Any advice on keeping my heels down?

averageequestrian

New Member
Jul 11, 2019
6
1
1
18
Hi again. so, my riding instructor says I need to keep my heels down. I try my best, but they don't go down enough. they only go a little lower than if they were flat on the ground. I feel like I need to really force them down to make my instructor happy but I can't hold them that low for a long time. Any advice on keeping them down longer/
 

RidingFree

New Member
May 24, 2019
13
10
3
15
I tend to get the same problem but i think the longer you do it the more natural it becomes. If I'm struggling to get my heels down, it's normally because my stirrups have slid back slightly or aren't on the ball of my foot, I'm quite flexible so if it's because you can't, try stretching and pointing you does out and then heels out or something to increase you flexibility. I'm not an expert but it might be worth trying
 
  • Like
Reactions: averageequestrian

averageequestrian

New Member
Jul 11, 2019
6
1
1
18
I tend to get the same problem but i think the longer you do it the more natural it becomes. If I'm struggling to get my heels down, it's normally because my stirrups have slid back slightly or aren't on the ball of my foot, I'm quite flexible so if it's because you can't, try stretching and pointing you does out and then heels out or something to increase you flexibility. I'm not an expert but it might be worth trying
Thanks for the tip!
 

OwnedbyChanter

With out my boys life would be bland
Apr 16, 2009
7,523
2,420
113
Raininghamshire
You only need to get your heals down if you are jumping and that is for balance.

If you heal is slightly lower than you ball that’s just fine. Heals down is a very old fashion way to ride. As long as you aren’t gripping with your legs you will be fine as you improve your heals will slowly drop a bit lower

Google pictures of Carl Hester and look at his feet they are just below the vertical not rammed down low
 
  • Like
Reactions: averageequestrian

joosie

lifelong sufferer of restless brain syndrome
Oct 28, 2004
7,001
2,994
113
New Zealand
Absolutely, definitely, 100% do not try and FORCE your heels down. Aside from being uncomfortable and impossible to maintain, it will cause tension all down your leg which really won't help you ride correctly and it will also most likely cause you to push your lower leg forwards which is equally undesirable. It takes time to develop your leg muscles to a point that they can hold a correct position with little or no effort, so try not to worry about making it all happen at once, because it won't. You don't need your heels particularly far down anyway - a tiny bit lower than your toes, as you described, is fine.
 

averageequestrian

New Member
Jul 11, 2019
6
1
1
18
Absolutely, definitely, 100% do not try and FORCE your heels down. Aside from being uncomfortable and impossible to maintain, it will cause tension all down your leg which really won't help you ride correctly and it will also most likely cause you to push your lower leg forwards which is equally undesirable. It takes time to develop your leg muscles to a point that they can hold a correct position with little or no effort, so try not to worry about making it all happen at once, because it won't. You don't need your heels particularly far down anyway - a tiny bit lower than your toes, as you described, is fine.
ok, thanks for the tip!
 

newforest

Well-Known Member
Mar 15, 2008
28,108
13,287
113
Think of lifting your toes. Don't force anything it will make you tense elsewhere.
My issue is not having enough weight in the stirrups in the first place. I have changed stirrups which I know you probably can't do if it's not your horse.

But the heel down is old fashioned.
I used to stand on a curb or step and let the foot drape off as an exercise.
 

Calluna

Well-Known Member
Oct 14, 2010
1,125
269
83
Leicestershire
I find this difficult too. In my case my instructor has identified that it stems from tightness in the hips and a tendency to grip up. So perversely in order to get my heels into a better position, the last thing I’m thinking about is my feet!
It’s best to have eyes on the ground, so ask your instructor for more info about what you are doing and the root of the problem, then you can work on training how to do it better. Everything is linked, so the better your seat in the saddle, the more naturally your legs will wrap around the horse and the more likely your feet are to be correctly positioned.
 

Toz

Active Member
Jul 14, 2019
327
198
43
42
Not necessarily for this problem but an instructor once told me when I was really struggling to bring my outside hip forward (I have a bad left hip which was the inside and always tight) to think of something in a different way. So for me I was tilted slightly to the outside of a circle but can’t for the life of me move my hip forward she told me to bring my elbow forward instead. In turn of course my whole body turned slightly.
Sometimes if our body finds something difficult just another way of looking at or thinking about it can help and make it so much easier.
Although as above don’t force them! If your foot isn’t sliding too far through you can’t be a million miles wrong
 

Mossy

Well-Known Member
Jan 9, 2000
2,354
38
48
Dartmoor
Hi again. so, my riding instructor says I need to keep my heels down. I try my best, but they don't go down enough. they only go a little lower than if they were flat on the ground. I feel like I need to really force them down to make my instructor happy but I can't hold them that low for a long time. Any advice on keeping them down longer/
A tip I was given years ago is to curl my little toe down. That takes your lower leg out. It should drape round the horse like a wet flannel. Believe it or not if you are relaxed and not gripping you are less likely to come off. I was given that tip years ago in theory. Connie has taught me the truth of it in practice.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Huggy

Frances144

Remember me?
Dec 21, 2011
5,806
2,503
113
Shetland, UK
www.myshetland.co.uk
Tip: Wear joddie boots. Don't learn to ride in riding boots. You have more ankle flexibility in short boots and can learn/see/feel better what is going on.

Also, when I look at how my horse is behaving, mostly it is because I am gripping up and my feet are all over the shop.

It might be an idea to do some lower leg stretches before you get on the horse to loosen up anything that tightens.
 

averageequestrian

New Member
Jul 11, 2019
6
1
1
18
Tip: Wear joddie boots. Don't learn to ride in riding boots. You have more ankle flexibility in short boots and can learn/see/feel better what is going on.

Also, when I look at how my horse is behaving, mostly it is because I am gripping up and my feet are all over the shop.

It might be an idea to do some lower leg stretches before you get on the horse to loosen up anything that tightens.
Thank you for the advice! I do wear short boots, but I'm still not super flexible in the ankle...overall though, thanks again :D
 
  • Like
Reactions: Huggy

fielder

new irish rider
Aug 22, 2005
80
7
8
If you also look for the correct position sitting in the sadddle annd don't have the stirrups too long
 

PaulaC

New Member
Apr 2, 2009
16
5
3
Make sure you pelvis is in the right position first. Maybe you are tilting your seat bones under you slightly. Then let your legs 'hang' down the sides of the horse and regularly work through the muscles in your legs to relax them. The instructor should also know that not everyone will drop their heel as much as everyone else. People are different. Try thinking of lifting your toe/ball of your foot rather than pushing down on the heel - doing the opposite often helps.
 
Similar threads
Thread starter Title Forum Replies Date
C Advice with keeping your heels down?? Cafe 3
Trewsers Advice for very limited schooling & keeping attention Training of the Horse and Rider 13
Dark Storm Advice on keeping youngster entertained and healthy during box rest Veterinary,Injuries and Therapies 2
DITZ Gadgets for keeping a horses attention XC - or advice? Competing 11
S Keeping Shoes Off Advice Please Hoof Care 5
teddypony Keeping Sheep and Horses? Advice please General 6
martini55 Itchy saga continues and advice on keeping a clipped horse Horse Care 8
domane Indy Pic & Attention-keeping Advice please... General 14
D Need Advice--Keeping still while jumping First Timers 3
L Advice. Again Cafe 7
B Advice on putting two yearlings with a gelding Cafe 4
M South/ West Wales advice please Cafe 0
P BHS Stage 1 advice/stories First Timers 2
P Trotting a French Trotter - experiences and advice? Training of the Horse and Rider 2
Mum to a cob Sweet Itch advice please Veterinary,Injuries and Therapies 18
Doodle92 Feed advice please Horse Care 33
L Advice required with you lovely lot!!! Cafe 11
Ale Strange advice from vet re tendon injury - updated Veterinary,Injuries and Therapies 14
Trewsers Cushings advice, notes Veterinary,Injuries and Therapies 5
Ale Those of you with shelters, or willing to give advice - Dissapointing update Horse Care 50
T Joining NR for tips and advice on helping my daughter’s cheeky horse Cafe 26
N Looking for advice: Trying to solve spooking during so many changes Cafe 8
L Moving yard need advice Cafe 4
A Bit advice Training of the Horse and Rider 6
S Help. Advice First Timers 11
J Help and advice First Timers 9
Chris6111 Thoughts and advice Cafe 15
R Advice for the frustrated rider First Timers 13
Horse&PonyGal18 Appoloosa rider weight Advice Breeds, Colouring and Genetics 6
G Advice for a rider in NYC. First Timers 4
*GroovyGallop* Hello, and some advice on if to buy my own horse... Cafe 6
Huggy Advice on grazing now autumns nearly here please Cafe 11
H Advice required. Cafe 6
RidingFree Looking at getting a horse - advice needed First Timers 17
Huggy Advice!! Before tomorrow!! Training of the Horse and Rider 38
Ale Hen party advice needed Cafe 9
K Feeding advice for a 2.5yo living out..? Metabolic 13
S Fashion advice needed......UDATED WITH PICS Cafe 25
H Horse doesn't like water - advice needed Training of the Horse and Rider 10
E ADVICE NEEDED: Metabolic 7
SeeingSpots Getting into competing? Tips, tricks, advice? Cafe 8
A Parent needing some advice about riding schools and competitions First Timers 5
Misha Advice needed Training of the Horse and Rider 17
eventerbabe Chickens - moult advice Cats, Dogs and other Animals 4
N Advice Please.... just purchased two shetlands! Older Riders 29
Native Lover Native Pony Dressage Turnout/Advice Competing 4
Jay2912 Horses hooves advice First Timers 8
kirstie_jasmine89 Advice/tips for herd mare Training of the Horse and Rider 2
S Showing coloured pony... advice please Breeds, Colouring and Genetics 0
OwnedbyChanter Chanter is licking advice needed Veterinary,Injuries and Therapies 6

Similar threads

newrider.com