DbarH Equine Training. Natural Horsemanship.
Medicine Lodge Valley, Dillon, Montana

Leg Position

This is a good basic leg development no mater if you ride English or Western. It will change your posting dramatically to a smooth no effort movement. Later if I get a volunteer I would like to get images or photos to improve the explanation. 

  • When you get in the saddle how does your leg lay?
  • What does the outside seam of your pants look like?
  • Is it straight from the center of hip to center of the outside of the knee?
  • Does the seam go from center of hip and gradually spiral toward the front of the knee?
  • Or does the seam go from the center of the hip toward the back of the knee?

Position 1

Something to try standing right at your computer. Standing, legs and feet straight ahead, shoulder width apart. Now bend your knees down in to rider position.

  • What do you feel? 
  • How is the hip mobility?
  • Any tension anywhere?
  • Through the inside of the leg?
  • What does your seam look like?

Position 2 
The correct  position

  • Might be better doing in the saddle.
  • Lift your leg out slightly off the ground/saddle.
  • Rotate your hip inwards, not with your muscles, but actually taking your hands and rotating the hip using your thigh. It doesn't move hardly anything, but it will seem like it.
  • At the same time, taking your inside thigh and moving back and around "out of the way".
  • Get into riding position at the same time.
  • Now the seat bones can't rotate back, they stay in balance.
  • You're going to think, -"hey, my knees are in and that will grip". But in that position, they are used as a middle point for the whole leg. It's just laying there.
  • What does your lower leg look like? Is the ankle is going toward the inside.
  • What does your thigh and pelvis feel like?
  • When on the horse you should feel as if your legs are covering 100 times more than the first position I had you go into in the above standing at your computer. You should feel like you melted into the horse.
  • And how about those seams? When you are in position, look at your seams. They go from hip toward the inside of the knee called spiraling.
  • For the feel, take your hand and go from the center of the hip on the outside and spiral it to the inside of the lower thigh.
  • Do that a few times to get the sensation of what it would feel like when riding.
  • Do this on both sides.

On to Riding..

  • At the trot remember the feel that you did with your hands in position 2, going from hip, spiraling to the inner thigh. 
  • When you go to the post, keep that thigh against the barrel.
  • But what are your knees doing?
  • Are they "fixed" or are they opening up? 
  • The angle of the knee shouldn't change much in posting - quiet lower leg. 
  • The ankle should be the support (fixed point) for the knee. 
  • Let the pelvis be the moving part.
  • The when posting, the thigh will feel more like it is covering the horse (rolling/spiraling).
  • Posting forward and not up and down. 
  • Your rear is going off the seat very little, just enough to clear the seat of the saddle.
  • Rolling the thigh and the knee will not flop around and not cause air between you and the saddle.
  • If you get out of the rolled thigh position, just reform again.
  • Something bad that could happen when the hip isn't rotated inward, is the ankle rounds outwards, even though it may look like the thigh and knee are fairly well placed.
  • Or if the thigh and hip are not rotated at all like   in that first position, you will have to grip with your thigh and knee to keep contact with the saddle.

Have someone help you into this position the first few times. That way you can concentrate on your body and what the difference feels like.

Make sure your feet are pointed straight forward with the ankle more wrapped around the barrel rather than the ankle bone collapsed inward.


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Donna Hildreth 1998 - 2009
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