Horse Rider’s Mechanic – Your Stirrup Length

Horse Rider’s Mechanic – Your Stirrup Length

Horse-Riders Mechanic your stirrup
length this short video complements the horse-riders mechanic books and video
series but of course it’s also relevant to people who do not have the books or
videos. Horse Rider’s Mechanic is about how you can rapidly improve your
position and your balance, the fundamental building blocks of being a
good rider. As a consequence your security and your
confidence increase, your riding improves and your horse goes better. Make sure you check out the horse riders mechanic website for lots of free
information not just about riding but also about horse management. This video is suitable for everyone who rides and who teaches riding. It covers a basic
subject but as with all the information at horse riders mechanic it makes sure
you fully understand the fundamental building blocks that help you or your
clients to ride better therefore it’s worth spending a few
minutes watching this video as you may miss a light bulb moment if you don’t.
The correct stirrup length is very important, when your stirrups are the
correct length you can fully utilize the dip and spring function of the joints
in your legs, this will be particularly felt in trot but also in canter you can
see that as the seat leaves the saddle the heels dropped slightly, this is what
should happen as the weight of the rider transfers from their seat to their feet,
this cannot happen if the stirrups are too long. Riders tend to ride with their
stirrups too long rather than too short, this may be because they want their legs
to look as long as possible, in the second diagram the rider’s heels are
rising as the seat is rising in rising trot, this is because the stirrups are
not short enough to simultaneously allow the heels to drop slightly as the seat
leaves the saddle. When the stirrups are too long a rider will also lose their
balance and tend to rely on the reins for stability.
If the stirrups are too short several things tend to happen, the rider will tend
to sit further back in the saddle. This will put too much weight on the weaker
part of the horse’s back. The back gets weaker the further it goes from the
withers. The rider will tend to rise too high in rising trot
this means that their center of gravity will be too high when they are at the
top of the rise making them less secure. The rider will tend to tire more quickly
this means that they become more difficult for their horse to carry. Your
thighs should be at about 45 degrees too upright for riding on the flat, ie not
jumping, possibly slightly less, 40 degrees for a very experienced rider or
in other words an experienced rider can ride slightly longer than an
inexperienced rider so the correct stirrup length helps you to ride as well as
possible by allowing you to have just the right amount of bend in your joints. So how can you tell if your stirrups are the correct length for you, as already
mentioned, when they are too long your heels will not be able to dip slightly
as you rise you will also not be able to clear the pommel of the saddle therefore
you will either hit it each time you rise or you will not be able to swing
your hips forward far enough in rising trot, in sitting trot and canter the
stirrups will either clatter around on your feet or you will lose them altogether. Your lower legs in rising trot, sitting trot
AND canter will be disengaged at this point because as soon as the heel comes
higher than the toe the lower leg disengages. At this point the rider is
standing on tiptoe or rather the balls of their feet, and is in a very
precarious position. Stirrups that are too short are much less common because a
rider tires more quickly when they are too sure, the muscles in the legs have to
work a bit harder and the joints ache quite quickly due to being too
constricted so riders tend to self-regulate stirrups that are too short.
When your stirrups are just right you will feel much more comfortable and
secure, you should be able to rise the trock for quite a period of time without
feeling tired, once you are riding fit, and without pain occurring, especially in
the outside of the ankle joint. As a general rule of thumb the bottom of the
stirrup irons should be level with your ankle bones when you take your feet out
of the stirrups, another even more general rule of thumb is that you can use
even before you mount is to put your knuckles to the stirrup bar,
the metal bar that the stirrup leather threads onto, and with your other hand
lift the stirrup bar itself and see if the base of it reaches to your armpit. Both of these methods give you a ballpark figure. To get a more accurate
result try standing in your stirrups while your horse is either stationary or
walking, let your heels drop slightly and your seat should be able to clear the
pommel (the front of the saddle) you will need to re-evaluate when you start to
trot. If you suspect that your stirrups are too long, and they often are,
experiment with taking them up just one hole at a time and see what a difference
it makes to the engagement of your lower leg in particular. You have been watching
Your Stirrup Length by The Horse Rider’s Mechanic, make sure you check out the
website – lots of free information for example you can
start reading the horse riders mechanic workbooks for free on the website!

3 thoughts on “Horse Rider’s Mechanic – Your Stirrup Length

  1. Thank you for the video! 🙂 How do I manage to keep my feet "straight" and NOT dip the heal much when I stand in the stirrups?!? It requires A LOT of strength in the ancle, right?!

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