Short rider, toes point out. Advice? - The Horse Forum
  • 2 Post By lostastirrup
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post #1 of 10 Old 09-10-2019, 03:30 PM Thread Starter
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Short rider, toes point out. Advice?

I am 5'0" and so my toes point outward when I ride. Is there anything I can do to stop this? Any special stirrups that might help?
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post #2 of 10 Old 09-10-2019, 05:19 PM
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Hi I'm also short and I used to have this habit.
There's a couple of things to think about-

1. Depending on your discipline this may not be terrible fault. Some jumping styles turn the toes out for security and the inside of the calf is one the horse.

2. You may be tight in your hips. When you're stiff through your hips and the joints below your waist it's more likely that you will turn your toes out (i know this was the case with myself, and I did a lot of stretching excercises mounted to fix it.)

3. Unless you're riding with Spurs youre probably not bothering your horse by riding toes out.

4. If you work on your overall joint flexibility and alignment, you will get better results with turning your toes front and center than if you fixate on them. Working on frog kicks and leg swings as well as "horse stance lunges" are great ways to add some strength and range of motion to your body. Really anything that works on your hips in their socket and loosening them up. Ankle rolling helps, especially at the beginning and end of your rides. In all things riding is a sport and we help ourselves by warming up our joints and muscles.

Hope that helps. Happy riding.
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post #3 of 10 Old 09-10-2019, 05:59 PM
Green Broke
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Do you ride different horses and is it a problem with all of them? If you are riding horses too wide for your conformation, it makes you legs turn a certain way that make the toes turn out.

Pretty much what losta said. Toes start at the hips.
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post #4 of 10 Old 09-10-2019, 06:04 PM
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Too funny. I'm 6'0" and 170 and I have to turn mine out all the time giving cues. Wish mine turned out more natural.y. I ride western though. "One man's fruit is another man's candy."
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post #5 of 10 Old 09-10-2019, 06:51 PM
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My toes point out too. My horse doesn't care and neither do I. It can be a good thing for stability. US Cavalry recommended toes 10-45 degrees OUT, depending on your build and the horse.
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post #6 of 10 Old 09-10-2019, 10:06 PM
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How long have you been riding and how often do you ride? I had this problem when I started back again after 16 years of not riding. Now it's no longer a problem. It just kind of went away on its own as I got stronger and more flexible.

One thing that can contribute to toeing out is if you're using the backs of your legs to cue the horse. Think of using the inside of your calf muscle to squeeze instead of pushing your heels into their sides. Makes a biiiiig difference and will train your leg to be in a better place.
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post #7 of 10 Old 09-10-2019, 10:09 PM
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It can, and does, get better with time and practice.

Incidentally, I did order special stirrups that I thought might help... and they're still in the package. Didn't end up needing them.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg position_comparison_may19.jpg (122.8 KB, 3 views)
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post #8 of 10 Old 09-11-2019, 04:58 AM
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Far more important than toes not being out is if the angles of your joints are lining up. You mention being a short rider.
For example, if the person on this draft horse has to open her hip angle wide to sit on such a big horse, then in order to have proper body mechanics her knee must point out more and also her toes. That way the weight goes evenly through the joints without twisting or strain. This might mean she needs to take the spurs off.

Poor body mechanics involve twisting at the joints.

If your thighs can face forward on a particular horse in a particular saddle, then your knees and toes can too.

Some horses, particularly in saddles with wider twists cannot be ridden with your legs that close together if you have any width in your thighs. So you shouldn't try to put torque on your hips and knees to achieve a certain toe position, but rather let your weight flow evenly down your leg so it contacts the inner back of the thigh and upper calf, and then allow your hip/knee/toe to line up. The stirrup leathers or fenders should not angle forward or back, but go straight down to the ground.

On a narrow horse and taller rider, the knee may point forward more and the toes also. You don't want to try to roll your hips in on a wide horse just so your toes will point more forward.
Little guys will have more of an open leg.
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post #9 of 10 Old 09-11-2019, 08:40 AM
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First off, I don't show, so take what I have to say with a box of salt.

I'm also 5' and developed major cramps in my calf and pain in my ankle from forcing my toe and knee to twist inward. I told my coach about the pain, and she now has me point my toes out. Problem solved! It might not look pretty, but it works, and I am pain-free. She did say that I wasn't necessarily always going to ride like that, and as some posters above have said, you should eventually have your foot in a better position, but for now, if toes out works for you, I wouldn't worry too much about it.
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post #10 of 10 Old 09-11-2019, 11:00 AM
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My left toe points out more when I ride than my right. It does the same thing when I jog and when I stand in the shower. Maybe my left leg is wonky? But I'm still jogging in my 60s so that angle seems to work for that leg.

I have two western saddles - a slick seat leather and an Abetta. The wooden tree in the slick leather saddle is wider...and so are my toes when I use it. As gottatrot pointed out, how wide one needs to spread their legs makes a difference.

Western saddles sometimes have slanted stirrups. A 3 inch wide stirrup leather changes the angle of the stirrup as it rotates around, and a slanted stirrup gives even pressure under the foot with less outward twist:

Part of why my toes go out is to give me even pressure across my feet:

If I used a slanted stirrup I would get the same feel on my foot with my toes pointed more forward.
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