Floppy legs - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 07-17-2012, 01:45 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Finleyville, Pa.
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Floppy legs

I have been riding western mostly and have a pretty solid seat, but when I go back to english my legs get all loose especially at the posting trot. I feel more secure at 2 point. I hate the felling like my legs are bouncing around and it also makes me unstable and off balance. I have a hard time keeping my legs back and my heels down. How do I know the right length my stirrups should be and are there any good excercises to help with floppy legs?
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post #2 of 5 Old 07-18-2012, 12:42 AM
Join Date: Jul 2012
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OK testing my memory here. It's been a bazillion years since my English riding days.

The stirrups have to be the right length. I sure hope a more seasoned English rider comes behind me with better advice but saw this sitting here for a day.

Your knee needs to bend slightly more English, I think you sit more forward but butt back (I suggest checking out youtube videos because again this is old memory here).

By having a straight back and a little forward in the saddle your weight is above your legs which creates a more natural downward pressure as you post up. You come up with the inside shoulder (ugh, I fear I am butchering this) moving forward which actually as you "feel" it, almost propels you up with the motion of the horse.

I do remember the feel once I finally 'GOT IT'. It was very natural flow with the horse. Practice and strength were key for me, it took me several weeks of lessons to be strong enough to pull it off.
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post #3 of 5 Old 07-18-2012, 11:42 AM
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I had this problem as well when I began riding English. I haven't had many lessons from an instructor in an English saddle, so I just took what I could from my trainer, and a little from my own 'figuring it out'.

Getting your legs underneath you is the first thing. I don't know about you, but I had an awful chair seat when I first started English. You can take your feet out of the stirrups and let them fall naturally, then bring your heels up without moving the position of your leg much to see about where they should be.

To keep them solid (and straight below you), my trainer told me to sink my weight into my heels. When I put more weight in the stirrups, it helps keep them still.

When you post or go faster, I found it helpful to almost imagining pivoting from the hips and locking your legs into one position. You shouldn't be posting off your legs - you want to keep them still, and move off your upper body. For me, it really was about developing the muscle to be able to transition between western and English. At first when I was focused on staying still and locking my legs and all that, I was really stiff and tense, but when the muscle memory developed, it's much easier to be supple and relaxed but solid at the same time.

If my explanations made any sense whatsoever, I hope they helped. Again, I'm far from an expert, so I'm sure someone else can offer you a more straightforward answer. This is just what helped me.

And your English stirrups should generally be just about the length from fingers > armpit when you measure your arm against them.

Last edited by Paradise; 07-18-2012 at 11:44 AM.
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post #4 of 5 Old 07-18-2012, 01:29 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Georgia
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I have this problem!

Make sure your stirrups aren't too long. I rode forever in way too long stirrups. My legs improved immediately after I got them the right length. Generally, your stirrup length should be as long as your arm (arm pit to finger tips). But it isn't for some people. I have super short legs in proportion to my upper body, so I had to play with my stirrups for a while. Post a picture of you in the saddle and we'll see what we can tell you.

When you post, you aren't only going straight up and down. You're also going front and back. \ Like this little line. Diagonal. You post from your knees. Your knees are your pivot point; you bend them to move diagonally. Think of your posting movement as kind of like a hip thrust.

I don't know if this is your problem... But also try leaning a little forwards at the waist. Sit more on your crotch than your butt. Western riders sit very straight in the saddle. It's hard to lean to post properly without leaning a little forwards. (Don't take that and run with it though. Just a little forwards. Nothing that makes you feel uber unbalanced.)
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post #5 of 5 Old 07-18-2012, 08:32 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Finleyville, Pa.
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Thanks for your replies. I was taking lessons once a week until I bought my horse 6 months ago. I have gotten pretty lazy about workouts and really prefer just to hack around. I have obviously lost a lot of muscle and it is hard to get back into the swing of things especially without a trainer pushing me. I am going to try to get back to some lessons. It is just hard financially with the cost of owning. I don't like riding english anymore cause I feel like a rag doll, but I know if I workout more I will get my seat back...hopefully!
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