My toes keep being pointed out - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 05-30-2011, 04:24 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Slovenia
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My toes keep being pointed out

Why don't they want to cooperate? :P
Any special ways to get used to the position of toes, or just exercise, exercise, exercises?
And why should they be pointed in?


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post #2 of 13 Old 05-30-2011, 07:30 PM
Green Broke
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Toes do not need to be straight forward! It is a HUGE misconception.

Of course, if you are riding off the back of your calf, instead of mostly the side, then there is a problem. If your leg is in the correct position, and you still toe out a bit, then its fine.

There are several other threads about this that you can read over if you search "toes in".

It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows. --Epictetus
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post #3 of 13 Old 05-30-2011, 08:20 PM
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When your toes are pointed ahead, your lower leg is able to be in a more correct position than if your toes were pointed outwards. When your lower legs are correct, you have a much less risk of confusing the horse with accidental aids, or provoking a sensitive horse.

Anyways! What my trainers have me do to keep my toes from pointing outwards, is to feel like I'm putting my weight into my pinky toe. I position my foot as if I were standing on the outer edge of my foot. (I hope this makes sense.) When it feels werid, then you're doing it right! Practice this weirdness until it feels normal and voila! fixed toe position. My trainers have been yelling at me "Toes ahead!" for a year now and I am seeing huge improvements when I compare photos of my riding.

If you need more clarification, let me know.

"He doth nothing but talk of his horses."
~William Shakespeare
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post #4 of 13 Old 05-30-2011, 08:34 PM
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Toes are the worstttt. I thought that stirrupless riding helped me a bit, since you don't have stirrups you have to precisely place your foot, and it helped me to make sure my foot was in the right place.

There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man. ~Winston Churchill
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post #5 of 13 Old 05-30-2011, 09:12 PM
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Are your knees bent and angled such that one can see daylight through there, like if I look at you riding and I view you from behind your horse, will I see a gap of daylight between your knee and the saddle?
This is one of the bad results of toes over pointed out.
I , too, had the instructor tell me to put weight in my pinky.
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post #6 of 13 Old 05-31-2011, 11:25 AM
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You don't really have to have your toes pointed straight forward, parallel to your horse but you don't want them way out to the side. The closer you can have them to pointing forward the better because that puts your whole leg position in better contact with your horse. If your toes are pointing out the the side, you are most likely tense and gripping with the back of your thigh and the back of your calf, forcing your heels down. Turning your toes more forward rolls your leg inward and onto your horse. You will have your leg laying nicely against with your horse and your thigh and calf flat against the horse with your heel relaxing down. Also make sure your leg is underneath you by looking down. If you can see your toe, you need to have your leg more underneath you.

Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work. ~Thomas Edison
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post #7 of 13 Old 05-31-2011, 07:39 PM
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It's not about the toes. Your toes can point out up to 45 degrees. It's about the position for your CALF. You do not want to ride off the back of your calf, that will dig your heel into your horse's side and drive them forward every step, along with not being as secure with your leg. You should have contact with the inside of your calf (and knee and thigh). Some trainers will say "toes forward" I think in an attempt to get their rider off the back of the calf but that's not exactly correct, even if it does get the job done.
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post #8 of 13 Old 06-02-2011, 04:07 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for advices :)

Yeah, I definitly see my toes if I look down, that's way I'm trying to correct it. It's the worst in sitting trot, my muscles are completly non-existant, cause I didn't ride much in the winter and now because of the injury. My heel doesn't dig in my horse until I start the sitting trot. I have to work on this a lot...
I don't think I'm opening my knees, but maybe I'm doing this mistake too.
Anyway, have to work on it :)


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post #9 of 13 Old 06-02-2011, 04:24 PM
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My instructor actually tells me to point my toes out! She does this if it seems like I'm "pinching" with my knees or legs. Letting them point out a bit has really helped me not give bad signals to the horse, especially when I'm working on half-seat at a walk.
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post #10 of 13 Old 06-02-2011, 05:04 PM
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I'm a beginner myself, so take this with a bucket of sand...

Your toes should be as far forward as you can have them with a relaxed leg. It is OK to practice moving them more forward in hopes of stretching muscles, but a relaxed leg is more important that toes forward.

If your toes are more than 45 deg out, you probably have a leg position problem, and maybe a saddle fit problem. Try this: sitting in a chair, put your leg forward, foot forward & heel down. As you move your heel back under your hip, if your legs are like mine, either your heel will come up or your toes will go out.

I'd rather have toes out than toes down. Maybe with time, my legs will get more flexible and I'll have more options, but that is it for me right now.

Now, the stirrup leather should hang straight down. If it doesn't, you are fighting gravity. So if your saddle fits to put your heel under your hip, and if your legs are like mine, you will need to turn your toes out. I prefer a saddle that puts my heel under my belt buckle in a mild chair seat, which is enough that I can keep my heel down and use the side of my calf with toes about 30 deg out.

Also, it may be my imagination, but I feel like a long stirrup leather gives me more flexibility than a short one. Stand with your leg straight and toes up. Bring your foot up towards your hip. If you are like me, the higher your foot comes up, the more your heel comes up - unless you turn your toe out some.

I suggest working with someone to find the best combination of long leg / forward leg / toe out / heel down that fits your body, and allows a relaxed leg with the side of your calf available for cueing your horse.
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