Why is this happening?

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Why is this happening?

This is a discussion on Why is this happening? within the Western Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category

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    03-16-2010, 07:39 AM
Why is this happening?

I've always rode English growing up, and now I'm starting to ride Western.
English and Western riding aren't that different. Though, in Western riding you wear your stirrups longer.

Here is my dilemma: Every time I ride Western whenever I'm riding at the lope my feet work there way out of the stirrups. It never happens when my stirrups are shorter, and if I try to shorten them my trainer always says, "are you a jockey?". But as soon as they're short that problem goes away and I'm 100% better.

Any ideas?
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    03-16-2010, 07:53 AM
I never took western lessons, but I've always stuck with my stirrup length. I put the tips of my fingers where the flap meets the saddle and put the stirrup where it meets my armpit. That has worked for me in both western and english. At first I did find it hard to keep my heels down because of the wider stirrup, but it just took practice.

I don't know if this helps, but hopefully it will.
    03-16-2010, 08:55 AM
It's possible you are not riding enough with your seat. Some english riders sort of "perch" up there and put a lot of weight in their feet instead of the seat. Try and do as much work without your stirrups. Also try and think about sinking your center (behind your bellybutton) down into the saddle and drive the horses movement from your seat. Try and think about reaching for you stirrups and don't place too much weight in them...it's all in the seat.
    03-16-2010, 08:59 AM
That's not too unusual when making the switch from English to Western and it happens at the canter in particular. I think the problem comes from not having your weight in your heels (which is opposite of what shesinthebarn just said - LOL) or having the stirrups a hole too long.

How about a picture of your legs out of the stirrups and then in them?
    03-16-2010, 10:00 AM
I only ride western, but I know that the stirrup hole just one too long makes riding totally different. Maybe try one notch up--it'll be closer to what you're used to, but still long enough for your instructor.
    03-16-2010, 10:44 AM
I should have been more clear - weight in the stirrups yes. And it should be in the heels, not the ball of the foot, but try not too much, and try not to be overly dependant on them. I've had the best results from making your seat your security, not your stirrups. I had the same problem as the OP when I made the switch from english to cutting horses as a teen. Talk about night and day disciplines!
    03-16-2010, 12:20 PM
I find the length of my stirrups will vary from discipline to discipline. When I am roping which I rarely do any more. I have my stirrups shorter. When I rein I like them longer.

I have noticed in the past that if I am lazy and do not ride correctly my feet do come out of the stirrups at times. When riding western the one big difference I have seen is that you drive the horse with your seat when you ride especially in the lope. I have noticed that a lot of English riders do not really do that. They seem to let the horse drive them in the seat. This is also how most western riders will control their horses speed. You just quite riding and the horse slows. I have not noticed any english riders doing this.

Also keeping your weight in the heals dose really help also most western riders tend to have their foot in the stirrup a bit more then English riders do.
    03-16-2010, 12:42 PM
Yeah, that's a common problem.

Make sure you have the ball of your foot securely in the stirrup with your heels down. And sometimes trainers make the mistake that westerns tirrups should be long, but you should have be able to stand at least four inches out of the saddle and ride there. I had the problem of my feet falling out before, and I learned about the stirrups and it made a world of differance.

And like others mentioned, make sure you are riding in your seat :)
    03-16-2010, 12:46 PM
Haha I'm the opposite. I grew up riding my stirrups almost too long, and now everyone always tells me how long I ride them...lol. And when I ride english I can't get used to how short they are..lol. But Ya, I would just raise them a notch or two..hope it helps! :)
    03-16-2010, 12:50 PM
Originally Posted by SorrelHorse    
. And sometimes trainers make the mistake that westerns tirrups should be long, but you should have be able to stand at least four inches out of the saddle and ride there.
Depending on the discipline. If I am trail riding and intend to be out for a few hours, having 4" of room when I stand would kill my knees. When I trail ride, I have no more then 2" of room which means a longer leg.

Aside from that, Western riders do use their seat and legs more, and their reins less then English riders. As mentioned above, heels down, foot a little further in the stirrup, and an active seat will all help to cure the problem.

This is the angle my leg is at when I trail ride:


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