Best Exercises to Strengthen/Steady Lower Leg?
Hello everyone! :)
I'm just starting to go over small jumps but my lower leg needs work! This is especially important because I'm looking to start showing in beginner equitation next spring and every article and description emphasizes the importance of the secure low leg. Plus there's the big and obvious thing of having a safe and secure base for jumping.
I have a tendency to get distracted over the jumps worrying about the horse taking off and sometimes my leg slips back a touch or I end up bracing on my toes even though I realize full well that if my heels were down and I was balanced it wouldn't make me wobble as badly if the jump goes funny, but that's what I'm here for! So silly!
I lesson once a week but I have an opportunity to ride independently besides that and I was hoping that someone might have some good workouts to do in the saddle on my own (that is, without an extra person there to do work on a lunge for example). The rule for the independent rides is that we're not to jump (since we're beginners it's a safety precaution) so it would all be flatwork.
I've practiced my balance riding around in two-point but while that's helped me get extra flexibility in my ankles it hasn't done as much for my calves and positioning. I really want to get the proper position so I can start working on elasticity in my hips and quit gripping with my knees which is not a habit yet but I've caught myself doing it and don't want it to stick.
So! What are the best exercises to do? I'm known to push myself pretty hard so I'm game for anything.
The only thing that really taught me to keep my heels down and use my lower leg was being launched off my horse a million times. *cone of shame*
What helped me after my initial "learning the hard way" was lots of work without stirrups. Posting, sitting, and two-point. You can also shorten your stirrups five holes and work posting and two-point like that. If you can do this on a nice and trustworthy horse, that would be best. Gives you the chance to focus on you and not worry so much about your horse.
Squats and lunges are great for lower legs. Don't neglect your upper thighs and trunk, though. Stability in those areas will benefit your overall balance.
Riding without stirrups does wonders. I do tons of no stirrup work. A former trainer of mine took my stirrups right off my saddle for a while. lol.
You can also work out away from the barn. I go to the gym to work out, and do yoga at home. Anything to build your strength and flexibility will help you in the saddle.
[QUOTE=riccil0ve;1743542]You can also shorten your stirrups five holes and work posting and two-point like that. QUOTE]
Not to hijack the thread, but can someone explain to me how this helps? I've heard of it, but I guess I don't get what exactly it does...
I thought the OP might benefit from the answer as well, but if it's a stupid question, someone could just private message me the answer :)
Thanks, and sorry!
To OP I recommend the trotting with super short stirrups and lots of no stirrups work as well (keeping your heels down even when you don't have stirrups).
You're basically doing a sort of squat and adjusting your core and legs to compensate for the movement of the horse. It makes your legs stronger which makes them wiggle around less. It's a GREAT workout!
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