Let’s Talk About Hating On Your Riding Position

Because we all do.  I think.

Looking at a fresh batch with pics,  we’re just as shocked every time.  The same stuff is still going on in the saddle!  Takes a day to get over it, right?..

Last shots from a schooling ride, I was thrilled to see Valiosa looking a bit more “real.”  Actually using her body better.  Thrilled!  Yes!!!

More pictures of miss gray strutting less stiffly next time.  I loved it!

Today is a one-time opportunity to hate on your seat.  Or legs.  Elbows.  Hands.  Neck.  Or whichever you like, go ahead!  One day only.

I’ll start.

First off, hating on the freaky thing with the lower leg.  I get it too far back.  When you do this, the pelvis tips forward, tweaking the position.  Trying my very hardest to stop this.  (Good luck with that.)

Next, there’s a strange thing with the outside elbow.  It drifts out and away from the torso, especially when turning.  What’s going on there!!!??  This keeps happening, does nothing good for the horse.

And, especially when combined with taking the inside leg, shortening it, sort of creeping up with the heel there, horsey hates it.

heels down in dressage position

Elbow out, inside heel up – now the inside calf can’t be used in the right way as an aid, and the heel does all the work.  Again.  Horses hate this too.  Especially this gray one.

No one can pick apart every single thing, and then expect to erase those habits quickly.  Especially not when they’ve gone on for so long, and seem to get worse with time.

But, and this is a big one –  To ever get better, you have to create some awareness of just WHAT is going on, and try to work on it.  Or of course it’s just going to stay that way.  Forever.

So.  Deciding on just one thing, it was to lengthen the leg.  Make it a goal to have less heels creeping up.  That IS actually happening, already.  So, great job!

keeping heels down when riding

Ignoring the other super irritating things (Other than wishfully just hoping they’ll go away…) I’m going to focus on trying to get the lower leg, especially the heel, down and forward.  Most importantly, away from the areas that make her really mad.  Calf on.

So there we go.  Life goals.  Stop poking!

dressage riding position

Have a pesky thing you hate about saddle positioning?  Both me and many others would love to hear about it!  Have you set a goal for working on getting rid of any specific thing?…

24 thoughts on “Let’s Talk About Hating On Your Riding Position

    1. Kim, thank you for being the first to sound in! Can’t believe there’d be so many that would jump on the opportunity to comment on their position. Look at all what the others have to say!
      Amazing to see that we’re not the only ones, right!?
      You and I both – need to focus on keeping those seatbones IN the saddle… 🙂


  1. The heel creeping up is mine too. But also my reins get too long . I think they are fine until I see a video. I hate watching myself ride. My goals, get those heels down and keep my reins the right length .

    Good luck to both of us !

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Argh, yes, the rein length. I won’t even go there for now… Keep opening my fingers. Countless pictures where I have some sort of an open, soft, “rake” grip on the reins. Constantly getting a tad too long.
      I find if I focus on just too many things, it feels just unsurmountable. But, yep, you and I both, we need to focus on this 🙂
      Thank you SO much for chiming in Carol. Really appreciate it!! And so do many others, judging from the number of comments by now!


    1. Yep, I’ve had this explained to me a number of times by Miss Gray. She won’t tolerate much fidgeting at all back there. Sigh.
      So, I guess this move on my part with starting to wear short spurs here and there was good in many ways – tail swish will signal the heels are creeping up 😉
      Any ways, so far, staying on. I’ll post a picture of a buck before the weekend, so you can see what we’ve got going on 🙂


  2. I hear you. The big one I tackled yesterday was my left hand- it kept breaking at the wrist and pulling in. It took a lot of awareness to fix it because fixing it felt weird and uncomfortable. I suspect it will want to creep back in. The other is leaning forward when the horse tenses. Because that’s helpful, right? (<—sarcasm font)

    Liked by 2 people

        1. Hahaha! Thought so!!! A day would never happen for me. Apparently, even a year is not enough even for me…

          Anyway, I just LOVE having you here commenting, so it’s all yours. I find that I work too much right now, always pulled away from the computer, or riding, scouting, or running. So it’s great to see that with all my time away, we’re still keeping a good thing going here. Really appreciate it!!


      1. Oh well Thank You so much! I try my best to sit up, sit in, and sit with, the horse. Not just On it. If that makes sense.
        I’ve noticed lately that it’s only sometimes I feel tension and a “pull” in the abs. Meaning that the seatbones are NOT consistently plugged in. It’s a major, long term, goal to be able to really have that connected feel at all times… Hope we’ll both get there!


    1. Ah, yes, the perching when the horse sort of spooks or pushes back. We’ve all been there! Nowadays I immediately “sit in”, because I know I can’t afford to come off. Bet my hip would break if I took a spill!
      I really appreciate your comment about the hand position too Teresa! I think for every one who reads the comments here, it feels a little bit better. Knowing we ALL have these “hard to break” habits.

      Interestingly, it’s my left hand too that tends to be sneaky… I seem to want to carry it higher, and with a longer rein, at all times. So weird!


  3. I used to have really bad legs that snuck wayyyyy back, I also had a very tilted pelvis – I’d never thought of the two as being linked. But of course this makes perfect sense!
    My current pet peeves with regards to my position are 1) my chicken wing elbows and 2) the lower legs need to be more forward.
    I think I shall go add them to my goal list so I can make myself accountable

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It does, doesn’t it! And the more we tilt, the more the legs go back, so it’s sort of hard to solve. But any awareness of it will help steer things the right way….

      Chicken wing elbows – smiling at that, it’s what my right one feels like. If it’s both arms at the same time, it helps to become aware of the shoulder blades, focusing on pulling them down and Together. Cinching them, securing them, in the back, and then the elbows will follow.
      Well, at least in theory 🙂
      Thank you so much for adding your comment! Look how many others are speaking up about this too in here!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. A few moths back it was my upper body tipping forward ( not good with a horse that wants to pull). So I worked on that and when I arrived in Florida, my coach here, Lou Denizard tells me my upper body is sometimes behind the motion. So I have over corrected. Haha! Always something to work on,

    Liked by 2 people

    1. This!! I used to be the goddess of The Lean Back. Leads to lower back pain, as I’m sure you’ve felt too. Then I over compensated, and have now started perching!
      Does it ever end!! 🙂

      Thank you for mentioning this! The “over compensation” is real, and is one of the major things I have to keep in mind as I ride on my own so much, and don’t have eyes on the ground as often.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. For me it’s always been about relaaaaaaxing . . . not getting loose and sloppy, but keeping my lower back supple and moving with the horse and remembering to pour my weight down my legs and through my heels. And I haven’t even gotten to the upper body, which seems to be forever adjusting the reins, and if I were a horse that would annoy the living spit out of me. It’s a wonder they don’t all just dump us, sometimes 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I find that if I focus too much on weighting the stirrups, I almost push my self out of the seat. Too much tension. That’s the problem with too strong hammies… 🙂
      Just like you, I have that same thing with the reins – the hands forever opening. And yes, I thank her after every ride for putting up with all the nonsense on my part! 🙂
      Thank you for sharing Jan! So many of us out there with all these little pet peeves!


  6. My left elbow just collapses and gets sloppy, I HATE IT SO MUCH!

    I also have a tendency to allow my heels to creep up when I feel like my “Go” button is a bit dull, and rather then reinforcing with a secondary aid off the calf aid I will try to put my heels on. Very, very, very bad habit.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is where I sometimes wish we all would have had a coach, ALL the time, ever since the beginning. So many bad habits could be prevented. Well, this is real life though 🙂
      SO hard to get rid of the stuff that has crept in.
      I hate it when the heel goes up, even when I know it shouldn’t 😉
      Thank you for taking the time to chime in, with everyone else!!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. My shoulder rolls in, my arms straighten as I try to “ask” the horse’s head down, I nag with my legs…. As soon as I stop “asking” and nagging, my position is 100 times better, because I am not windmilling around! More practice required.
    Let’s not forget though, we are our own worst critics – I’m sure we’re not half as bad as we THINK we are. So let’s not beat ourselves up too much 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Welcome to the blog Lucy! And thank you for chiming in! Or maybe you’ve been here for a while and I just didn’t know 🙂 Great to have you as a follower, and I really appreciate hearing some more “pet peeves.”
      I think if we can both convince ourselves that less is more in the saddle, we’ll ride better. I do the same – sort of micro managing sometimes, when really, she should just stay forward and straight without needing “help” every other stride 😉
      And you’re right, we really are self critical sometimes. I’m the biggest offender there!


Comments are closed.