, but try to level yourself up for regular life as well.
                Freeing worms from cans everywhere!


                • #9
                  Originally posted by CHT View Post
                  The answer is that you should do your best to correct all your footwear to make your hips level. Why? Because walking on uneven legs will mess up your hips and entire alignment which will carry over to your riding as crooked will feel normal. If this makes your riding boot too thick/deep to be safe in your stirrups, then raise your stirrup, but try to level yourself up for regular life as well.
                  Agreed. And if you *truly* have uneven legs then definitely go to physical therapy. They can help teach you stretches and exercises to help minimize the effects of being uneven.


                  • Original Poster

                    Actaully the problem that is causing my legs to be uneven is that my his are off. Not exactly sure what it was the docs said about it, but I know its the hips not the actual legs, Maybe that makes a difference. I do think I need to talk with my doctors and figure out what the best plan would be. Not sure that physical therapy was on the list of solutions.


                    • #11
                      due to a broken ankle I ride w/ uneven stirrups - if you go by the numbers... My right stirrup (bum leg) is about 2 holes longer than my left. If you were to look at the stirrups hanging down w/o me in the saddle there is a difference but once I get my feet in the stirrups - they look even. So it might be you have to adjust your stirrups to what feels best and more secure for you than what the stirrups look like...


                      • #12
                        Have you tried going to a chiropractor? I landed on my hip after falling while schooling a horse for an IHSA show back in college. Our athletic trainer at the time wasn't the sharpest crayon in the box, so even though I told her my hip felt like it needed to pop I didn't go to the chiropractor for another three years when it started hurting to run and walk in conditioning. During that time I often felt crooked when my sturrips were dead even and once ended up in a ride off with my sturrips uneven by several holes lol. For the longest time the first thing the chiro would do was check my leg length and then adjust my hips. Now he doesn't even check (I still go for a spot in my neck that gets out) and I only feel crooked on my horse when I actually am!


                        • #13
                          One of my legs is 3/8" shorter than the other, and to make things even more complicated, I have a "C" curve in my spine and my hips are uneven. Standing "straight", this is what I look like:


                          I have to consciously think of straightening myself out while riding. My stirrups are adjusted a bit shorter on the side with the shorter leg. No one can ever tell.

                          Custom Painted Saddle Pads and Ornaments


                          • #14
                            Go to a good chiropractor. My hips are all funky from several falls, and my left leg is "longer" than the right because of how my hips are twisted. A combination of a good chiro to align you and then a good PT to strengthen you would be very, very helpful.


                            • Original Poster

                              I tried a chiropractor and they didn't do anything for the problem. I told them about and the did some work but nothing came of it. I have an orthopedic doc that I do need to go back and see. I did have a cortisone shot in my hip to ease the pain, which was wonderful considering sitting for long periods of time It got painful to get up. But for some reason my hips never hurt while on the horse, no matter how hard the workout was. I know that my grandmother has a more severe condition of what I have where her hips are off by more then 2 inches. I think mine is about 1/4 inch.


                              • #16
                                I have uneven hips and causes problems when riding. My left hip is slightly higher and tilted forward a bit from scoliosis and because of my uneven hips, I have pirformis syndrome too. It’s such a joy, let me tell ya.

                                What works for me: Stop fighting it. It is what it is. Adjust your stirrups to match your leg length. I started taking lessons from a dressage trainer who really hammered in position and balance. Now this is the single best thing I have ever been told:

                                Lift my right heel. It helps shift the weight back to the left side and it helps my balance. My heel is only slightly lower than my toes but I have all the weight on the ball of my foot and my foot is very secure in the stirrup. I do not worry about my foot sliding through.

                                Also, just being more aware of my position is helpful and that came from the dressage trainer. Look into the Murdoch method. I am more aware of my body at work. I practice good position in my desk chair and I lift my right hip up to help even my hips while sitting.

                                Also, I really like pilates. Its helped my riding a lot too.

                                So some people swear by chiropractors and that’s all good for them but I used to go a lot and wasn’t ever helped. They really cant change your skeleton THAT much. I would recommend a Doctor of osteopathic medicine (D.O). They can do the same manipulations that a chiro can but can also do A LOT more plus they go to school/residency a lot longer than a chiro. Anyways, my guy has helped me a lot more than the chiro ever did. I was told by the chiro that I needed to come back 3x a week for 4 weeks, 2x a week for another 4 weeks, then 1x week for ANOTHER 4 weeks, and then every month for the rest of my life? I went to see my DO and he told me that was a total load of bull.

                                Anyways, sorry for my rant. I hope I helped a bit though!


                                • #17
                                  I also have uneven hips and consequently one leg that is slightly shorter than the other... I'm kinda glad to see I'm not the only one! My hips were actually discovered by a chiropractor who said he could fix the issue if I came in 3 times a week for God knows how long. It doesn't affect my every day life hardly at all and I only notice it if I think about it. I bought stirrup leathers that have half holes instead of only full holes and I just adjust them to what feels comfortable.