Why You Don’t Need to Force Your Heels Down in Horseback Riding

Thank you! I am forever correcting the “heels down toes up” myth. I like the heel to be marginally lower than the toe, but in general the foot is horizontal. I get my riders to think of their feet as having lots of marbles in, if their heels come up too much all the marbles roll to the toe and they are unstable, heels jammed down and there are no marbles left in the toe. They should have marbles all over their sole, but with slightly more towards the heel. By getting them to think of moving marbles it gives them the ability to be more subtle in their positional adjustments. And don`t even get me started on the chair-seat effect of jamming the heels down …

Horse Listening

leg2Everywhere we go, people focus on the one position fault that is easiest to identify: the heels. In general, it is perfectly obvious if the heels are up, level or down.

I know that everyone has always told you to get your heels lower. You’ve probably been told that you have to drop your heels so that you can have better balance and contact with your horse’s side. They’ve said that the longer leg stabilizes your balance and gives better aids.

All over the Internet, people give good advice: “Try to get your heels lower. Then your position will be perfect.”

So we grin and bear it. Despite the discomfort, we push those heels down. We grunt and groan while we try to keep the heel down through the transitions, bends, and canters. We do what we gotta do to make it look good.

Why We Shouldn’t Force the Heels…

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