The Equicentral System Series

The whole set

Horse Ownership Responsible Sustainable Ethical

Healthy Land, Healthy Pasture, Healthy Horses

Horse Property Planning and Development

Other books by Equiculture

Buying a Horse Property

A Horse is a Horse - of Course

Horse Properties - A management guide

The Horse Riders Mechanic Series

Horse Rider’s Mechanic Workbook 1: Your Position

Horse Rider’s Mechanic Workbook 2: Your Balance

Disclaimer

The authors and publishers of the Equiculture and Horse Rider’s Mechanic websites, social media pages, books and other resources shall have neither liability nor responsibility to any person or entity with respect to any loss, damage or injury caused or alleged to be caused directly or indirectly by the information contained in or on them. While the information is as accurate as the authors and publisher can make it, there may be errors, omissions and inaccuracies.

Payment for our publications is via PayPal and most credit and debit cards are accepted


There is no need to have (or open) a PayPal account. You can also pay by bank transfer (contact us directly)

Homepage

Equiculture

Horse Ownership - Responsible Sustainable Ethical©

Worldwide  shipping

Worldwide  shipping

© Equiculture and Horse Rider’s Mechanic 2000 - 2016

This is a large website - make sure you check out the site map below to make sure you have not missed anything!


Horse Rider’s Mechanic Workbook 1:

Your Position

Read the first chapter of this book for free! Below

Paperback book £17.95 GBP (£20.95 inc p&p)   Add to Cart

Paperback book $21.95 USD ($24.95 inc p&p)   Add to Cart

Paperback book $34.95 AUD ($38.95 inc p&p)   Add to Cart

Paperback book €21.95 EURO (€24.95 inc p&p)   Add to Cart

This book is shipped to you direct from within the UK/Europe, USA/Canada or

Australia/New Zealand (please contact us for other countries)Package deals.


PDF ebook download £14.95 (GBP)   Add to Cart

PDF ebook download $18.95 (USD)   Add to Cart

PDF ebook download $29.95 (AUD)   Add to Cart

PDF ebook download €16.95 (EURO)   Add to Cart

A PDF download is ideal for reading on a computer or tablet. You can also print it out. Start reading your new books now! Very shortly after purchase you will receive an email with instructions for download.

▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬

Would you like to get this book for much less?

This book is part of the Horse Rider’s Mechanic SeriesPackage deals

You can buy the set (paperback and PDF)

and save more than 36%! …have a look at the Package deals page.

▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬

…or you can purchase this book on Amazon as a paperback or as a Kindle ebook.

▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬

← back to main bookshop page     ← go to HRM workbook 2 pageThe Horse Rider's Mechanic Workbook 2: Your Balance              View Cart

▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬


Click here to see the contents of this book:

Read the beginning of this book for free below:

Horse Rider’s Mechanic Workbook 1: Your Position

1: Your feet

Your feet are a very important part of your riding anatomy. You might think that you ride on your ‘seat’, therefore you simply ‘sit’ on a horse, whereas this is not the case. Riding well involves developing the correct weighting between your seat and your feet. That is not to say that you should be pressing downwards through your seat or your feet, not at all, it is simply about properly distributing the downwards force of gravity that is acting on your body.

1.1: Your feet should…




As you can see in the picture below, your feet have numerous parts to them. There are many bones and many soft tissues (tendons and ligaments).


1.2: However your feet may…

If your heels are jammed down you will lose the shock absorbing function of your ankles (because they are already at full stretch). Riding in this way also pushes your feet too far forward (picture left). Your stirrups should stay in the correct position on your feet without you having to think about them. They should not move around or come off your feet while you are riding (picture right).


1.3: What you can do if…

1.3.1: ...feet are unlevel (from side to side)

If your feet tilt then this may mean that you are twisting all of the joints in your legs to some degree.

If you have an assistant they should be able to see that your stirrup treads and the balls of your feet are parallel to the ground. They could take a photo of your feet from the front so that you can see what they see. Alternatively arena mirrors will help you to check.

If you are on a round barrelled horse and you have very short legs (this tends to occur in children rather than adults) it may not be achievable to have the stirrup treads parallel to the ground but the idea is that you should not be forcing your feet to tilt one way or the other. Be very wary about using wedged stirrup treads.

When a rider tilts their foot a gap can be seen between the stirrup tread and their boot on the inside of the foot (picture left). Instead, all of the ball of their foot should make contact with the stirrup tread. It is not usually a good idea to force your feet to tilt one way or the other. These style of wedges rarely seem to be beneficial and many riders report that they have caused pain (picture right).


Riders usually benefit from replacing wedges with flat stirrup treads and being shown how to weight their feet correctly instead (a person with a pre-prescribed medical condition could be an exception).

On the other hand, in the case of the earlier scenario (round barrelled horse, short legs, causing the base of the stirrup irons to tilt incorrectly) (picture a), a wedge or small bandage wrapped around the stirrup treads in order to level the stirrup treads (rather than tip them too far the other way) can help (picture b). Experiment with what feels comfortable.


Solutions


Remember: when you make any changes to your position the new feeling will probably feel quite strange at first. This is because part of your brain is telling your body to go back to doing ‘the wrong thing’ (the old ‘normal’) while another part of your brain is trying to override that instruction to get your body to do ‘the right thing’ (the new ‘normal’). Once your brain ‘learns’ and accepts this new feeling (and ‘files’ it) you will no longer have to concentrate to maintain the new position, weighting etc. and it will start to feel fine.


1.3.2: ...feet are numb

Tilting the feet as described in the previous section often leads to ‘dead’ toes on the ‘outside’ toes of the feet. This tilting can come about because the rider is trying to ‘wrap’ their legs around their horse. This is often because they were told to do this when being taught to ride (picture a).

A rider may also have been instructed to point their toes in while riding. Doing this can also put an unnatural twist on all of joints in their legs (picture b). It is usually physically impossible for a rider to actually wrap their legs around a horse but while trying to do this they end up rolling their ankles to the outside. This problem is exacerbated further if a rider has loose wobbly ankles. The solution to this problem is dealt with in 2.3.1: …ankles are wobbly.



Some riders have equal pressure across the balls of their feet but they press down into the stirrups in an attempt to not lose them. It is impossible to have the correct relationship with the stirrups by pressing down on them. The weight of a rider’s legs resting in the stirrups creates enough downward pressure to keep them on the feet (once the joints of the legs behave properly) without the rider having to press. As well as causing numbness, riding like this pushes the weight upwards and therefore raises the centre of gravity (CoG). See the Horse Rider's Mechanic website article Your centre of gravity.

This problem tends to be more common in riders with stiff ankles because the stiffness prevents the ankles from dipping and springing back as they should. You will read more about this when you get to the relevant section.

This rider (picture left) is pushing down too hard into her stirrups. A clue is in the knee which also looks tense. Her feet are too far forward and she reports that she gets numb feet. Less tension results in the leg being able to come underneath the rider in the proper position (picture right).


Solutions

1.3.3: ...feet are not angled correctly

Your feet should not be forced to face straight forwards. It is a common misconception that your feet should point straight forwards (or even worse, point inwards!). If you try to do this you will put an unnatural twist on the joints in your legs all the way up to your hips (next picture and see picture b in 1.3.2: ...feet are numb).



Pushing (forcing) your heels down (rather than allowing them to ‘hang’ naturally) will also tend to push your feet too far forward and turn your toes out (see 4.3.3: …lower legs are sticking forward and 4.3.4: …lower legs are sticking out.

It is actually quite acceptable to ride with your toes pointing slightly out (and even more if disability or previous injury dictates this).

Some people are unable, for one reason or another, to point their toes forward. Trying to force your feet inwards into an unnatural position only causes pain and prevents you from riding well (pain distracts as well as being a sign that something is wrong).

Solutions

1.3.4: ...feet are painful

Some people actually curl their toes when riding, usually because they feel tense and insecure and innately they are trying to grip with their feet (a natural human behaviour that occurs due to anxiety).

Just as a stiff, locked jaw results in stiffness far beyond the jaw, tense stiff feet results in stiffness far beyond the feet.

Solutions

For some riders the reason that their feet are painful is because they wear orthotics (foot supports) for walking and their riding boots do not give them the same level of support (even though you are not walking in your boots while riding your feet may still need more support).

Solutions

A further reason for one or both feet aching is that a rider may have injured their foot or feet in the past. Injuries to the feet are very common in horse people due to the delicacy of the human foot compared to the sheer weight of a horse! Most people have had their feet stood by a horse on at some point when first learning where to stand, or not to stand, when around horses.

Solutions

Try experimenting with broader based stirrups if your feet need more support. The stirrups that endurance riders wear are designed to spread the pressure across more of the foot.


1.3.5: ...feet are weighted unevenly

This commonly occurs when a rider has had an injury to one leg which results in an increased stiffness in that leg. For example, a previous injury to an ankle, such as a break, will often result in this particular problem.

It may be that you have not noticed the feeling of uneven pressure in your feet until now but you have noticed that you tend to feel better going one way on a circle and unbalanced when going in the other direction. You may also have a tendency to lose one stirrup but not the other.

Solutions

This rider (next picture) has an ankle that was injured many years ago and it causes her feet to be weighted unevenly, you can see how one heel drops more than the other. You may need to address a ‘problem’ area in order to improve the weighting in your feet.


1.3.6: ...feet are losing the stirrups

If a rider‘s stirrups move around on their feet or they lose them altogether it can be because they are gripping with their knees (or sometimes the whole length of their legs) in the erroneous belief that this will keep them on their horse.

This problem is a very common self-perpetuating habit that is hard to give up. The gripping may occur because you have stiff joints (and therefore you are not ‘engaging’ your lower leg properly). Or it could be because you were actually taught to grip (very common). It may also be that you are nervous and you are innately trying to assume the ‘foetal position’.

Gripping with the knees results in ‘disengaged’ lower legs and insecure stirrups (picture left). The problem can originate in various areas of the body or may be due to a lack of confidence. Also it does not help that the myth is still prevalent that you are supposed to grip when riding. See how a more relaxed knee results in a more engaged lower leg and a better position in general (picture right).


The ‘foetal position’ is what your brain tells your body to do when it perceives that you are in danger. It results in you drawing your knees upwards and drawing your hands into your chest. This position curls you into a ball shape and among other things, protects your vital organs when you are in danger. Many riders do this to some degree when they feel insecure without realising they are doing it.

A further problem with this tendency is that it makes a sensitive horse more tense as they feel the gripping pressure from your legs. Also it is the opposite of what you need to do to stay on a horse.

In fact, you could say that learning to ride is about learning to do the opposite of what your brain tells you to do when you are on a moving object.

Inexperienced riders tend to resort to the ‘foetal position’ whenever they feel insecure, think about how a beginner will tend to lift their hands and their knees at first, whereas experienced riders have usually learned to distribute their weight correctly and keep their centre of gravity (CoG) as low as possible in order to ride well. See the Horse Rider's Mechanic website article Your centre of gravity.

Even so, experienced riders who lose confidence, despite knowing that they are supposed to ‘sit tall’, may still revert to this position due to fear (albeit less obviously) if and when it arises.

Developing as a rider involves learning to do the opposite of what your brain is telling you to do (picture a) and instead distribute your weight correctly (picture b).


An experienced rider has also learned that while they should fight the urge to adopt the ‘foetal position’ whenever mounted on a horse, if they actually fall off then the priority changes. A falling rider should curl themselves up into a ball and attempt to hit the ground rolling. This is preferable to hitting the ground like a spear which is more likely to result in injuries.

Solutions


The exercises in Horse Rider’s Mechanic Workbook 2: Your Balance are designed to improve your balance and therefore your security. When you have improved your position and balance you will then begin to experience an upward spiral of events rather than the downwards spiral that you may currently be experiencing.


1.3.7: ...feet are letting the stirrup/s twist

In this case the stirrups end up diagonally across the foot or feet (picture a). This may be a habit that has come about from the way a rider was taught and they put the stirrups under their feet in this way thinking that this is how they are meant to be.

Sometimes a rider rides with the stirrups under their toes only (picture b) rather than the balls of their feet. In both cases the feet are not getting enough support.

Solutions


By addressing your feet in such detail you may have identified a particular problem that relates to you. You should now have an idea about why it is happening and how to fix it.

Don’t worry though if you are not able to fix it yet. You may (in fact it is very likely) need to investigate other areas of your body before you can fully solve a problem because a ‘problem’ body part rarely only affects its immediate area.

Remember: aim to work through this book at least twice. Initially in order to identify and start to rectify any problems that you might have. Subsequently, to readdress your issues in light of adjustments that you will have made to other areas of your body.

For some riders it will take several sequences of reading, followed by working on a particular problem. Don’t worry though because eventually, if you persevere, you will improve your position.

Remember: if there is anything you do not understand or need help with after reading this book (or the others in this series) post a question on the Horse Rider’s Mechanic Facebook page: www.facebook.com/horseridersmechanic

Help is at hand!


This is the end of the free section of:

Horse Rider’s Mechanic Workbook 1: Your Position

Back to top or buy now it as a paperback or PDF ebook below

▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬

Payment for our publications is via PayPal and most credit and debit cards are accepted

There is no need to have (or open) a PayPal account.      

You can also pay by bank transfer (contact us directly)

▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬

Paperback book £17.95 GBP (£20.95 inc p&p)   Add to Cart

Paperback book $21.95 USD ($24.95 inc p&p)   Add to Cart

Paperback book $34.95 AUD ($38.95 inc p&p)   Add to Cart

Paperback book €21.95 EURO (€24.95 inc p&p)   Add to Cart

This book is shipped to you direct from within the UK/Europe, USA/Canada or

Australia/New Zealand (please contact us for other countries)Package deals.


PDF ebook download £14.95 (GBP)   Add to Cart

PDF ebook download $18.95 (USD)   Add to Cart

PDF ebook download $29.95 (AUD)   Add to Cart

PDF ebook download €16.95 (EURO)   Add to Cart

A PDF download is ideal for reading on a computer or tablet. You can also print it out. Start reading your new books now! Very shortly after purchase you will receive an email with instructions for download.

▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬

Would you like to get this book for much less?

This book is part of the Horse Rider’s Mechanic SeriesPackage deals

You can buy the set (paperback and PDF)

and save more than 36%! …have a look at the Package deals page.

▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬

…or you can purchase this book on Amazon as a paperback or as a Kindle ebook.

▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬

← back to main bookshop page     ← go to HRM workbook 2 pageThe Horse Rider's Mechanic Workbook 2: Your Balance              View Cart

▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬

To make this contents list disappear move your curser away from it.

Contents

Horse Riders Mechanic Book 1: Your Position

By reading this book you will…

A rider’s responsibilities

How to get the most from this book

1: Your feet

1.1: Your feet should…

1.2: However your feet may…

1.3: What you can do if…

1.3.1: ...feet are unlevel (from side to side)

1.3.2: ...feet are numb

1.3.3: ...feet are not angled correctly

1.3.4: ...feet are painful

1.3.5: ...feet are weighted unevenly

1.3.6: ...feet are losing the stirrups

1.3.7: ...feet are letting the stirrup/s twist

2: Your ankles

2.1: Your ankles should…

2.2: However your ankles may…

2.3: What you can do if…

2.3.1: ...ankles are wobbly

2.3.2: ...ankles are too loose

2.3.3: ...ankles are painful

2.3.4: ...ankles are stiff

2.3.5: ...ankles are behaving differently to each other

3: Your calves

3.1: Your calves should…

3.2: However your calves may…

3.3: What you can do if…

3.3.1: ...calves are too loose

3.3.2: ...calves are too tight

3.3.3: ...calves are painful

4: Your lower legs

4.1: Your lower legs should…

4.2: However your lower legs may…

4.3: What you can do if…

4.3.1: ...lower legs are ‘disengaged’

4.3.2: ...lower legs are flapping

4.3.3: ...lower legs are sticking forward

4.3.4: ...lower legs are sticking out

4.3.5: ...lower legs are tilting too far back

4.3.6: ...lower legs are ineffective

4.4: Your lower legs - a recap

5: Your knees

5.1: Your knees should…

5.2: However your knees may…

5.3: What you can do if…

5.3.1: ...knees are gripping

5.3.2: ...knees are flapping

5.3.3: ...knees are painful, weak or stiff

6: Your thighs

6.1: Your thighs should…

6.2: However your thighs may…

6.3: What you can do if…

6.3.1: ...thighs are gripping

6.3.2: ...thighs are flapping

6.3.3: ...thighs are painful or are weak

7: Your hips

7.1: Your hips should…

7.2: However your hips may…

7.3: What you can do if…

7.3.1: ...hips are painful or are stiff

7.3.2: ...hips are crooked

8: Your lower body

8.1: Your lower body should…

8.2: However your lower body may…

8.3: What you can do if…

8.3.1: ...lower body is unable to follow and absorb the movement

8.3.2: ...lower body is unable to maintain position

8.4: Your lower body – a recap

9: Your torso

9.1: Your torso should…

9.2: However your torso may…

9.3: What you can do if…

9.3.1: ...torso is moving excessively

9.3.2: ...torso is crooked

9.3.3: ...torso is slouching

9.3.4: ...torso is tipping forward

9.3.5: ...torso is leaning back

9.3.6: ...too arched in the lower back

9.3.7: ...lower back is painful

10: Your head and neck

10.1: Your head should…

10.2: However your head may…

10.3: What you can do if…

10.3.1: ...head is incorrectly positioned

10.3.2: ...head is wobbly

11: Your arms

11.1: Your arms should…

11.2: However your arms may…

11.3: What you can do if…

11.3.1: ...arms are hanging incorrectly

11.3.2: ...arms are stiff and unyielding

11.3.3: ...arms are flapping

12: Your hands

12.1: Your hands should…

12.2: However your hands may…

12.3: What you can do if…

12.3.1: ...hands are unable to maintain position

12.3.2: ...hands are moving incorrectly

12.3.3: ...hands are hard and heavy

13: Your upper body

13.1: Your upper body should…

13.2: However your upper body may…

13.3: What you can do if…

13.3.1: ...upper body is unable to follow and absorb the movement

13.3.2: ...upper body is unable to maintain position

13.4: Your upper body – a recap

14: Your whole body

14.1: Your whole body should…

14.2: However your whole body may…

14.3: What you can do if…

14.3.1: ...whole body is unable to follow and absorb the movement

14.3.2: ...whole body is unable to maintain position

14.4: Your whole body – a recap

Final thoughts

Our other publications

Horse Rider’s Mechanic Workbook 1: Your Position


Jane Myers MSc (Equine), AKA The Horse Rider’s Mechanic, has been riding, teaching and working with horses almost all of her life. This book is the result of her many years of teaching and riding experience. Improving your position is the key to improving your riding. It is of key importance because without addressing the fundamental issues you cannot obtain an ‘independent seat’…

Hi there, we now have a brand new website - can you please go to www.equiculture.net - where you will receive - COMPLETELY FREE the 3 part  (¾ hour) video series called Horse Grazing Characteristics. Next we are working on some free stuff for Horse Rider’s Mechanic too - so don’t miss out! Join our new mailing on the new site to keep in touch - see you there.