Ugh! Floppy lower leg
So I finally got to see some video of myself riding and was disgusted to see my lower leg flopping around like a dying fish while posting the trot. Every single down stride, my leg shoots back and hits my poor horse. I've tried to isolate the cause, but can't figure it out. I'm pretty sure I'm posted by rolling my hips rather than standing in the stirrups, but I guess I'm just not releasing at the knee enough. I know everything from the knee down is supposed me be more or less passive. I just can't convince my ageing body of that information. Why do all your limbs go every which way once you hit a certain age???
Anyway, could use some hints on what I might be doing wrong and how to correct it.
I can't be sure what you could be doing to cause the flopping legs (I love your description, by the way :lol:), but a good thing to help is lots of stirrupless riding, especially posting and two pointing without the stirrups. It takes some practice and you WILL be sore the first few times, but it really helps with the legs, and is a good "party trick" to test/impress your horsey friends. I love betting my western riding buds that I can post without stirrups, lol.
be careful on posting w/o stirrups if you are pinching at the knee as you will just post off your knee more. there are some excellent sally swift centered riding exercises that will work wonders, such as standing up in the saddle and keeping yourself CENTERED in the saddle (not pitched forward over the pommel). start at the halt then walk, focusing on letting your weight sink into your heels and keeping your calf soft and relaxed and your ankles loose to absorb the shock. as you get better work on transitions while keeping yourself centered over the saddle and not sitting. this will help develop your anchor a lot more. and if you haven't read them, sally swifts books are amazing!!!
I had the same problem. Yours might be different then mine but my problem was when I would ride I would seriously forget to breathe and I would stiffen up so much. I still do have to tell myself to breathe and loosten up.
I love Sally Swift's books! I did a centered riding clinic last year and learned a ton during the unmounted exercises. She has some fantastic descriptions if you're a visual learner which I am. I love the thing where you shake out one arm piece by piece and then stand in front of a mirror to find it a good 6" longer than the tense one.
I found one little tidbit that says my problem comes from a too tight upper leg and too loose lower leg. Today I made an effort to redistribute my weight to even that out. I think I made a little progress by the end, but that's definitely going to be one of those things I have to think about every ride.
I do plan on having someone torture me on the lunge line, so I can work on my seat. I can canter all day without stirrups, but that's just sitting, balancing and relaxing. Posting is an entirely different story. I try to do it for a few minutes at the end of each ride, and my poor horse literally sighs as if to say, "just give it up mom!" Now that would be a funny video to post on the critique page.
Just breathe, relax, sit back a bit deeper. ;) If you relax & kinda make your leg longer, then it should stop the floppyness. ;)
& working without stirrups will definitely help. & I agree, try to center/balance yourself in the saddle more.
Roll more forward onto your thigh when you post, that helps keep your leg still.
Additionally, little bits of paper placed under your thigh and calf. The top inside of your calf, right below your knee is where the most amount of contact is supposed to be, at least for H/J. For dressage, it's more distributed equally.
Schooling no stirrups is good, but unless you're practicing perfectly you're going to be picking up bad habits. Another thing you could try (on a safe horse, with supervision) is tying your stirrups to the girth with binder twine. Binder twine will break in the event of an 'oh crap' situation, so it's safe, and it really helps you keep your leg still.
If you feel nervous about regular binder twine, you can try dental floss, or simply fraying the binder twine so it has like 2 strands attaching it.
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