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Heelsdown 08-21-2011 02:56 PM

The stirrups... a foot rest or something to dig into?
I was reading the Fugly blog a bit and found this comment about stirrups

"The way I say it is the stirrup is a foot rest. If you are putting any kind of pressure on it other than a light contact, you’re going to lock your ankles and knees and bounce and feel insecure."

I thought it was interesting because I never thought of it this way. I'm always being told by my trainer to sink my weight into my heels.

So I'm wondering, exactly how much weight should you put into your stirrups? I know there are people who can easily ride without them which shows that stirrups aren't exactly a necessity in riding.
But I'm a little confused as to how much I should be using them and how much weight goes into them.
At this point, they are totally more than a "foot rest" to me. As I'm posting, I'm using the stirrup to lift myself up. Is that wrong?

anndankev 08-21-2011 03:10 PM

I have not done much English riding and none of it well, my last attempt was a learning experience along the line of your question though.

My daughter was watching me, she was remarking on my hands moving too much at the trot. Said she thought I was posting from my feet and that might be the cause. Told me to post using the muscles on the top of my upper leg instead. Instant improvement on the hand bobbing.

Am interested in hearing the remarks and suggestions you get from those here who do ride english well.


MHFoundation Quarters 08-21-2011 03:30 PM

I ride both western & english, predominantly western. I agree with foot rest. As a kid to test us my mom would make us ride with marshmallows or raw eggs under our boots in our stirrups. It really taught me to rely on my seat.
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usandpets 08-21-2011 03:36 PM

I ride western and I've heard to have 30% in the stirrups and 70% in your seat. You don't lock your ankles or knees. If you use more with your feet and the horse stops, you'll get thrown forward.
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Sunny 08-21-2011 03:38 PM

Interesting topic.

Can't wait to hear more opinions.
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apachiedragon 08-21-2011 03:47 PM


Originally Posted by Heelsdown (Post 1144707)
At this point, they are totally more than a "foot rest" to me. As I'm posting, I'm using the stirrup to lift myself up. Is that wrong?

That is part of the reason work without stirrups is so important to English riding, not only for balance but so you don't use your stirrups as a crutch. You are supposed to use your inner thigh muscles to lift and support you when you post, not your feet.

Ideally you should be able to take the stirrups off your saddle and ride in the exact same way you would with them. (This is rarely the case, if the stirrups are there, most people do in fact use them as a crutch and use their muscles less than they should.)

Also consider what kind of shape you'd be in if you were to lose a stirrup, or have one break. If the horse decided to play up and you did not have the leg strength to hold your position, you wouldn't stay on very long.

Puddintat 08-21-2011 04:13 PM

I use my stirrups as a rest predominately. I try to keep my heels down and but not put force on the stirrups bc otherwise I end up bracing and I bounce out of the saddle. (I ride western btw) However, the other day when Dancer did a quarter horse turn and tossed me, I was told I should pushed my feet forward and braced. Not that I had time to react this way, but I've always thought that putting weight in my heels would keep my seat better than pushing into the stirrup.

thegoldenpony 08-21-2011 04:17 PM

I ride English and agree with the foot rest concept. Yes, your weight should be in your heels but that doesn't mean that you should be bracing. With posting, you just be using you upper leg to lift yourself, so your lower leg should stay still and again, don't brace against the stirrups.

I know it's easier said than done, I'm still struggling a tad with this, it gets pretty tiring after a bit! :?

Eliz 08-21-2011 04:23 PM

In dressage, its more of a foot rest for me.

However, in jumping, you HAVE to have weight in your stirrups. Where else are you going to place it over the jump? I disagree that is causes you to lock your ankles. You UNLOCK your ankles, then the weight flows down into your heel and it absorbs the shock so that you don't bounce.

I also put a little more pressure in the stirrups while posting. If I didn't, I'd probably compensate by gripping with my knee.

Marisa 08-21-2011 04:34 PM

I always post and push myself by stirrups as well. But I was always taught to only have my toes in stirrups and it made me have less weight on themthem

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