My feet have ALWAYS gone numb when I horse ride.  For as long as I remember trail rides with my mother meant numb feet.

It wasn’t until I damaged my spine, up near my waist, that I got the same feeling, numb feet, all the time (I’m “fixed now!) and realised it comes from your waist not your feet!

Numb feet comes from up in the lower back.

This stirrup is too long, no matter what the sport. The longest we go is just underneath the ankle knobble. Otherwise, your heels WILL be up, or your ankles will roll over (which makes us lean forward). Plus, the longer the stirrup the more we over-arch our spine at the waist.

It happens more when we walk more, rather than trotting or cantering.  It might also happen when we’ve been riding for long stirrups forever, and we suddenly shorten them to the correct length.  It’s not so much something in the ankle and knee, it’s more that the longer the stirrup, the more arch in your waist.  That’s why stirrup length is so important!


One easy way to fix the numb feeling is to stand up, and practice your standing.  It’s also great for balance and co-ordination, for improving our seat and posture all over, not just for numb feet!
Another easy way is trot!  RISING trot (easier for the horse’s back too – especially of we’re a beginner!).


Unless you really have PAIN, then it normally isn’t anything to worry about.  We see the same numbness in the hands when we’re driving a car correctly with our hands on the steering wheel 10 and 2 o’clock.

However if you have pain, I definitely recommend discussing it with your chiropractor, therapist or medical practitioner if you’re worried.


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Join the conversation! 2 Comments

  1. Thankyou, my daughter and i will do this as we do ride long. Many thanks.

  2. I’ve always had this problem, too – add to that stiff and sore knees. My solution was to a) change disciplines – my body position in Dressage seems easier on my knees, back, and feet than jumping (I’ve had quite a few injuries, none of them horse-related), and b) I ride bareback as often as possible, even while training, switching to a saddle only when necessary.


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