#MasterclassMonday is a collaboration between Horse Network and NOELLEFLOYD.com to empower equestrians to help troubleshoot your training, master your mindset and up your game. This month’s instructor: show jumping trainer Jasmin Stair.

Your stirrup placement matters more than you think.

There are tons of components that go into achieving a functional riding position, but the lower body, specifically your foot and heel, is the basis for being stable in the saddle. 

Let’s think back to when you first started riding. What was the first thing a trainer told you to do with your position? If I were to guess correctly, I would imagine that ‘heels down’ would be one of the first pieces of advice given to most riders and there’s a valid reason behind it. 

When a rider’s heels are down, they are centered and balanced over their horse. Maybe you’re familiar with the phrase ‘shoulder, hip, heel’ and if not, I’m here to explain to you why this is a crucial component to your riding. When your shoulder hip and heel are in line with each other, not only are you more balanced over your horse, but your position is more effective. 

This is just the teaser! Learn all things position with Equestrian Masterclass: Jasmin Stair Teaches Small Changes for Big Improvements

Okay, so we’ve gone over why the position of your heel is so important, but how do we achieve this?

When a rider’s heel is too far up, the rider will tend to pinch their knees and their upper body will fall forward. When a rider’s heel is too far down (yes, there is such a thing), the rider will most likely be too far back in the saddle and their leg will fall too far out in front of them.

In order for a rider to have the ideal heel depth, they will need to adjust their stirrup placement accordingly. Placing the stirrup directly across the ball of the foot will allow the rider to place their weight more evenly, be more balanced in the saddle, and use their leg more effectively. Not to mention, if you are someone who wears spurs, you will be able to use the ball of your spur much more appropriately by having overall more control and a greater feel of your horse.

This is an excerpt from Jasmin’s Equestrian Masterclass: “Small Changes for Big Improvements.” To access the course, as well as a full library of courses from the likes of Ian Millar, Anne Kursinski and more, go to equestrianmasterclass.com.