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Re: [RC] Equitation Tip of the Day - k s swigart

From: <rides2far@xxxxxxxx>

I have a question after riding this evening. I feel like I
have finally managed to pull my feet farther back up
under me and the posting *forward* motion is totally
effortless now (don't feel it in my quads at all), but not
long into the ride my left leg startted gettting that shin
splint feeling. I feel loose and relaxed, but I think my feet
roll to the outside (anybody shim their stirrups?).

Here I am guessing (can't say for sure without seeing it), but if
getting your leg underneath you is causing you to get "shin splints" (I
put it in quotes because I suspect that you really mean that the muscle
on the front of your lower leg is getting sore, not that it is pulling
away from the bone, which is what true shin splints are, at least that
is MY understanding of shin splints from back in my long distance
running days), then you are probably not getting your leg underneath you

Getting your leg underneath you comes from the HIP.  You rotate your leg
backwards (and ususally people have to rotate their pelvis forward to
get it right) from the hip joint, not the knee joint.  If you do it from
the knee joint you will have to use the muscle on the front of your shin
to push your foot back and to hold up your weight a bit because your
foot is "behind" you.

Here is an exercise that will help you to get your whole LEG back where
it belongs:

While sitting in the saddle, pick up your foot and put it behind you on
your horse's ass.  Point your toe so that the whole top of your foot is
resting on your horse's croup.  That will rotate your hip joint and put
your PELVIS at the angle you need to get your legs underneath yourself
properly.  However, don't lean forward to do this, stay sitting up
straight (if you lean forward, it will tilt your pelvis too far forward
so it won't be at the right angle).

When you bring your leg back down underneath you, don't change the
pelvic angle while doing so (or try not to as much as possible...the
pelvic tilt will be exaggerated a little bit, but that will be
self-correcting when you bring the leg back down).

Do the same thing with the other leg....you gotta move both of them

Most people cannot get their foot up behind them on their horse's ass
when they first do this.  Don't quit trying.  In addition to getting
your pelvis at the correct angle, the exercise also loosens up your hip
joint, and a looser hip joint will make your riding more effective and
more effortless.  In addition to it being a "get your leg in the right
place" exercise, it is also a suppling exercise.  And because of the sit
up straight part of doing it, it also loosens/supples the lower back
(and absolute essential).

I never have the shin splint feel on the right. I try
to feel any difference in the way I hold my feet,
or where in the stirrup they are but I can't feel
why the two sides are different. I am riding both
diagonals.  I also have the feeling the saddle drifts
to the right (urge to stomp the left stirrup) but when
I look down it looks straight.

Your more pain on the left than the right and the feeling of the saddle
being off to one side can be a function of crooked horse, crooked rider,
or crooked saddle (or some combination thereof), and, unfortuantely, if
any one of those things is crooked, over time it makes for all of those
things being crooked and becomes a vicious circle.  If you send a
picture (small file please, I , too have dial up), I can look at it and
see what I think might be the problem (no guarantees, since each of them
has a tendency to feed off of the other).

P.S. I think what wears me out is the stopping,
starting, accelerating,decelerating going down a
techinical trail. That's when my muscles have

This probably wears you out because you are either behind (most likely)
or in front of (possible if you are two pointing a lot) the horse's
motion.  The way to avoid this is to be looking where you are going and
to direct the horse's motion instead of just letting the horse do it on
its own.  Being ready for the changes in direction, and getting the
horse ready for them as well, makes it so both of you can do them more
smoothly. It makes it so the horse's acceleration/deceleration and done
from behind and keeps the horse in the right "gear" (I choose this term
because it is not all that much unlike putting your car in the right
gear before you get to the turns and changes in terrain rather than
using the brakes when you are already there or being in too high of a
gear and lugging the engine so you cannot smoothly accelerate through or
out of it).

Don't know if this helps.

Orange County, Calif.

p.s.  I don't shim my stirrups, I just use leathers and irons that that
I can put anywhere I like with little effort (that would be regular 1"
english leathers and regular filis irons, the big platform "endurance
style" stirrups don't give you the same flexibility for placement of
your foot).  However, I understand why some people like them.  I just


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Re: [RC] Equitation Tip of the Day, rides2far