Help With Keeping My Heels Down
 
 

       The Horse Forum > Riding Horses > English Riding

Help With Keeping My Heels Down

This is a discussion on Help With Keeping My Heels Down within the English Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category
  • How do i keep my feet by my horses side
  • Dont keep my heels down riding

Like Tree4Likes

 
LinkBack Thread Tools
    10-04-2011, 04:42 PM
  #1
Foal
Help With Keeping My Heels Down

I haven't been riding long but I'm having trouble keeping my heels down. My heels are quite high at the walk and trot but now that I've just started cantering my feet seem to keep slipping through the stirrups, which I think is because my heels are too high.
I know this has probably been posted a thousand times before but any advise on stretches or exercise that could help would be much appreciated.
     
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
    10-04-2011, 05:49 PM
  #2
Super Moderator
That is what happens when you are gripping with your knees. This is like soooo common, so don't feel that's it's just you. I think most learning riders go through this phase.

You have to learn to ride on your seat bones and not gripping. Think aobut letting the horse carry you (at walk or seated gaits) and think of pluggin your seatbones into the saddle, the same way you plug in a two pronged electrical plug.

Then, think of plugging your heels into a socket, too. Plug in seatbones, plug in heels. Over and over and over.

Also, instead of thinking heels down, think toes up.

Be patient, it takes time but it wont' last forever.
     
    10-04-2011, 09:10 PM
  #3
Trained
Yeah, what Tiny said. If you've been taught the fallacy of keeping your knee in contact with the saddle, forget it. Take your knees off, turn your toes out slightly, hug your horse with your calves, and every so often just stand straight up and let your heels sink back down. Heels down is part muscle memory and part mechanics (ie what your other leg parts are doing). Lots of us struggle with that one. You'll get it.
     
    10-05-2011, 12:24 AM
  #4
Foal
Great advice! Love reading and learning from everyone's posts!
Posted via Mobile Device
     
    10-05-2011, 01:11 AM
  #5
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by Manonahorse    
I haven't been riding long but I'm having trouble keeping my heels down. My heels are quite high at the walk and trot but now that I've just started cantering my feet seem to keep slipping through the stirrups, which I think is because my heels are too high.
I know this has probably been posted a thousand times before but any advise on stretches or exercise that could help would be much appreciated.
Stop thinking of it as "Heels Down" and start thinking of it as allowing your heels to be your anchors. It isn't about pushing your heels down, it is about allowing your bodies weight to absorb your bodies weight - that's it. It doesn't matter if your heels are down at a 90 degree angle, 45 degree angle or a 10 degree angle, just so long as they are able to do their jobs..which is anchoring you in your tack.

You have to allow your bodies weight to naturally flow from your head, into your seat, and from your seat, down into your lower leg and heels. You cannot grip or pinch, the moment you do that, you block that natural weight flow from occuring.

There is also another factor into allowing your heels to do their job - proper foot placement in the iron. Proper placement will allow your ankles to soften, which will in turn, allow your heels to do their job. The balls of your feet must be on the base of the iron, where the outter bar is at your pinky toe, and the inner bar is at the ball of your big toe.

Then, there is proper toe angle - you should have at least a 45 degree angle, where the correct placement of your calf, is making contact with your horses side. You don't want toes completely forward, nor do you want your toes out beyond a 45 degree angle, you want to find that sweet spot where you can solidify your lower leg.

Once you have achieved your lower leg - knee softly making contact with your saddle *Even placement from your thigh to knee* opened where your bodies weight can flow naturally. Proper placement of iron on foot, allowing weight to dispurse through your ankle, and contact on horses side with your "sweet spot" of your calf.

The moment you grip with your knee, you block that flow. If you feel that you are reaching for balance in your toes - you've lost your solidity. Stop and re-establish yourself. And start over. You'll get it :)
Wallaby, Spyder and Manonahorse like this.
     
    10-05-2011, 02:00 PM
  #6
Foal
Thanks for the great advice :)
I think part of the problem is that I've been gripping with my knees a bit and had my feet pointing forwards as opposed to out at an angle slightly. I'll let you know how my next lesson goes.
     
    10-05-2011, 02:22 PM
  #7
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by MIEventer    
Stop thinking of it as "Heels Down" and start thinking of it as allowing your heels to be your anchors. It isn't about pushing your heels down, it is about allowing your bodies weight to absorb your bodies weight - that's it. It doesn't matter if your heels are down at a 90 degree angle, 45 degree angle or a 10 degree angle, just so long as they are able to do their jobs..which is anchoring you in your tack.

You have to allow your bodies weight to naturally flow from your head, into your seat, and from your seat, down into your lower leg and heels. You cannot grip or pinch, the moment you do that, you block that natural weight flow from occuring.

There is also another factor into allowing your heels to do their job - proper foot placement in the iron. Proper placement will allow your ankles to soften, which will in turn, allow your heels to do their job. The balls of your feet must be on the base of the iron, where the outter bar is at your pinky toe, and the inner bar is at the ball of your big toe.

Then, there is proper toe angle - you should have at least a 45 degree angle, where the correct placement of your calf, is making contact with your horses side. You don't want toes completely forward, nor do you want your toes out beyond a 45 degree angle, you want to find that sweet spot where you can solidify your lower leg.

Once you have achieved your lower leg - knee softly making contact with your saddle *Even placement from your thigh to knee* opened where your bodies weight can flow naturally. Proper placement of iron on foot, allowing weight to dispurse through your ankle, and contact on horses side with your "sweet spot" of your calf.

The moment you grip with your knee, you block that flow. If you feel that you are reaching for balance in your toes - you've lost your solidity. Stop and re-establish yourself. And start over. You'll get it :)
That advice rocks the house! Thank you so much! I had a lesson today and it went soooo much better bc I did not grip with my knees. It made staying balanced and staying in my seat so much easier!

I also found that I was not so dependent on my stirrups to stay in the saddle ( which never really worked anyways). I did lose my stirrups a couple of times though, but it wasn't a total freak out bc I was balanced and could still ride. You guys rock the house! I felt so much more confident after today's lesson even though my horse was a bit frisky bc of the wind.

Next question ...how do I not lose my stirrups during that bumpy transition from walk to jog? When I was concentrating on "toes up" during this time my feet fell out of the stirrups. Maybe I am still wrapping my legs around the horse instinctively bc it is so bumpy. What do you think?
Posted via Mobile Device
MIEventer likes this.
     
    10-05-2011, 04:35 PM
  #8
Started
There is a thread up the back entitled:
"WHY HEELS DOWN and not Up"
In which the subject is discussed in great detail.

Look it up.

Usually the problem for a learner rider is that you are not sitting in the saddle in the correct position. For your heels to drop, your thighs must have rolled over. But read the thread - it had 5600 + viewers.
     
    10-05-2011, 08:11 PM
  #9
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by Barry Godden    
There is a thread up the back entitled:
"WHY HEELS DOWN and not Up"
In which the subject is discussed in great detail.

Look it up.
Thanks Barry! Going to look it up right now...


Usually the problem for a learner rider is that you are not sitting in the saddle in the correct position. For your heels to drop, your thighs must have rolled over. But read the thread - it had 5600 + viewers.
Posted via Mobile Device
     
    10-08-2011, 02:02 PM
  #10
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by Catdog88    
That advice rocks the house! Thank you so much! I had a lesson today and it went soooo much better bc I did not grip with my knees. It made staying balanced and staying in my seat so much easier!

I also found that I was not so dependent on my stirrups to stay in the saddle ( which never really worked anyways). I did lose my stirrups a couple of times though, but it wasn't a total freak out bc I was balanced and could still ride. You guys rock the house! I felt so much more confident after today's lesson even though my horse was a bit frisky bc of the wind.

Next question ...how do I not lose my stirrups during that bumpy transition from walk to jog? When I was concentrating on "toes up" during this time my feet fell out of the stirrups. Maybe I am still wrapping my legs around the horse instinctively bc it is so bumpy. What do you think?
Posted via Mobile Device
I am thrilled you were able to figure it out! Good on you! I am so pleased to hear the positive news!

Don't think "toes up" wipe that out of your mind. It's incorrect. Continue to think "Allow weight to flow into heels" when you think that way, you will remember to allow your lower body to not grip or pinch, so that the weight flow can naturally occur. You are losing your irons, because you are gripping/blocking that weight flow from occuring.
     

Thread Tools

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
trouble keeping heels down>>>:( Katie x English Riding 10 10-01-2010 07:43 AM
Keeping heels down Aliboo English Riding 9 01-08-2009 05:54 PM
Keeping my heels down, but not too far down. How do I fix it? Supermane English Riding 17 11-16-2008 01:08 PM
Heels down VanillaBean English Riding 10 10-24-2008 06:36 PM



All times are GMT -4. The time now is 09:08 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Search Engine Friendly URLs by vBSEO 3.6.0