Flexible ankles or riding problem? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 18 Old 11-06-2010, 10:23 PM Thread Starter
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Flexible ankles or riding problem?

Okay guys, I need help!

I've been riding for 10 years, and have never had the problem of my ankles being too flexible!

My stirrups are jointed and bendy, so this might be contributing to it.

Lately, when I put my feet into the stirrups, and ride for a while, I look down and the iron is twisted (the inside of the iron is on the ball of my foot and the outside is by my pinkie toe!). Am I putting too much weight on the inside? Outside? Help!

So I guess my questions are --
1) has anyone had this happen to them?
2) what is going wrong here?
3) how in the world do I fix it?

I mean my heel just looks unnatural in this pic!!
Ps. I know my position is kinda terrible in this picture, but it's the most dramatic one I could find of the ankle/heel problem.
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post #2 of 18 Old 11-07-2010, 12:43 AM
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Even though it looks really odd...I'm thinking just a bad shot or your stirrups need lengthened? I've never heard of anyone putting their heals too far down :P

"Blame it on my wild heart."


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post #3 of 18 Old 11-07-2010, 01:47 AM
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Moody,

Are you in a dressage saddle? If so, your heels should not be radical down, at all. Your foot should be pointed directly ahead, parallel to your horse. My old instructor used to tell me to put more weight onto the outside of the foot (this was to counteract my tendency to roll the foot inward , as you are doing in that picture.
It looks like your stirrup is about two holes too SHORT for a dressage seat. YOu want to feel more like your feet and legs "drape" on the horse, rather than brace down and outward. IF you put less pressure into the stirrup, you will be able to feel your weight carried more on your seatbones and thighs, where it should be.
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post #4 of 18 Old 11-07-2010, 02:01 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks so much guys. I can't believe I didn't notice that -- the stirrups being too short -- It definitely looks like that.. I will try lengthening them.

The thing is, is that I also ride for my equestrian team, (hunt seat) and when I put my stirrups up for jumping, this problem occurs......
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post #5 of 18 Old 11-07-2010, 02:14 PM
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I had this same problem! My trainer yelled at me for it all the time. Just lengthen them, it will probably solve it! :)

Sonny-13 yr. old Qurab Gelding
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post #6 of 18 Old 11-07-2010, 02:30 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xoSonnyLove1234 View Post
I had this same problem! My trainer yelled at me for it all the time. Just lengthen them, it will probably solve it! :)
Is that what you did to fix it?!
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post #7 of 18 Old 11-07-2010, 05:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MoodIndigo View Post
Is that what you did to fix it?!
Yep! That is what I did to fix it. And it worked! :)

Sonny-13 yr. old Qurab Gelding
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post #8 of 18 Old 11-07-2010, 05:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MoodIndigo View Post
Lately, when I put my feet into the stirrups, and ride for a while, I look down and the iron is twisted (the inside of the iron is on the ball of my foot and the outside is by my pinkie toe!). Am I putting too much weight on the inside? Outside? Help!
Do you by chance subscribe to Practical Horseman the magazine? In the October 2010 issue, there's a feature about George Morris and his principles on flatwork. He spends the beginning discussing stirrup length and where it should sit on your foot.

He says of length, when your foot is hanging next the stirrup (not in it); "On the flat, the bottom of the iron hits the bottom of the anklebone, so there is a little sting where the iron hits the bone."

He says of placement on the foot "One-quarter of the foot is in the stirrup iron with the little toe touching the outside branch. The iron is angled across the ball of the foot so the outside branch leads the inside branch. This allows it to be perpendicular to the girth, not the rider's foot, adding suppleness to the rider's leg."

So according to him, your foot placement is perfect, the iron is not twisted it's just right! In my own personal experience, I've found this foot placement is much more comfortable and allows me to use my leg more effectively. As to stirrup length, just check that it is hitting your anklebone, and if not, then alter your stirrups accordingly. If it is in the right place, then more then likely the picture just makes it look awkward or you are rotating your foot outwards more then usual so you are gripping with the back of your calf rather then the inside, which would also make the picture look awkward.

Hope that helps! :)
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post #9 of 18 Old 11-07-2010, 07:20 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrindalBelle View Post
Do you by chance subscribe to Practical Horseman the magazine? In the October 2010 issue, there's a feature about George Morris and his principles on flatwork. He spends the beginning discussing stirrup length and where it should sit on your foot.

He says of length, when your foot is hanging next the stirrup (not in it); "On the flat, the bottom of the iron hits the bottom of the anklebone, so there is a little sting where the iron hits the bone."

He says of placement on the foot "One-quarter of the foot is in the stirrup iron with the little toe touching the outside branch. The iron is angled across the ball of the foot so the outside branch leads the inside branch. This allows it to be perpendicular to the girth, not the rider's foot, adding suppleness to the rider's leg."

So according to him, your foot placement is perfect, the iron is not twisted it's just right! In my own personal experience, I've found this foot placement is much more comfortable and allows me to use my leg more effectively. As to stirrup length, just check that it is hitting your anklebone, and if not, then alter your stirrups accordingly. If it is in the right place, then more then likely the picture just makes it look awkward or you are rotating your foot outwards more then usual so you are gripping with the back of your calf rather then the inside, which would also make the picture look awkward.

Hope that helps! :)
That is sooo interesting Brindal! I for sure would trust George Morris! :P
Though, he says, "This allows it to be perpendicular to the girth, not the rider's foot," so that means your toe would be pointed outwards. I know that is correct for my style riding, but for hunters, and dressage, shouldn't your toes be perpendicular to the horse, like, inwards a little?

Would a hunter judge take points off for that way of stirrup usage? Probably yes? -.-

Last edited by MoodIndigo; 11-07-2010 at 07:23 PM.
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post #10 of 18 Old 11-07-2010, 08:23 PM
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I'm not completely sure about hunters, the article is a 9 month series on equitation and jumpers. Although, in hunters, it is much more about the horse then the rider, I think having a slight outward angle of your foot to the horse would not be counted against you as long as it wasn't obscenely pointed outwards haha. The judges are looking at your horse and the way he/she moves and reacts to your aids, I don't think your foot angle would really play a huge part in the judging. In regards to dressage, I would have absolutely no clue, I know barely anything about dressage showing! Haha.

I know it's a common concept that the foot should be perfectly parallel to the horses body, but I think that is extremely uncomfortable, and honestly, gives me less usage of my legs as an aid. If the stirrup is as a slight angle to the foot, like George Morris says, your foot will only point out ever-so-slightly, and is actually in a much more natural position that wouldn't put nearly as much torque and twist on the knee aka much more comfortable! Lol.

Personally, I think the way he described it works perfectly, both with the way it looks and feels and I don't think you have a huge problem on your hands. Just check your stirrup length and be careful not to fully rotate your foot outwards so you aren't using the back of your calf muscle. If you have problems with your foot rotating more, use a haystring to tie your stirrups to the girth (although not too tight, it's way too painful!!) and practice like that. Having heels that go down too far is definitely not something to worry about either =P just relax and enjoy your riding!!
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flexible ankles , my heels are too far down , riding or medical issue

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