Heels Down

Is there more to ‘Heels Down’ than ‘ Heels Down?’


Maybe this is you?

In your mind’s eye, the rider you imagine yourself to be is clear ?

You’ve carried this picture with you for a long time…

It brings you joy & inspiration…

You’re willing to do the work to be that rider…

And you happily do it with devotion & heart ?

But it’s not happening.

The lovely rider in you isn’t emerging ???

How can this be?  


? You know to put your ‘Heels Down.’ How could you not, you’ve heard the instruction over and over again since your first lesson?

? You know a ‘good’ seat is the ear to heel plumb line, but your heel won’t cooperate

? Every book talks about the importance of relaxation in riding…and hey, you’re on board with it, in fact, you’d love to relax, but the moment you ‘try’ you tighten up B.A.D.

? Discouragement seeps in, you’ve run short of ideas…core strength and many metaphors later you still hear ‘HEELS DOWN”???

If this is you, know that ‘you’ve gotta friend,’  

Because that’s where I was.

Miserable basically.

Then one day I did a deep dive into my ‘discouragement’ situation.

It went like this…

?? I’m not deaf…I heard you say ‘heels down’ 

?? I’m not stupid…I know what ‘heels down’ means

?? I’m not ignoring you…I understand the role of ‘heels down’ to my seat

?? I’m not lazy…I’m trying really hard

And that’s when the light went on 

? What I am is confused 

And this single shift of thinking opened a whole new way of seeing my riding problems and their solutions ?

It came down to this…

My troubles stem from an ‘unclarity of language.’

I know this seems strange, but stay with me…

We’re going to do a brief experience to illustrate what I mean…

Which is …

For that rider within you to come out, you must gain clarity around…

? the WHAT 

? the WHY, and

? the HOW 

Let’s begin…


‘Stand up, notice what this is for you, your balance, your breathing? What’s going on with that?

Walk for a moment, again notice what this is for you, your balance, your breathing? Is it the same or is it different from before?’

? This is the WHAT we are doing.
    We are walking and noticing.


‘I bring your attention to these elements because balance and breathing are symbiotic in nature, they need each other to function optimally so you can move in a relaxed, effective manner.’

?  This is the WHY we are doing this. 
      We are learning that balance, breathing and relaxation are connected.


‘Now continue walking but with ‘HEELS DOWN!’

Do here what you do on your horse.’

?  This is the HOW do you do this?

What is your way?

Do you cram, lock your joints, jam your shoulders back or forward?

Are you more or less balanced, more or less tense, what happens to your breathing?

Now try harder.  What happens?

Thank you, you can sit down now.


This is what I realized that day…

Everyone taught me the WHAT and WHY of Heels Down…


No one ever taught me the HOW of ‘Heels Down,’ 

So I did what I thought to do which was jam my heels down…

Taking everything I wanted in my riding into a downward spiral… unbalanced, tense and no breathing.

And that’s when the confusion stopped.

That’s when the HOW of riding entered foremost in my mind and in my Feldendrais Method®? training, and

Riding was fun again.

But it was only then that I realized the true enormity of the HOW ?

That is…

To have the HOW is to Know What You Are Doing

Video ATM: go through what, why & add how

This means you are never stuck again because you’ve learned HOW to do the thing well.

Making way for that lovely rider within you to emerge, grow and be glorious.???

Is there something about this language clarity you may want to explore in your riding?  Would love to hear.

Share THis


 Heather Beachum

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Heather Beachum for Ride In The Moment

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Riding well in a mature body is the fine art of doing less.

Riding well in a mature body is the fine art of doing less sooner.