I'm a fairly tall rider, 5'7 or so, and my horse is 15.2. I have trouble keeping my lower calf on, and I'm wondering if it's because my legs are so long...? They reach to about the bottom of my horse's belly, maybe a little above, and since a horse's belly is round, it narrows towards the bottom. Since my legs are so long I'm wondering if I can't keep them on because the belly gets slimmer...gosh I'm having a really hard time explaining this, am I making any sense?
Well if you understood that, do you think that's possible or do you think it's just because my legs are weak? Maybe I need muscle memory? I don't really think it is the first one because I always thought that long legs were a good trait for riding because you could wrap them around more and support your horse. But it wouldn't be the first time I was wrong!
Not that I can really do anything about it if it's the first cause, just curious
Hope you can give me some advice based off of my poor description, if I need to try and make it clearer let me know!
I understand what you are trying to say.
But you don't actually WANT to keep your calves "on" your horse all the time. Your calves should only be making detectable contact when you are cueing your horse to do something.
When's the last time you rode bareback? What happens when you constantly try to keep your calves on all the time (and "wrap" your legs around them like you stated)? Well, what happens is that is does NOT work very well at all!!! Your calves and feet are kind of the balance points for your body. You should be maintaining constant contact with your thighs, because that's what holds yourself on!
As far as you being too tall for your horse, I don't think that is the issue unless you have really really long legs for your body build, then it *might* be. I am between 5'6" and 5'7" and I have no trouble with my calves when I ride my mother's horse who is 15.2 hands.
On the other hand, if you are taller for your horse like that, it really shouldn't
make a difference. Look at professional barrel racer and world champion Sherry Cervi and her horse Stingray. Sherry is over 6 feet fall and Stingray is only 14.2 hands. And barrel racing at that level very much so requires leg cues to keep your horse off the barrels or tighten up the backside -- that's legs, not reins.
You just have to learn to adapt to your horse and do what you need to do to make them understand your cues and their meaning.
The other thing to consider is your WHOLE body posture -- not just your calves. Are you keeping your heels down? Are you sitting straight up when you ride? Are you in good alignment with heels, hips, and ear? Your body works together to cue your horse, so if one part is "out" there might be something else "out" too.
Do you have any pictures or videos of you riding, so we can maybe see what is really going on?
Can you describe specific instances when you feel you cannot keep your calves on?