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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

I don't have a problem keeping my heels down while riding, but it's keeping my toes pointed in that kills my position (mostly when jumping). Sometimes, my toes are pointed in so much that when I hop off, my ankles hurt. I really need to fix this problem, any tips and tricks would be appreciated :)
 

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Unless you are pigeon-toed this is difficult for most riders. The goal is to keep your heels off the horse, especially if wearing spurs. Most riders are turned out a little. If your feet are parallel to the horse this closes your knees and prevents inadvertently bumping the horse with your heels/spurs.
 

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Your toes should be forward and not in.

When you get on and several times when riding, put your hand under the centre of your thigh from behind and pull all the flesh to the back. This puts your thigh flat against the saddle and your knees in close contact with toes pointing forward.

You will feel the difference when you do it and to start it will take frequent pulling to keep your thigh flat but soon it becomes second nature.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I'm so sorry guys, I wanted to write that my heels are pushed in and against the horse but that I wanted them to be parallel to the horse's body.
Posted via Mobile Device
 

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I second Foxhunter's good advice. You can also try offset stirrups, which raise the outside of your foot and should help with your predicament, as well as naturally get you closer contact with your horse. Be sure to mount them correctly - the outside of the stirrups should be raised, not the inside.

If that's you in the pic, lengthening your stirrup straps would also be a suggestion I would make, as the knee in the photo is too high up and the leg is overly folded, making it hard to get the backs of your feet under your hips. If you lengthen your leg position, it will also bring you further forward in the saddle. Your legs, as with the whole body, should be relaxed, not cramped up. Riding without stirrups is an excellent exercise for developing a deeper seat.

Also check that the saddle correctly fits you and your horse - get a professional fitter to check that out. It is a real struggle to ride in a saddle that doesn't fit you, and a real pain for the horse if it doesn't fit it like a glove...
 

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In order to get back to toes forward, you have to practice doing the opposite (toes in, rather than toes out). By doing two point from the HIP to the heel, the muscles WILL change. And yes, there IS pain involved. You can also do side to side lunges (with toes in) on the ground as well (with knees bended).
 

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Changing positioned from 'duck footed' to straight, does create (temporary) pain. It goes away as the muscles are used differently.

Also, riding with offsets (for hunter/jumper): the shorter part is on the outside (little toe side) and the longer is on the inside (bit toe side)...hunters ride on the inside of the iron, and dressage riders are placed on the outside (never offsets).
 

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I think the older people are when they start riding the more chance there is that it will be a little painful to start with and if you have arthritis problems in your knees that seems to increase the difficulty factor
 
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