HOW do I keep from gripping with my knees?? - Page 2
 
 

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HOW do I keep from gripping with my knees??

This is a discussion on HOW do I keep from gripping with my knees?? within the English Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category
  • Correct grip for horse riding
  • Techniques to use to stop gripping saddle with knees

 
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    04-21-2011, 01:03 PM
  #11
Trained
To comment on the toe thing - you must allow your toes to point out, in order for your calf to be correctly placed on your horse, to aid you with solidifying your lower leg.

You should have at least a 40 to 45 degree angle, where you are making contact on your horses girth on your inner/back part of your calf. You don't want to have contact on your inner calf where your toes are pointing forward, nor do you want contact on the back of your calf where you doing the "charlie chaplin" - you want to be right in the middle....the sweet spot.

Here's a picture to hopefully give you a better idea:



     
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    04-21-2011, 01:33 PM
  #12
Green Broke
I bad habit of gripping with my knees and my instructor and I went through all sorts of methods (most mentioned above) and none of them managed to get through my thick skull.

What did work for me was a dragon of an instructor (who I thought was absolutly brilliant) ignoreing what my heel was doing and shouting at me to push my knee down.
Now it is impossible to push your knee down and still grip with your knee (or at least it is for me!). And thus by pushing my knee down my heel automaticly dropped and I stopped gripping with my kees
     
    04-21-2011, 04:44 PM
  #13
Foal
Yes if you push your heel down then your thighs will lossen up. Just tell yourself heels down while your riding.if you find yourself holding your stirrups back then they need adjusted. You may have to train your horse a little cause you have trained it to the other way you were riding.
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    04-21-2011, 04:49 PM
  #14
Trained
I don't grip with my knees, but one of my bad habits is leaning forward. I started taking lessons 3 weeks ago (western riding). My instructor said she usually teaches things in 3 steps, so that a turn becomes:

1 - Turn with your seat
2 - Outside leg
3 - Invite with rein, if needed

But, she said, I need to add step 0, as in

0 - Straighten your back (or even feel like I'm leaning back)

And to create new habits, she said to run thru that at every transition: change of pace, change of direction, lateral move, etc - entering the transition and leaving it, straighten my back. She says with enough time my posture will then improve in between transitions.

You might try the same thing with your knees. Entering and leaving every transition, make a conscious effort to spread your knees and then let the weight flow thru them.

I'll add that I guess I am odd...if I think heels down, I tighten my entire leg. Always. If I think toes up, I don't. Worst case, I think a relaxed leg is more important than heels down, and it may be that for me, a relaxed leg creates the heels down, rather than the reverse.
     
    04-21-2011, 06:03 PM
  #15
Foal
At Meredith Manor they made us do leg exercises called dog and frogs haha Kinda silly I know but they worked for me.... Hated them at first because they will tire you out doing them enough but they build up your hip and leg strength.... The one my instructor used to take my knees away was frog... All it is... Lift your knees out away from the saddle and back a little ways (like a frog) Its one fluid motion.... And do it while your in the saddle on your horse... Your horse is going to be wondering what the hell your doing haha but its ok. Do it for like 2-3 minutes straight non stop every day.... that's what got my knee off. Trust me your going to think its stupid and it hurts if you really keep doing it for 3 minutes long... But it works. Give it a try. You can do both legs at a time or alternating.... however hard you wanna work...
     
    04-21-2011, 06:50 PM
  #16
Yearling
Quote:
I'll add that I guess I am odd...if I think heels down, I tighten my entire leg. Always. If I think toes up, I don't. Worst case, I think a relaxed leg is more important than heels down, and it may be that for me, a relaxed leg creates the heels down, rather than the reverse.
I think that is very interesting, bsms. I think I would have to agree with you there, although the first time I read it I was tempted to disagree. I believe I read on here that when you grip with your knees, you don't allow your heels to be your anchor the way they should be. So the Relaxed Leg = Heels Down thing makes a lot of sense. Now that I think about it, whenever I tense up in any way, my heels go UP. When I'm relaxed, they are nice and down. I'll have to experiment a bit with this, as I have a bad habit of being VERY tense AND gripping with my knees....so perhaps relaxing = knees correct = heels down.
     
    04-21-2011, 10:21 PM
  #17
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by MIEventer    
To comment on the toe thing - you must allow your toes to point out, in order for your calf to be correctly placed on your horse, to aid you with solidifying your lower leg.

You should have at least a 40 to 45 degree angle, where you are making contact on your horses girth on your inner/back part of your calf. You don't want to have contact on your inner calf where your toes are pointing forward, nor do you want contact on the back of your calf where you doing the "charlie chaplin" - you want to be right in the middle....the sweet spot.

Here's a picture to hopefully give you a better idea:



Your toes WILL turn out a little bit if your heels are down and your leg is in the correct position. You don't want the OP to think she needs wing toes to get the correct leg contact going... Bottom line, drop your heels sit deep in your saddle and the rest will/should follow.
     
    04-22-2011, 05:22 PM
  #18
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katze    
Your toes WILL turn out a little bit if your heels are down and your leg is in the correct position. You don't want the OP to think she needs wing toes to get the correct leg contact going... Bottom line, drop your heels sit deep in your saddle and the rest will/should follow.
I think my friend was telling me the correct position after all, because I was feeling my position when I pinched with my knees and it brought my heels up and my toes pointed in towards the girth. When she told me to think about my toes going out, it relaxed my heels and brought my leg into position. But I won't do the 'charlie chaplin' and go overboard with it lol!

It is interesting to think that a relaxed leg means dropped heels and no knee-gripping. I'm a very tense rider so that might be the key for me, just RELAX! It's always when I'm just riding around having fun that I have the best position. I think about it too hard and I'll tense right back up again, lean foreword, lose my stirrups, and grip with my knees.
     
    04-23-2011, 02:11 AM
  #19
Trained
To get correct leg placement, and to effectively use your lower leg effectively, you should have an angle between 40 - 45 degees, where your inner/back of your calf is making contact on your horses girth.

And guess what happens when you ride with correct calf placement?! Your knees open up!
     
    04-24-2011, 01:01 PM
  #20
Yearling
I rode at my cousin's place Saturday and she had me point my toes out. I could feel the difference in my leg position immediately. It made it MUCH easier to post to the trot, it made the horse have a much bigger trot and I didn't have to intentionally squeeze with my legs so much- the pressure was already there. My heels also dropped automatically and it made it much easier in general to have them down.
     

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