Keeping Your Legs Quiet
in the saddle
To keep the lower leg quiet in the saddle requires three points of stabilization.
The three points of stability are ‘the seat’ of the rider and the ‘lower leg’ of the rider. One can just sit on the horse without much thought to their lower leg, but the rider’s leg will move about as the horse goes around the arena. Some horses might react to a lower leg moving and others horses might tune their rider out. Neither are good because now a rider is less effective.
Lateral steps and leg lifts
This can be done anywhere, at any time. You really don’t need to use a resistance band. Just stand up straight and take a large step sideways. Balancing on one leg while you move the other away and back again. A resistance band or cable machine will add more resistance which is great for restructuring leg alignment. Do 10 steps left, 10 steps right.
If you can’t keep the lower leg steady, a horse might not react to your canter leg or the horse may trot faster, increasing their tempo thinking you just want a bigger trot. Instead try aligning the lower leg so it’s stable against the horse. This will help to pick up canter departs because the horse will hear you leg move rather than have to tune out any accidental over aiding.
Bridge on Bench
Hold this for a period of time to rebalance the seat stability. Notice if the hips drop or if one foot wants to rotate out. These are the things to look for and fix. Watch for thigh alignment as well, make sure the thighs stays straight out of the hips. Hold for 45-60 seconds. Repeat 2-3 times with other exercises or in conjunction with the lateral leg steps with lift.
If the leg isn’t stable because there’s not proper leg alignment, then the seat will become unbalanced. The ankle and thigh helps stabilize your position which gives a rider a better seat. A rider’s lower leg has a huge responsibility for the base of a riders stability. There’s a ton of things that can happen when a rider is moving their leg too much while riding.
Most athletes establish stability, balance and power using their lower legs allowing them to explode from the feet. Leaping, jumping and running requires feet and calf muscles to work. The base of stability in a horseback rider is in the pelvis and hips (THE SEAT). One of the main reasons why riders have so much tension is the piriformis and sciatica. A rider uses their seat as a base of stability, not the lower leg.