how to stop posting with my feet
I've been riding since i was 12, but i always rode western with the exception of a handful of times, i took 3 years off riding when i got pregnant and then had no time, so last year(when my son was 2) i finally started riding again, and then at the end of may i got an OTTB mare and figured it was the perfect excuse to start dressage (i've always wanted to learn but never had a horse that went well english or money for lessons) Anyway, before i got off subject, last week i had my first english lesson(actually first lesson in general) and i am struggling with posting, kept doing a double bounce, then today was my second lesson, i did much better with the posting, but my trainer says that i'm posting with my feet, i'm trying really hard not to, but i just can't help it, does anyone have any tips on how to post correctly?
From my understanding, lots of trainers will have riders do a ton of no stirrup work at the walk, trot, and then eventually the posting trot so that you can learn to post with your legs instead of your feet. I have no suggestions on how to do it other than that though since I am a western rider.
Ask your trainer to give you a lunge lesson. From personal experience, you will learn so much from just ONE lesson. Usually they will ask that you drop your stirrups and put your hands in airplane position, zombie position and on the top of your helmet. It will force you to really sit deep in your seat and move with the horse or fall off. Your body WILL move with the horse instead of falling off, and tadaaaaa, you've got your rising trot mastered and most complicated yet, your sitting trot mastered. I LOVE lunge lessons.
You know, I read your post earlier on today before I left for work, and by the time I got out the barn this evening, I completely forgot about this topic, until I was riding...and it popped in my head.
I started to focus on what I was doing while posting, and, I may be incorrect but I post with my feet.
My weight are in my heels, I am not gripping or pinching anywhere with my body. There is even pressure from my thighs, to my knees and my calf. It feels more like I am posting from my heels, if that makes sense?
This is a good thread...now it has me thinking....
I started out posting with my feet, had just the same problems you describe, over time shifted to posting off my thighs, and now am returning to bringing my feet back into the equation. All the natural evolution of learning how to post properly.
If you don't have your feet take a part in the action of posting, then you will end up gripping with your knees or calves, heels coming up and losing your stirrups. Also, many people who have their legs too far out in front of them and have that "waterskiing" kind of position is because for one reason or another, their leg being so far forward means that they post off their knee and this mean that the horse has to work hard to lift them and they will be perpetually behind the motion of the trot.
You will be striving for an aligned position with you heel/ankle lining up with your hipsocket, lining up with your shoulder socket and your ear.
This way, you carry YOURSELF, like a puppet that goes lightly up and down by the accordian action of hip/knee/ankle. The weight is spread over all parts, but ultimately goes with a focus downward, out through the heel, which is pointed at the horse's back legs.
Yes, you do kind of move your pelvis a bit forward and backward along with up/down, but you want to be in a position that if your horse magically disappeared out from under you, you would land with a soft , bent knee stance and keep your balance.
Cheers to you on your new venture and take heart, it takes time to learn how to post. Take video now, because in a year when you wathc it, you'll laugh til you pee!
You CAN post when riding bareback, but it tends to feel and look a lot different than when in a saddle. Instead up pushing yourself way up then sinking down, its really more of a rising of your pelvis that makes you post. There isn't really and space between you and your horse visibly, but you are still rising and falling. As for posting bareback with your heels down, well- its possible but it sure will take a while to be able to do that! I've been riding bareback for about a year now and my heels still tend to creep up a bit. :lol:
I agree with everyone else for the lunging/no stirrup work for. It really does help a lot because you're forced to sit correctly or fall of! If you ride western you most likely are able to do a sitting trot fairly well. I advise in thinking about that a bit, and how your body has to ask like an accordion to be able to go with your horse. Use that same position when you're posting. Let your body absorb your horse's movement, but raise yourself up from the calved up for every 'post.' It should give you a nice, loose posting trot with very little use of anything from your calves down.
I can post bareback. As Endiku already said its pelvis movement and it's not as visual as in saddle. However I skip posting on my qh while bareback because she's very smooth. I do on my paint because otherwise it's a bumpy ride. :-)
However as I think about it... If you post bareback you gotta grip with something (thighs or knees), otherwise I can't imagine how you can move yourself up.
I have two exercises to help my beginners with the exact same problem. One, I ask them to do posting trot in a saddle but without stirrups (I often have to show them first so they believe its possible). It is a much smaller post than when posting with stirrups!
I also put them in a double lunge arena, ask them to tie a knot in their reins and then ask for them to do various arm exercises while posting. So I will be in the middle and say "Hands on your head", "Hands on your waist" and "Arms out to the side". I find that if I ask them to change their arm position frequently, they start focusing so much on that, that their posting automatically becomes a lot easier and they start letting the horse do the work for them (by 'bouncing' them out of the saddle, pelvis moves up and forward, and then they simply sit back down again)
One way to think of posting but getting away from you feet is that it's not up and down. it's more up and "out". So when you go up, you push your hips towards the front of the saddle using your thighs, instead of just using your feet to go upward. This trains and strengthens your thighs without no stirrup work.
I just started posting with no stirrups in my last lesson, and it really showed me what muscles to use. I actually thought of that exercise when I first started posting with no stirrups.
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