What's The Best Body Position for Stopping? - Answering your Polo Questions

answering your polo questions riding Jun 09, 2022

Body position is so important when stopping. If you don't get this right, it feels like you are being ejected out of the saddle when you stop. 

Here I explain what the best body position for stopping is, & what I mean by strong legs when you stop, so that you are not giving your horse the wrong signal for a stop.

What's The Best Body Position for Stopping


Stephanie asked what's the best body position for stopping. Okay. So, there's a little bit of ambiguity here, pardon me, where I'm talking about strong legs to stop.

And just what I've said to you about the riding position with your feet back. And if your, if your feet are turned away, it means that your ankle is kind of turned out that way to get your feet there, but it takes your heel away from the go button of the horse. Which is, if you want the horse to go, you're going to use that aid just behind the girth.

Now I don't want, when you're riding, to have that feeling of that horse having that heel in it all the time, because otherwise you're asking it to run all the time. Okay. And when you sitting in that seat, if your heels away from the horse, the horse is tranquil. Okay. And it's going along quietly.

The minute you turn your feet out and you get your legs in like that, you're actually getting the horse to really speed up. Now I'm talking about strong legs to stop. Okay. And what people are doing is just making that feeling stronger and that's telling the horse to run.

That's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about when you're going to stop, move your feet forward, an inch or 2, in front of the girth actually. And now, when you get your legs strong, you pulling inwards, okay? You're not turning your toes off like a duck and pulling your heel into the horse.

You keeping your heel... toes pointing forward, and you're getting strong with your legs there. And you will find if you're sitting, watching, do it now. Because when you pull your knees in, it clench your buttocks.

It's almost like doing Pilates, an exercise to get your bum nice and tight. Okay. When you clench like that, it takes your weight off the saddle, which makes you light.

Okay. Because what you're trying to do, is to get that horse back-end in underneath itself. So, with your top half your body, you gone from here, to sitting just upright. Okay.

Not leaning back, because when you lean back, you put all your weight over where you want that horse to get his back legs underneath itself. And it makes it very difficult for the horse. Because, you know, you're not balancing yourself.

And just try it for yourself. You can pick up somebody quite heavy, as long as it's balanced on your back, but the minute they lean back, they almost topple off you. You can't hold them. It's the same feeling for the horse.

So, yes, you're going to straighten up a little bit and get really strong and clench, get those knees into the horse like that, that clenches your bum. And you're strong on your stirrups.

Because remember, that stopping of the horse is going to be a little bit of a jarring motion. Now a lot of horses will also just get that front foot into the ground. The front feet into the ground, when they do that, before they get their back legs under.

And that shock is transmitted straight up your spine, if you sitting on the saddle and it bounces you out. So, if you do what I'm telling you, that happens slightly underneath you. And it takes away that feeling of being ejected out of the saddle when you stop.

And remember, there's a sequence when you stop, okay. You're gonna move your feet forward, legs strong, okay. Then touch the reins. Not reins first, because otherwise you're gonna check and feel like you're ejecting all the time. If you riding in that riding position that I'm telling you.