- Hunter Jumper

Why ought to heels go down?

I’ve seen, over time, riders are reminded to place their heels down by their coaches time and again, and because the rider thinks about it within the second the heel goes down, however shortly after, the rider thinks about one thing else, and there’s no longer weight within the heel. So the coach says once more “put your heels down.” Typically it’s all they are saying, simply “put your heels down”. A damaged document of 4 phrases.

As riders develop into extra skilled, they finally discover their very own stability, which comes with a sure mindfulness and management of the heel, permitting them to seem extra steady within the tack, and able to doing extra issues.

Much less skilled riders appear to battle with precisely how a lot stress to placed on their heels, when to place their heels down, and when to make use of them to make their horses carry out higher.

I discover it’s simpler for me to know HOW and WHEN to place my heel down, slightly than merely jamming it right into a locked, generally too painful, place. To me, heels down is definitely being able to regulate your stability, not essentially a extreme angle to indicate off the underside of your toes, however stay fluid sufficient so your horses reply favorably to your leg. Particularly within the hunter ring.



On the stroll, I really don’t put stress on my stirrup or heel. As an alternative, I “raise” my toes up in my boots first to attempt to contact the roof of these boots. It’s a totally different power. I’m not straining my hamstrings, and I’m nonetheless getting fairly a little bit of flexion in my ankle which “drops” my heel with out jamming it.

Why? The horse will react to a rider pushing so arduous to get the heel down. I don’t need the horse to react to that motion. They’re delicate sufficient to be like “hey? are we going now?” If I raise my toes upward first, the horse doesn’t really feel unfavourable power, and I can provide higher managed leg aides with out complicated him. The size of my leg really grows when I’m not straining to push my heel down from the hip.


The posting trot is an up/down movement.

In posting trot I sink my heel as I come “down” to the underside a part of my publish, so my heel drops naturally and with out unfavourable power, and I attempt to maintain it there for the “up” of the posting trot. Some individuals make the error of lifting the heel as they sink to the “down” a part of the publish, after which attempt to put weight within the heel as they arrive up out of the saddle for the “up” movement.

I want the timing of sinking the heel on the “down” a part of the publish and leaving it there after I publish “up”. The power, once more, is totally different, and the delicate horses is not going to be reactionary to my leg. If I bear in mind to consider lifting my heel up in my boots on the trot as properly, I’ve full management of the place my decrease leg is positioned on the horse, and might use it in a more practical and engaging method.

Does training the Two-Level assist? Sure completely, when carried out accurately. Keep in mind, the Two-point (to me) is the excessive a part of the publish or the “up”. Most individuals go additional ahead or lean over. I don’t. I can maintain my heel beneath me and raise my butt out of the saddle to the excessive a part of the publish. I maintain my leg in the identical place, lifting the toes within the prime of the boot.


The canter has a special timing.

I put my heel down AS the horse takes his lead leg ahead. Many riders do the alternative, however their timing is compelled, not pure. If the heel goes down AS the lead leg goes ahead, you have got ten instances the management of methods to use your decrease leg with out pissing the horse off. The legs develop longer in addition to stronger, helpful on using several types of horses.

Later, when the horse jumps, your timing of your heel happening with the lead leg will will let you land in your heel for a safer, smoother expertise.

Cantering the horse and interested by the timing of the heel happening additionally makes your muscle tissue much less drained as a result of when executed correctly, the muscle tissue have a tiny second after they loosen up earlier than following the movement of the lead leg once more. The muscle tissue flex, and when the muscle tissue in your leg flex, guess what? They construct energy on their very own. Take into consideration a squeezing a kind of rubber balls in your hand to enhance energy or scale back stress. You squeeze the ball and let go proper? In any other case, squeezing and holding the ball for an hour will really harm you. So it’s important to squeeze the ball then launch it to permit the ball to return again to dimension. My legs observe the canter a lot the identical means.

Right here, a pony rider offers an instance of cantering with the heel down. Over time and expertise, the leg is not going to ‘grip’ too tightly which is able to make this rider more proficient to hotter blooded animals.

You’ll be able to inform from the bottom which riders can observe with their legs first as a result of whenever you watch the midsection of the rider, the hips will not be stiff, however unfastened and following. Riders who’re tiring themselves by jamming the heel down and holding the place are often holding their our bodies elsewhere in the identical stiff means. I don’t suppose the horses like significantly stiff riders.

Certainly there are a number of transferring components on a rider and a horse, so speaking in regards to the heel down and nothing else could appear a bit unfair. The extent and expertise in a rider modifications over time and expertise, however I actually attempt to suppose in regards to the heel as I’m using, (it doesn’t matter what form of horse),and it offers me a second to really feel the power in my very own physique in addition to my steed. In case you are keen to strive one thing new, you is likely to be stunned to the place it takes your degree of using.




Every part I’ve practiced on the flat will come into play for the jumps. If I start trotting a trot pole to a cross rail, I’ll step into my heel on the pole and maintain it there over the soar so I LAND in my heel on the again facet. If you happen to battle to do that by yourself, do this imagery. It’s a bit like attempting to the touch your toe to the horse’s shoulder as they take off over the soar. You’ll be able to’t, however think about if you happen to may. That slight movement to strive will really maintain your leg beneath of you whenever you soar. In case your leg is beneath of you whenever you soar then you have got now found the flexibility to land in your heel on the bottom of the soar.

Not your toe, not your knee, not your bum, however really touchdown in your heel.

Cantering fences is similar as trotting the fences, solely I begin to transfer my heel barely ahead three strides away from the fence. By that point I ought to have dedicated to a tempo to get me to the soar, so I now not want to inform the horse to go ahead. If he’s not a child, (simply studying methods to soar), I ought to belief he’s going to see us via to the opposite facet.  Nonetheless, if he jumps too excessive, too low, too excellent, or too terrible, my leg will all the time catch me on the bottom, no matter antics or awkwardness.

Right here this rider reveals what it’s wish to trip along with your heel down cantering fences.



If I’m using a child child, I’ll really ensure my leg is additional in entrance of me than regular till I do know for certain he’s not going to clear the soar like an orangutang. Permitting or not controlling the leg to slide again will really scare a younger horse and make them fast off the bottom. a giant no-no within the hunter world. I rely upon this when attempting new horses or minimally broke horses.

Within the hunters, we want to have the horses look and seem easy, soar slower than a jumper or eventer, and have the aptitude of by no means altering tempo. Controlling the decrease leg higher will management the tempo as you go across the ring.

You might even see prime professionals really flip their decrease leg up and again when leaping a bigger fence and surprise why. These riders can actually management components of their our bodies which defy gravity, however they do that to ask the horse to leap increased. For 90% of us on the market, we don’t want be so excessive..  Typically, you will see footage of me really lifting my heels precisely excessive of the soar, for precisely the identical motive. It could not seem like I’ve no depth of heel, however I can really FEEL when to squeeze the stomach upward to create extra arc within the bascule. It’s so slight, however it’s my means of making an phantasm that the horse is leaping higher than he actually is.



Don’t be fooled whenever you see riders exaggerate the decrease leg, or ‘swing’ their legs again, they is likely to be geniuses at work attempting to create magical unicorns to your viewing pleasure.

It is a judged sport, in any case, and out of doors of equitation, it’s the horse being judged….


Driving with stirrups too quick or too lengthy. Driving with stirrups too quick will really make it more durable to focus on the heel happening with the precise timing. I’ve discovered individuals who trip shorter are literally attempting to repair the issue of “dropping” their stirrups, however the knees will separate from the tack or flip “out” over a soar” and alter the stability fully of the rider. The stirrup must be lengthy sufficient so the underside hits your ankle bone which stands out out of your foot. If you happen to cry out in ache when your ankle bone clonks it, you’re most likely on the proper size. If the stirrup bar hits increased, you’re using too quick.

Too lengthy a stirrup will power the toe to maintain contact with the stirrup, lifting the heel for stability. In case you are struggling to maintain your heel down on the flat, you really want to attempt to regulate to the ankle bone. Most riders with too lengthy a stirrup have very weak or unhealthy leg place over the jumps as a result of they’re extra frightened about dropping gear slightly than controlling the leg.

That is an instance of me using with too lengthy a stirrup, which I must regulate earlier than I discover my means again to the present ring. I’m not dropping my stability, however the leg is by far weaker involved and smoothness of the trip. Granted a 5 month hiatus will try this to an individual. As I develop into stronger, the stirrup size will develop into extra applicable.



Does it matter which form of stirrup you trip with?

I imply it shouldn’t, however that is all about expertise within the tack. I trip in a Sprenger stirrup as a result of I want the heavier weight in comparison with the lighter composite materials. I additionally like how they flex, and my knees say thanks to me day by day. However stirrups shouldn’t have an effect on your capacity to regulate your heel. In the event that they do, you have got larger points. Experience in what you’re most comfy in, however trip along with your heel in thoughts slightly than the stirrup.

Good heels make for good stability. Good luck!


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