So confused - Grip with your knees?

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So confused - Grip with your knees?

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    04-10-2011, 09:59 AM
So confused - Grip with your knees?

So I'm getting a lot of conflicted information. Where I get lessons she constantly tells me to grip with my knees but I've read that if you grip with your knees it pulls your feet up and out of the stirrups, ruins your posture and causes numerous other problems.

What do you do? Which is it? Lol Do you grip with your knees or not? I'm still a beginner so any input helps me learn :)
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    04-10-2011, 10:47 AM
What discipline are you riding?

I'm a dressage rider myself and live by the rule of not gripping with the knees. Gripping the knees and upper legs will not only wreak havoc on your position and ability to ability subtle aids, but will block through horse's shoulders, creating a shortened stride and loss of quality in the paces and movements. Having the knees constantly held on also eliminates the ability of a rider to allow the pelvis to move with the horse, so will 'fix' you into a position, making sitting trot extremely difficult.
You will also lose some valuable aids - using the knee and upper leg to assist in keeping the horse upright through circles, turns and lateral work.

So from me, it's a big no no. Gripping with your knees doesn't do much for you other than temporarily keep you in the saddle in an emergency. And even these times are few and far between, as often gripping knees will jam your pelvis causing your upper body to be pushed forward and you'll go straight over the horse's head.
Have I put you off gripping with your knees yet? ;)
    04-10-2011, 11:03 AM
I've also gotten conflicting advice about this. Where I was a few months ago I was taught to grip with my knees.

Fast forward a few months later and at a much more proffesional barn. I discovered I had numerous posture issues I did not have before I went to the barn that taught me to grip with my knees. Enter the "get your knees away from the sadde" yelling.

At the barn I used to go to it was to make sure I didn't have a reliance on the stirrups for posting or something along those lines. I do not have that now but I think it's more the correct posture and the building up of my muscles than what I was taught before.

So I would say to not grip with your knees, it is a quick fix and it's more trouble than it's worth.
    04-10-2011, 11:36 AM
Kayty - Yes! This is what I've heard. I ride western. Does that make a difference? And I pretty much ignore her when she tells me to grip with my knees. I wouldn't be taking lessons from her if it wasn't where my horse was boarded! She's 17, btw. Does it make a difference when you're bareback? I swear I've learned more through my own research and this forum than I have from her, lol.

Cinder - Thanks so much for your input and experience. It really helps!
    04-10-2011, 11:41 AM
Ugh no don't grip with your knees, I ride english (dressage) my trainer told me to sit deep in the saddle, keep a long leg! That way your free to give aids (back, seat, legs etc..) instead of having a death grip on the poor horse with your knees lol, gripping with your knees turns your toes out, screws up your whole posture, it's just all out bad lol.
    04-10-2011, 11:42 AM
Oooh, thanks for making this thread SkyeDawn! I'd love to hear the responses as well!

Originally Posted by Kayty
So from me, it's a big no no. Gripping with your knees doesn't do much for you other than temporarily keep you in the saddle in an emergency. And even these times are few and far between, as often gripping knees will jam your pelvis causing your upper body to be pushed forward and you'll go straight over the horse's head.
Have I put you off gripping with your knees yet? ;)
Wow, that's freakily accurate to the problems I've been having. Not to try to high-jack the OPs thread, but I'm having really big difficulties with not losing my stirrups, not being so far forward, and not getting thrown forward when I'm posting to the trot and he decides to walk unexpectedly! That I'm gripping the wrong way with my legs might explain everything!! I kept focusing on what my feet were doing thinking that was the source.

*gets out notepad* I am ready to learn!!

If not gripping with knees, how does one stay firmly in the saddle? I think I'd slide off :S ...
    04-10-2011, 11:52 AM
Shiavo, those are a lot of the same problems I had. I'd practice a lot of bareback and no-stirrup work, my new instructor is big on no-stirrup work and it's helped me A LOT. If your barn offers it you may also want to take lunge lessons and keep your hands off to the side. You'll be surprised at in just a few minutes you can practically feel your balance and seat getting better !

Remember to sit back and deep, and to relax and go with the horses movement. Where's your hand position, by the way? (Ten cents says they're in your lap/on your horses mane ).
    04-10-2011, 12:01 PM
Cinder: Will definitely give that a go!
Hand position is low but maybe a few ichs hovering over the end of the maine/pommel, but when posting they get lower and further so...pretty much in his hair
Now that I really think about it, they may flap all over the place...
    04-10-2011, 12:01 PM
Riding western is more like dressage - long, relaxed leg. Your rump keeps you in the saddle, not your knees. Tightening with your knees raises your center of gravity and increases the change of falling, while pitching you forward (which encourages the horse to go faster). Also, tension in the legs makes you bounce more in the trot. I'm not much of a rider, but that is what I've been told and it sure seems true in my experience.
    04-10-2011, 12:02 PM
I was told that gripping with your knees is like trying to shove a paperclip on a huge stack of paper....BOING!

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