Then, after getting Kachina when I was getting weekly lessons for a while, I was told to shorten my stirrups a couple times. Each time, it was when I was struggling to keep my lower leg back and on the horse, and shortening the stirrups seemed to help. However, even though I didn't lengthen my stirrups in between, each time I was told to shorten them, it seemed like I just brought them back to the level they were the last time I had shortened them. This led me to believe that my stirrup leathers were stretching. My leathers were very old and relatively thin so it certainly is possible that they were stretching. They were much too long anyways, so I replaced them with a specific set of no-stretch stirrup leathers. I set the new ones to a length that felt proper and thought I would be set.
|I thought this stirrup length seemed good - before shortening|
I still think it looks like an okay length in this photo?
Then, in the last few weeks, I have been told twice to shorten my stirrups. Once by the judge in the Equitation class at the Chinook Show, and once by Elaine Banfield during my clinic. Both made some brief comment about how riders with shorter femurs should ride with a more forward angle in the upper leg. (Each told me to shorten them by a hole, so they are now 2 holes shorter than they were) There is no doubt that I have short legs, I'm only 5'2" after all, but I had never before heard that your leg angle should be different dependent on your leg length/proportions. Have you ever heard this?
I'm going to keep my stirrups at their shorter length for now. I do feel more comfortable and better able to use my lower leg when I have shorter stirrups. Also, from reviewing photos and the terrible video, I can see that my longer stirrups looked okay when I was stopped or walking, but they were causing my lower leg to go too far forward in the trot and canter.
|This is the same stirrup length as the last photo but here I agree that it looks|
too long and my lower leg is swinging too far forward and straight
On the other hand though, I see all the photos and articles showing very open hip and knee angles as being the ideal for dressage and it feels a bit weird to be moving in the opposite direction. The one thing I'm unsure about is whether the shorter stirrup length is a temporary thing while I strengthen my position, or whether my stirrups should be permanently shorter due to my "short femurs". Any thoughts?