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The stirrups... a foot rest or something to dig into?

This is a discussion on The stirrups... a foot rest or something to dig into? within the English Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category
  • Dig heels into my sides
  • How to not rely on stirrups while riding

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    08-22-2011, 10:41 PM
  #21
Weanling
I use my stirrups as a foot rest primarily. I'm used to riding bareback and stirrups are still a little foreign to me, but I do enjoy them for the simple fact they give me something to balance the balls of my feet against while I focus on my heels being down. I have a shoddy leg position and I find that they help remind me where my legs should be.
     
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    08-22-2011, 10:53 PM
  #22
Started
I ride with my stirrups so long I can barley touch them. Atleast once a week or even a few times during the lesson I like to just not ride with stirrups to get my balance back. I almost never post unless I am breaking a young horse, but that's a different subject ;). Anyway, I don't really use my stirrups for anything they are just there.
     
    08-22-2011, 11:06 PM
  #23
Green Broke
I barrel race and when we are really getting down and turning a barrel we rely heavily on our stirrups. It helps keep your weight balanced and not throw your horse off their stride trying to stay under you.. I will say that it is extremely important to know when to use just your upper legs and know what you are doing with your legs and lower body. This meaning hips, thighs, calves, ankels, and feet and not have to have pressure in the stirrups while you are in the saddle. I do a good bit of bareback riding at home and you can really get the feel of the horse and you learn how to use your legs, body, and balance as you should. It's also a good way to learn not to rely on your stirrups for the time you are in the saddle. You don't have stirrups to rely on (when bareback) so you can teach your self not to depend on them the whole ride... I think it really depends on your riding style, situation, and level of riding...It doesn't lock up your ankels either.

And, just a weird thought... When people started making saddles, they obviously decided to add them for a reason. Just something to think about?
     
    08-23-2011, 12:03 AM
  #24
Super Moderator
Stirrups are a relatively late addition to saddles. In Asia they used them way back (they did a lot of archery from horse back and it helped to have them, AND the Mongols ride their ponies standing int the stirrups when the pony trots or canters. They don't post, they stand, in fact I heard they stand kind of sideways.

In the West, stirrups didn't exist during the whole of the Roman empire. I think I remember reading that they were first seen in the West sometime in the 600's? But not in common use for a long time after that. They were instrumental in allowing knights to ride wearing their very heavy armor. The stirrup was originally nothing more than ONE leather loop used to help the ride mount.
     
    08-23-2011, 07:48 AM
  #25
Foal
I rode Sienna for six months bareback before a horsewoman who lives up the road gave me a fully mounted Bates AP saddle. I know, right?

I lose my right stirrup when transitioning to canter quite regularly. I keep my seat but man is it annoying, I have to slow to a walk to regain it.

Seems I have Mongolian influences in my riding style because I love to stand in the stirrups when trotting long distances and cantering on the trail. Dunno why I just find it more comfortable.

In terms of posting/rising to the trot I think you will know when you have got it right (if you don't already). You will be able to feel it.

For me it just suddenly felt natural one day and I thought to myself "Oh so this is how you are meant to do it".
     
    08-23-2011, 10:33 AM
  #26
Green Broke
Ooh. Tinyliny that is really cool stuff.. I've never looked into anything like that but that's really neat stuff. Thanks for posting, that makes me want to investigate a little. I love stuff like that.
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    08-23-2011, 05:36 PM
  #27
Weanling
Foot rest.

When I hear sink my heels, I do- Put I don't dig into the irons. I pick the front part of my foot up, and put my heels down that way. I'm not leaning on the stirrup to put my heels down, I'm balancing through my seat, although my heel is still my anchor, since it's lowering me into the seat. But it doesn't change stirrupless. Because I'm not relying on the stirrups.
     
    08-24-2011, 08:00 PM
  #28
Foal
I somewhat agree with the stirrup/footrest idea, but not completely. When I ride with stirrups, I use them to help me sink my heel waay down. Though I do not depend on them, they do help me jam the weight into my heel nice and low. However, once my heel is down, the ball of my foot rests at a firm and constant pressure, enabling me to use my leg and seat to their full extent while also teaching me to keep my weight down. Thus, the stirrups serve as much more than a foot rest.

What I do believe to be true is that stirrups should not be used as a crutch. Though I think that a good amount of weight should be put into them, the weight should be applied solely through the heel and not the ball of the foot. The point of keeping the heel down is to form a secure base that will absorb the horse's motion; however the knee, ankle, leg and seat should be kept loose so that they can move with the motion and give the nescessary aids.

BUT, it is still always good to do lots of no-stirrup work. There is a difference between relying on the stirrups and using them as an aid to lower your weight, and you do not want to fall into bad habits. So in theory, if you are correctly using your legs and seat, it should be just as easy to ride with as without stirrups. Balance comes from the seat, and stirrups are simply a 'teacher' that should make it easier to use your seat, if used correctly. Don't take advantage of them.
     
    08-24-2011, 11:22 PM
  #29
Yearling
I primarily ride dressage and have been taught that the stirrups are just a shelf to rest your foot on. (:
     
    08-29-2011, 11:33 PM
  #30
Foal
everyone makes great point. In my training, I keep just my toes in the stirrups an d when I post I am told to sink my wait into my heels. But while doing this I am finding I am using my legs very much but not putting too much wait in the stirrups. If ur girth is too loose to much weight on one side could make you slide to that side!
     

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