Originally Posted by cluelesshorseriderhelp View Post
okay so my coach tells me to open my knee but when I do that my feet/toes stick out like a duck and I try to bend them in but it either closes my knee or hurts my ankles but my coach doesn't mind about my feet sticking out. I have also had another coach that made me point my toes in which wasn't very comfortable as your ankle can only bend so far to the side. So I did some research and apparently, you aren't supposed to open your knee but have it on the saddle yet not grip with it and this, in turn, will also stop your toes from pointing out. I need help I don't know what is the right thing to do and what is wrong. I'm a beginner rider (english) I have been riding for six months now as I started riding later than most at 14, so as my username suggests I am pretty clueless. All feedback welcome :)
I ride in a Western saddle so it may be a bit different. If it's a question of 'wait, how is this supposed to go?' - The diagrams in Sally Swift's "Centered Riding" made a lot of visual sense to me - thinking of your body as an interconnected series of blocks, of which your legs are part. The blocks have to all be balanced together. I try lately to think of my body as a tree, my legs as roots, my horse as the ground. My roots grow long and deep, settling my trunk into the ground but allowing me to flex.
If it's a question of flexibility ... that will come in time. After lesson, my trainer usually has me stretch a bit in the saddle. (personally, I also do other things where flexibility is required, so I stretch outside of riding too.) I am guessing at 14 you can't exactly join a gym. :) Does anyone you know have one of those big pilates balls? I found it helped me a lot to sit astride one as if it was a horse, and toss around a ball or do upper body exercises.
My trainer had me play a game where she put leaves between my knees and the saddle, and the goal was to (sans stirrups, as I recall) get through the lesson without dropping the leaves, but keeping the rest of the leg in proper position.
Working without stirrups also helped my leg position a great deal. Sometimes I find I get a bit stiff with my foot in the stirrup and I take it out and flex the ankle and knee on longer rides.