My Stirrups seem too long! - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 7 Old 02-19-2012, 05:22 PM Thread Starter
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My Stirrups seem too long!

I have been riding hunt seat for most of my life. I am now learning to ride dressage with my new OTTB. I constintly feel like my stirrups are too long. I feel completely comfortable in my dressage saddle. But, when I am trotting or cantering I feel like I am all over the place. Do you think it is the different position of riding dressage and I just need to ride ride ride to get used to the change?
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post #2 of 7 Old 02-19-2012, 05:33 PM
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Hello, I don't have a while lot of experience in proper dressage but from years of jumping and hunting I also would find myself riding in a "hunt seat".. I found that riding with out stirrups really gets your ass down into the saddle, gets you to use your leg properly ..If you try riding without the stirrups even for the first 10/15mins of your flatwork youll proably find riding with longer stirrups easier.
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post #3 of 7 Old 02-19-2012, 06:06 PM
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They might be too long. You need to ride where your stirrups are comfortable, don't just drop them down long and call it "dressage" length. If they feel too long they are. Put them up a hole or too. You need to be able to ride correctly first and THEN work on dropping your stirrups down. It also depends on the horse, I don't ride on the same hole on every horse. Sometimes on narrower horses (like TBs) your stirrups need to be a little shorter.

The more dressage you ride, the more no stirrups you do, the more you'll be able to put your stirrups down.
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post #4 of 7 Old 02-19-2012, 06:07 PM
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Originally Posted by girllovesdressage View Post
Do you think it is the different position of riding dressage and I just need to ride ride ride to get used to the change?
Most likely yes, and your solution to ride ride ride is the correct one. But there is no shame in shortening the leathers enough to be comfortable again.

Your hips and legs will slowly loosen and get used to the longer stirrups and will let you drape your legs down, but it doesn't happen overnight.
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post #5 of 7 Old 02-19-2012, 08:43 PM
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There is a mentality, that if you ride in a dressage saddle, your stirrups should automatically be dropped about 6 holes. Please don't follow that mentality if you are not accustomed to riding dressage yet!
I have been riding soley dressage for years, and am still dropping my stirrups by one hole occassionally, as my seat improves.
It is a gradual process - just like you wouldn't expect a western pleasure horse to work in a highly collected frame and piaffe the day you decide you want to do dressage instead of western. You would gradually accustom the horse to dressage work, building up the required muscles until he was strong enough to begin some collection.

Your own muscles will not automatically adjust to riding in long stirrups, just like the horse not automatically adjusting to dressage.

Shorten your stirrups until they feel comfortable, and gradually work on loosening your hips, not gripping with your upper leg and knee, and doing some work with no stirrups to develop your seat and train your muscles to cope with riding with longer stirrups than what you are used to.

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post #6 of 7 Old 02-21-2012, 09:59 AM Thread Starter
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Thank You!

Thank you everyone! I will try dropping my stirrups today! I am going to so sore. I am sure it will help.Happy riding!
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post #7 of 7 Old 02-21-2012, 10:21 AM
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I believe that you can give proper cues when your stirrups hit just below your ankle-bone, which is the average length. I KNOW that hunt seat has you jack the length up shorter, and you are used to that. The change will be a little bothersome, but I think a season of a different length and they will start to feel "normal."
I prefer mine really long, but often I'll make them one hole shorter when I'm hacking. Keep playing with them. I know that it makes your horse much more patient when you halt and fix your tack. =D
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