The 3 Keys to Creating a Good Support

The 3 Keys to Creating a Good Support

The 3 Keys to Creating a Good Support

A lot of riders have a similar problem. While I am in the arena teaching and when coaching riders online, I can see it.  One of the single biggest problems I notice beginner to novice riders having is not focusing enough on correcting their leg position.

We all know that our legs are a vitally important part of our aids.  However, we often don’t think about how correcting our leg in the saddle can then influence the rest of our body while riding.

Why You Need Support

Having a strong support system in effect underneath you means that you no longer rely on your horse for balance. And the occasional support.  It means that you are independent. Not only of your horse but also of yourself.

Your legs and arms can move independently of each other, your seat can be where it is supposed to be in any given situation.

In fact, you can even begin to positively influence your horse’s way of going, creating balance, confidence and togetherness that is otherwise missing when you are not supporting yourself.

I think there are 3 simple ways you can begin offering yourself more support today…

3 Keys to Good Support in the SAddle

Support 1. Your Leg is Underneath You

If we could, at any given time when you are on your horse, magically ‘click’ our fingers and make your horse vanish…  Would you land squarely on your feet?  It seems like a silly and, perhaps even, childish question.  However, it is key when figuring out if you can support yourself or not when riding.

So, ‘CLICK’.  How have you landed? All square?

Not on your face, as it would happen with a fork seat.  And not on your backside, as would happen if you ride with your lower leg close to or on your horse’s shoulder.  Keep your leg under you, not behind you, not in front of you. Ask someone to take photographs of you while you ride and study them. Then begin making those changes.

Keep in mind that changing your lower leg position will feel uncomfortable at first! A lot of change does.  However, it is worth persevering with…

Support 2. The Angle of Your Foot in the Stirrup

Pay close attention to how your foot is positioned in the stirrup. This one simple, and often overlooked, area of your position plays a huge role in your suppleness.

Turn the front-facing side of your stirrup out. Place the stirrup close to the ball of your foot on the inside.  Then angle it to the nail of your little toe on the outside.

This ‘line’ is a good indicator of where you want that stirrup to be underneath your foot. You need the stirrup diagonally across your foot. Not straight across.  This is to allow your ankle joint the flexibility it needs to be the shock absorber and movement absorber you need it to be to have a great base of support.

Support 3. Your weight Dropped into Your Heels

Lastly, make sure that as you ride, your weight is always dropped into your heel. Not your toe. Or the thread of your stirrup. Just straight down into the heel. When you post, when you are in the light seat, even when you are just walking around the arena cooling off, be certain that your weight is dropped deep into your heel.

This does not mean forcing your heels down into an uncomfortable and rigid position. Rather that your heel is more weighted than the other parts of your foot.

If you have been riding for any length of time like a ballerina (on your tippy-toes) this will feel strange at first.  But persevere. Oh please push on through…  Because, trust me, once you master this… Oh, the riding you will do!

Support is a Huge Topic…

Obviously, there is more to support and riding than just making sure your legs are in the correct place. However, this is always a good place to start. And it will help you begin building both your confidence and effectiveness in the saddle.

There are details below for you to join the free Equestrian Fitness Challenge to help you have more control and mindfulness over your aids in the saddle.

Happy riding

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Three Keys to Develop Good Support in the SAddle