Keeping my "legs on" - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 15 Old 10-17-2011, 08:12 AM
Green Broke
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: North Dakota, USA
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Are you riding English or Western? I'm going to assume English because that's what most lessons are. Maybe I'm wrong about this but ask your trainer if you can ride western until you get better riding skills and more confidence. If not, I would sit like you are riding western. By that I mean to sit back on your tailbone. Instead of riding straight up and down, lean back a little and let your lower back curve or roll. IMO this would help you to learn to balance and be able to stay on the horse better.

As a beginner/novice rider, you lack experience. Lack of experience leads to lack of confidence which leads to you being nervous. A horse can sense how the rider feels. If you're nervous, the horse will get nervous which is why the horse spooks and bolts on you. I think by having you sit straight and having you keep your legs on, it makes your body more tense than from just being nervous. When riding in an arena, have that horse walk around but keep walking. Don't control where he goes, just let him walk. As he's walking, rub him all over as far as you can reach. This will help you loosen up and be more relaxed.

As for the bucking and trying to shake you off, it goes back to you being nervous. A horse is looking for a leader as a rider. They want someone that is confident and in control. If you're nervous, that makes them nervous and uncomfortable. When the horse does anything to get you off, have them do circles but change directions often, or have them do figure 8's. Get them working and having to think about what they are doing and not thinking about how to get you off.
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post #12 of 15 Old 10-17-2011, 01:13 PM
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Eventing Country
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Originally Posted by mavis View Post
btw, what can i do when a horse is trying to buck or shake me off? How do i calm it down asap and stay on? Thanks!

to answer tinyliny's question, my foot does come out of the stirrup sometimes but its usually because i don't keep my heels down, and I have weak ankles. So there's not much power when i flex the balls of my feet downwards. But they are getting stronger; riding has helped!
Stop thinking of it as "heels down" or "toes up" - and start thinking of it as Weight In Heels. When you think of it this way, you aren't entised for FORCE your foot into an uncomfortable or unnatural position. Instead, you will start to allow your bodies weight to naturally flow into your heels, without forcing it. It doesn't matter if your heels are down at a 50 degree angle, 45 degree angle, or even a 10 degree angle - just so long, as your bodies weight is in your heels.

Your heels must be allowed to do their job, which is anchor you into your tack, regardless of the degree. You have to allow that weight to naturally flow, from your head into your seat and into your heels, just by allowing that weight to naturally flow from top to bottom - you cannot grip or pinch with your body, the moment you do that, you've blocked that flow from occuring.

Sit in your saddle, allow your knees to make light contact with your saddle, but do not look to them for a false sense of security. Allow them to open up and allow that weight to flow down. Weight into heels. Don't force it, just allow the weight to naturally flow.

You have to have proper foot placement in your iron as well, to allow the heels to do their job. You have to allow your ankles to relax and act as hinges/shock absorbers. The base of the iron, on the balls of your toes, and then place the outter bar at the tip of your pinky toe and the inner bar at the ball of your big toe.

Then you can find proper calf placement on your horses side. Find the "sweet spot" - remember, as George Morris says, you are not ontop of your horse, you are wrapped around your horse.

Proper foot placement in iron, relax the ankle and allow your bodies weight to flow into your heels. Proper toe angle that will allow you find your sweet spot on your calf for proper calf placement on your horses side.

Think of yourself as lengthening your legs and wrapping them around your horses girth. Solidify yourself in your tack.

When I am out hacking or fox hunting or out on the xc course, I "deepen" myself into my tack this way, so that if something were to occur where my horse may spook, jump, veer - I wont go anywhere, I'm solid.

Weight! Think of it as deepening your weight in your tack from head, into seat, into lower leg and into heels. Don't force it, just allow it to occur. Solidify your lower body, and you'll solidify yourself in your tack.

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post #13 of 15 Old 10-21-2011, 04:56 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2011
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hi, thanks for all your tips. I read them over again before my lesson yesterday evening. And i managed to stay on my horse during trot, with him on the bit.
Now, to get my transition into canter, then my steering while cantering.. and keeping the canter going.. hahaha...
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post #14 of 15 Old 10-21-2011, 08:09 AM
Join Date: Feb 2011
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I have an issue with keeping my calves wrapped around my horse ... my legs tend to stick straight out. After reading this thread I think this could be a very good reason why my balance has gone awry the last couple of years... very informative thread :)

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post #15 of 15 Old 10-21-2011, 12:12 PM
Join Date: Feb 2009
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Originally Posted by mavis View Post
hi, thanks for all your tips. I read them over again before my lesson yesterday evening. And i managed to stay on my horse during trot, with him on the bit.
Now, to get my transition into canter, then my steering while cantering.. and keeping the canter going.. hahaha...
I think it would be very benefitial for you, to be put on the lunge line. That way, you don't have to worry about where your horse is going, but instead you can focus on what it is you need to be doing while in the saddle, to obtain your balance, to obtain your aids and coordination before you take on the responsibility of the reins.

There is nothing wrong with being put on the lunge line. I know of many upper level riders who go on the lunge line to fine tune their "holes" or to correct issues that they need to correct - fine tune themselves.

At the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, first year riders are put on the lunge line, for a whole year without the reins. That way, they can develop those amazing seats they have, and legs - by the time they are given the reins, their riding looks effortless.

I get put on the lunge line, it is very benefitial!
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