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English toes vs. Western toes
I've read a lot of conversations on toes. The english rider says toes in heals down. I find that very difficult to do in a western saddle and most of the riders (western) I see ride toes slightly out, heals down. Which is proper for the western rider and what are the reasons for it? I don't put much weight if any in my stirrups, they are just kinda there for emergencys if my horse spooks is that correct?
I ride both. I broke my leg about 4 years ago so really i can't turn my one leg in unless i want extreme pain. But typically in my pleasure classes in quarter horse english has toes in and western has toes slightly out. I don't really know why, thats just how its always been. That has always been my problem i can't for the life of me turn in my toes.
ditto. I am terrible at turning my toes in. In over fences, they want the toes slightly out. I do cutting, and the more toes are out the BETTER, because that allows us to sit down. Of course, cutting can basically be the opposite of regular riding. You have to hold the horn, you HAVE to slouch, ect.
In western you ride with your toes out. I think it's because of the way you sit and the way the saddle is made. In western you tend to sit deeper in the saddle than in English so you grip differently with your legs and this causes your toes to point out. Usually the stirrup is slightly longer for Western and I think that has an effect on it too.
Edit: You still have your heels down in Western. I watched an amazing show about Western position. You have your heels down because your more balanced. If you want to prove this stand on the ground but bend your knees and pretend you're in your saddle. If you stand on your heels it's easier to balance even if someone pushes you, but if you stand on your toes it's really easy to fall over. Normally you have some weight in the stirrups, especially when sitting the trot or canter or stopping. At least that's how I've learned it and it's easier for me than not having any weight on the stirrups
I used to ride Western; & I noticed the toes do point outwards more.
In English, usually they are in & pointing to the nose more. "Toes to the nose!" lol.
Actually if you read George Morris (or any of the other big time hunter seat equitation coaches) he says you do turn your toes out with English riding. Very slight, about 10 degrees, with more weight on the inside of your foot (so your foot flexes out). You have the most effective use of your leg and most secure foundation this way.
As far as stirrups go, you should use them, but be ok without them. I imagine your leg will be stiff if you're making an effort to be light in the stirrups... ?
I'd like to add that I think a lot of english trainers say toes forward because a lot of people tend to ride off the back of their calf with their toes pointing out. For a proper leg you want the inside of your thigh, knee, and calf around your horse. If you ride off the back of your calf you lose your foundation and subconsciously will be driving your horse forward every step.
props to upnover. That's what I meant. :D However, in hus and eq riders often ride with toes in, while in western it's never really emphasized.
So many years ago, when I first got my horses, the trainer I took lessons from kept telling me "toes in". They really should be a little more specific because I took her literally. And for the entire time I took lessons, I never felt comfortable, my legs seemed to flop around uncontrollably, and at the canter seemed to loose my stirrups constantly.
[ I'd like to add that I think a lot of english trainers say toes forward because a lot of people tend to ride off the back of their calf with their toes pointing out. - Upnover]
has said it right in my opinion. When I quit taking the lessons and just focussed on not digging my heels in, the toes began to point forward and from that point on I began to have success. So toes forward (not in or out).
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