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View Full Version : No Stirrup Month - Survival Tips?



Donkey
Dec. 1, 2009, 05:38 PM
I recently moved barns and this new barn has proclaimed December as "No Stirrup Month" Dun dun dunnnn....

I'm old - middle aged adult anyways and apparently no one is immune!

I can't imagine I'll be getting much done with all of the walk breaks I'll be taking :rolleyes:....

They say if you survive the first week you're golden - is this true or just a ploy to cripple me faster?

Will I be able to walk by Christmas?

What will become of me in my jumping lessons!?

Please share any survival tips and/or sooth my fears!!

Ponyclubrocks
Dec. 1, 2009, 05:41 PM
Gotta love sitting trot and sitting canter, otherwise I'm shot in 10 minutes...

forward ride
Dec. 1, 2009, 05:49 PM
yeah, i tried "No Stirr-October" and I think it lasted for like 2 rides. Of course, I didn't actually remove my stirrups, so that made it easier to cheat.

i second the sitting trot and canter will be your new best friend :)

Good Luck! :D

MistyPony
Dec. 1, 2009, 05:51 PM
It's absolutely true that if you make it through the first week you're fine! The first time you jump without stirrups for a whole lesson you will feel like you're going to fall off at every single jump, but second lesson is 200 times easier I promise!

KateKat
Dec. 1, 2009, 05:51 PM
wow, that just sounds like cruel and unusual punishment to me! ;)

I would say...lots of wine and advil. Although not necessarily at the same time. Or before attempting a no stirrup ride.

Void
Dec. 1, 2009, 05:53 PM
Go to the Gym and spent 30mins 3x a week on the abductor machine ;)

Hahaha but no really its a great supplemental to riding. I spent a lot of time on it in college and my Eq was tight for IHSA.

indygirl2560
Dec. 1, 2009, 05:55 PM
Build up gradually. My trainer took my friend's stirrups away for two months! She started out taking a lot of walk/sitting trot breaks, but eventually could keep up entire flat sessions doing the same things as everyone else(post trot, half seat, etc). As far as jumping goes, my old trainer started us over xrails then gradually increased the jump height when we had shown that we could support our own bodies and not piss our horses off or fall off! It's like torture at first, but you'll get used to it more and more and get stronger too! After my time off of riding from an injury, I'm just now getting back to normal so my trainer has recently decided that it's no stirrup time for me!

rwh
Dec. 1, 2009, 05:55 PM
I absolutely LOVE no stirrup work!! I wish we had it more often in my lessons! You really get to feel your horse more and when you do get your stirrups back you will feel a huge difference. Just think about it as a good/fun thing to do (not an *ughh I don't want to*) and it will become just that!

(ps, if you're feeling tired work on lateral work at the walk--- not too tiring but very effective)

MistyPony
Dec. 1, 2009, 05:58 PM
Oh and don't quit too easily...it hurts a lot at first and then suddenly gets easier, but if you quit as soon as it starts to get hard then you never get over that hump.

Donkey
Dec. 1, 2009, 06:04 PM
You guys are making me feel a bit better about this - thank-you

My first stirrup-less ride will be tonight - I'll be wearing full seats for sure and perhaps I will arrive primed on Advil with wine chilling at home... The real test will be the lessons though and I still have two to look forward to this week. I'll be hoping that I will get to skip on the jumping for a week or two as I am pretty sure it might kill me (or my thighs might!). Cheating will not be an option as the instructor is usually teaching when I am riding. I know this will be good for me but ouch! it hurts to even think about how I'm going to feel. Hopefully it won't be near as bad as I am imaging....

woodhillsmanhattan
Dec. 1, 2009, 06:08 PM
You should have a barn mate literally HIDE your stirrups. That way there is no way you can cheat haha. Also maybe on your "off" days hop on bareback maybe with your horses blanket still on and just poke around. It's technically no stirrups and its fun for you and your horse :).

BrookdaleBay
Dec. 1, 2009, 06:12 PM
I did today's ride stirrupless (30 minutes) and needless to say my abs and thighs are hating me. In a weird way, the discomfort feels good because you know you've worked hard.
By January, you will have thighs of steel!

Aerial
Dec. 1, 2009, 06:36 PM
hmm that actually sounds like a really good idea! i've been a sucker for punishment lately (and just decided to do a half-marathon in the spring, i know what's wrong with me?!) so thinking maybe i'll do that.

klmck63
Dec. 1, 2009, 06:50 PM
Oooh good old no stirrup month, how I (don't) miss thee. My old coach did this every November, my new coach doesn't appear to, or at least hasn't mentioned it, yet.

I would keep motivated by reminding myself just how much my leg would be improved after the month. I'm only 18, but really it was never very painful. The first two lessons would be difficult, but after we were all warmed up and going, we were mostly allowed to just sit the trot.

We did all the same sorts of jumping lessons as we normally did, but with the jumps much lower. The first lesson was usually a flat lesson.

I just worked with it by trying to plan a little bit of extra time into my rides to give myself breaks if need be.

Good luck! It'll be worth it in the end.

ETA: My coach actually took our stirrups away and locked them in the trunk of her car. Anyone who was caught with a second set of stirrups got extra time added on at the end of the month. Cheating was not an option! Hahah

SarahandSam
Dec. 1, 2009, 07:48 PM
You've inspired me... I broke my foot last week and have negotiated my way into a walking cast, but I think it may be hard to balance correctly with stirrups, so maybe I'll use this as my motivation to do a stirrupless December...

I get so chicken about cantering stirrupless, but this will probably be good for me. Unless I slide off and try to land on my foot. d;

00Jumper
Dec. 1, 2009, 07:56 PM
I did no stirrups for 3 months last year . . . Don't be complaining to ME!! :D :lol: It's true, after you get past the first week you're set.

Thankfully, I dodged the No Stirrups Wager (everyone participating puts $10 in and whoever keeps it up the longest takes it all) this year when my trainer said I have great leg position and strength without my stirrups but my leg gets worse with stirrups because I don't know how to use them correctly. :(:lol: My months without stirrups have backfired on me! So I guess a few months of tying my stirrups to the girth is on the horizon. :rolleyes: Methinks after a few rides I am going to miss keeping my stirrups in my tack box! :lol:

CenterStage123
Dec. 1, 2009, 08:17 PM
My trainer kind of does this. Let me explain...

She takes away all of the kids sturrips for a week if at a show one person messes up on their "thing". My "thing" is adding a stride in a line. So if at a show I get 6 strides in a line instead of 5, all of the kids lose thier sturrips for the week. It is acctually great motivation! I haven't added in a line at a show after I made that mistake once. Other "things" include, missing a lead change, leaning at a jump, leaving out a stride, picking up the wrong lead, and for one girl it's even going off course! :lol: She chooses our "things" based on what we usually screw up while on course.

preciouspony
Dec. 1, 2009, 09:20 PM
Because I don't ride with a trainer, one thing that helps me most when I ride with no stirrups (and just riding in general) is setting goals at the beginning of each ride. So once I get on I tell myself "I'm going to trot 10 laps each direction, 8 laps posting, 1 lap sitting, and 1 lap in two point". It really helps me so I don't give up the second I start to get sore. I'll push myself until those 10 laps in one direction are done and then take a walk break before I start the next.

Whenever I'm taking a walk break in between excercises I do stretches to make my muscles less sore. Such as pulling my legs up near my seat or just pointing/flexing my feet. Then back to work!

Don't forget to breath either! Sounds silly but it really helps. I've always been taught to breath through the pain so you get oxygen to your muscles which will help reduce the pain.

Good luck and just keep thinking of that awesome leg you will have at the end of the month! :D

JazCreekInc.
Dec. 1, 2009, 09:26 PM
Aerial: Did a half marathon a couple of years ago and thinking about a half iron man for the old 30th birthday. It was amazing for my aerobic fitness level and tightness when riding. GREAT IDEA!

I just did "No-Stirrup November" just for fun and because I felt weak jumping bigger jumps on a green horse. I highly recommend it and I did have my groom hide my stirrups in the barn for the month to make it through.

It was easy after the first few days, have fun and enjoy how much harder you are working!

kateh
Dec. 1, 2009, 11:08 PM
If you're comfortable with it, get some bareback in there! I love doing regular flat sessions bareback-it works your muscles and you can feel exactly what's going on. I had the hardest time cantering sans stirrups until I cantered bareback and I could feel exactly where each hip should be going when.

Alterrain
Dec. 1, 2009, 11:13 PM
My trainer kind of does this. Let me explain...

She takes away all of the kids sturrips for a week if at a show one person messes up on their "thing". My "thing" is adding a stride in a line. So if at a show I get 6 strides in a line instead of 5, all of the kids lose thier sturrips for the week.

Ha! sounds like my college soccer coach! If one person was late, everyone BUT them had to run a lap on the 1/2 mi track. It really worked!

hrsgirl07
Dec. 1, 2009, 11:16 PM
I'm currently not taking lessons on my horse at home.... but I think I will start doing atleast all of my walk/ trot work with out stirrups.... the canter might have to be on a day by day basis because she is a little bi polar....

Hopefully my trainer at school will be able to see the difference in my riding when we get back from break in the begining of january!

Chef Jade
Dec. 2, 2009, 12:25 AM
My trainer never makes me ride without stirrups, and I am too wimpy to take them off the saddle myself. Lo and behold this morning he takes off my stirrups. I was dying, but took breaks as needed and by the end of the lesson it was actually easier! So instead of puting the stirrups back on the saddle, into my tack trunk they went. I'll see how long I can keep it up.

For whatever reason, no matter how much it hurts while I ride wothout stirrups, I don't get THAT sore. I always wish I had worked harder the next day.

SkipChange
Dec. 2, 2009, 12:38 AM
You couldn't pay me to take the stirrups off my saddle. But ONLY because they are a *bad word* to get on with those dadgum recessed stirrup bars (took me 2 days the first time I put them on).

I drop my stirrups almost every ride, but only for short intervals. Being able to ride without stirrups comes in really handy when your horse bucks/spooks/over jumps and you end up without stirrups during a show. My favorite show picture ever is me finishing half a course without stirrups at an A show. :D http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=30125069&id=1293060230

I'm seriously impressed with all you guys who take the stirrups off for month(s) at a time, not sure I could do that. Kudos to you!

Ozone
Dec. 2, 2009, 09:17 AM
ADVIL... all I can add! ;) and lots of it! Good luck! :)

Jolie_
Dec. 2, 2009, 10:21 AM
Good luck and have fun! Last month I did no stirrup work 2/week and it helped. I have a question for all that take the stirrups off all together ( I had mine crossed over the withers), how do you mount? I know silly question but even with a mounting block I am not sure I could jump up without my mare going insane, but would be nice to not have the stirrups bouncing on her shoulders.

Celeritas
Dec. 2, 2009, 10:26 AM
We've had no stirrup months at my barn as well. Our trainer takes off everyone's right stirrup (so you can still mount) and hides them, and nobody would even think of trying to cheat!

Everyone is right, once you get past the first week it's so much easier. Even my trainer couldn't believe how strong I got from that month- half seat at the canter was like nothing at all. The first jumping lesson was very difficult, but the jumps were kept small and I survived.

Definitely remember to breathe, and when you feel like you're going to die, just tell yourself to keep going for one more long side, one more lap, whatever it takes to push yourself for a little bit longer. After the month is up, you won't believe the difference! Good luck!

trooper345
Dec. 2, 2009, 11:52 AM
Full seat breeches and a stick of Sadl-tite

:lol:

mjrtango93
Dec. 2, 2009, 01:49 PM
Depending on how "sensitive" you are you may want to get a good pair of seamless panties or better yet those biker underwear to use this month. The no stirrup thing has never been an issue for me, I can do that. It's the chaffing issue that kills me!

blackcat95
Dec. 2, 2009, 06:17 PM
Ah... no stirrups. How I hate thee. Fortunately, my trainer hasn't gotten this into her head yet. But it shouldn't be long... Her latest trick is to take the stirrups off the saddle, buckle them together, and put one part over the pommel and one part in front of the saddle so you have stirrups but they'll move if you're leaning! This really works... you get about 6 months with your stirrups this way. Fortunately, I'm exempt because I'm rehabbing my horse and I have back issues so I can't even ride right now (not happy about that).

You should try this "hooking the stirrups together" trick as a build up to the no stirrups, because it teaches you where your weight is and how you lean so when you go to no stirrups, you won't just slide off because you are already used to balancing properly.

Cita
Dec. 2, 2009, 06:20 PM
Ah... no stirrups. How I hate thee. Fortunately, my trainer hasn't gotten this into her head yet. But it shouldn't be long... Her latest trick is to take the stirrups off the saddle, buckle them together, and put one part over the pommel and one part in front of the saddle so you have stirrups but they'll move if you're leaning! This really works... you get about 6 months with your stirrups this way. Fortunately, I'm exempt because I'm rehabbing my horse and I have back issues so I can't even ride right now (not happy about that).

You should try this "hooking the stirrups together" trick as a build up to the no stirrups, because it teaches you where your weight is and how you lean so when you go to no stirrups, you won't just slide off because you are already used to balancing properly.

I've never seen this, sounds interesting! Don't suppose you have pictures of how to rig it? Can't quite picture it.

neigh.neigh
Dec. 2, 2009, 06:27 PM
You guys have all encouraged me! I took my stirrups off my saddle today and I am keeping them off for a month!

blackcat95
Dec. 2, 2009, 06:28 PM
I've never seen this, sounds interesting! Don't suppose you have pictures of how to rig it? Can't quite picture it.

Sorry, don't have pictures, but I'll try to describe it.
1) Take the stirrups off the saddle.
2) Unhook them
3) Hook one stirrup to the other with the buckles, like you are doing a regular stirrup, but on the other one.
4) Move the buckles so they are at the bottom, touching each stirrup.
5) Separate the stirrups to opposite ends with the buckles.
6) Place one leather in front of the saddle, on the withers.
7) Place the other leather on the seat of the saddle behind the pommel.
8) Make sure the buckles on the leathers face out, so you're not poking your horse.

Oh god, this makes no sense... :rolleyes: I'll see if I can get some pictures.

Anyhow, makes sure when you get on someone is holding the other stirrup/ you can swing your leg over without getting in the stirrup, because you will go right over! Also, the first couple of times it will feel weird and you will slip and you will have to stop and readjust the stirrups so they are even on both sides.

Marcella
Dec. 3, 2009, 12:26 AM
I ride better bareback for some twisted reason. You'll become super woman and the man in your life will love it.

Did I just say that?

Seriously, don't let your legs scrunch up or you will get exhausted. Keep your leg long, set goals (i.e. trotting once around, walking once around, trotting once around, etc. until you get comfortable), and breathe.

cnvh
Dec. 3, 2009, 09:56 PM
You guys have inspired me... I have officially declared December a No-Stirrups Month for me and removed them from my saddle entirely for my ride tonight. I managed W/T/C both ways and my goal by the end of the month is to get through some small jumps.

(I only survived 15 minutes tonight though... ssshhh, don't tell anyone!:))

I managed to goad some fellow barn peeps into doing this too, so we'll have each other for commisseration, anyway...

Edited to add: Luckily we have an enormous mounting block at our barn, otherwise I'd have no chance in hell of getting my very short self atop my 16.something OTTB...

tarheelmd07
Dec. 4, 2009, 09:26 AM
I love riding without stirrups...well, I love it on the flat anyway. It's not so bad over fences if I actually take the stirrups off my saddle, but crossing them leads to the leathers digging into my thigh due to where my stirrup bars are...but I digress.

I agree with everyone that the more you do it, the easier it gets! I'm really more of a lurker here from the eventing forum...so I do cheat and do a lot of my no-stirrup flat work in my dressage saddle...which does make it easier :) I'd recommend a breast plate or stirrup leather around the neck for the first time or 2 jumping...it can be helpful to know you've got an "Oh Sh*t" strap if you feel you need it :yes: Another thing you could do is find someone to lunge you with no stirrups - great way to work on your seat and legs! If others at your barn are doing the no-stirrup thing too, you could trade off lunging each other. One of the best things I've ever done for my riding was to get in a regular program of lunge lessons (1 lesson a week, no stirrups, no reins) - man, did that strengthen your core and get you to use your seat and legs more effectively!

starrysky
Dec. 4, 2009, 10:34 AM
I am an anxiety-ridden person, and tend to be nervous when riding. My new lease has started to cure me of this, and I have gotten brave enough to start walking without my stirrups. I see my stirrups as a safety net, and since I've never had to do much work without them in my riding career, riding without them now as an adult, seems so scary! I have started with walking and walking in 2-point, both without stirrups. I am hoping that in a few weeks I'll be brave enough to try to trot. I think it will be a long, long time before I'll canter or jump without them though!

Hunter Mom
Dec. 4, 2009, 12:05 PM
You guys inspired me - well some, anyhow! Last night I went for a lesson on my 40th birthday. I didn't pick my stirrups up for at least the first 20 minutes or so. However, given how freaking cold it was I did end up picking them up.

Heinz 57
Dec. 4, 2009, 01:02 PM
You've inspired me... I broke my foot last week and have negotiated my way into a walking cast, but I think it may be hard to balance correctly with stirrups, so maybe I'll use this as my motivation to do a stirrupless December...

I get so chicken about cantering stirrupless, but this will probably be good for me. Unless I slide off and try to land on my foot. d;


Been there, done that (don't tell my Ortho). Broke my foot (5th metatarsal, at an angle right below the head) in mid July, rode bareback mostly through the end of July, all through August and part of September. I also only wore my walking boot while at work (don't tell Ortho that either). I walked on it for two days before going to see my regular physician - I broke it Saturday afternoon when I jumped from a boat onto a concrete dock and went to the doctor Monday afternoon. I'd never broken anything before, and while yeah it hurt, I've done things to myself that hurt worse. My NP thought I was nuts, and said I must have a seriously high pain tolerance. It swelled, bruised like crazy and there was some very slight edema, but otherwise it was just a PIA. I had the most trouble just finding a shoe that would fit over it to ride in - Eventually I settled for a pair of my skate shoes that were a little wider and had a fairly rigid sole, because there was no way it was going to fit into a field boot or paddock boot.

We did a lot of jogging, walking, and a little canter here and there. My mare is fairly lazy and despite being an eventer-in-training TB, can jog and lope like a WP horse. It was quite the comical event to watch me mount, though - I broke my LEFT foot. You know, the one you push off of when you jump from mounting block to horse. I'm very thankful for my ever-tolerant baby greenie who quickly took to the game of me lining her up with the mounting block on the wrong side, jumping off my less-than-ambidextrous right foot and trying to get my left leg over her rangy 16.2h frame enough to wiggle the rest of my body home. She stood like a peach and I could almost see her laughing at me right along with my BO and the other boarders that knew me well enough to know that a darn broken foot wouldn't keep me off a horse.

So, not to encourage you to ignore your doctor, but it can be done. Here's hoping you broke your right, though, and not your left like me! Either way, I can promise you that it will be more than a month before you will be comfortable putting weight on that foot in a stirrup. I'm fairly stupid (young) and obviously have some sort of mutant pain tolerance, and it was a good 3+ months before I got to that point.

On a more on-topic note, I frequently drop my stirrups when I ride in my dressage saddle (yay, lots of sitting trot!), although not so much in my CC - I do have a four year old, after all. :)

SarahandSam
Dec. 4, 2009, 02:30 PM
So, not to encourage you to ignore your doctor, but it can be done. Here's hoping you broke your right, though, and not your left like me! Either way, I can promise you that it will be more than a month before you will be comfortable putting weight on that foot in a stirrup. I'm fairly stupid (young) and obviously have some sort of mutant pain tolerance, and it was a good 3+ months before I got to that point.
:)

Nope, it's my left foot too--and same bone, 5th metatarsal. (; I'm getting along well in the walking cast, but trying to get used to walking a bit without it... you're right, the pain's not awful, compared to other injuries I've had. I'm lucky in that I have a nice short 14.2 horse, so I figure if I just mount from the top of a tall mounting block, I should be good... and I asked to ride a pony in my lesson group, too. Fun fun fun! Thanks for sharing your tips. (:

Eeq
Dec. 4, 2009, 03:51 PM
Do the sitting trot and canter as much as you can. And LOTS and LOTS of stretching!

BayRuth
Dec. 4, 2009, 04:51 PM
Ah, I just came back from "No Stirrup Novemeber". Fun times, fun times! It's harder int he beginning especially posting trot, but you'll get used to it eventually. :]

Too bad I had gym class the day after my lesson. My thighs were /BURNING/. ><

onlyleftsocks
Dec. 4, 2009, 05:55 PM
I LOVE DECEMBER! There is nothing like hearing the amazing level of b***hing about "no irons" month in the first week- then having the epiphany at week 4 that "WOW it actually worked and Im still alive!" this month builds my riders for the next year, and shows me exactly what we need to work on in the off season. Its not fun, but its soooo good for you.

Cindyg
Dec. 4, 2009, 10:15 PM
OK, I'll be the lone dissenter. There is no way I'd be going along with this.

The last time my trainer gave me a similar challenge, I was in the emergency room that afternoon and confined to bed for the next three weeks. My mom had to come to care for my child! I can still feel phantom pains from that fall.

I'm afraid my stirrup-less days and bareback days are behind me.

I don't know if the trainer is serious that there are no exceptions, well, this is why I'm glad I have my horse at home where I can do what I need to do.

broughton_sporthorses
Dec. 5, 2009, 06:18 AM
I'm definitely inspired to do a whole month of no stirrups! Well, maybe not with with young ones, but my 2 more well behaved ones I'll do it.

MistyPony
Dec. 5, 2009, 09:09 AM
OK, I'll be the lone dissenter. There is no way I'd be going along with this.

The last time my trainer gave me a similar challenge, I was in the emergency room that afternoon and confined to bed for the next three weeks. My mom had to come to care for my child! I can still feel phantom pains from that fall.

I'm afraid my stirrup-less days and bareback days are behind me.

I don't know if the trainer is serious that there are no exceptions, well, this is why I'm glad I have my horse at home where I can do what I need to do.

Oh no! Sorry that happened to you! In my experience the "no exceptions" rule is a bluff to get the people who are physically able, but lazy or just don't realize they're physically able. It was "mandatory" at my barn... except for the girl whose horse bucked like a rodeo bronc all winter. She was exempt even though she was a fabulous rider, it just wasn't safe. There were also varying degrees of exemptions for adults so some would just have to do the flat part of their lessons without stirrups for example.

Sounds like your trainer should have realized that a full no stirrups month was not going to be a good idea for you and your horse.