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Riding with Grounded Feet

GROUNDING is the sense of being connected to the ground. This grounded feeling gives you the balance, stability and security you need while riding.

In “Centered Riding 2 – Further Explorations, Sally Swift describes grounding like this:

“It is a feeling that your well-established center is dropping energy down through your legs and feet into the ground, while the energy in the ground comes up to your feet. An image (or feeling) of grounding has your legs and feet sucked gently down and down, from your open hip joints into the ground where the soles of your feet are secured as if by magnets.

To be properly grounded, you must first be in proper alignment and balance, on your horse, in a balanced saddle that fits you and your horse, with stirrups that are the correct length.

To enhance the feeling of being grounded, you must first become aware of your feet. They should be resting (not pressing!) on the stirrups. This allows your joints to move freely while you’re riding.

The stirrup iron should be placed so that it touches the balance point on your foot. In martial arts, this is often referred to as the "Bubbling Spring." Many riders ride with the stirrup too far forward under their foot. This results in locked ankles and jammed-down heels. This has the following negative effects on your riding:

creates decreased connection and awareness;

creates increased tension and muscular effort; and

prevents the joints from acting as shock absorbers, which is what they are designed to do.

When the stirrup is properly placed under the foot, the bubbling spring can provide riders with a greater sense of awareness, stability and connection.

A Centered Riding instructor can help you find this sometimes elusive reflex point/balance point and experience the benefits of riding with grounded feet.


Centered Riding concepts can provide the tools that enable you to more easily access the mind/body and biomechanics principals to enhance your skills and help you to become an effective rider—regardless of riding level or discipline. For more information, go to:

Kathy Culler© 2014. All Rights Reserved.


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