Question on stirrup position: ball of foot or mid-foot (home) - Page 4 - The Horse Forum
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post #31 of 38 Old 01-10-2011, 10:45 AM
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Oh, c'mon! It's the most fun to land on cactus! Especially so lovely as you posted....
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post #32 of 38 Old 01-10-2011, 04:52 PM
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I hover somewhere between a chair seat and a two point seat. Cantering I am generally up in a light 3 point.

I don't have access to an arena so all of my riding between competitions is on the trails, and 8 years of that was on my Arab gelding, and very fast! We would canter/gallop everywhere. The position I adopt is what kept me in the saddle for those Arab spooks at a gallop. If he wants to go you can feel his but drop ready to take off.

I remember one day we were riding toward 'gallop hill' - You cross a causeway, around a corner to the left, along a straight bit, then around the corner to the right and it's up from there. We came off the cause way at a hand gallop, ready for the hill, and then EEEEEEEEEEk came to a dead stop - There was a snake in the middle of the track. I don't know how we didn't come off then because the horses stopped before we knew what had happened.

We also have what I call our own 'Snowy River Ride'. I help dad bring the sheep in off the big hill and they know a shortcut straight down the hill to a gate - if they reach it, we can't get them. The bike can't navigate the rocks, holes, logs, and slope, so I get down on the horse. Flat gallop, racing the sheep, down a very steep hill, jumping logs/rocks/holes - I did this for many years in a Wintec All Purpose and never once came off. I had a good horse underneath me, and a very ungainly looking but functional position.

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post #33 of 38 Old 01-10-2011, 07:06 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by wild_spot View Post
...Flat gallop, racing the sheep, down a very steep hill, jumping logs/rocks/holes - I did this for many years in a Wintec All Purpose and never once came off. I had a good horse underneath me, and a very ungainly looking but functional position.
I can only DREAM of riding at that level! Let's see...I'm 52, so...maybe before I hit 65?

However, that is why I ask questions. I don't have time enough in life to learn by just making mistakes!
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post #34 of 38 Old 01-10-2011, 07:24 PM
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BSMS I am 52 also, and know that frustration that I won't have enough time to learn what I want. It's a downhill curve for me, physically at least. So gotta keep my noggin sharp.
NO way in heaven or h ll would I ride like Wildspot describes. YIKES! Scares me just imagining.
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post #35 of 38 Old 01-12-2011, 02:27 PM
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That's one of the great things about horseback riding - it is much more about skill and knowledge than about physical strength. The more you ride, the better you get at any age. I feel jealous of some of my older friends who are in their fifties because they're better riders than I am because they've been working on it for longer. So remember: except for some unavoidable effects of aging on your body, the other limitations you have are only from being less experienced. Don't sell yourself short if you want to ride at a higher level. The top riders in almost every discipline include people in their 60s at least. This is something we get better at as we age.
Of course the older we get the harder it is to fall off and be OK. That's why I spend time working on emergency dismounts and falling right so I hopefully can be really good at that in 20 or 30 years too. It's amazing that some people who have ridden for many years never work on safe falling. They will fall off one time and get seriously injured, even if they're relatively young and healthy. It's not good if your strategy is to close your eyes and pray - at any age.
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post #36 of 38 Old 01-12-2011, 05:23 PM
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Originally Posted by bsms View Post
I ask because I think one of my biggest faults is that I don't relax into the saddle, but stay tense (and above the saddle). If I feel nervous, I tend to stand up in the stirrups. Wouldn't it be better to ride deeper, with a longer leg, and maybe slip my feet forward a bit so I won't worry about losing the stirrup? And if I'm riding in an Australian saddle, wouldn't it make sense to ride it like...well, an Australian? I will never compete anywhere in any event and have no intention of ever trying to jump anything over 18". Our Arabians reserve the right to get 'concerned' at any time...what is best for staying in the saddle? Thoughts?
You sound like you already so knowledgeable. With the foot position, you want to be able to have your calf at the girth, so that should naturally leave your toes faced slightly outwards, but your toes still forward, with the front cushy part of your foot putting weight into your stirrup. The length is another thing you have to look into. You want to be able to put the end of your fingers on the buckle of your stirrup, stretch the stirrup along your arm, and the padding of your stirrup should sit right against your chest into your arm pit. Shorten 2 holes if you are jumping.

For improving your seat, I always advise to try to find a horse who is a good on a lunge line(if you're not comfortable at first) and do some none stirrup work while someone is handling your stirrup. Holding onto the front and the back of your saddle while sitting the trot or canter, is a good way to learn that feel you should have when following your horse's movement. That's why I love the lung line so much, because you can truly focus on your position. The more non-stirrup work you do, the more you will improve your position.

Promoting the beautiful Canadian Horse
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post #37 of 38 Old 01-12-2011, 07:02 PM
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Not to be controversial but I think the stirrup position formula is debatable. How can there be a formula that is perfect for every rider? People have thin thighs, fat thighs, skinny calves, thick calves, varying degrees of flexibility in their joints, long torsos with short legs, long legs with short torsos, etc. Plus there are so many different disciplines, footings, types of terrain, etc.
I have three good friends who are all excellent riders. We ride English. All of them can stay on when horses rear or buck, and all of them can gallop in rough mountain country on a variety of horses. Each of us rides with our stirrup at a different length. My friend with a short torso and long legs prefers a very long, dressage leg and she uses this even when jumping cross country. I prefer a shorter leg than one friend who is my exact same height. Besides, what if you have long arms and short legs? When my horse was green I rode her with a shorter stirrup than I do now. I ride a choppier trot with a shorter stirrup than a smooth trot. I even ride my two horses with different stirrup lengths. :)
My point is: don't let anyone tell you what your stirrup length should be. Ride where you are most secure and comfortable. If I shorten up more my knees and ankles hurt. If I lengthen more I lose stability. Change your length during a ride if you are on a different horse and it feels wrong.
And when we were talking about leaning back vs. leaning forward: I have found that different horses seem to have different centers of gravity. Sometimes to get in balance with a horse I have to ride leaning forward more than I usually do. On one small mustang I even had to lean back a little to get in sync with her when she galloped. To me it makes sense since horses have different lengths of back, neck, legs, different girth lines, etc.
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post #38 of 38 Old 01-12-2011, 08:07 PM
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I was taught to maintain a position on the balls of my feet; when I am instructing folks, I teach that way, but also tell them if they find that riding in a different fashion works for them due to physical issues, then that is fine too...

I don't always keep my toes in, knees and hips are wonky, so keeping my toes in can be very painful to attain alot of days...I also tend to ride with stirrups fairly 'short', even for western, just because that helps keep ME aligned, especially with the horse I have now...sitting her trot would be pert near impossible so I put my self in a position that I can post if necessary.

"The ideal horseman has the courage of a lion, the patience of a saint, and the hands of a woman..."
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