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Friday, 22 March 2019

How to Keep Your Leg In The Right Position

Keeping your lower leg in the right place and still when riding is hard to get right.  Whether your feet move about in the stirrup, your lower leg is too far forward or your toes point out there are riding exercises you can do.  

Here are 3 horse riding lower leg exercises for keeping your leg still and stable.

'Hug Your Horse' Exercise

To get your legs into the right position before you even start to ride, you should do this exercise.  Simply lean down to hug your horse's neck and let your legs go backwards.  Now sit back up without moving your legs.  You will feel like your legs are way too far back but only move them forward until you are in a 'standing' position with your legs directly underneath you.

To help turn your leg so that your toes are pointing straight forward first, push yourself off of the saddle and do a half split position then back down into the saddle.  You can also push your heels away from the horse.  

A light chestnut hunter horse being ridden at a show

Riding Without A Saddle

The number one reason that your lower leg is moving about is that you're not sitting correctly.  You need to ride without a saddle for a few weeks to get a better position.  The inside of your thighs and calves should be against the horse, not the back of your legs.   Try to have your legs wrapped around the horse so that your knee is the furthest out point and your lower leg follows the horse's shape back in and under.  

You shouldn't grip with your legs but you will feel some of your weight on your inner thighs.  You then need to tilt your pelvis back until you feel your seat bones.  This will keep you secure in the saddle so that your lower legs won't move around so much.  Imagine that you still have stirrups while you are riding bareback BUT make sure you are not holding any tension.  

A dark bay showing horse being ridden at a horse competition

'kneel' on the horse

When riding your horse, you should imagine you are kneeling in the saddle.  Your knee should point down towards the ground which will naturally put your lower leg into the correct place.  Try to feel your knee moving forward and down with your horse's movement.  This will also give you the feeling of weight on your thighs.  You find that using this exercise gives you a really secure lower leg.

As you look down at your leg, you should not be able to see your toes as your knee should be blocking the view.  If you can see your toes, your legs are too far forward.  If you can see more than the back of your heel then your legs are too far back.  You will also be able to see your toes if they are pointing out.  

A rider's sitting on a white horse on a dressage saddle while wearing competition clothing


I am not a horse trainer or any other equestrian professional.  I only give advice on horsey topics that I have experience as a horse owner in.  Please don't follow my advice without contacting a relevant equestrian professional.  


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