position help - fighting the stirrups - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 04-04-2010, 10:34 PM Thread Starter
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Location: Central TX
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position help - fighting the stirrups

I am having some issues with my position and thought I would see if you guys could be any help. First, some background. I used to ride very competitively with a strong eq background, but quit because of work. Five years later, I'm back on and riding with a trainer who completely screwed me up. A year of riding without ever using the three point position or sitting trot, legs too far back, upper body too far forward and riding off my hands. Switched trainers four and things are improving, but am still having difficulties.

My main problem is that I am fighting against the stirrups. When she takes them away, my leg locks in the correct position, seat is softer and hands steady out. This works in posting, sitting, or two point trot, or two or three point canter. My trainer's theory is that I am fighting the stirrups, that when they go away I go back to my natural seat that my body knows from years ago.

Thought I would see if anybody has any ideas. Here are two pics, one from riding with the old trainer, one current one over fences. The other is a video on a three year old very green broke horse where I am concentrating on the horse, not me. It is from three months ago, some things have been fixed, but at 1:20 when I sit down at the canter, it still gives the same basic way I am fighting against the stirrups/saddle - things that have changed since then, I am riding off my lower leg more, hands steadier, and I have closed my hip angle slightly, but I am still having difficulties.

Thanks (and I hope this makes sense - if not, ask)

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post #2 of 5 Old 04-04-2010, 10:42 PM
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That's interesting. When you're posting, your lower leg is dead quiet. At first the cantering looks good, but then your hip angle opens and your upper body gets too upright instead of keeping your shoulder over your feet. I can't say I've ever seen that before. When you let your stirrups hang down free, do they hang perfectly perpendicular to the ground, or do they hang forward a little? I'm thinking maybe the saddle it a little unbalanced? Sure looks like your legs are strong enough to hold their position.

You just have to see your distance...you don't have to like it.
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post #3 of 5 Old 04-04-2010, 10:57 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Central TX
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I'm a little better in my trainers Antarres (sp?) but still have problems. The saddle in the video I've had since 2000 and never had problems with it in the past. The issue is also there on all horses, from my qh to my trainer's wbs and tbs.

Here's an old video from before I took my 5 year break, same saddle, riding more QH style than what my USEF trainer is switching me too, but shows how I used to be able to stay with the horse and not fight anything. same saddle, same irons and leathers even.

Last edited by sandsarita; 04-04-2010 at 11:03 PM.
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post #4 of 5 Old 04-04-2010, 11:10 PM
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I don't know how old you are, but if you're in your late 20's to early 30's, hips change shape a bit and can really mess with your center of balance, particularly if you've taken time off. Maybe you just need to develop new muscle memory? Use a neck strap or piece of yarn tied 1/3 up your horse's mane and keep your hands there so your upper body re-learns the proper balance point?

You just have to see your distance...you don't have to like it.
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post #5 of 5 Old 04-05-2010, 05:22 PM
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I think you might be focusing on the wrong part of your leg. It looks to me like your problem may be that you're piching with your knees and/or thighs. You actually seem to be doing it in the old video too, then compensating by tilting back with your upper body, whereas now, you are compensating by tilting forward. But I will say that your form looks much better now than in the older video. In the first pic, you're definitely pinching with those knees (hence the falling upper body and legs trying to fly out behind you. The second pic looks much better, but your legs are still getting behind you, you want them to be 90 degrees to the ground, and I'd expect your knees are the culprit bc the rest of your position is really nice.

If you look at the old video, you can see that you are almost always behind your hips at the canter and then some, although not as much, at the trot too. (Look at a still and you will see that your sort of look like a U - your hips are forward and your toes and shouders are both back behind them.) I'm pretty sure that is a good indication of knee/thigh pinching. I know it's older, but I point it out to say that this may not be a new problem, it's an old habit, that is simply manifesting itself in a new way.

I'd guess that the reason you have less problem without your stirrups is that you depend more on your calves so that you have the freedom to move through your thighs. It is hard to post/hold 2 pt, etc. when you are pinching in your thigh. Try some exercises that work on releasing your knee and thigh (maybe someone on here can recommend some?) to see if that helps you at all.
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