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Toes out too far?

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  • Toes out too far?

    Does anyone have good suggestions on how to keep toes from popping out too far? I know 30 degrees or so is appropriate/acceptable, but mine tend to drift further out to more 45 degrees. I am afraid in my attempts to correct I will begin to pinch with knees which is what I don't want to make a habit of (replacing one bad habit with another!). Any advice/exercises/suggestions appreciated!

    I do feel like when I try and turn my toes in to be straighter that it puts an odd tilt/stress on my outer ankle. Not sure if that's just me feeling a new position that is correct or if that's a sign that I'm forcing the toe in too much and being incorrect?

  • #2
    If you stand in a simulated 2 point or 3 point position on the ground you will notice that your feet will be straight. Then change your feet to the position where they are turned out. It will seem absurd the way your legs change position.

    In the saddle it is really the inside of your leg that should be making contact, not the back of your leg. In order for your feet to turn out you have to change your position to the back of the calf and the heel making contact with your horse's barrel.

    Make sure that your foot is laying flat in the stirrup, not rolling out, when you try to turn in or it will cause pressure on your ankle.

    I think that unfortunately is always some discomfort when trying to change all bad habits or you probably wouldn't have gotten into them in the first place.

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    • #3
      #1 - 45 degrees is the max acceptable, according to the George.
      #2 - Make sure you're not letting your hip roll open
      #3 - Stand up. Look down at your feet. How are they pointing? Natural conformation plays a role, so some people naturally have it easier than others.

      But really check #2 - make sure it's the inside of your thigh and not the back that has contact with the saddle. Especially if you ride a wide horse, you may find that you are allowing your hip to roll open to accommodate.
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      • #4
        I had the same problem and wound up with the same feeling of pressure or stretching on my ankles when I tried to correct it. I don't have that feeling anymore and my toes are at good angles, so I would be inclined to say it goes away.

        Coaches have told me that the sticking your toes out can be a result of trying to get your heels down as far as possible. For that reason, standing on a stair and dropping your heels with your toes pointing forward would probably help.

        So long as it isn't hurting or feeling uncomfortable after you're done riding I wouldn't worry about it and would just keep correcting it as best you can!

        ETA: Make sure you're putting equal weight on all the parts of your foot that are on the stirrup. You might be trying to straighten your feet by putting more weight in your 'pinkie toe'.
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        • #5
          If you are standing on the ground, what is the natural angle of your feet?

          It will be fairly pointless to try to fight against something that you can't change (the structure of your own anatomy).

          But the point of designating an angle for the toe isn't so much to focus on that one point (are my toes in/out), but instead is to encourage proper positioning and use of the leg.

          The point being that when your leg is active your leg should be in contact with the horse, and to do this, a rider's toes normally need to be slightly angled out. If your toes turn out too far, the back of your leg, rather than the inside will be in contact with the horse. Riders who adopt this position, IME will tend to drop back behind the motion (as opposed to riders with the opposite position flaw-toes too far in, and pinched knee, who tend to fall ahead of the motion).

          Working in 2 point and keeping your feet underneath you, and making an effort to use the inside, rather than the back of your leg will help you develp the habit of proper leg position without worrying too much about where your toe is pointed.
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