Cures for swinging legs? - The Horse Forum
  • 3 Post By nrchacowhorse
  • 2 Post By TXhorseman
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post #1 of 9 Old 06-13-2014, 10:15 AM Thread Starter
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Cures for swinging legs?

I have an issue here. I'm an intermediate (but not advanced intermediate) rider.

I have trouble with my legs not remaining still. A lot of times they swing back and forth or in and out. This seems more noticeable with English than with Western.

Any hints on what to work on? What is causing this? I can "try" to keep my legs steady, but I don't want to put a lot of tension in them. I'm puzzled.
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post #2 of 9 Old 06-13-2014, 05:02 PM
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Where are you gripping with your legs? A very common fault quite a few people have to pinch in with their knees. This creates a fulcrum and makes your lower leg swing back and forth. You should have an even distribution of pressure from your thigh, knee, and calf. Also make sure that you are gently sinking you weight into your heels, not shoving your heels down. That can bring tension through your ankle and make your lower leg shoot forward. Lastly, make sure your stirrups are the correct length! A too short or long stirrup will make it more difficult to have a strong leg.

And sometimes you can do all 3 of those things correctly, and when it comes down to it you just need to strengthen your legs. Lots of work in the 2 point and without stirrups! work up and down hills too if you can or across different terrain. Over time your legs will strengthen and be more still.
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post #3 of 9 Old 06-13-2014, 05:35 PM
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Put some sugar packets on the saddle where you place your thighs....any time you drop them do it again. It makes you more conscious of it and it will help. I did this while hunter jumping for a while years ago. It helps a lot!
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post #4 of 9 Old 06-13-2014, 05:48 PM
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If your legs are swing, you are not in balance and moving with your horse. There are several things to consider.

First, assume a balanced position with head over shoulders over hips over heels. Next, release any tension in the muscles of your body. Let your weight sink like sand in an hourglass, down through your body, into your feet. The stirrups will support the balls of your feet, letting your heels sink naturally. This is all the work of gravity with no effort on your part.

"Still" is a relative term when sitting on a moving horse. You can neither hold your hands nor your legs still through effort. Trying to hold them still causes you to tighten your muscles. You must release any tension in your muscles so your body can flow with the movements of your horse. All of the joints throughout your body should be able to open and close easily to maintain your balance while moving with your horse.

Training riders and horses to work in harmony.
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post #5 of 9 Old 06-23-2014, 01:24 AM
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Take off your stirrups, leave them at home, and try going a week of riding without them. Then put them back on for your next lesson, and go over it with your instructor to see if you have improved or not. This really helped steady my leg and it made me more conscious of my equitation in general. :)
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post #6 of 9 Old 07-05-2014, 05:11 PM
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I had the same problem and my old trainer used to tie my stirrups down. Worked like a charm!
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post #7 of 9 Old 07-05-2014, 05:24 PM
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TXhorseman nailed it. You're not balanced in the saddle. It's possible you're just riding in a saddle this is either unbalanced on the horse or not balancing you well. Anyway, a good fix to find your balance is alternate sitting, posting, standing straight up and 2-point when trotting. Post at all different intervals. Stay up 2 extra beats, than 5, than 2, etc. It really helps you find your balance point over your feet. So does the standing straight up.

The other good exercise just to tighten things up in general is to ride without stirrups.

You just have to see your don't have to like it.
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post #8 of 9 Old 07-06-2014, 02:25 AM
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Originally Posted by nrchacowhorse View Post
Put some sugar packets on the saddle where you place your thighs....any time you drop them do it again. It makes you more conscious of it and it will help. I did this while hunter jumping for a while years ago. It helps a lot!
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post #9 of 9 Old 07-06-2014, 02:40 AM
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I used to have this issue too when I first started riding! I fixed it in 2 lessons with this one super secret amazing formula... I relaxed!! TXhorseman is right! You may think you're relaxed in the saddle but you're probably still nervous in it! The reason I have become so much more relaxed is because I fell in my 4th lesson due to me being so tense all the time! I would say if you want to improve, fall! Falling is the best thing that happened to me when riding because all the fear of falling disappeared and so I started to relax! When your horse is walking just fall off your saddle hahaha it's scary at first but once you fall you will realise that it doesn't hurt at all (if you are in an arena) and you will suddenly relax so much more making you more stable in the saddle! Also try to work without stirrups if you can! It will teach you to use your thighs and calves also try to stand up in the stirrups because you find your balance then. Oh and ask your instructor to film you then see if your heels, hips and ears are in line when you ride if not, then straighten your back and sit on both your seat bones rather than your crotch or your tailbone. Also make sure your weight is evenly distributed over the saddle (do this again by standing in the stirrups and finding the spot where you balance and don't fall back or forward - sit down the moment you find that spot) oh and are you wearing riding boots? I started my riding lessons in sneakers while my boots were on order and even today I find it hard to keep my feet still when I'm wearing my worn out sneakers because they keep slipping out of the stirrups!

Last edited by ShahzebNasir; 07-06-2014 at 02:45 AM.
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