26 August 2008 16:02
I’m riding again after nine weeks off following a fall, and since coming back, I’ve found my stirrups feel too short. Riding longer feels more comfortable but I find it harder to keep my stirrups. What can I do to improve this?
By Your Horse
International Dressage Rider and Trainer Claire Lilley advises:
I expect you’re still a bit anxious after your fall, and the tension is making you draw your legs up. To beat tension in the legs, halt and take your feet out of the stirrups, let your legs hang down and circle your feet in both directions.
● Check your hips are relaxed – they should feel loose and your lower back should follow the movement of your horse’s back. As his hindlegs step under, each seatbone in turn should feel ‘walked forward’.
● Once you feel you’re co-ordinated with the movement of his back, lift your toes, but keep your hips loose and thigh stretched down. Re-take your stirrups – if you have to reach for them, or draw your legs up, alter the length accordingly. Your legs should feel the same length with stirrups as without. Giving leg aids with your calves, not heels, will keep your hips loose.