Leg position help?
 
 

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Leg position help?

This is a discussion on Leg position help? within the English Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category

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        06-24-2014, 10:05 AM
      #1
    Foal
    Leg position help?

    My leg position is terrible! I never realised how bad it was till I started taking lessons at college with a dressage rider/instructor and she pointed out how bad they were. I ride with my legs way too far forward, so instead of having the nice line from shoulder, hip, heel, my heels are way too far forward.

    With work its slowly getting better, I am working on trying to put more weight in my stirrups and not forcing my heel down which tends to push my leg forward. I've also been told when i'm riding whenever I feel like my leg is creeping forward then I should stand up and put it back into its correct position. Its 100% better at the walk but i'm still struggling at the trot and canter.
    Now I'm on summer break I only get to ride once a week for half an hour as opposed to the 1 and a half-2 hours I have been riding previously.

    So what can I do to correct my leg position when I'm riding?

    Also if you have any exercises I can do at home to help that would be amazing since I don't ride much. I am having a private lesson tomorrow so any help would be greatly appreciated so that I can work on this tomorrow. Thanks in advance!
         
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        06-24-2014, 01:25 PM
      #2
    Weanling
    First, check to see if your saddle encourages the correct riding position. The saddle should fit the horse so that your seat is approximately in the middle. Sit in the correct riding position with your feet out of the stirrups. Just let your legs hang and feel this position. Then, try the same thing with your feet in your stirrups. Does it feel the same? Someone on the ground watching can help with this.

    If the saddle is fine, consider how you are sitting. Your pelvis should be vertical. If it is tilted back, your legs will have a tendency to go forward.

    Don't try to "put" more weight in your stirrups. Simply relax and let gravity do its job. Release any tension in the muscles around your pelvis and in your legs. This includes the muscles in your crotch that riders often tighten with the thought of absorbing shock. As you release the tension in your muscles, imagine your weight sinking like sand in an hourglass. Nothing pushes this sand down; gravity pulls it down.

    As gravity does its job, you should feel your legs drape around your horse's body like a cooked noodle around a bottle laying on its side on the kitchen counter. There is no pressure, only adhesion. As your weight sinks due to gravity, your stirrups will support the balls of your feet, and your heels will drop lower naturally.

    Try to maintain this relaxed feeling in the trot and canter as well as at the walk. Think of allowing your body to move with your horse. Don't try to hold on. If you are letting gravity do its job and letting your body move with your horse in balance, there is no way you can fall off.

    While off the horse, I would recommend stretching, balance, and relaxation exercises. Also, become more conscious of your posture. Let your bones support your weight rather than your muscles.

    Several of my students told me how their posture is improving even when not riding. One woman said that her friends asked her what had changed. They said she looked much more confident. Good posture in riding conveys this feeling of confidence to your horse, and your horse will respond better.
         
        06-24-2014, 01:36 PM
      #3
    Ale
    Yearling
    Subbing, because this is also an issue that I am having. Due in part to the fact that I recently had hip surgery and putting my legs back causes a slight pull on my ligament that causes me concern. But if I want to show in the future, I need to strengthen the ligament and get my legs used to being in the proper position.
         
        06-24-2014, 01:40 PM
      #4
    Super Moderator
    When you look down you shouldn't be able to see any more than the very tip of your toe below your knee - of course you will then have to get rid of the bad habit of looking down all the time!!!
    I will say that when I recently tried over 20 different saddles - sitting on them on a saddle horse - only a few of them actually put my legs naturally in the correct position - as pointed out by the saddle fitter
         
        06-24-2014, 02:20 PM
      #5
    Foal
    I can't really influence how the saddle fits me because I ride so many different horses, in the 6 months I've probably rode of 20 different horses if not more, and they are all different shapes and all have different saddles so that isn't an option for me.

    I've noticed that I am quite tense when I ride, my hips feel very closed and I've started doing exercises to open my hips because at the moment I am not absorbing the movement as I should be.

    I will definitely try to become more relaxed, I think a part of it is the fact that I am under a lot of pressure to become a better rider that I've been trying so hard that I've sort of tensed up and I am focusing too much on my position and so I have sort of made the problem worse, if that makes any sense.

    Right, relax, breathe, hopefully that will help. Thanks for the advice everyone. I will try and post a picture or some videos to show my position, if anyone wants to point of anything wrong feel free, I'm very open to criticism I know, I am far, far, far away from perfect or even good.
         
        06-24-2014, 03:03 PM
      #6
    Super Moderator
    You're brave!!!
    Just noticed you're from my one time home county of Staffordshire - you have to be brave to live there!!!
    The hardest time I have in stopping my feet from drifting forwards is when I'm riding a horse that needs a lot of driving on with my seat and legs to keep it moving and 'hold it together' at the same time
         
        06-24-2014, 03:25 PM
      #7
    Foal
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jaydee    
    You're brave!!!
    Just noticed you're from my one time home county of Staffordshire - you have to be brave to live there!!!
    The hardest time I have in stopping my feet from drifting forwards is when I'm riding a horse that needs a lot of driving on with my seat and legs to keep it moving and 'hold it together' at the same time
    Haha! What do you mean by brave? Where abouts are you from in Staffordshire, I'm from Newcastle-Under-Lyme.

    I agree, I do find that my legs drift forwards more when I am on a lazier horse.

    Anyway; here is my photobucket, if you want to see some videos of me riding there are some on here, they are from last year and a couple from early this year, they are the most recent I have unfortunately. Maybe some of you can see my problem and help? Can you see any positives in my riding or is it all bad haha

    Samantha's (SamBadger96) Library | Photobucket
         
        06-24-2014, 05:50 PM
      #8
    Super Moderator
    Considering they're lesson horses so probably do need more work to get them going I don't think you look too bad - I'm sure your legs swings forward when you start to sit back more to push the horse on and everything tilts out of line.
    I lived near Cannock Chase for a while - ages ago. It was wonderful for riding and riding club shows every weekend all in easy travel distance
         
        06-24-2014, 07:48 PM
      #9
    Foal
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jaydee    
    Considering they're lesson horses so probably do need more work to get them going I don't think you look too bad - I'm sure your legs swings forward when you start to sit back more to push the horse on and everything tilts out of line.
    I lived near Cannock Chase for a while - ages ago. It was wonderful for riding and riding club shows every weekend all in easy travel distance
    I do think you're definitely on to something here because when I ride the horses at college who are peoples own horses it doesn't happen too bad but these are horses who don't require much leg, ar a lot more forward and exciting haha.

    I've been trekking up Cannock Chase a few times, oh gosh it was lovely, such a beautiful place to ride in.
         
        06-24-2014, 08:58 PM
      #10
    Yearling
    I had this exact same problem. I've ridden 40 years, and been trained by some pretty awesome people, yet still had the chair-seat no matter what I did. I always rode in A/P or eventing saddles, and did mostly trails and cross-country riding. Always had short stirrups.

    I've been cured, pretty much. I've been taking lesson from somebody who does everything short of electrocute me every time my leg comes forward, and I've been riding about 30-40 miles a week in a dressage saddle at a trot and/or canter. I had to get my leg under me, or I would have been in pretty severe pain from fighting the mis-balance. 3 months of riding those distances in a dressage saddle, and my leg is in near-perfect position no matter what saddle I'm in.

    I do believe I've totally retrained my muscle-memory to be centered and balanced. I'm sitting with my seat-bones tucked under me and no longer sitting forward on my pubic bones, and my legs are just falling into the right place. I've also stopped bracing against the irons. If I now try to ride the way I used to, I just flop back - I can't even do it anymore. I'm back in my forward flap saddles now, and my leg very rarely tries to pop forward.
         

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