I have gone through at least four instructors trying to figure out why I lose my stirrups, english or western. It makes no difference if they are long or short, if I am doing flat work or jumping, or speed events. Most say it is a balance problem but offend once I lose the stirrups so many times and I leave my feet out. I can keep my legs back, heels down, and sit up fine, posting, even during quick manuvering and such. It is always at the trot or canter. Any ideas what it might be?
Hmmm - I would have to see video footage to see what it is that is going on, but I am going to say that it is possible you are not using your body efficiantly while in the saddle.
We all know about gravity. What goes up, must come down. So, lets put that into you being in the saddle. When you are in the saddle, that gravity must beable to occur naturally and efficiantly. The weight must be allowed to flow from your head, down to your shoulders, to your core, to your seat, to your legs, and lastly into your heels. It must occur for you to be solid in your tack.
The moment you block that flow from occuring - you get what you are encountering. So, if you are tense in your seat, your thighs, your knees - if you are gripping or pinching somewhere...you are blocking that flow from occuring.
Your heels, must always be your anchor. They must, must, must beable to do their job. When your heels are able to absorb your bodies weight, they are doing their job, but they cannot the moment you block that natural weight flow from happening.
So, close your eyes, and try to think of how you are while you are in your tack. There is something going, that you are doing, to cause you to loose your irons. My suspicion is you are not allowing your bodies weight to flow from your head into your heels.
When you sit in your saddle, open everything up, allow your seat to really be in your saddle, feel it, and allow that weight to flow down into your heels. Allow your legs to stretch, and heels to deepen. No gripping, no pinching, no tensing - allow that flow to occur.
Great post, MIE!
I know that I had this problem when I first started riding hunter. My heels were down, but the came up as I used my legs because my weight was not properly sunk into my heels. It makes a huge difference of everything you do when you're riding!
So really try to feel your weight in your heels, and don't just force them down. That's the only thing I could think of that's happening. Like I said, MIE gave you a good reply.
I always kick my feet out of the stirrups without realizing it. I've always mostly ridden bareback and suddenly I will look down and not have realized that I done it.
Also, try to feel the weight a little on the inside of the balls of your feet where the stirrups are...with your heels down and toes out a bit...and pressing out...pressing out a little from the inside of your feet. The feel of your legs, thighs, feet..being "open" toward the forward motion of your horse. But with legs directly under you or a little forward.
You are posting INTO your legs and feet, not ahead of them. Don't concentrate so much on your weight into your heels, as much as the feel of pressing your feet out...pressing the stirrups out...from the inside of your feet.
But at the same time...most of your weight should be in your seat...rump, thighs, core, spine...IN the saddle. From the thighs down into your feet...it is just a supple shock absorber.
Picture your weight going from your head down through your spine to the insides of your feet. Your weight should NOT go outside feet. This is proper balance.
Make sure your stirups are not too long, as well.
Maybe take a video of your riding. Look at it yourself and see if you can spot why, and perhaps post it on here.
Losing stirrups is often a sign that you are grabbing the horse with your knees. This causes the lower leg to creep up the horses sides, since there is little or no weight in your stirrups and no flexibility in your ankle. Let go with your knees, feel contact with the INSIDE, not the back of your calf. Do not grip too much with any part of your leg but sink your weight into your stirrups and keep your ankle soft and flexible. Use your ankle as a shock absorber.
This will allow your leg to drape along the sides of the horse. It will really help with the stirrup problem, believe me. It is one of the most common problems I see in my students early on and the first thing I must fix. Without a good lower leg, there will be little or no security with the upper body.
thanks for all the replies, a few of you probably are right, I can't put my weight into my irons. it is more a physical problem though, my ankles have no flexablity now after years of accidents and arithritis in them. Stretching has only brought back a small amount or use, and to much strain offend leads me not being able to walk well the couple days. I can't pinch with my knees, that would just about kill me if I hadn't taken pain relievers.
Just out of high school and complaining about arithritis in all my joints. Lol. I'll try out some suggests.
Anyway this used to happen to me and what others are saying is true...I wasn't REALLY sinking into my stirrups, I was gripping with my knee a little too much and didn't even realize I was doing it!
The next time you ride, when you trot try to think of moving your pelvis forward rather than standing up/sitting down. I found that when I thought of the post as me standing up, then sitting down, I was gripping with my knees a little too much (not even noticeable either, I honestly didn't think I was doing it!) and that was causing me to lose the stirrups. But when I stopped thinking about standing when I was posting, and pictured myself thrusting my pelvis forward instead, it kept me anchored better and actually made it much easier to post with the horse too :-)
Hope that helps, but I think the advice on here so far is spot on...although it would be easier if we saw video of it of course! :wink:
wish I could get a video , but I don't anything that can take one and I offend ride by myself.
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