Foot in the stirrup - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 25 Old 07-20-2013, 12:42 PM Thread Starter
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Foot in the stirrup

As some of you know I had my horse Saro at a trainers for a few days. While I was riding, she came over and shoved my foot all the way into the stirrup up to the heel of my boot. She quoted Baxter Black's Always be ridin’ yer horse. "‘If you plan on getting throwed, ride on the balls of yer feet. If yer going to ride it out, shove yer feet all the way into the stirrup"

I always assumed I should be riding on the balls of my feet. Is that wrong? This is of course the same person who said she didn't believe in helmets or in teaching a horse a one rein stop.
All of this just seemed very dangerous. Is there any situation when you would ride with your feet all the way up, heel to stirrup edge? Bronc riding maybe?

Just FYI I am not going back to this trainer. Just one of those maybe she's right moment so I better ask the experts on the HF


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post #2 of 25 Old 07-20-2013, 12:53 PM
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I wouldn't ride like that unless I completely without a doubt trusted my horse.. Which means I never would. Horses have brains, therefore they're unpredictable. I personally wouldn't, plus riding on the balls of your feet helps to keep your heels down :)
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post #3 of 25 Old 07-20-2013, 01:00 PM
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I'm sure there's arguments for either style in certain circumstances. However, my default position is balls of the feet in the stirrups. This allows you to a) slip the foot out quickly in case you want to dismount for safety b) greatly reduce the chance of the foot inadvertently slipping through the stirrup and c (and I think most importantly)) stretch your leg down which helps maintain a proper position - the better you can keep your position centered to the horse's movement, no matter what the horse is doing, the better you stay on and keep control (I'll see Baxter Black's quote with the old expression 'head up, heels down').

By the way, I think the one way stop is a very useful tool and it doesn't hurt to have a helmet at the ready if you think one is called for.

Last edited by Chevaux; 07-20-2013 at 01:02 PM.
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post #4 of 25 Old 07-20-2013, 01:07 PM
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The only time I ride with my foot all the way to my heel is if I am riding in Oxbow stirrups other wise it's the pad of my foot.

Is it Right or wrong?? I don't know. If you are taking lessons from this person then take the chance to learn and try her methods you might find you like it, if not once the lesson are done don't ride that way.

If you were just riding your horse and she was there, I would smile and ride the way I want to ride. If she make a thing about it, just nicely tell her your not paying her to train you, your paying her to train your horse.
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post #5 of 25 Old 07-20-2013, 01:08 PM
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Some of it has to do with the type of stirrup, if you're using a thinner Oxbow type stirrup, you tend to ride with your foot in the "home" position more than on the ball of the foot.

A one rein stop is a good thing to know and a hard hat or helmet is a good thing to wear. You're right the that trainer is throwing up a bunch of red flags.

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post #6 of 25 Old 07-20-2013, 01:11 PM
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I would say if you want to get thrown and hung up in the saddle ride with your foot all the way forward. Even if you are just standing on the ground you have better movement and balance on the balls of your feet
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post #7 of 25 Old 07-20-2013, 01:23 PM
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I've always been taught to ride on the ball of my foot. A friend of mine from camp had a girl try to stick the stirrups around her ankles because her mom "said to"....no child your mom clearly doesn't know crap about horses so forget that and listen to us

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post #8 of 25 Old 07-20-2013, 01:36 PM
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Here is an old thread - one of the first I made on HF:

Question on stirrup position: ball of foot or mid-foot (home)

FWIW, in my completely unprofessional opinion, the One Rein Stop is overrated. CIRCLING a horse to slow it down, terrain permitting, is great. I'm just not convinced using one rein to cue a stop has any great value.

I wear a helmet about 95% of the time, but have no objection to someone choosing otherwise.

I also like using an Australian 4-bar stirrup instead of a 2-bar English stirrup. That may affect how I like to place my foot. I don't put it in up to the heel, but I ride with it deeper than most recommend. Please understand that I do not ride great, teach riding or claim to be a horse expert.



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Last edited by bsms; 07-20-2013 at 01:39 PM.
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post #9 of 25 Old 07-20-2013, 01:41 PM
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For me, I always have my stirrups on the balls of my feet, but I've seen them go "home" or all the way in. Sometimes it's okay, but you get points docked in eq classes and you have no flexion in your heel for going over the jump. Then you fall back, get left behind, catch the horse in the mouth or fall off. As for helmets, always. Rule at the barn. And one rein stop? Indespensible! I'd find a new trainer.
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post #10 of 25 Old 07-20-2013, 02:15 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone for your replies @ bsms, I agree a one rein stop is not always feasible. If you're in dense woods or anyplace where it's impossible to disengage the hind quarters. I think many people see the clinicians on TV practicing a one rein stop and think what it means is to draw the nose to the toe. This of course is deadly at high speeds. The idea is to circle the horse and disengage the hind quarters thus slowing the horse or stopping a buck or a rear. Once the power of the hind is taken away the horse has no choice but to slow down and eventually stop once the circle is made small enough. I've had to ride out several runaways when there was no room to turn. Not fun when your ducking tree branches! As soon as I was able, I circled (or one rein stopped) the horse. Vida, the horse of my heart and the one in my avatar didn't know whoa from apple butter when I first bought her. One rein stopping was the only way to stop her. That was almost 10 years ago and she now knows whoa but we got really good at one rein stopping in the process
As far as stirrups go, I have Easy Ride trail stirrups on all my saddles. If you're not familiar with them, they are pretty wide. If I stick my foot all the way in, I'm pretty well stuck in them if I fall off. I can see the reasoning behind the ox bows and the thinner stirrups. You have more play for tipping your foot back and out in an emergency. My husband says I should just wear boots 2 sizes too big. That way if you fall off you can just slip your foot out of the boot. That would make the walk home a real bugger though
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