help with leg position
My fiance has a video of me riding Vega that i cannot upload to my computer. It's on his cell and we lost the little thingy to load it into a computer.
Anyways, i was looking at it and realized my leg from my knee down is too far forward. I'm guessing i've always ridden like that, but never had someone record me so i never noticed. And the funny thing is, no one has ever mentioned this to me, so i'm thinking it could be a new thing. I'm not sure.
So i would like some pointers to get my leg to move and stay back. Even if i have to tie my stirrups some how. Because i have a feeling my wrong position could be one cause for Vega's bucking.
Okay, I'll try to give you some useful tips here, because I had the EXACT same problem. Up until like 7-8 months ago, my leg was like this:
(ignore the fact that that whole picture just screams bad rider hahaha)
I was never able to tie my stirrups to my girth because I could never find a way that wouldn't irritate Danny - he's the most sensitive, thin-skinned horse on the planet. I did, however, have the luxury of someone on the ground CONSTANTLY nagging about my leg, and also showing me, at a halt, where exactly my leg should be. If you have someone do that it feels sooo weird, like your leg is at the flank, but that's where it must stay! Here's where awesome leg muscles and good willpower come in handy.
My trainer has a trick that we call the "mental checklist." Really, it's not a trick so much as an automatic thing that every rider develops over time, but it really helps if you think about it - when you're riding, just make sure every part of your body is in the right place at once, all the time. Study and visualize the way you want your position to be. Think and obsess and watch videos of your riding as much as possible.
It could be that Vega's bucking is caused by the leg - when your leg is out of position, so is your balance. I know a LOT of problems went away when I sorted myself out.
Sorry I couldn't give you a simple tip - this is just what worked for me, and I guess it's kind of similar to using draw reins versus engaging the hocks - the first one leads to an artificial headset while the other creates a truly "on the bit" horse. Did that make sense?? What I'm getting at is, if you tie your stirrups to your girth you may find that the second you untie them, your leg will slide forward, but if you "teach" your leg to stay in the correct position, there it will stay.
I hope this helped! Good luck!
i understand exactly what you mean! I rode her today and videoed myself. When i'd stop and check my leg, it was forward, so i'd put them back and i would be good until vega was acting up (just trotting when she should be walking) I also thought i was sitting too far forward, so i sat back and i think that helped. I totally get what you mean about tying the stirrups. I want to record me riding every time to see if i improve or not. I'd also like to ride my other horse (really my fiance's) and see if i have the same problem. If i don't then i don't know what is causing it on Vega.
And it does feel awkward when you first do it. I felt like i should be tipping forward or something, but i must get used to it.
I wish there were mirrors or something, so i can see myself.
I think it would be easier, if i wasn't constantly on guard when i ride Vega. I find that my whole seat lacks when i ride her because i always have to be a step ahead of her.
I'll talk to Tom and see what he says about me riding Gem.
I'm also in the process of uploading my video. I'll put it on here as soon as its done.
Thanks so much Dannys_girl!!!! :D
I had this issue in the past as well.
I also had the luxury of an instructor on the ground during lessons constantly nagging me to bring my leg back! :D And yes, it definitely feels weird at first.
A couple other things I did:
2-point. whenevever I felt my leg slipping forward...I'd go into 2-point and let my leg and heel drop straight down. Then as I sat back down, I focused on keeping my leg there.
No Stirrups! Yes, it's painful, agonizing... but riding w/o stirrups made my leg fall natually down straight and also developed my muscles.
I also switched to riding in a super close contact saddle to help develop a balanced seat. Plain flaps, no knee/thigh blocks.
After working with a friend, I realized that my legs were going forward because I was trying too hard to cram my heels down. It's engraved into every rider "heels down!" and I took it to the extreme. Pushing my heels down threw my balance slightly backward and my leg shot out forward. My friend told me "toes UP, not heels down!" This softened my leg and I was able to keep control of them not flying forward. I also did a lot of standing on stairs with my heels dropped to stretch out my hamstrings so that "heels down, toes up" was effortless.
i would love to do no stirrup work, but not until Vega has a little more respect for everything. And when the mud is no longer there.
I'm going to be riding my fiance's horse to work on my leg and not having to worry about a run away train. :wink:
Gem is just going to walk around and i'm going to get my leg in the proper place. I'll probably do some no stirrup work with him too.
Visualization is great! I use it all the time.
I've had a lot of trouble with my lower leg too. It has a lot to do with where your center of gravity is when riding. I try and picture a straight line going from my shoulder to hip to heel. This is for English riding. I'm not if your riding English or western?
With an English position while i the saddle if you look down at your toes you shouldn't be able to see them. If you can it means your lower leg is too far forward.
Here is a link to an image of the straight line i was referring to.
(sorry I'm new, not sure if I'm aloud to post up a link with a google image in it :? .)
My lower leg problem was caused by me being to 'forward' in the saddle. I didn't have a strong deep and balanced seat, and my center of gravity was way off.
haha if your a western riding gal then i don't think my post will help.
But good luck with everything.
Any time i move my leg into the correct position, my mare flings forward! So it's hard to concentrate on my legs when she springs into a fast trot or canter. I
I also have a close contact saddle, could that be affecting it at all? Should i invest in a used all purpose or something?
I have that problem too!! but it doesn't help that i'm using a saddle that is 2 inches too big and with stirrups that are too long..... i try to visualize where my legs are and sometimes slip out of my stirrups all together if i trust the colt i'm riding.... i'm hoping my saddle will help me get over this
If you can fix your leg position in the close contact, you'll have a well anchored leg no matter what saddle you ride in! I don't know that riding in an all purpose saddle will help; sometimes the knee rolls and shape interfere with your position.
The two best ways I could tell if my leg position is good have been mentioned.
1. Glance down over your knee without moving your head or anything else in your position. If you can see your toe in front of your knee, then your lower leg is too far forward. That's one quick check for you if you don't have an instructor on the ground.
2. Ride lots and lots of two-point. The key here is to ride two-point without using your hands on your horse's neck to support your upper body. Either put your hands out to the side, or if you can't do that with your horse just let your hands hover beside his neck without leaning on them. Make sure your seat is centered over the saddle and your body is bending or folding over at the hip. This will force your legs into the correct position because they are truly your base of support. Get yourself steady in this position and then slowly bring your shoulders up and your seat into the saddle without budging your legs. Alternate frequently between sitting and two-point to check yourself. This will anchor your leg position and build up your leg strength.
Let us know how it's going!
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