How to keep a steady leg? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 01-26-2011, 05:33 PM Thread Starter
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How to keep a steady leg?

I cannot keep my leg steady while trotting and cantering! And my feet seem to slip back in the stirrups especially in canter. I am constantly trying to get them back to the ball of the foot. I am getting better at sitting in the saddle at canter. At first I was bouncing all over the place. Also I lose my balance a lot when trotting. I feel I am coming down way to hard on Lola's back! Can anyone help me...

Here is a video of a few months ago. It is the only one I have. Sorry about the quality etc...

I know I look like a rag doll in it XD Oh and ignore my stiff arms! I have improved on that too. I may be getting a video tomorrow

And another video on a different horse. Ignore my legs at the corners and going over the poles. I waas kicking him. He is hard to keep going. And I know kicking will probably put me of balance etc.

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post #2 of 15 Old 01-26-2011, 06:58 PM
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It seems like you haven't got enough heel depth to keep your leg in place. I know someone whos trainer tied her stirrups to the girth 0__0 (please don't do that). So try sticking your heels dowd and toes in and see how that works. I couln't watch the videos as I am on a school laptop and the site was blocked.

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post #3 of 15 Old 01-26-2011, 07:32 PM
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Ok. First of all your a nice rider balence and back wise, but heres the critque on ur leg....
-try to tighten the grip on ur ankle and lower leg(try a smidge shorter stirrups,that might help)
-support urself more with ur lower leg, ride like u have no stirrups
Here are things u can do to tighten and strenghten ur leg...

-ride without stirrups, but only do what u can of course, so try a few minutes posting trot no stirrups
-when u ride think a lot about ur grip on the horse(a tighter ankle grip might help u be able to more officently tell lazy horses to go)

try that and tell me how it works out!!!!!

I <3 absolootly ready aka zach
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post #4 of 15 Old 01-26-2011, 09:18 PM
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Your lower leg is a little out in front of your center of gravity. Basically every time you come up to post, you're compensating for the counter-balancing required to get your butt out of the saddle. I have the exact same problem. Here's a few exercises to try to line things up better.

1. Walk/trot transitions on half seat. To most rider's surprise, maintaining your balance in half seat at the walk takes a lot of muscle and balance. It also forces you to keep your lower leg centered under you or else you fall back or forward.

2. Builds on the first exercise. 5 steps game. Sit/post/half seat in the trot every 5 steps. If you can't hold each for 5 steps initially, do each for fewer steps and work up to it. This one both helps keep your lower leg in the right spot and also helps keep it in the right spot when you're posting.

3. Ride with one stirrup, switching legs every so often. This one shows which leg isn't pulling it's weight so to speak. You might want to ride with a grab strap for this one so you don't accidentally grab your horse in the mouth if you lose your balance.

4. Off the horse, core pilates. Ouch, but they work great for improving your seat.

That's all I've got. Have fun!
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post #5 of 15 Old 01-26-2011, 09:28 PM
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I agree with myboypuck. Never tried riding with one stirrup I'll have to remember that! You can also try sitting for two beats and posting for two beats to get your leg back and secure. You can also post at the canter to secure your leg. It feels wierd but it works and will keep you from slamming on your horse's back if that is what you are worried about. You will likely get a better canter out of him too. Good luck!
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post #6 of 15 Old 01-26-2011, 10:20 PM
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You rode much better on Billy. He is a better horse for your level at this time. Your mare is a tough one to stay balanced over 'cause she kind of "pronks" like a gazelle with her head in the air and trying to run right out from under the saddle. I think those videos were taken before you changed to a better fitting saddle, no?
If you could take some lunge line lessons, on Billy, this would be absolutely invaluable. YOu are stiff from top to bottom. All that motion has to go through your body, and if you are stiff, you end up moving around a lot , forced to by the motion because you DONT move, you end up being moved.
If you are flexible in the hips knees and ankles, and allow your elbow to open and close while posting , you will absorb the motion of the horse, and though you will BE moving, you will LOOK still.
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post #7 of 15 Old 01-27-2011, 05:57 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys I am gonna try these today!

Yep that video was with the old saddle.

Now Lola canters with her head nearly touching the ground! ( bit of an exaggeration XD) But he has it really low. Like she is going to nuck or something. But she never does =/
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post #8 of 15 Old 01-27-2011, 06:34 AM
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I am so glad you posted this. I've had this problem off and on since I began riding 19 years ago. Well make that 15, when I started trotting instead of walking in circles.

For some reason my computer is being stupid and not playing video so I can't say I see what you're talking about however with my leg issues I've related it to balance. And the balance I've related it to needing to be adjusted by my chiropractor. I'm very right side dominant and from my rough housing past I tend to get thrown out of alignment pretty easily. I don't have as much trouble at the walk as I do at the canter though and my trainer as do others say I'm actually not sliding in my leg as much as I think I am. But when I do feel a slip I know my balance is off, my sides and back are tight and I need to get worked on in order to be more relaxed and centered correctly again. A couple days after I visit my Chiropractor my legs stop sliding.

This might not be the case with you though, probably not even close. I'm just mentioning what helps me and what seems to be my trigger.

what I can suggest is just remember heels down toes up. I'm still constantly reminding myself while I ride and now that I'm jumping again the change in stirrup length will take a little bit to get back used to again. My legs flop and my heels come up. I've been having my trainer yell "eyes up heels down" all my previous trainers (retired now) said that and it helped so much!
all of these responses are wonderful in aiding you and I wrote a few down for myself.

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post #9 of 15 Old 01-27-2011, 08:27 AM
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2-point work in walk trot and canter.
I had a huge breakthrough with one of my students today. She has the same problem as you, her lower leg swings around at trot (I haven't started canter work with her yet due to this unstableness of the lower leg) and as a result her balance is never very good.
So today I spent the full lesson working her in 2 point and swapping from true 2-point leaning forward, to standing upright in the stirrups at halt, walk and trot.
She worked out pretty **** quickly that if her leg slipped back she'd almost come off, and if it was too far forward she would fall back into the saddle. Took maybe 5 minutes for her to find her centre of balance and once we went back to normal riding trot work, her lower leg stayed quiet and still.
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post #10 of 15 Old 01-27-2011, 08:52 AM
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I have the same problem, although it is improving. My mind won't let certain body parts operate while it's concentrating on other parts lol. My weak leg in particular will sometimes be bent so far my foot feels like its touching his rump, and I'm aware of this happening but it's frozen there until my mind lets go!!
My trainer lounges me at sitting trot. I practice sitting trot and whenever I start to bounce, I'll post. As soon as I got my balance, I'd sit. Riding without stirrups is great, it stretches your leg down and you're not using the stirrups to brace yourself. It's amazing how short your stirrups feel once you take them back. I've discovered riding without stirrups is easier for me! My trainer also has me canter in half seat. The trick is to perform an action without tensing up, easier said than done until you've done it over a 100 times, and you're brain accepts it as natural.
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