Toes Up Heels Down & Toes In... Help please
I ride english, and western but I thought the english section would be a better spot for this because I find that english riders are more specific, and strict with position....
I have a very hard time keeping my heels down, without pointing my toes out (english mostly). My heels always seem to come back up (western mostly).
It's making me tip forward and loose balance not having them down, and not having them in is making me add pressure to my horses sides.
What can I do? It's REALLY messing up my overall riding, because I'm tipping forward (especially when I ask my horse to get down and stop), and I'm over cuing my horse, and confusing her.
I really need to fix this.
As you know it takes a lot of practice to be able to have the perfect position. But it sounds like you are willing to do the work. Muscle memory just takes time and if you keep staying conscious of what your doing it will get better. Be patient with yourself and just keep correcting yourself. One thing that you can do out of the arena is stretch a lot. I have found that doing squats with my feet in the proper riding position really helps my riding. You can even do them with a little wedge under you toes to mimic keeping your heels down.
Time and patience, really. It's very very helpful if you can have someone on the ground watching and calling out for you to keep your toes in or your shoulders back or any other of the various position/posture mistakes so you can correct them immediately. Sometimes there is just so much to pay attention to when you are just getting started (or if you've gotten lazy and are trying to relearn) that it's easy to let things go and it' can be so helpful to have a watchful pair of eyes correcting you.
A lot of it is also building muscle so you can have your legs in the proper position with the toes in - that takes time but it does become easier.
Another school of thought says to forget pushing your heels down; it causes you to rise up off your deep seat, & forcing your toes in tightens your muscles in legs & grabs the horse with them. You want to have a more relaxed feel for your horse: toes & heels natural. It sounds as though your heels are rising because you're tensing & lifting your legs.
I don't now if this will help much or not, but here are some pictures.
The first 2 pictures were from todays show, and the last one is from 2008.
I don't ride western so I could be wrong but aren't you allowed to keep your toes out? A friend of mine rides western (doesn't show or anything) and says it's perfectly acceptable to keep your toes out when your heels are down.
In a western saddle (which I've ridden in only once lately) it was IMPOSSIBLE to keep my toes in! They were too long and had way too much leather / stuff to be able to keep them in. It was explained to me that it's A-OK to keep your toes out - but I could be wrong!
I ALWAYS get told to get my toes back in because it will take my heel off my horse. I don't know though...
I think it's better in the walk, and lope/canter, but during my jog and rising trot they come up. ESPECIALLY in the trot/jog.
Toes STRAIGHT ahead, foot flat.
Looks to me like you might be trying to grip too much at the knee. Although this almost feels natural to do, it will prohibit you from being able to keep your lower leg in the correct position and force your toes outwards.
Try riding without stirrups for a while, let you legs hang down and keep your toes forwards without the stirrups there to fight against. Get the feel of riding with your leg just hanging there and without gripping at your knees. When you put your feet back in the stirrups, just let your leg lie flat along the girth and rest your toe in the stirrup. Try to be concious of not gripping with your leg, rather let it rest on the girth as more relaxed muscles along the length of your leg will allow you to get that toe pointing forwards, good luck!
P.S. Cute horse :)
That happens to me sometimes but if i really focus then its all better.. i would just think to make sure your postures right and if you still cant focus try putting more weight in your stirrups with your heels down... also how northern said grip more with your thighs not your calfs (: youll get it
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