Im getting a little better!!! :D - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 08-25-2010, 05:25 AM Thread Starter
Green Broke
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Witbank, South Africa
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Im getting a little better!!! :D

Lately I have been able to keep my heels down better while cantering, and even a little better while jumping! Before, I couldnt keep them down, and it actually hurt when they did, but now its better. It still hurts, but not bad.

It all started about a week ago. We were jumping small, so I diddnt have to worry about getting Love's striding and speed, and I could focus more on my heels and leg position. It was very good, and I'm getting better.

Do you guys have any tips on how to keep getting better with my heels, and maybe how to keep them from hurting?

Btw, it hurts because when I was born I was 3 months premature, and have a permanent weakness along my left side. I have a slight limp in both my legs, and it is thought that I have a very, very mild case of muscle poisening. Because of that it hurts when I move to fast, or put down my heels.

Every girl wants their own LOVE STORY, I found mine... :)
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post #2 of 5 Old 08-25-2010, 06:43 AM
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Washington State
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I'm not super sure of what to tell you in terms of your physical condition/limitations and I have no idea how much that does or does not result in your pain, but I'll tell you what I do know about getting those heels down without killing yourself.

Do lots of stretching. The best is to put the ball of your foot up on a step or a ledge and gently lean your weight into it to allow your heel to sink down until you feel a good stretch in the back of your leg... but NO PAIN. Don't stretch so much that it hurts, just a good healthy pull for about 30 seconds at a time. Here's a link about stretching: The technique I described is in image three.

When you're on the horse, imagine doing the same stretch. Getting your heels down should NOT involve using your muscles to literally pin them down in place. That typically causes a great deal of tension, muscle fatigue, and discomfort. All around, not a good thing for you to do. So, think of it as the same stretch, allowing your weight to sink down through your thigh and your knee.

Finally, don't be afraid to play around with your stirrup adjustments a bit. Lengthening them even by one or two holes can make a world of difference and sometimes we misjudge the proper length for our personal proportions/build. Yeah, there's all the "tricks" for getting close like having the stirrups line up with your ankle bones or the leathers be as long as your arm, but that's just for getting in the general ball park. It differs from person to person, so try playing with your stirrup length... and I mean literally ride with them at different lengths each time. Don't let them out, put your feet in and immediately think to yourself that it feels too weird to ride like that. Just because you're used to your stirrups feeling one way doesn't mean that that's the way they're supposed to feel. ^_^

Don't let your instructor convince you that your stirrups need to be shorter than is comfortable, either. Several jump instructors are very opinionated about how long is too long, but if their idea of a good length has you tied up in knots, you won't be riding very effectively and won't be able to progress well. You're the only one who knows how it feels and what feels best, so don't let them boss you into bucking up and toughing it out. As you progress with your riding, your flexibility may also increase and you may be able to get away with shortening the leathers up again bit by bit.

The GRAND rule of thumb: if it hurts, don't ignore the pain. Your body is trying to tell you that something isn't working out so hot, so fix it!

All of this is from personal experience, I hope some of it helps.

Last edited by Eolith; 08-25-2010 at 06:50 AM.
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post #3 of 5 Old 08-25-2010, 09:24 AM
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: GA
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Originally Posted by LoveStory10 View Post
Lately I have been able to keep my heels down better while cantering, and even a little better while jumping! Before, I couldnt keep them down, and it actually hurt when they did, but now its better. It still hurts, but not bad.
Please tell me secrets to keeping your heels down if you have any! lol..i have the worst time with my heels..i w/t/c around alot in 2 point streching them down..i also stretch them alot at home and stuff but they have the hardest time staying stinks.
Regan7312 is offline  
post #4 of 5 Old 08-25-2010, 10:32 AM
Join Date: Dec 2008
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lt used to hurt me when l tried to keep my heels down, and when l asked my trainer, she told me that that was probably because l had too much tension in my ankles. Sure enough, when l focused on keeping my ankles relaxed, the pain went away and l had no troubles keeping my heels down. Even if it is in part because of any physical limitations, maybe just pay special attention to the tension in your ankles for a couple minutes and see if it helps?
And congratulations on improving with your heels! lt's such a great feeling when you know you've been making progress :).

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post #5 of 5 Old 08-25-2010, 11:06 AM
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Hawthorne, FL
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you could also have the stirrup positioned the wrong way.. my student used to have this same problem but once i angled her stirrup across her foot so the outer branch was lined up with her pinkie toe the heel dropped right down and she lost the tension in her ankle and calf. and this is what i do as well and my heels stay down all the time

"The horse you get off is not the same as the horse you got on; it is your job as a rider to ensure that as often as possible the change is for the better."
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