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SAsamone 04-05-2011 07:19 PM

Heel Postition...All Disciplines
I've always been taught in Western it's heels down, and English, the heel matches your hip and shoulder in a line. Is this true? I see, especially in english, people with their toes out, heels down, all kinds of weird stuff in their pictures on this forum. Anyone want to set me straight? Thanks!!

BansheeBabe 04-05-2011 07:33 PM

In english is heels down! when people have there toes out there doing something wrong with there legs like gripping with there knees. but anyways yes, in english its heels down!

JustDressageIt 04-05-2011 07:39 PM

Heels down always. Heel in line with hip and shoulder to be in the most effective position.
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SAsamone 04-05-2011 07:47 PM

You see why I'm confused? those heels look flat, not down to me....??

JustDressageIt 04-05-2011 07:56 PM

You can find photos and posts of just about anything on the Internet - that doesn't make it right. Her heels could be further down, with more weight dropped into them. With that baggy shirt, it's hard to tell but her pelvis looks slightly crooked too. Good line from shoulder to hip to heel though.
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SAsamone 04-05-2011 08:04 PM

No, I'm not saying it's right- I'm sorry, I was just saying, these are the types of photos and positions I see in all my books, and on a lot of websites. But I'm glad to know that it's wrong, so I can keep my position; i always put my heels down, and though I might have to change lol.

JustDressageIt 04-05-2011 08:10 PM

You can find resources that might claim all sorts of stuff is correct, or fine. According to CL, it's perfectly normal to ride a foal or put a child on a stallion. According to some literature, if you're having a hard time stopping a horse, you just bit 'em up till they won't not stop. Doesn't make it right or even advisable.
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MyBoyPuck 04-05-2011 08:45 PM

Yeah, the internet being what it is, there is plenty of misinformation out there. I bought a book years ago when I was getting back into jumping. Now that I'm back up the speed, when I read that book, all I see are pictures of really bad jumping form.

SAsamone 04-05-2011 08:53 PM

I understand that :) Wasn't quetioning, was just confused is all. Thanks guys!! :)

bsms 04-06-2011 02:40 PM

It varies a bit with discipline. Heels down is always desirable, but not always possible. Depends on your build and flexibility. If my heels are under me, then they probably will be very close to level - and that ain't going to change anytime soon. I think dressage is more tolerant of level heels, but I don't do dressage so that is just an impression.

Toes in/out: depends. Generally speaking, toes forward to maybe 30 deg out is pretty desirable for most disciplines. I've read jumpers tend to allow toes out some, and dressage more toes front, but I don't do either discipline so that is just what I've read.

As a guy who started riding at 50 (after 40 years of daily jogging), I'll make the plea that toes go forward consistent with a relaxed leg: I want toes forward, but not if it tenses up my leg. Tight leg muscles make me bounce around and lose balance.

I thought I was doing better, but I noticed yesterday that my gelding is getting so sensitive to leg cues that he was interpreting what was, for me, very mild tension in my thighs as a cue to speed up. Today I just pointed my toes out more to get my thigh as relaxed as possible, and he responded by staying consistent at whatever speed I asked of him. And that was in a western saddle, so the idea that a western saddle doesn't allow a horse to feel cues is a bit silly.

One of my pet peeves is the idea that everyone needs to ride the same. There are a lot of trade-offs in riding, and what works for one rider in one saddle on one horse may not work for someone else. I have very tight legs and hips, which is great for running. I've jogged for 40 years without any injury, and I started with leather street shoes. But the tightness that helps protect me from injuries in running is a big disadvantage in riding - but that is me, and I can't change my body overnight. Maybe never, in some ways.

If you look at pictures of cowboys from 100 years ago, or many military riders, you'll see legs forward. That is frowned on now, but the folks doing it covered far more miles on horseback than most modern riders can imagine. The important thing is to learn WHY things work or don't work, and apply it to your situation. And obviously, if you compete in a judged competition, then that competition will tell you what is expected.

A cowboy cutting animals out from the herd on the LS range, 1907

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