trouble keeping heels down>>>:( - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 08-24-2010, 07:44 PM Thread Starter
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trouble keeping heels down>>>:(

Im helping my friend with his riding, he has started back riding recently, as he bought a new horse..he is a little out of practice. he used to ride thoroughbreds, so he was used to short stirrups..but now that he has started riding his new horse on the flat, he feels, its difficult to keep heels down in stirrups that are just the right length for him. how can he learn to push weight into heels? his stirrups fall out when he starts cantering because he grips too much with his knees and thighs, how can i help..or what exercises can he do to help keep weight in heels.
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post #2 of 11 Old 08-24-2010, 07:58 PM
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The only thing i can think of is he just needs to think of not gripping, and just relaxing so his heels just kinds drop into the stirrups, I always think of my center of balance to just drop into the horses center of balance.

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post #3 of 11 Old 08-27-2010, 11:55 AM
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Have him practice without stirrups
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post #4 of 11 Old 08-27-2010, 12:09 PM
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For the gripping with his knees: Make him ride without letting his knees touch the saddle. that way, he will get the muscle that he needs to prevent it from happening. it worked for me!
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post #5 of 11 Old 08-27-2010, 12:51 PM
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my personal advice would be riding without stirrups simply cross them over the horses neck this will learn him to let his legs hand long and most importanly relax and take it slow you can grab a big bit of the horses main and sort of sit back when cantering goood luck!
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post #6 of 11 Old 08-28-2010, 10:02 AM
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If he's gripping with his upper legs then this stretch might help him. I had the same problem not too long ago, I was REALLY tight in my hips because I run every single day so I began doing this stretch and it's improved my overall balance, posture and ability to correctly give aids.

Basically you kneel down on the floor and spread your knees as far apart as you can. Then you shift forward so your lower arms are resting on the floor. Make sure your ankles are in line with your knees which are in line with hip. Sorta like this stretch except your lower arms are on the floor and your ankles are in line with your knees not making a v shape behind you.


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post #7 of 11 Old 08-28-2010, 10:33 AM
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This is one scenario where the three point or forward seat is very useful. If he is light in the saddle then he must put weight in his heels or he will fall off.
Have him really focus on bringing his legs back, with heels down and keep no pressure on the seat of the saddle. Having his hands on the neck for a "just in case", but with no pressure is a good idea. Have him also focus on sitting up straight, and not just tipping onto the neck for support.
Gradually as he masters a light seat in all three gaits, have him start to sit down in the deep seat and focus on having the same feeling of heavy heels. If he loses it, get him to take his legs off the horse and re position them, or go back into the light seat.

Good luck!
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post #8 of 11 Old 08-29-2010, 12:23 AM
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What my instructor always taught me was to visualize all of your weight just sinking into your heals. If he's sitting correctly, his weight will bring his seat deep into the saddle and deep into his heals. I then visualize keeping my legs soft and wrapping them around the barrel of the horse. Um, those wooden dalls that have joints (http://www.amazon.com/4-1-Inch-Wood-Artists-Manikin/dp/B001LMUO7U these). I use these as a visualization too. I visualize a nice hinge at the knee, that allows the leg to move freely. If I'm gripping with the knee/upper thigh then the lower leg will be swinging up behind and out of the stirrup. It's a natural thing for a person to do. However, if I keep that knee soft and able to swing the upper thigh and lower leg can work together and allow my weight to sink into my heals for anything out of the saddle (such as trotting/cantering/jumping). It allows my leg to extend and my heals to sink further down.

That may sound jumbled and confusing, but that's how my mind works and it's served me well at least. GL with helping him!
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post #9 of 11 Old 09-03-2010, 11:48 PM
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have him stand on the edge of a step with his toes on the step and his heels hanging off, then have him push down with his heels are hard as possible and stay there for 50second incriments, worked for me
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post #10 of 11 Old 09-04-2010, 04:21 PM
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iv always been told to stand up in the stirrups it trot and canter because if you heals aren't down you fall back it hurts at first but it really dose help
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