Jumping Position - Position of The Leg

Position of The Leg

The lower leg is the anchor of the rider's position, and contributes a great deal to his security. Poor lower leg position makes a rider more likely to lose balance over fences, and therefore increases the chance that he may fall. It also tends to decrease the ability of the rider to communicate clearly with his or her horse.

The leg should hang down the horse's side, making even contact along its whole length (inner thigh, knee, and calf), and should not change position when the upper body moves. The rider's weight is dropped along the back of the leg and into the heel through a flexible ankle, so that the heel is lower than the toes. The toes are generally turned out slightly, to a degree greater than in the flatwork-only English riding disciplines such as dressage or saddle seat. This places the back of the calf against the horse, instead of the whole inner calf as in dressage, which decreases the refinement in communication between horse and rider, but anchors the rider and increases security. Toes should turn no more than 45 degrees out.

The stirrups are shortened from the length used for flatwork, adjusted according to the height of the fence. Grand Prix jumpers and eventers on cross-country generally need to shorten the stirrups the most, to allow them to gallop and jump in motion with their horse. The short stirrup provides more leverage and flexibility, and therefore security, better balance and a more secure position should the horse stumble, get a poor distance, or peck on landing. More importantly, a shorter stirrup allows the rider to get off the horse's back between and over the fence, freeing up the back and allowing the horse to bascule. The stirrup leather should remain perpendicular to the ground. The stirrup iron is usually placed on the ball of the foot, allowing the rider to have a flexible, shock-absorbing ankle. The rider should keep even pressure across the foot, rather than pushing on the inside or outside of the stirrup iron, as this makes the lower leg stiff.

The result of a shorter stirrup is that the ankle and knee angle decrease. Both the angles are used as shock-absorbers, opening and closing accordingly with the thrust of takeoff and landing. Stiffness in these angles makes it harder to stay with horse's balance, which may result in the riders "jumping ahead" or being "left behind."

Read more about this topic:  Jumping Position

Other articles related to "position of the leg, leg":

Jumping Position - Position of The Leg - Variations in Leg Position
... Leg position may vary slightly between disciplines ... a need for security, Eventers and steeplechase jockies tend to have a slightly forward leg position, with the foot "home" in the iron ... The more forward leg position increases security, making it more difficult for the rider to become dislodged ...

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