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This is a discussion on Heels? within the Horse Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category

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    05-29-2010, 12:22 PM
Question Heels?

I've only been riding off and on for two years. But when I do the rising trot, I always end of pushing off through my feet/ leg, and my toes go down and heels go up. My instructor just says to keep your heels down and hasn't made it real clear exactly HOW to do that. Thanks!
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    05-29-2010, 12:46 PM
Try keeping your frame nice and straight, if you start leaning forward to much then you tend to push with your toes. Also try posting with no sturrups, it is actaully easier to post with your heels down and you end up using your leg muscles instead of your feet. If you have your heels down while posting with no sturrups it engages your legs really well.

Also if you want to practice at home, then take a chair, put a stack of books on either side and put your feet on them like you would in sturrups. Then focus on pushing your heels down and get used to that position. Then try posting a little bit if you can. If you practice it this way then you can put all of your energy into thinking about your heels and don't have to worry about what the horse is doing.
    05-29-2010, 01:10 PM
Thanks alot! I'll try that the next time I ride.
    05-29-2010, 02:45 PM
Another way to keep your body straight is to remember that your belly button should be coming up toward the sky when you go up. It'll help strength your stomach and back muscles.

Also, make sure when you put your feet in the stirrup that the stirrup is sitting on the ball of the foot. Sometimes just changing the positioning of the stirrup and foot can make a huge difference.
    05-29-2010, 04:01 PM
There is an old thread "WHY HEELS DOWN and not up" dating back a few month.s
There were 87 posts - if you read through that then you might find for yourself the answer.

The short answer is that your seat is not correct and your thighs need to be rolled in
- but your instructor will know that.
    05-29-2010, 07:57 PM
Green Broke
I had this exact same problem. It's a tough habit to break, but it all comes down to consciously forcing all your weight into your heels when ever you go up. You have to think, "Up, force heels down...Down, heels relax a little...Up, weight in heels..." Soon it will become automatic and you won't even have to think about it.

You'll find that doing this will force you to use your leg muscles a lot more. It hurts really bad for the first week or so. Try some stirrup-less to get those legs in shape.
    05-31-2010, 01:20 AM
If you think about keeping your toes up, that might help too. Think about sinking your weight all the way down your thighs, calves, and finally let it sit in your heels. Another thing that helps with leg/not bracing out of your stirrups is riding without stirrups. Since they're not there, of course you can't brace in your stirrups. At first it's really hard but you get stronger after doing it for a while.
    05-31-2010, 01:29 AM
I like to think of my heels as elastic springs, which I use to raise myself by pushing down on them. Of course, that is not all that happens, but I find imagery works really well. Also, make sure you don't have unwanted tension in your legs, remembering that they must be loose for your "springs" to work.

heels down, horse, horses, posture, riding

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