Heels down. Shoulders back!! - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 13 Old 10-27-2013, 08:09 AM Thread Starter
Green Broke
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
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Heels down. Shoulders back!!

I have developed a nasty habit when riding of my heels sliding up and I'm tipping forward when I ride. I had a little break because of my health as well.

I think it may have to do with when I'm trying to school my horse he gets extremely lazy and I'm constantly on him with my legs and having to push him forward the whole time....

I think anyway, was hoping some lovely forum users would have some advice for me :)

I'm thinking of putting spurs on next ride, but probably wont have them on for the whole ride, maybe like 10 mins or so, but then I'm worried I will be jabbing him in the side every 10 minutes as I've also found I'm constantly moving my feet as well....

I really got to start having lessons again, I think that may be the best solution...

But any tips/suggestions/exercises that you guys can recommend I'm all ears, while eyes :)
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post #2 of 13 Old 10-27-2013, 08:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RedTree View Post
I have developed a nasty habit when riding of my heels sliding up and I'm tipping forward when I ride. I had a little break because of my health as well.

I think it may have to do with when I'm trying to school my horse he gets extremely lazy and I'm constantly on him with my legs and having to push him forward the whole time....

I think anyway, was hoping some lovely forum users would have some advice for me :)

I'm thinking of putting spurs on next ride, but probably wont have them on for the whole ride, maybe like 10 mins or so, but then I'm worried I will be jabbing him in the side every 10 minutes as I've also found I'm constantly moving my feet as well....

I really got to start having lessons again, I think that may be the best solution...

But any tips/suggestions/exercises that you guys can recommend I'm all ears, while eyes :)
I think you were correct when you mentioned that you may need to take lessons as it seems to be the correct approach at this point. Working on keeping your leg extended with your heels down should really be your first concern before you compound the problem by using spurs. I'm sure that your horse senses your signals and is acting (not acting) accordingly.
Just relax and let your instructor guide you so that you progress by steps. Your horse and you will both be happier. :)
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post #3 of 13 Old 10-27-2013, 08:59 AM
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Use a riding crop, not spurs. Spurs are for finesse not punishment. Turn your toes out a little, squeeze the calf muscle and relax it. If the horse fails to respond then squeeze again and deliver a smack right behind your leg. He may lurch forward a bit so be careful not to grab his mouth or you will never get this to work. If he breaks into a trot, allow it to happen. He now knows you hold the high card. If he's not responsive, he need only think you will deliver a smack. Don't keep squeezing your leg, it is the release that teaches. The squeeze is merely tighten and relax.
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post #4 of 13 Old 10-27-2013, 10:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RedTree View Post
I have developed a nasty habit when riding of my heels sliding up and I'm tipping forward when I ride.

It's all connected. You're heels are coming up because you're tipping forward. I do the same thing. Just keep telling yourself to open your chest and sit up. Once you get your core muscles back in shape, it should fix itself.
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You just have to see your distance...you don't have to like it.
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post #5 of 13 Old 10-27-2013, 12:40 PM
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Maybe your stirrups are too long?
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post #6 of 13 Old 10-27-2013, 02:55 PM
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Instead of thinking heels down-shoulders back, try thinking TALL. I've been trying that lately and it's working for me. I can feel my seat deepen, my short legs seem to grow, and I can feel my tummy tighten as my chest comes up.

Then do some exercises in the saddle, like turning left and right, touching your toes, etc. (Nice to have a lazy horse when you practice this!)

Schooling your horse is a different problem altogether, and perhaps should wait until your own balance is better---just a thought.
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post #7 of 13 Old 10-27-2013, 06:59 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MyBoyPuck View Post
It's all connected. You're heels are coming up because you're tipping forward. I do the same thing. Just keep telling yourself to open your chest and sit up. Once you get your core muscles back in shape, it should fix itself.
Thanks, my core is one thing I need to work on big time, not riding for a couple of weeks, having surgery... Well let's just say it's not the best for it :)

And I do ride with a dressage whip :)

I just need some exercises even ones off the saddle that can help me, lessons are going to come but probably not as soon as I would like, but you never know how I can swing things, have to work on my availability and my instructors.

But I also find when he's out/ at a different place he's generally more forward, so I'm not having to use my leg as much and I'm pretty sure my heels stay down and I don't tip forward as much...
I think I may be overthinking it, but when he's going slower, I think I tip forward to try and encourage his forward, or maybe my heels go up to try and get him to go forward and it's the whole thing again, I don't really know, have to start taking my lessons again
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post #8 of 13 Old 10-27-2013, 11:06 PM
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Something that might help, tell yourself toes up instead of heels down. No idea why but it seemed to work with my students.
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post #9 of 13 Old 10-27-2013, 11:16 PM
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I'm on my university's horsemanship team. The coach thinks we all have heel down problems and for practice sometimes, we have to drop our stirrups and have spurs sitting out our toes. If your toes drop and the spurs fall, you have to get off, go get them, then get back on and go again. Sucks when you have a tall horse.
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post #10 of 13 Old 10-28-2013, 12:07 AM
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I like to think of getting my heels as far away from my hips as possible-- that helps both with the leg stretching down and your hips lifting up. That and strong core will help the falling forward.
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We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience. -Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
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