Keep Heels Down When Riding Horse

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Making, Not Breaking
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101 Arena Exercises
How To Think Like A Horse
Making Not Breaking by Cherry Hill
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Heels Down

    2006 Cherry Hill

Dear Cherry:
     My riding teacher keeps telling me to keep my heels down and it's hard- do you have any recommendations of exercises I could do off the horse to lengthen my leg and help with this problem? K

Hi K:

     Here are 3 of my favorite exercises to help you get your heels down and develop a long, secure leg for riding:

Hamstring stretch - to lengthen the large muscles at the back of the thigh for a deep seat and long leg. Stand keeping one leg straight. Bend the other leg at the knee and move its foot around the front to the outside of the other foot. Bend at the waist and reach for the floor. You will feel the "burn" at the back of your straight leg.

Lunge - to strengthen the quadriceps and stretch the gastrocnemius and Achilles tendon. Place one foot 2 feet ahead of the other. Bend the knee of the front leg, keeping the back leg straight and the back heel on the floor. Hold your arms out to your sides, horizontal to the floor, keeping your back straight. You should feel a strengthening in the quadriceps of the front leg and a stretch of the gastrocnemius and Achilles tendon of the back leg. Repeat with other leg.

Calf stretch - to stretch your gastrocnemius and Achilles tendon in order to help you ride with a long leg and low heel. Stand with your knees straight and the balls of your feet on the edge of a 2-4-inch step. Let your heels stretch down. Hold five seconds. Rest or raise above the step on your toes.

Good luck and keep taking your lessons.

  2004 Cherry Hill




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