More info would be needed to better answer your question. First off, I am not an expert by any means as I have just taken up riding again after a 20 year hiatus. I too had some problems right away with pain and discomfort riding western, first issue was my foot position in the stirrup. Many will say for safety you have to have toes straight ahead, heals down and the stirrup on the ball of your foot. While it sounds logical, this is not a great position for people as they age and it seems of the many opinions I have found, until I did some research on the history and evolution of tack did I find my solution and answer. For starters I started to oil my fenders and use a broom stick to help my new tack conform on its own rather than at the force of how my legs want to sit naturally. This stopped the ankle and calf burn almost completely but my feet would ache and I could never get comfortable in the saddle as it was hard to relax. With my research I found a very important piece of tack that sometime between 1930 and 1950 disappeared from the tack line of things and became assumed as a fashion thing and I am talking cowboy boots. They were never invented as a thing of fashion actually they were created as they are as a tool and a very important safety device. The heels are exaggerated to keep the stirrup seated firmly under your arch (for comfort and control) and to prevent your foot from slipping through the stirrup. The pointed toe and slick bottom was to aid in mounting the stirrup and release from the stirrup. The laceless riser was made so if you fell off the horse and your boot were to hang in the stirrup, your foot could dislodge and slip from the boot. Now knowing its design, it made me think about it and change how I placed my foot. When I started running my foot home in the stirrup, all of my pain ceased and I was quickly comfortable in the saddle, slightly forward of the cantle and relaxed. I found less tendency to grab the horn and more encouragement to go with the flow and movement of my horse. I know my reply is a little drawn out and I am sure you will get some to argue the points but facts are what they are and this helped me greatly. Good luck to you and your quest for comfort.
Last edited by Englewoodcowboy; 09-28-2013 at 02:58 PM.