17 January 2008 17:11
When I’m riding, I find it difficult to keep my heels down as I have broken both my ankles in the past. When I watch competitors on TV, I’ve noticed that a lot of the big name stars don’t have their heels down. What’s correct – heels down or not?
By Your Horse
Instructor Alison Ritchie says…
It’s fairly common practice to teach “push your heels down” but unfortunately this can be more detrimental than beneficial. What’s important is that your stirrup leather is vertical. If you push too much weight into the heel, this pushes the legs too far forward, causing the body to fall back.With the stirrup leather vertical, the joints in your leg stay relaxed and supple, acting as shock absorbers. Your leg should stay positioned underneath you and a little weight will drop naturally through the heel.
I work with riders to get more weight through the heel when they’re jumping or working on undulating ground (for example, cross-country) to help keep the lower leg more secure.