View Full Version : Riding w/o stirrups

Dec. 18, 2009, 10:39 PM
I do quite a bit of riding without my stirrups in both my flatwork and jumping. I was told the other day by a hunter trainer that they don't believe in riding w/o stirrups for two reasons: it's dangerous and it's bad for the horses back.

I understand why some people might think its dangerous, but I tell you what, I would certainly rather fall off with my feet out of the stirrups then in. I also feel more secure without stirrups, because I am united with the horse, so if he does throw a buck or a rear, not a big deal.

I have never heard of riding w/o stirrups being bad for the horses back (unless you are just bouncing all over the place). I have always thought that riding w/o stirrups is better for the horses back, because you are more connected and in sync with your horse. I know when I ride the sitting trot w/ stirrups on one of my geldings, I feel tight through my back, but when I drop my stirrups, everything just meshes together and we both soften.

What do you all think of this?

Dec. 19, 2009, 09:39 AM
I do most/all of my flatwork in the ring without stirrups in the winter. I don't feel that I am less "light" on their backs without my stirrups, at all. I can also post just fine without them, just as well as with them. There's really no difference in my dressage position/lightness of seat with or without stirrups. I think that less-experienced riders do need to ride without stirrups, but should not do it all the time because less coordination/strength = more bouncing on the horse's back.

I do most conditioning/jumping/hacking with stirrups so I can stay off their backs for that.

Dec. 19, 2009, 09:43 PM
I have never been told that riding without stirrups is inherently bad for a horse's back. I HAVE been told (by just one out of many trainers I have worked with) not to start off a schooling session with no stirrups; allow the horse to loosen up a little first, then drop the stirrups. I don't see a downside to that, so that's what I usually do. Like you said, you know if you're bouncing and slamming down it obviously can't be comfortable for the horse, but I don't think that's what we're talking about here.

As far as being dangerous; really? I think that jumping can be dangerous if you don't know what you're doing. I guess cantering can be dangerous if you don't know what you're doing, too. I think developing the suppleness of body needed to do a bunch of stuff on a horse with no stirrups will make you a much safer rider in the long run.

I used to hate no stirrup work and I always thought it was like a punishment my trainer handed out. Now I love it. Most of it anyway. The posting trot without stirrups on a horse without the animation to do most of the work for me, I can do without. But, that's just me. And, I'm kinda old. I guess. At least, compared with the other people at the barn I train at.....


Dec. 20, 2009, 09:23 AM
When I rode hunter/equitation, we would do entire lessons without stirrups. This winter, I took my stirrups off my jumping saddle and am either riding without stirrups or bareback. In the storm we just got, I'm not going to be doing much of anything anyhow.