Keeping my feet IN the stirrups at fast gaits - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 06-02-2010, 06:01 PM Thread Starter
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Keeping my feet IN the stirrups at fast gaits

So I just switched to English riding. When I bought an English OTTB to learn English on, I was training her to take a nice, slow canter. When she would start to gallop, I always gripped so tight with my seat and thighs (I'm well trained in bareback....) that I take all weight out of my stirrups and my feet always fall out! So I was galloping around the pasture holding on with my thighs....which I usually do bareback anyway, so no big. But obiously that's not how it's sposed to be. How do I stop this? I sent the mare to a trainer to work with her (actually her off track owner and trainer) so she stays in shape and relearns what she was taught once upon a time. (long story short, got in the wrong hands of someone who ruined her canter from poor riding on the rider's part. I bought horse to retrain that canter, am now out with a broken collarbone from a track meet, so I sent the horse down to her off track owner to work with her while my clavicle heals.)

So I can't practice any of your suggestions now, just gaining info right now. All help appreciated!
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post #2 of 8 Old 06-03-2010, 05:12 AM
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Get some lessons on the lunge ;) Gripping with your thigh and knee takes your lower leg off the horse, blocks your pelvis/hip and thus you have turned into a passenger, pulling with your reins will only do so much with puny human arms against a horse's muscle so one must learn how to use their seat.

I used to have the same problem, possibly not to the same extent but I would grip my knees slightly when my horse took off or started to spit the dummy, or in sit trot on a bouncy horse. To combat this, I spent a lot of time riding with my hips/pelvis open, (lifted my knees and thighs off the saddle sideways as far as I could, so I was just balancing on my seat) and riding walk, trot and canter like that. I found this helped me immensely, my weight was in my seat and as soon as I let my leg rest down again I felt as though my knee and thigh was lightly resting on the saddle with no tightness at all.

You have to think of sinking your weight down into your heels by the weight flowing through your seat and down your calf into your heel. Try to imagine that you're being stretched from both ways, there is a string attached to your head, and string attached to both of your heels, each string is being pulled taunt. This helped me to visualise sitting up and tall in the saddle, and really helped lengthen my leg (I've got short legs as it is so this helped hugely!)
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post #3 of 8 Old 06-03-2010, 07:03 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you so much for the advice! I think it's because I've been ridin bareback a lot lately (too lazy to go get my big 'ol western saddle) and that makes me grip with my thighs, especially on a horse who tried to spin and dodge at a canter to go back to the barn every few minutes! Sure taught me to grip with my thighs! But now I'm not putting any weight in the stirrups (I just switched from English to western) and like you said, that's not good
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post #4 of 8 Old 06-03-2010, 03:40 PM
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ya you need to put weight in the stirrups(: and heels down for balence

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post #5 of 8 Old 06-03-2010, 04:23 PM
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If you are going to gallop, shorten your stirrups by two to three holes, this will allow you to get off your horses back to allow him to stretch out properly, you won't be able to grip anymore and your weight will shift to your heels.

When I ride trackwork I shorten my stirrups up to six holes depending on the horse, works wonders for your two point position also!

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post #6 of 8 Old 06-03-2010, 04:25 PM
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Hmmm, I just re read your post and I guess you don't intend to gallop? She just is speeding up at a canter without you asking is that right?

I would still suggest shortening your stirrups anyway, the last thing you want is a flapping stirrup iron on a horse you are trying to slow down! Once you consistently have your weight in your heels and your horses gaits under control, you can drop them again if you like.

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post #7 of 8 Old 06-03-2010, 05:02 PM
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Wait - Are you switching from english to western or western to english?

And yes, that effects my answer

Pssh.I didn't pick up the wrong lead
It's called a counter canter...
...A very advanced maneuver.
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post #8 of 8 Old 06-03-2010, 05:41 PM Thread Starter
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Western to English. Bought a horse who was BEAUTIFULLY trained off the track by a trainer named Jenni (I saw videos to prove it) but she got in the wrong hands afterward, someone named Alicia destroyed her, sold her to someone else (Lindsay) who got really afraid of her "canter" aka gallop, sold her to me. I knew she had this problem; test rode her and still bought her because my mom's boyfriend who's 66 and has been riding since 8, said we could retrain her to slow canter. Well, I broke my collarbone and can no longer school her (for 10 weeks at least) so I sent her down to the trainer (Jenni) who bought her off the track and she was delighted to see her in good hands after that awful owner (Alicia) who ruined her gaits, and Jenni is retraining Molly for me so she'll be ready for me when my clavicle heals. Things changed--Jenni also told me she had a track injury involving a slab fracture and surgery to remove bone chips. Sent me a video of her jumping her for the first time, only to find that her knees collapsed and the horse went DOWN big time. Contacted Alicia, who is also the person who found the horse for the Jenni who trained her right, and apparently she had never told Jenni that the Molly a slab fracture! They were both okay from the fall, but I was upset I didn't have an eventing prospect anymore.

I know, very confusing. Long story short, an owner was money-hungry, lied about and ruined the horse (at least her canter) and now I'm out of an eventer. So my mom will be taking Molly for herself, and I'm looking for an eventer all over again.

When I get an eventer, I will be building a riding ring outside, and having a trainer come to school me in eventing. Well, for cross country, I'll need to gallop and do a fast canter. So different for me from riding Western all my life! The horse I'm looking at hasn't been evented since June and has been sitting in a pasture out of work ever since because the daughter, who rode him, found a boyfriend, moved out, and left her mom to sell off the horses. Here's some videos of him eventing last June, though. Looks really good to me!
On the XC portion, he's practically galloping the entire way!

Last edited by equiniphile; 06-03-2010 at 05:43 PM.
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