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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As my canter seat has been improving recently (I no longer flop around just holding on but I can now ride the canter with much more control) I've struck a sort of weird problem. I keep losing my stirrups :?

I don't do it in the walk, or the rising trot, or really even the sitting trot, but in the canter I'm often losing one stirrup or the other - not both. This has only been happening in the last month or so, ever since my canter seat suddenly improved very quickly. My instructor said to put more weight into my heels but I'm finding that very difficult.

What is strange is that I canter just as easily without the stirrups than with them - I think I almost find it easier to stretch down and grip with my lower leg when I don't have them and if I lose one and cannot get it back quickly I prefer to drop the other one and go around like that :-|.

Any ideas what is causing this, and what else I can do to stop it? Thanks in advance! :D
 

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losing the stirrups is usually a result of "gripping up" with the lower leg.
would you like to post a video of yourself cantering?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I don't have one that would be useful to you, as none are recent that I have, and I'm not having another lesson (am going trail riding on a camp, but there won't be any videos) until mid-January, I'm afraid :(.

What is 'gripping up?' Is it where you hold on too hard with your lower leg? (I do hold on a bit, I may very well be doing this)
 

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What Tiny said. When you are cantering, you are probably squeezing with your knees and kind of pulling your legs up a little and maybe even raising your toes rather than putting your weight in your heels.

If you can open your pelvis and then push down at the heel you'll find it easier to hold on w/ your thighs rather than your knees. When you are walking and trotting you may find that you are actually placing your weight in the ball of your foot rather than in your heels as well.
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thankyou, Farmpony! (and Tiny :D)

I find that I can put weight into my heels but that as soon as I start to do something, or think about something else, they slip up again. I know when it's right, but I don't notice when it's wrong (does that make sense?)
 

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Makes perfect sense. It's all a part of learning. Over time correct muscle memory will take over. Whenever I was trying to fix some point of my riding I would pinpoint exactly what I wanted my body to do and just focused on only that for the entire ride- nothing else. After the initial ride I found it was much easier to check myself in my position.

I know it's sort of difficult to do that when you're being instructed in a lesson to do many other things as well. Just keep it up, you will find that one visual that appeals to you and it will make the whole process much easier. For example, my mental reminder is to lengthen the space between my heel and my seat bone. With constant reminders, it's like an internal alarm when I ride now.

Good luck!
 
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I used to have the same problem as well, either I was losing a stirrup or my toes were going too into the stirrup.
When my toes had the most weight, I found myself sitting more back that I should be at the lope. With caused me to put more rpessure on my toes and raise my heels up.

When I lost my stirrups I found two things - one, I was leaning too forward sometimes or two, my stirrups were just too short.

Another thing I noticed when I lost my stirrup sometimes is that my legs where moving around everywhere. However when I held on with my calves more I found that it stopped. My legs and feet weren't moving around as much and I didn't lose my stirrups for a while.

If you can, a video would be great as well.
 
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I had the same issues until I thought about it as 'stretching my leg down' and that REALLY helped me keep my leg in the right position, with the weight down the inside. Toe up, instead of heel down. When you think of heels down, you tend to jam them down by default which is not right.
 

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yes, the inside of your leg gets "longer" so to speak.
I often think of it as pointing my heels toward the ground where my horse's hind feet . you don't want to push the stirrup away from you, but rather think of your leg lengthening down, past the stirrup, toward the ground, right where you horse will be stepping, so you kind of "meet his hind legs with yours". that is just a visual image that helps me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for all the help!

I've always believed that you weren't supposed to 'stand' in your stirrups, and should be sitting on the horse not standing on the saddle - which probably accounts for not having enough weight in them. It's hard for me to find the line between standing and just weight sometimes. When rising at the trot I've been trying to rise using the stirrups as aids not as stepladders but that may not be working :lol:. At the canter I used to stand up a bit too much in them (not riding half-seat).

Leaning forward I am trying to address already, I lean forward too much, especially giving the aid to canter.
 

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Are you approaching it from a dressage style perspective, or a jump seat perspective?
 
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