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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Do you have a spare minute to tell me what you see here? This is me this morning - not a good riding day, but curious if you spot any more mistakes than my instructor 馃槼 I鈥檓 struggling with my feet who keep on moving forward and I鈥檝e just noticed by hands that look too high. I鈥檒l post a video with canter next week. Thanks!

 

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I鈥檓 struggling with my feet who keep on moving forward
Took a screen capture. I'll delete it in a week or so or sooner if you wish:

If your weight is almost entirely behind your stirrups, any weight you put into your stirrups will push them forward. My thought would be to drop the stirrups a notch, which will bring your hips forward in the saddle, and then lean forward enough that you are balanced above your stirrups. Otherwise you must post from your knee and I believe that sets one up for falling forward off the horse is if the horse spooks.

If you bring your hands further back on the reins (longer rein), then your arms won't need to be straight.

I don't ride English and most of my trotting is done in two point, so take my advice with a big, steaming cup of FWIW!

Edit to add: It helps me to think of "fluid balance" rather than "position" when I ride. I want to concentrate on how my balance feels with my horse's balance versus any particular rule on position. I want to feel a little loose, with my "hinges" - my hips, knees and ankles - flexing to absorb and follow the motion.

"At first when learning how to ride you must think about your position all the time, and in this period of your learning your picture matters a great deal. But later, when the contour of your position is correct when your spring, grip, balance, etc. are working effectively then there are only two criteria of your position; a) are you in fluid balance and rhythm with your horse or not? b) does your seat enable you to control your horse efficiently?" - VS Littauer, Common Sense Horsemanship
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Took a screen capture. I'll delete it in a week or so or sooner if you wish:

If your weight is almost entirely behind your stirrups, any weight you put into your stirrups will push them forward. My thought would be to drop the stirrups a notch, which will bring your hips forward in the saddle, and then lean forward enough that you are balanced above your stirrups. Otherwise you must post from your knee and I believe that sets one up for falling forward off the horse is if the horse spooks.

If you bring your hands further back on the reins (longer rein), then your arms won't need to be straight.

I don't ride English and most of my trotting is done in two point, so take my advice with a big, steaming cup of FWIW!

Edit to add: It helps me to think of "fluid balance" rather than "position" when I ride. I want to concentrate on how my balance feels with my horse's balance versus any particular rule on position. I want to feel a little loose, with my "hinges" - my hips, knees and ankles - flexing to absorb and follow the motion.

"At first when learning how to ride you must think about your position all the time, and in this period of your learning your picture matters a great deal. But later, when the contour of your position is correct when your spring, grip, balance, etc. are working effectively then there are only two criteria of your position; a) are you in fluid balance and rhythm with your horse or not? b) does your seat enable you to control your horse efficiently?" - VS Littauer, Common Sense Horsemanship
Thank you! It鈥檚 strange, I felt good on the horse and 鈥渇luid鈥 but looking at your screenshot it looks all wrong 馃槕
 

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I noticed hand position. Thumbs need to be up, not turned inward towards each other. It will feel awkward at first when you correct it. Ignore that feeling, and it will go away. Think鈥 Thumbs up and wrists straight.
 

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I'd suggest more bend in your elbows and try to keep them into your side, rather than raising and straightening them with each movement; they look like they're pointing sidways at times. Hands down and thumbs on top as well.

Your lower leg should be back underneath you, stirrups on the ball of your feet, you should be able to draw a line from your ear to shoulder, hip and back of the heel (or relatively close).

Inside of your thighs and knees relaxed and resting against the saddle, knees and toes pointing forwards ( or as close as you can). As soon as your legs and feet come forward and turn out, the wrong muscles come in contact with the saddle and horse and it makes it harder to rise and to give effective aids.Your weight should be down through your heels but not forced, that leads to tension. Rise from your knees and not the stirrups to prevent your lower leg moving. It's a rotation around the knee joint, moving your hips forward and back.

You're doing really well. With some minor changes everything will fall into place and a lot of the tension in your body will go making it less work for you.
 

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I can see how you are trying to get your leg back, and kudos for you noticing that, and for not raising your heel into the horse or going all wonky in an effort to line up. Shortening your stirrup one notch can help. It may be that the balance of the saddle isn't right for you. perhaps too big or too small, that can make a huge difference
But, yes, shorten one notch, bringg the stirrup onto the ball of your foot.

your elbows DO need a bit more bend and they must be brought back against your rib cage, with thumbs up. You are doing a good job of not bumping your super cute horse in the mouth. but, bent arms, elbows in , thumbs up

I see a good rider in the making
 

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Lots to like here!!

A few notes:

You're currently riding with piano hands. Your fists should be vertical, not horizontal, with thumbs on top. It will help you have a softer, more following contact, and help to keep your elbows in.

Your hands bounce slightly when you're rising. It's not bad at all, but if you think slightly "down" with your hands every time you rise, your hands will stay level regardless of what your body is doing.

Your lower leg is really still during your posting, which is great!! Looks really good. I think you might be shortening your leg a little, higher up, which is why your stirrup is slipping to home, and your heels aren't a bit deeper. Think pushing your knees back and down, and of lifting your toes slightly to get your heel just a bit lower. This will also help keep your leg as far back underneath you as you can reasonably place it. And it will keep your stirrups stable on your feet.

That trot circle around the cavaletti was too small for the horse to maintain his gait. While it's great to be able to do tight corners, within reason, not many horses could have turned that sharply and stayed in trot.

Over all, good progress so far!! The main thing is the angle of the hands, really. Nothing else stood out a whole lot. The rest will come with practice and riding fitness. Well done!!
 

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I didn't read the responses. I'll go back and read once I type my thoughts. I think your biggest issue is in your stirrup. You have your foot all the way in it so that you are resting your arch on it. You should have the ball of your foot on the stirrup. Move the stirrups forward and then you will be able to put weight in your heel. Right now you can not because of the stirrup and that is shifting everything off. Fix that first and then come back for more discussion and a new video. That is my thought....
 
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@farmpony84 , I always ride with my foot in close to the heel. It is what the Cavalry taught and I find it works very well. I spend a lot of time in two point with weight in my stirrups.


Yes, my left foot points out more than my right one. It is like that when I jog and when I shower so I guess I have something funky in my leg. Don't wear spurs so Bandit doesn't care.

Weight in the heel and stirrup - you cannot have one without the other - comes from not gripping with the knee. It needs to flow uninterrupted PAST THE KNEE. Do that, and it then must flow into the stirrup and heel. This creates security in your lower leg instead of your knee and seat and is a big help when a horse spooks.

The deeper foot position makes it easier to keep your foot in the stirrup when things get bouncy. Further back is probably better for refinement and on a predictable horse. I'll probably never own the latter and ride trails where refinement isn't needed - but security is. If someone wants to do well in shows, then ball of foot may be important. But the home position doesn't prevent heels down, nor does it stop one from putting weight in the heel.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thank you! My goodness, y鈥檃ll. You are so knowledgeable and kind! and when oh when will I become an equestrian like you?! These tips are great - and they are in line with what my instructor is spotting. I can鈥檛 seem to correct my stirrup position consistently. I need to do some exercise to loosen my hips and strengthen my core. I鈥檓 riding mostly English - don鈥檛 know what to say about the saddle, it is one I feel a little bouncy on, admittedly. Next week marks my 鈥1 year of riding more or less weekly鈥 anniversary! There鈥檚 a lot of seat to work on, not to mention my canter aids鈥. And thanks for those who complimented this dude, Robin. He鈥檚 a nice horse - once he wakes up.
 

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Your horse is moving well and in a nice trot, I also think your legs need to be back under you and this will help you rise in the post. I think you are sitting a little back and if you balance a little more forward and don't even try to rise to the post but rather wait and let the horse push you up with the forward impulsion from the hind leg.
I don't aim to rise very much when posting but that can depend a lot on the horse's way of going, a strong energetic trot will push you up more.
the video was a bit fuzzy for me to see if you are pulling on the reins each stride but try to go with the motion of the horse's head, It's hard for me to describe but I would have my upper body slightly more forward and kind of rise up and ahead instead of just trying to rise up in the saddle.
Maybe a lunge lesson or just try to hold a bit of mane or neck strap to help steady yourself would help to get the rhythm.
Nice horse, I like his nice steady trot.
 

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@Luna鈥檚 rider I've learned from experience that, as long as you are not in a rush, fixing one thing at a time is a lot more productive then trying to get everything right at once. I was taught that your shoulder, hip, and heel should line up so I was always pulling my shoulder back shifting my legs, putting my heels down, trying not to spill my cocoa (hand position) but what would happen is I would get really stiff and everything would fall apart. So if you work on one thing, your stirrup, when you get that, you will find that other problems will just disappear because things will line up. One exercise I used to do was to stand with the ball of my foot on the stairs and then push my heel down. I would do it a few times a day for several minutes at a time. It was very helpful.

@bsms for equitation purposes (in the show ring) there is a right placing for the leg and stirrup. As for the way you ride with you feet jammed in, I am assuming it gives you a feeling of stability but it kind of makes me nervous. I've seen people come off and get dragged so I am always careful not to put my feet to deep in.
 

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My theory, @farmpony84: The one time I came off was when Mia exploded during a dismount. She reared, spun 180 and leaped away. I already had one foot over her rump dismounting and flew off like she had flicked a booger! At the start, my TOE was in the stirrup - part of my dismounting. Based on the bruising of my foot, during the explosion my foot went in as far as it could go and twisted before it was forcibly yanked out.

I rely on my boot and the size/shape of my stirrups to prevent my foot from going through. My boots slide off easy enough that they should come off my foot even if the boot does get jammed in. And I think I am far less likely to fall off one side if my feet & legs start firmly and securely on both sides. Bandit will need to buck and buck hard to dump me - and he doesn't actually buck very hard ever.

I totally agree about showing, and I agree it is a judgment call. Sports like polo and steeplechase often use the home position. So did the cavalry for riding like this:

They wrote: "After the stirrup has been adjusted so that the tread strikes the ankle bone, the foot is placed well home, so that the tread rests under the instep, and not against the ball of the foot. The almost universal habit of putting the ball of the foot on the tread is very faulty, and should only be done in schooling of a technical order, such as high school work and early training of a colt, where light touches of the spur are frequently needed. For cross-country work, polo, jumping, and other real riding, the foot belongs well home in the stirrup where it will not jar out at the least mishap, and endanger or momentarily incapacitate the rider. Moreover, unless the foot is pushed home, it is much more difficult to keep the proper position of the heel, ankle, and leg from the knee down, which is of fundamental importance in riding correctly."

Old cowboys did it and many current cowboys do as well:

I will not tell anyone they MUST use it. I totally agree many folks ride GREAT with the ball of foot! But I know from experience that it doesn't create stiffness, lack of spring, prevent lowering the heels, etc. It is one of many things that I think people should consider and then decide what works best for them and their goals. I also admit it is not a refined position. I only think it can be Okay.

 
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