Need Help Keeping Stirrups

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Need Help Keeping Stirrups

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    11-19-2011, 03:25 PM
Question Need Help Keeping Stirrups

I am a beginner rider, and I have a big problem with keeping my stirrups. My instructor has me ride without stirrups a lot so I can get the right position and feel for what muscles to use with stirrups, but then when I go to try riding with stirrups I'm either all over the place and can't get my balance, or I ride like I do without stirrups and the stirrups seem to just get in the way and I end up losing them. How do I keep the same positioning I do without stirrups when riding with them and still keep the stirrups at the same time? My last lesson I could ONLY do the sitting trot without stirrups, otherwise I was bouncing like crazy, and cantering went a lot better without them than with them. I know to keep my heels down toes up, and I can do that fine without stirrups but when I add stirrups I focus too much on trying not to lose them, and if I just worry about keeping heels down in the stirrups my balance is off, but if I focus on balance I lose my stirrups. How can I do better on both at once?
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    11-19-2011, 04:05 PM
Besides the obvious suggestion of heels down, have you tried adjusting your stirrups a notch or two and see if that helps? I had a similar problem where my feet kept coming out of the stirrups despite heel down and I didn't feel "secure" until we adjusted them a couple notches and since then everything has been perfect.

Some instructors, for whatever reason, never pick up on these things and leave it to you to question whether this or that is right. Another thing to remember is that you're not trying to push down into the stirrups the weight should naturally flow into them - if that makes sense.

Can you get a video of you riding, or maybe a few photos? That would help us figure out exactly what's going wrong. :)
    11-19-2011, 06:55 PM
You have my full sympathies cos this is something that bugged me for many a year! The cure for me was flexible stirrups - the Sprenger ones with the chains at the side that are covered with rubber. Because the tread swivels when you push your heels down / toes up, it's much easier to maintain the contact. Alternatively try raising your stirrups by one or two holes and see if that helps.
    11-19-2011, 07:32 PM
Dear new rider,
Just to let you know, this that you are experiencing is very normal and very common. I remember the very same experience; only being able to sit the trot without stirrups, and as soon as I took them up again, everything falling apart. IN a way, it's just a matter of riding a lot . You kind of have to go "through" the difficulty, not around it.

What I think may be happening, is that when you are riding w/o stirrups, you may be staying on a bit more by gripping, more than you realize. Then, when you pick up the stirrup, you may still be gripping, and this will inevitably cause you to lose your stirrup..
So, when riding w/o stirrups, forget about how your feet are possitioned. Think only about riding from your seatbones and letting the weight of your legs on each side of the horse be your balancers. Then, try to get a similar feeling when you pick up the stirrups.

But, to a certain extent, it just happens, and you are not alone there.
Congrats to you for doing so much work w/o stirrups. YOu'll be a good rider soon!
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    11-19-2011, 08:15 PM
Hello New Rider---What will help you is riding at the trot in a half seat, aka 2-point or jumping position. If you're not familiar with that, it's like standing up, but with your leg in a correct riding position, meaning with bent legs----not straight! Without sitting, all your weight will go down through your thighs and into your lower legs, giving you the depth that will keep your legs secure and your feet quiet in your stirrups. (I've used the half seat a lot with my students, and it hasn't failed yet!)
    11-19-2011, 08:24 PM
I think I need this, too! I really suck at half seat and shall be inspired to give it a go again. For me, my butt ends up kind of "whacking' the saddle. But that's another thread (I can just see it, "How do I stop Butt whacking?)
    11-19-2011, 09:21 PM
Originally Posted by tinyliny    
...(I can just see it, "How do I stop Butt whacking?)
I tell my kids the secret is to behave...
    11-20-2011, 11:41 PM
Thanks everyone for the advise! I think you are right Tinyliny, I do grip with my legs a lot. It works without stirrups but not so much with them lol. I've heard to imagine having weights on my heels pulling my feet down on each side, but I always forget to do that in a lesson. I will make sure to picture that next lesson though! I've cantered in two point once, maybe I'll ask to do it again. My instructor only had me do that after a hard fall to get my confidence back up. I do two point in lessons every week but only for jumping, and now I'm not allowed to keep two point between jumps I have to sit between them, so I'll have to specifically ask to do two point just in general to get my balance right. I can't change the stirrups since they are just lesson ones, but I'll ask about going up a hole next lesson if I still have trouble keeping them. I think the problem really is just me gripping too much though. We'll see how next lesson goes!
    11-21-2011, 06:23 AM
As someone else said, it sounds like you just need to ride, ride and ride some more until you're totally relaxed and stop thinking about your feet. You'll get there eventually. If I can do it, anyone can! Lol
    11-21-2011, 09:42 AM
Originally Posted by tinyliny    
I think I need this, too! I really suck at half seat and shall be inspired to give it a go again. For me, my butt ends up kind of "whacking' the saddle. But that's another thread (I can just see it, "How do I stop Butt whacking?)
I know the answer to this! Because I have heard it 500 times from my trainer! Your butt is hitting the seat because your leg is too far forward. Solution is to move it back. Easier said than done. I assume you're hitting the cantle, not the pommel, if you are hitting the pommel than leg is too far back.

OP, are your losing your stirrups on both sides, or is it usually just one? I ask because when my boy isn't carrying himself straight, he bulges his barrel out on one side (usually the same side) and this makes my foot on that side float about in the stirrup, and makes me put too much weight in the other stirrup. So I wind up with my foot slipping forward through the stirrup so the leather is tight against my ankle on one side, and feeling like I am going to lose the stirrup on the other. This is with the stirrup leathers the right length, it's just from not keeping my horse straight.

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