Is pointing out the toe too bad? - Page 3 - The Horse Forum

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post #21 of 35 Old 06-14-2011, 01:47 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by bsms View Post
If I put my toes full forward, no judge would ever notice it. They would be too busy being appalled at my bouncing, my gouging my horse with my knee, and my tense, irritated horse being angry at his incompetent rider.
bsms, you made me laugh! But yes, its very true.

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post #22 of 35 Old 06-14-2011, 01:54 PM
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Originally Posted by kitten_Val View Post
It's not really locked. It's hard to explain, but if I point forward I feel like I have nothing below the ankle. Weird feeling.

I think I understand what you are saying.
That is because the releasing of the ankle makes you feel like you are losing the stirrup......maybe.
Also, I think most riders tend to use the ankle and foot to keep the foot in the stirrup.....I was taught and teach that by pressing downward with the calf muscle into a flat foot, the foot will remain in the stirrup, and I will have a supple ankle with toes forward....

E. Allan Buck
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post #23 of 35 Old 06-15-2011, 05:01 AM
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Discipline note -

In any of the jumping disciplines, your toe is supposed to be out anywhere from 15 to 45 degrees depending on your conformation, to facilitate your lower leg being correctly wrapped around the horse, and with enough grip to keep your position secure. You also want your weight deeply in your heel for security as well, though not so deep you lock your ankle (common fault, especially among novices who have recently worked very hard at heels down!)

In dressage (which kitten is asking about) and in some cases, western, where you're riding all gaits in full seat, first, you have to release some of the weight in the heel to free up that ankle joint, and you ride with the toe parellel to the horse's side because you don't want the same snug, active grip in your lower leg that you do in the jumping disciplines. To ride in a dressage full seat, all the joints of your leg have to have their full shock absorption potential, and your leg is draped, wet noodle like, around the horse's barrel, rather than wrapped snugly, like in forward seat.

All of this to say that there are differences in position in the disciplines, and what's correct for one might not be correct for another.

Last edited by maura; 06-15-2011 at 02:11 PM.
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post #24 of 35 Old 06-15-2011, 07:10 AM Thread Starter
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maura, your description is great as always (and yes, I was talking about dressage).

"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass: it's about learning to dance in the rain..."

"When we are no longer able to change a situation - we are challenged to change ourselves."

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post #25 of 35 Old 06-15-2011, 11:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maura View Post
Discipline note -

In any of the jumping disciplines, your toe is supposed to be out anywhere from 15 to 45 degrees depending on your confirmation, to facilitate your lower leg being correctly wrapped around the horse, and with enough grip to keep your position secure. You also want your weight deeply in your heel for security as well, though not so deep you lock your ankle (common fault, especially among novices who have recently worked very hard at heels down!)

In dressage (which kitten is asking about) and in some cases, western, where you're riding all gaits in full seat, first, you have to release some of the weight in the heel to free up that ankle joint, and you ride with the toe parellel to the horses side because you don't want the same snug, active grip in your lower leg that you do in the jumping disciplines. To ride in a dressage full seat, all the joints of your leg have to have their full shock absorption potential, and your leg is draped, wet noodle like, around the horse's barrel, rather than wrapped snugly, like in forward seat.

All of this to say that there are differences in position in the disciplines, and what's correct for one might not be correct for another.
My jumping self definitely tries to assert itself over my wannabe dressage queen self ;)
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post #26 of 35 Old 06-15-2011, 02:38 PM
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Kitten,

I did not take the time to read all of this thread, so forgive me if I duplicat other's thoughts.
It kind of sounds like your foot is rotating outward from the knee. Do you , by chance, have flat feet? Have you ever had custom fitted orthotics made?
Do you pronate when you walk? All of these are associated with having the lower leg offset from the knee (Not going straight downward)

You many not be able to change that angle as it's kind of hard wired into the bone. But, there is one thing you can do to help "straighten" out the line from hip to foot:

This is an exersize that helps a lot for people with knee problems related to pronateing. Stand nice and straight , feet parallet facing forwards as much as you can without being really forced. Stand up tall, engagne your lower pelvic floor muscles, gently tuck in tummy , lift ribe cage but dont' crimp shoulders up. Roll shoulders back a bit (this is the position in Yoga called "Tall Mountain")

Now, tighten your buttock muscles as tight as you can without engaging any other muscles. Just squeeze a lemon between them hams! Hold it, hold it.
You should actually feel your femur roll outward. It will put a little torque on your knee outward. Do this excersize when you do dishes, stand in the check outline at grocery, anywhere you can and hold for count of 10, do 10 times a day. You will find your knees align just a wee bit better.
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post #27 of 35 Old 06-15-2011, 02:53 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by tinyliny View Post
Kitten,

I did not take the time to read all of this thread, so forgive me if I duplicat other's thoughts.
It kind of sounds like your foot is rotating outward from the knee. Do you , by chance, have flat feet? Have you ever had custom fitted orthotics made?
Do you pronate when you walk? All of these are associated with having the lower leg offset from the knee (Not going straight downward)

You many not be able to change that angle as it's kind of hard wired into the bone. But, there is one thing you can do to help "straighten" out the line from hip to foot:

This is an exersize that helps a lot for people with knee problems related to pronateing. Stand nice and straight , feet parallet facing forwards as much as you can without being really forced. Stand up tall, engagne your lower pelvic floor muscles, gently tuck in tummy , lift ribe cage but dont' crimp shoulders up. Roll shoulders back a bit (this is the position in Yoga called "Tall Mountain")

Now, tighten your buttock muscles as tight as you can without engaging any other muscles. Just squeeze a lemon between them hams! Hold it, hold it.
You should actually feel your femur roll outward. It will put a little torque on your knee outward. Do this excersize when you do dishes, stand in the check outline at grocery, anywhere you can and hold for count of 10, do 10 times a day. You will find your knees align just a wee bit better.
Thank you, tiny!

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"When we are no longer able to change a situation - we are challenged to change ourselves."

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post #28 of 35 Old 06-15-2011, 03:26 PM
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It was explained to me that the toe should be forward, causing you to ride on your inner calf, creating equal contact with the saddle through your calves and thighs. I've also been told that Dressage should be ridden primarily through the seat, and that the seat should contol the rythm, tempo, etc., and that the leg is just there to give aids to the horse. When I ride with my toe forward I find also that when I post my knee and lower leg will drop down and back, enabling me to have a very balenced standing postion in the saddle instead of my lower legs being locked and causing me to rotate around my knee. I find that when I toe out my lower body is out of alienment and it messes with my ability to correctly use me seat. Now I do have problems with this as well, my right toe used to be almost perpendicular to my calf, but now after months of working on it, my muscle memory is almost capible of having a forward toe while still having my body relaxed. I believe that the reason why it hurts to hold your feet like this and why it makes us tense up (unless you've had an injury or it hurts you bones or whatever, then its more than just not being comfortable) is because your muscles are not used to working in that position and you then have your whole body fighting for something more comfortable.
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post #29 of 35 Old 06-15-2011, 04:03 PM
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I just remembered a long article written by Deb Bennet, (the horse anatomist who is well known for her articles on horse conformation) on the difference between the male and female human pelvis. She said that due to pelvic shape for females, it is harder for us to have that straight line from hip to knee to ankle with toes forward, as men do much easier. AND, since riding form has been taught for hundreds of years in a way that conforms with the MALE shape, it meants that we females have to struggle against our shape, while for men their pelvis allows them to fall into the position easier.
Not to say that there isn't a good reason for one to try to be as parallet to the horse as possible. Just to be realistic.
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post #30 of 35 Old 06-16-2011, 06:55 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tinyliny View Post
i just remembered a long article written by Deb Bennet, (the horse anatomist who is well known for her articles on horse conformation) on the difference between the male and female human pelvis. She said that due to pelvic shape for females, it is harder for us to have that straight line from hip to knee to ankle with toes forward, as men do much easier. AND, since riding form has been taught for hundreds of years in a way that conforms with the MALE shape, it meants that we females have to struggle against our shape, while for men their pelvis allows them to fall into the position easier.
Loved it! I think from now on it'll be my official reason to point out the toes! Yes, just that, because I'm a WOMAN!

"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass: it's about learning to dance in the rain..."

"When we are no longer able to change a situation - we are challenged to change ourselves."

"How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours."
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