Beginner who needs advice - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 21 Old 09-30-2012, 07:11 PM Thread Starter
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Beginner who needs advice

I am new to this forum and site. I have started taking lessons after 25 years of a bad experience and did not get back in the saddle. I am on my 3rd lesson and I am having trouble with the heel down and spastic with the reins. Any suggestions. I really hope I get it soon.
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post #2 of 21 Old 09-30-2012, 07:42 PM
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I've found that for beginning adult riders, getting your heels down is one of the hardest things to get used to. It's just not a natural position for your leg, especially when you're working not to let your lower leg get too far forward. This is not something that comes right away and is so common so do not feel bad! This is something that will definitely come in time. In the meantime, it may be helpful to work on stretching your calves on a step multiple times a day while slightly bending your knees almost like you were riding.

As far as your hands, once you become more balanced, your hands will definitely steady. Concentrate on letting your weight sink into your heels and relaxing your arms as you ride.

Work on the longe line is incredible for helping with balance and really letting you work on your position without having to worry about controlling your horse.

Rest assured that it will get easier as you keep up with your lessons!
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post #3 of 21 Old 09-30-2012, 11:19 PM
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I also am getting back into ridding after a while. I have been back in the saddle fairly regular for about the 2 months. What I found works for me, is not to put your foot all the way in the stirrups. I do not go past the ball of my foot. I only wear western boots too, but that's all I wear any way
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post #4 of 21 Old 10-01-2012, 05:54 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks. I will try the stair lifts. It is harder than I thought it would be, but I am determined to get it and enjoy it
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post #5 of 21 Old 10-01-2012, 08:46 AM
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Welcome & Congrats on getting back into riding. There are several of us that are getting back into riding after a period of time off. The stair/streching is a wonderful idea. Have fun, relax & as my instructor is always telling me "BREATH"!

Cowgirl up!
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post #6 of 21 Old 10-01-2012, 08:57 AM
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Relax. I have taught people who were so tense I could have snapped their joints!!!
Ask your instructor if someone could lead you on the horse, take your feet out of the stirrups, rest your hands on your knees and let yourself go 'floppy' and sink into the horse rather than 'perch on top of it'
When you feel the tension go put your feet back into the stirrups - just on the ball of your foot and work with your arms outstretched for a while. Ideally people should learn to stay balanced at the trot without reins before they are allowed to hold the reins at all.
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post #7 of 21 Old 10-02-2012, 11:56 PM
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I am teaching a student who is riding after 14 years out of the saddle, and recovered from a knee injury about a year ago. We are taking it slow and keeping it fun. My suggestion is to listen to your instructor and give yourself some credit! Try not to be hard on yourself and understand that it will take time! Everyone has trouble keeping their heels down and is spastic with the reins on their 3rd lesson, so keep your chin up, listen to your instructor, and have fun with it :)
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post #8 of 21 Old 10-03-2012, 12:16 AM
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I totally agree with Tessa; everyone is spastic with the reins when they only have three lesson under their belt. learning as an adult is a whole 'nother ball game from learning as a child. Be patient and focus on what you are gaining on.
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post #9 of 21 Old 10-03-2012, 12:21 AM
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I wouldn't worry much about 'heel down' at this stage. With time, as you limber up with riding, your heel can come down. But I started at 50, and there was no way my heel was going down at the start.

Most folks try to get the heel down by pushing with their leg, which causes tension and stiffness in the leg and thigh and makes you bounce more. A relaxed leg that allows the weight to go uninterrupted to the heel is far more important than "heels down'. Instead of thinking 'heel down', I suggest concentrating on 'knee not gripping' and 'relaxed leg'.

Are you riding western or English?

"Make the right thing easy and the wrong thing...well, ignore it mostly."
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post #10 of 21 Old 10-03-2012, 12:33 AM
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Might sound funny but i have been on and off with riding due to life events as well. Think "toes up" instead of "heels down" . Don't know why but this worked for me and have seen it work for others. Kinda thinking outside the box takes the pressure off? Worth a try
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