Why is a good lower leg position so important? Here are just some of the reasons:
Your lower leg keeps you balanced while riding
Your lower leg affects your whole body. New and novice riders’ bodies act a bit like a see-saw: if the upper body moves forward, the lower legs drift back. If the upper body moves back, the lower leg drifts forward. A good rider doesn’t let this happen, and no matter what the upper body does, the lower leg stays in a good position. Think: does my body move forward when I use my legs?
How to use it
Use your lower leg inwards, when you ask your pony to go forward. They shouldn’t move backward, just inwards from the knee down. It takes some doing until you are used to it. If you never do it, you will never get used to it!
Where they should be positioned
Your lower legs should hang naturally, on either side of your pony. There should be no stiffness, otherwise it affects the rest of your body, and your pony, too. Think of your legs as two strands of limp spaghetti, wrapped around your pony without gripping. Gripping will make you rise up, and its annoys your pony.
Toes to the front
Always make sure your toes face the front. They should neither stick out, nor face your pony’s sides. Point them forward in a natural position. Keep your weight in your heel. If your heel rises, you become insecure in the saddle and you risk digging your heels into your pony, getting him to go faster (whether you want him to or not).
If your heels are forced down, your legs loose their elasticity, and become fixed. That’s not good, by the way! Your lower leg provides you with anchors to stay in the saddle.
Keep your weight in your heel
Keep your weight in your heel, keep your knee bent, your lower leg back so that you can barely see your toes when you glance down, and you stand a good chance of staying on if your pony misbehaves – providing you keep your shoulders back and sit up, of course.
Remember that your lower leg shouldn’t move when you jump – but stay in the same, secure position!