Question: I have constantly found that I am loosing the left stirrup when I canter. In various readings it suggests that I am collapsing on my left, hence loosing the stirrup. I tried to stretch my left side when cantering and found this was helpful. Can you give me any suggestions on how to work with this issue, perhaps exercises (got the one on stretching to the opposite side), or things to do while riding that would help with this problem?
Thanks again, I enjoy your advice.
Answer: It is odd that you would just lose the left stirrup, when cantering on either lead. When you are on the right lead, you will naturally have more weight in the left stirrup, and visa-versa, so it would be more common to lose the right stirrup when on the left lead and visa-versa. Chances are, when you lose a stirrup, it is because the heel on that side is coming up. That may be caused by collapsing on that side, so make sure that you are sitting tall and lifting your ribs away from your hip on that side.
It may also help to think of making a circle with your heels at each stride of the canter. When you canter, your hips should be making a circle- down and forward, up and back. Make sure you are sitting well back. It is a motion like pushing a swing and there is a moment in the stride, as in pushing a swing, where your shoulders come behind your hips. Your heels will make the same circle that your hips do, just like when you are pushing a swing and you pump your feet out in front of you, leading with your heels (you may need to visit a playground). As you canter, think of flexing your heels down and releasing with every stride, so that you are making a circle with your heels at each stride.
Trainer and Clinician
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