a few position questions - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 09-06-2010, 05:57 PM Thread Starter
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Question a few position questions

I am doing training lvl dressage at the moment, and i'm still trying to figure out my seat and where my legs should be. The biggest problem i have found is keeping weight in my stirrups. I can keep weight in them when my toes are pointed out, but i can't when my toes are facing forward. i've found that i end up curling my toes & putting weight on the side of my foot ( making my ankles buckle outwards), so i was just wondering how i can improve on this? is there any exercises or techniques for doing this?

Also, i have a problem with posting trot -- i'm not really sure where / what my legs should be doing. when i post, i don't really know a good way to keep my legs on. It feels like i'm just sort of pushing myself up with my feet, so everytime i post, my legs move and it doesn't feel like i'm keeping a constant connnection with the side of my horse, should i keep my feet / calves in the same position and just move with my knees or...?

any advice would be great! thanks
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post #2 of 6 Old 09-07-2010, 11:07 AM
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It sounds like your stirrups are too long for your abilities. They should be short enough to support you and allow your heel to be down. Always focus on keeping your upper body position correct and sitting at a right angle from the horse's back. Then the leg should drape over the horse with even contact the entire way down the leg, up to about the mid calf or ankle, depending on your height and your horse's height. This means that in dressage, the knee also has a marginal amount of contact with the saddle and can actually be used for an aid, where as in jumping, a knee away from the horse is preferred to allow for the greater range of motion required.
A clinician I ride with was having people who were not posting correctly work on standing in their stirrups and keeping the lower leg in the same place, first at a halt in front of the mirror, and gradually in a walk. The leg should stay exactly under you while your seat is 2" above the saddle. We can do this when we use our knees properly, along with our upper calf and lower thigh, to lift our weight out of the saddle. In the posting trot, this feeling along with the horse's natural "lift" should allow us to post with a quiet leg.
Good luck!
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post #3 of 6 Old 09-07-2010, 03:09 PM
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Anabel is correct - shorten stirrups until you can keep your legs in position. When posting think of posting straight up and down (like standing in stirrups) while opening (post up) and closing (sitting down in post) elbows which should be ON your waist. Periodically standing in the stirrups will also help "reset" your leg position.

Before getting started try some exercises to help open up your hip joints, or if you have good balance while walking (mounted) take BOTH legs off saddle, rotate out then place back on the saddle. Notice - you CAN get cramps in your hips from this.

Once your hips are open it's easier to get your toes pointing straight ahead without bending your ankles.

Dressage is for Trainers!
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post #4 of 6 Old 09-10-2010, 02:29 AM
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The others answered the posting question nicely. Don't be too hard on yourself, it takes time to be good at posting. I agree that in dressage, our weight is more evenly distrubuted down the whole thigh, knee and calf to an anlke that faces mor forward than hunt seat. Don't worry too much if you feel like you are rolled onto the outside of your foot. Try this; move the foot as much toward the inside of the stirrup iron, without changeing it's angle or where on the ball of your foot it rests, just that your foot is a tiny bit closer the horse's side.
Also, thing about almost pushing your weight down into the lower leg which is AIMED toward your horses back feet. In reality, your leg will go downward, but to think of connecting your feet to your horse's back feet is a handy image. I just love those sorts of images.
Also, counting while you post or singing can help you relax and join naturally with the rythm of your horse, the entire purpose of posting.
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post #5 of 6 Old 09-17-2010, 10:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Valentina View Post
Before getting started try some exercises to help open up your hip joints, or if you have good balance while walking (mounted) take BOTH legs off saddle, rotate out then place back on the saddle. Notice - you CAN get cramps in your hips from this.

Once your hips are open it's easier to get your toes pointing straight ahead without bending your ankles.
This reminds me of an exercise my trainer used to make me do to open my hips. While walking (mounted) take your feet out of the stirrups and, one at a time, lift your leg straight out from the horse's stomach (as to the center of the ring) and then straight back (as toward the horses hip).

OMG the cramps that could cause! But it was a great exercise!
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post #6 of 6 Old 10-03-2010, 03:16 PM
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I ride dressage occasionally on my big warmblood cross.
in dressage (english style anyway) you should haveyour stirrups long, and sitting trot is sometimes required apposed to rising (which i assume is posting???) it sound to me as though you do need to shorted your stirrups, but not too much, just so that you feel comfortable.

an old riding instructor used to say to me, in walk, trot then canter (on the lunge)...let go of your reins and focus on wrapping your legs round your horse, use your legs alot, but in dressage it is alot nicer to look at when the leg apears to be still (squeezing the horse but not noticable movements). if you find it hard and your leg drifts, like my instructor did...tie a bit of rope to your stirrup and the horses girth every now and again to get your legs in the right position...dont do it all the time because you get lazy :O hope it helps a little
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dressage , posting , training , weight

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