Dressage Stirrup Length. Help? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 06-23-2012, 01:46 PM Thread Starter
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Dressage Stirrup Length. Help?

I can ride Dressage very well, It's one of my best classes. I've recently started riding Saddleseat too But I have always had a problem with my stirrups. Because the stirrups have to be a little longer in both those classes, I have a problem with my feet sllipping either out of the stirrups or way too far in when I start to trot or canter. I keep trying to push my heels down but then end up focusing on getting my horse's head set right and lose my stirrups. Help?
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post #2 of 13 Old 06-23-2012, 02:24 PM
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Oh my....if you are "focusing on getting your horse's head set right," I'm sorry to tell you that you're not really doing much dressage. I know your question is about stirrup length, but if you are constantly fighting your position or your saddle, or just generally ignoring your position in favor of putting your horse's head in a certain spot, you are going to find it next to impossible to ever have the horse working correctly.

As for your original question, your leathers are probably too long. People see that nearly straight leg on the GP riders and think that's how everyone should be riding, but it takes so much strength, balance, and flexibility to be able to sit with one's leg draped that well. As you're working toward a more correct seat and leg, you are much better off, IMO, to bring your stirrups up a couple holes and quit reaching for them.
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post #3 of 13 Old 06-23-2012, 02:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DraftXDressage View Post
Oh my....if you are "focusing on getting your horse's head set right," I'm sorry to tell you that you're not really doing much dressage. I know your question is about stirrup length, but if you are constantly fighting your position or your saddle, or just generally ignoring your position in favor of putting your horse's head in a certain spot, you are going to find it next to impossible to ever have the horse working correctly.

As for your original question, your leathers are probably too long. People see that nearly straight leg on the GP riders and think that's how everyone should be riding, but it takes so much strength, balance, and flexibility to be able to sit with one's leg draped that well. As you're working toward a more correct seat and leg, you are much better off, IMO, to bring your stirrups up a couple holes and quit reaching for them.
Absolutely agree (on both counts!)

Most beginning riders, even those riding dressage, should aim for a length with a knee angle closer to 90 degrees. It takes a lot of strength to maintain a correct position with a longer leg.
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post #4 of 13 Old 06-23-2012, 07:12 PM Thread Starter
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What I mean about his head set, is that he is a 11 year old Half Arab, that hasnt been worked with since he was 4, so we are working with him to continue setting his head in the correct way because he loves to stick his nose out.

And thanks for the tips on the stirrups
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post #5 of 13 Old 06-23-2012, 07:14 PM
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No, I knew exactly what you meant about setting his head, and my comments still apply. Worrying about where his nose is is never going to get your horse working correctly.
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post #6 of 13 Old 06-23-2012, 07:52 PM
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Okay I am an advanced beginner rider. I know the very basics so this isn't coming from someone all that experienced. But this is what I know FROM experience.

You are probably also bracing against the stirrups since you mention "pushing your heels down"

The stirrups are only supposed to rest your toes, you stretch you LEG down, not your heels and you never push because then you create a block. Blocks prevent all the energy you get from the horse's momentum from moving down your leg and out your foot. Instead the energy stays on your upper half and that's when you get bouncy and slam around at the sitting trot.

So stretch your legs instead. Get your legs down and underneath you so your seat bones can fully function in keeping you on the horse.

Forget the headset. That is not dressage, and you're not baking cookies so no need for the cookie cutter ideas. You never pull a horse into anything. That's INCORRECT and creates bad habits. You push them forward, and capture that energy into a correctly timed half halt and allow the horse to find their own sweet spot. When the horse isn't bracing or resisting, they will be able to use their back properly, and their neck will come down and then all you need to do is just keep on riding the horse. Leave the headset to them.

In riding we work with the horse, encouraging them forward and around our leg or yielding to our leg. We don't force the horse by pulling them around or cranking the reins down.

Hope that helped :)
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post #7 of 13 Old 06-23-2012, 09:33 PM Thread Starter
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If I dont set his head he becomes unfocused, the head set is needed. Besides the headset he is an amazing horse. He is not the problem with my heels. And thats a new concept...pushing my legs down not my heels. hmm ill try that
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post #8 of 13 Old 06-23-2012, 09:52 PM
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Originally Posted by HorseCourage View Post
If I dont set his head he becomes unfocused, the head set is needed. Besides the headset he is an amazing horse. He is not the problem with my heels. And thats a new concept...pushing my legs down not my heels. hmm ill try that
If you set his head, he won't be working properly anyway. Focus comes from the horse listening to you, which is the result of training. Pulling in his head causes the back to be hollow, and pulls the horse down onto his forehand.
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post #9 of 13 Old 06-23-2012, 10:26 PM
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Originally Posted by HorseCourage View Post
If I dont set his head he becomes unfocused, the head set is needed. Besides the headset he is an amazing horse. He is not the problem with my heels.
No, the problem with your heels is related to the head setting issue, insofar as both are related to the fact that you are getting very incorrect instruction from whoever it is that is teaching you this stuff.

It is next to impossible to fix any major issues over the Internet, so my best piece of advice for you would be to find a (competent) instructor to work with both of you. A qualified instructor who can watch you ride in person can help you figure out what is going on with your stirrup issues (be it that you're bracing, pinching with your knee, leathers are too long, or some combination) and help you learn to focus on how your horse is moving, rather than where his nose is.
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post #10 of 13 Old 06-23-2012, 10:27 PM
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Originally Posted by DraftXDressage View Post
insofar as both are related to the fact that you are getting very incorrect instruction from whoever it is that is teaching you this stuff.

It is next to impossible to fix any major issues over the Internet, so my best piece of advice for you would be to find a (competent) instructor to work with both of you.
Agreed.

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