Struggling to keep my heels down when cantering!

Petrad

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Jun 5, 2017
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I'm finding it virtually impossible to keep my heels down when I'm cantering. To stay on I'm gripping the horse with my legs and my heels go up and then the stirrups go to the middle of my foot. If I don't do this then I'm in danger of falling off!
Would appreciate any tips!
 

Jessey

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Dec 20, 2004
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Its the gripping that pulls your heels up, as your balance improves and you are able to deepen through your seat you will find you don't need to grip, then you can get longer through your leg :) yoga balls can be great balance practice between lessons :)
 
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Petrad

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Jun 5, 2017
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Its the gripping that pulls your heels up, as your balance improves and you are able to deepen through your seat you will find you don't need to grip, then you can get longer through your leg :) yoga balls can be great balance practice between lessons :)

Thanks for the advice - I'll try it :)
 
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Rosiecob

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May 7, 2017
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I'm having this issue on new pony! I've always been fine on bigger horses 16.2+ that I've ridddn but now I'm on a 14h I'm finding my balance is off (I'm 5ft11) and I'm gripping with my calves too much which results in no stirrups. My right leg also shifts back for some reason. I'm thinking canter with no stirrups might help improve the situation.
 

Petrad

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Jun 5, 2017
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I'm having this issue on new pony! I've always been fine on bigger horses 16.2+ that I've ridddn but now I'm on a 14h I'm finding my balance is off (I'm 5ft11) and I'm gripping with my calves too much which results in no stirrups. My right leg also shifts back for some reason. I'm thinking canter with no stirrups might help improve the situation.
Yes you're right - I was riding a 16h horse in my lessons and the canter's a lot smoother. Not brave enough to try canter with no stirrups on a pony! Let me know how you get on. I just cannot seem to master it - v frustrating
 

Jane&Ziggy

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Apr 30, 2010
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After years this still happens to me if I tense up in canter. My thighs sort of squeeze me upwards and I end up losing a stirrup or pointing my toes. Ridiculous! I need to open my hips more.
 
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Petrad

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Jun 5, 2017
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After years this still happens to me if I tense up in canter. My thighs sort of squeeze me upwards and I end up losing a stirrup or pointing my toes. Ridiculous! I need to open my hips more.
How do I open my hips and keep knees forward?
 

Skib

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Dec 21, 2003
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Get safety sturrups that is my advice and it wont matter. Many people especially learners bounce in canter unless they relax and relaxing may mean your heels are not down. pressing them down only lifts you from the saddle.
If you relax in canter your horse may canter smoother and more easily too. I have cantered many many miles over the years and horses like cantering for me. Forget the heels.
 
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Jane&Ziggy

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How do I open my hips and keep knees forward?
Remember the Force, young padawan.

No seriously, I had to work on this today because Ziggy (who is normally very hollow to ride) was really lifting his back, and it was like sitting on a table! I practise sitting on a chair with my knees in riding position, and then just trying to make space between my thighs without moving my knees. I don't know how it's possible, but it is possible. My RI says it uses your adductors and a very deep muscle called the Soas (I think).

I have a grab strap on my saddle, and when I really want to sit down to the canter (if pony is getting bouncy, for example), I shamelessly hang on to the grab strap and pull myself downwards with it!
 

Missidi

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Aug 15, 2016
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I'm having this issue on new pony! I've always been fine on bigger horses 16.2+ that I've ridddn but now I'm on a 14h I'm finding my balance is off (I'm 5ft11) and I'm gripping with my calves too much which results in no stirrups. My right leg also shifts back for some reason. I'm thinking canter with no stirrups might help improve the situation.
Just a word of warning, canter without stirrups is great for improving balance, but if you do too much you may find that you become so balanced without your stirrups that you make issues with losing stirrups worse. I got to a point where I done so much no stirrup work that I couldn't keep my stirrups at one point.:oops::D Of course no stirrup work will help you in that when you lose your stirrups it won't matter.:p
 

3QuarterClyde

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Mar 13, 2017
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Doing a bit of no stirrup trot first will help lengthen your leg..stirrups feel like they are super short after this OR try thinking about sticking your feet forward a bit like a cowboy. I have found when I'm tense and hanging on my calves and feet end up much further behind the girth and heels tip up slightly..hence easier to lose. If I think about keeping them forward and curling my toes over the stirrup rather than pushing heel down I don't have issues with my foot slipping. It's a matter of practice at the canter too...the more you do the better you will get and more relaxed in the saddle.
 
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hormonalmare

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Sep 25, 2005
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I used to really struggle with this until a brilliant instructor told me to 'point your toes towards your nose' (or at least try). It really made a huge difference to my position, just by making a minor adjustment to my focus! :)
 

HaloHoney

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Apr 30, 2017
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Lesson in which they had my stirrups off me.

My goodness I had a MUCH deeper seat by the end of it.

To the point where I was cantering round with no stirrups at all!
 
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Prjsmk

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Dec 1, 2017
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I'm having this issue on new pony! I've always been fine on bigger horses 16.2+ that I've ridddn but now I'm on a 14h I'm finding my balance is off (I'm 5ft11) and I'm gripping with my calves too much which results in no stirrups. My right leg also shifts back for some reason. I'm thinking canter with no stirrups might help improve the situation.
Happens to me on my cob too, but not on my mums larger gangly cob, i thought it was just me!
 
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