I have developed a bad habit with my lower leg, I keep point my toes out, and using the back of my calf. I can 2 point like this and drop stirrups posting. In my lessons I am always told to put my toes forward as I am not putting on my inner thigh. But when my leg gets put in the proper postition, I still cant fully feel the muscle in my thigh. Then my leg will move back to the toes out. Hopefully that make sense. It is getting frusterating for me, since I cant feel it when it is correct. I know it is something to do with my hip postition. I rock back to much when they need to be forward.

Does anyone have an exercises or advice that could help?


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Another thing it could be is your saddle, maybe the knee roll is to big or not right for your leg etc that is just a thought, because you said when it is in the right position you put it back and probably subconsciously putting it back because it is not comfortable to keep it there.
There is also this stuff(I cannot recall the name of the product) but you put it on your inner leg and it sticks your leg to the leather on the saddle 'gluing' it there

By the sounds of it, you just need to exercise!
Squats are great for your Thighs (quadriceps) you can add a weight in your arms or a body bar over your shoulder and just squat but make sure it is done properly.
You can stretch before riding to loosen up your muscles and maybe it will be more comfortable to place your body in the correct position.
Hope this helps and if you have anymore questions just ask :D
it sounds like you are searching for a tension in your leg, or the feeling or contraction to feel like you are using your legs. i completely agree that some off-saddle exercises and stretches for yourself will not only help you discover where your muscles are hiding, but will let you realise that you do not need to feel a certain tension in your legs (or any other part of your body for that matter) to know that they are working.
one great form of exercise i take advice from is pilates; however, the overall position you use in pilates (i.e. the dancer stance) cannot be really applied to riding, because although we need to have a neutral, well-stacked vertebrae, we need to have a certain amount of give in our abs and butt (to get that, eh em, 'desired' flabby rider's bum :p)
everything you are saying makes perfect sense, and may i suggest rising (not just in trot) and practice leading with your belly button - i love leading with my navel, because it represents my core (obviously) and ensures that i stablise myself from there, and not by holding my reins or knees too tightly. even if you try it from the ground first, have a slight bend in your knee like you would when riding, and rise from your tummy, but rock your pelvis forward a little. when we have our legs in the correct position underneth us (ensuring the weight falls from our hip to out heel, and not out into oblivion, a main cause of rider instabilty, we have to move forward slightly with our pelvis when we rise, to stop us falling back disgracefully, but allowing us to move with the horse, gracefully :) i am not sure if it will help your legs, but if you are worried about your hip position, then this could help you.
I would say get someone to build you some grids, and do those without stirrups. You will soon finds where your instability lies.
But isnt that pinching with your leg?
And my horse isnt too small for me so that isnt the problem.
I have to agree with you Samantha, that is pinching with your knee.

I'm thinking toes pointing out does signify some tension in your leg. I suspect it starts at the hip and your probably right, excerises that encourage an open hip may help.

Ideally your leg should "drape" around your horse's barrel. An open hip and relaxed thigh and knee allow your lower leg to round naturally and rest on your horse's barrel. They should just lay there, in quiet contact. When you cue that's "active" contact.

An open hip is essential. Off the top I'd recommend stretching your your inner thigh muscles.

One simple but effective stretch is to sit of the floor and bend your knees to place your heels together. Heels touching use your elbows to "gently" press your knees towards the floor. It will stretch the muscles that need stretching. Only press until you feel slight resistance and hold for 10 to 20 seconds in the beginning Repeat 3 times per sitting.

Don't push beyond slight resistance or you'll pull muscles and hurt yourself! Go slow and easy ( aim for being able to hold the stretch for the optimal 30 seconds!) and over MONTH's (be patient!) you'll find your knee's get closer to the floor. No one expects them to touch the floor! Only trained gymnasts cam pull THAT off.

It's just a simple stretch that helps lengthen the muscles and such in your inner thigh.

Above all, don't pinch with your knees and thighs while riding. Once your muscles are stretched and opened enough the "drape" will come and your toes will point much more easily forward.

Good luck!
Is it possible that you have a locked up sacroiliac joint? If you do, you will have more limited movement in your lower back and through your hips, which has a huge effect on how well you can get your leg on the horse. This was a problem of mine for years. Freeing up the sacroiliac joint totally changed the way I ride--and also improved the forwardness of my horse. Not surprisingly, really, since my leg position was actually holding her back.
Try this , when you mount, put your hand behind your thigh and slide it underneath . Then pull your thigh muscle backwards . You will find you leg gets closer and your toes will point forward. Just getting the muscle out of the way a bit does help. Then think of doing pelvic floor exercises with your hips , sitting up tall but relaxed at the same time. Pushing your knees down will help keep your feet firm in the irons. Have a play with that and see how you go, cheers Geoffrey
To me...this sounds like a problem with the suppleness/control of the ankle.

You are rotating the ankle which points the toes out...this causes the lower leg to rotate as well engaging the calf/thigh/hip/knee incorrectly.

Generally people who turn the toes out and grip with the under thigh have rigid/held tendons in the ankle causing stiffness and a braced heel....all this will affect the thigh risking closing the hip angle and affecting the suppleness into the waist/back/core.

Most people believe this is a calf strength/control problem....but I tend to disagree in this.

In my opinion...it starts at the ankle..travels into the hamstring... that is affect by the roatation in the lateral ligaments along the ankle that dictates the alignment/engagement/angle of this joint and the affect on the thigh.... which inturns activates the knee ligaments incorrectly rotating the knee in/out...and the hip/waist/core.....which is why the seat alignment is often incorrect...and it is not the seat bone placement or even a collapsed/overstretched core itself....but....sort of like an elevator effect....the problem starts at the ankle...travels up the hamstring into the glute/hips tensing this area and the hip which leads to tension in the waist/back/shoulder/CORE of the rider and coming back down the thigh causing it to roll in/out as the rotated ankle influences the leg through the knee.

It is not the calf that is an actual conductor of rider kinetic energy....but.....the hamstring that is controlled 99% by the ankle ...which runs down the entire leg...that is what allows the weight/weight aids to drop down into the heels...not the seat...not the shoulder...not the calf....not the thigh....it is the suppleness of the hamstring being controlled by the ankle flexibility which has the kinetic energy in the ankle drop the heel....that by stretching the hamstring...and not contracting it (which lifts the heel and affects the calf placement/engagement).....the heel is able to drop softly the ankle is more secure/strong as it is not supporting an improper foot alignment/contracted calf/tense thigh/tilted pelvic area...which riders also do because of the ankle affecting the thigh.

To me....your calf is an anchour for jumping/other....an asking aid and a guide...but it will not be the muscle used to control the ankle...or the hamstring.

Riding without stirrups...helps balance the seat..and strengthen the calf......but then riders pick of the stirrups....and find that they have not the same agility as without.

Welllllll...when riding bareback....most people over relax the lateral ankle ligaments and allow the toe to naturally point down....which then trains the calf muscles to overextend while overflexing the lateral ankle ligament/tendons encouraging a "toe down" position in the entire leg including the thigh/calf/knee but even more important it contracts the hamstring when it should be stretching down.

One must learn to supple the ankle when the foot has met the stirrup "barrier" so that it flexes as needed..and the rotations in the joint can be dictated by the riders' will and not by incorrect muscle memory in the position.


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