Originally Posted by NorthernMama
As per another thread about "why heels down?", except for training and "form" the heels down doesn't actually *do* anything otherwise we'd never be able to ride without stirrups and we do. The heels down simply encourages and helps to enforce a proper seat in the first place which is what is important. When I bareback, I haven't the first clue where my heels are, but I'll bet they aren't down.
For lesson purposes, you may be right, but in actual practice, I don't agree.
I couldn't disagree more. The ability to put weight in your lower leg (which results in you heels being down) is your whole center of security when in the saddle. Try riding in two point and then pointing your toes down, raising your heels up. Your whole center of gravity tips forward, throwing you onto the horses neck. This destabilizes your whole position.
Heels up is often because you are gripping with the back of your calves causing your legs to creep up the horse's sides. Trotting and then cantering a long time in two point will really help.
Also, try riding with only ONE stirrup. It is much more difficult than riding with no stirrups. My dressage and jumping students do this often.