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View Full Version : Borrowed from H/J: No stirrups month!



Heinz 57
Jan. 27, 2012, 05:56 PM
Who wants to pledge? I've been stirrup-less for the last week, although I won't be doing anything o/f without them - ye olde man is too fiery and I'd surely end up on my face.

Join the fun. You know you want to. Make February count!

kkindley
Jan. 27, 2012, 07:47 PM
Hmmmm, I DID ride bareback last night. I will pledge to ride at least 3 days a week without! I can't go completely without because I have a CT and some jumper shows.

Highflyer
Jan. 27, 2012, 08:45 PM
I can't go completely without, either, or my horse will kill me :) But I did a clinic yesterday and I'm supposed to jump without stirrups in hopes that it will teach me to duck less. We shall see.

yellowbritches
Jan. 27, 2012, 08:49 PM
Not I!

Toby and I routinely reenact top PBR bulls and bull riders as we leave the indoor (where the mounting block is) to go for hacks or work in the outdoor. The parking lot is hard...I would prefer not to find out HOW hard. I'll pass....can I get street cred for doing a lot of two point on our long hacks?

Heinz 57
Jan. 27, 2012, 09:12 PM
yb, I suppose you can be an honorary pledge.

BUT I'll have you know I've almost fallen off TWICE in the last week. And not just 'oh, I'm a little off balance', but some serious close calls! Once while working on lead changes (swing the haunches and pogo stick!) and again last night when cranky pants thought working on (ironcally) haunches in was DUMB. A few duck n' spins later, I was definitely hanging off one side.

I can do naughty bareback. I can do naughty in a saddle, with stirrups. Saddle without stirrups? oy. :lol:

Highflyer
Jan. 27, 2012, 09:14 PM
I think naughty bareback is worse! My horse has withers like a shark!

yellowbritches
Jan. 27, 2012, 09:26 PM
It's been a looooong time since I did naughty bareback (am I the only one who thinks that sounds a little, umm, funny?). I survive Toby style antics pretty well with stirrups, but I really don't want to find out whether I can or cannot survive WITHOUT. He's very quick and zippy...good things on xc....not good things in the dead of winter when you're just trying to get through! :lol:

enjoytheride
Jan. 27, 2012, 10:39 PM
Maybe one day I will have a winter horse that I can ride bareback or without stirrups on. As it is I have to do those things on my summer horse. 90 degree temps are the ideal time for bareback or stirrupless work

Heinz 57
Jan. 28, 2012, 01:02 AM
It's been a looooong time since I did naughty bareback

y'know, I didn't think it sounded funny til I read it like this. :lol: I can handle naughty while bareback on my smaller gelding (16.1). I rode pretty much ALL spring/summer/fall in just a bareback pad and a myler curb with split reins, chased cows and just generally dinked around with fun stuff. The big one could dump me on my arse quicker than a hiccup, saddle of any kind be damned.

YB, you get a free pass since you're going outdoors into the uncontained wilderness. :winkgrin: Maybe I'm just a daredevil. My horses are definitely not saintly! And we're not putzing around doing pansy-work, either! I busted my butt last night doing trot and canter lengthenings (what? don't shove your head straight in the air and stab like Pegasus?!!) and then attacked some simple changes. Oh, and then ran some barrels at the end (with stirrups) just for the hell of being silly. Ye olde man was a barrel horse in a former life and knows how to get 'er done. :lol:

cleozowner
Jan. 28, 2012, 07:51 AM
I've taken up stirrupless weekends...that way I can work my horse a little bit during the week to get some of the winter horse out, and then I can work on myself for a day or two at the end of the week. Also, I can be just a tad sore (embarrassing--my muscles should be stronger at this point) after a long no-stirrups session, so I like to break it up.

barnmaven
Jan. 28, 2012, 07:50 PM
When I think of bareback, all that comes to mind, are the nasty rashes I'd get on my a$$ after hours of galloping through the cornfields of Minnesota every summer when I was young.

Flying Hearts
Jan. 28, 2012, 09:03 PM
Seriously?? I can't believe that half the responses to this thread (and the h/j one) are things like "I can't, my horse is wild" or whatever other excuse. Either do it or don't! Hardly anyone is stepping up and saying "Ok!"

I'm game! I will probably warm up the wild mare for 15-20 minutes with stirrups to get the sillies out, and then do 10 minutes of no stirrup work, work up to 15 min, then 20, etc... I really want to get fitter by spring and what better way than no stirrup work!

JER
Jan. 28, 2012, 09:37 PM
Seriously?? I can't believe that half the responses to this thread (and the h/j one) are things like "I can't, my horse is wild" or whatever other excuse. Either do it or don't! Hardly anyone is stepping up and saying "Ok!"

Please understand that the no-stirrups pledge is of limited value in many cases.

A rider can benefit from no-stirrups work on the right horse and in a saddle that fits the rider. Otherwise, there's not really much (if any) benefit, and you might find yourself developing some bad habits (like a stiff, rather than relaxed, leg or using the hand to balance).

Many horses are not candidates for extended no-stirrups work. Some horses get irritated by a rider's shifting balance or extra weight in the seat. You're better off improving your balance and lightening your seat with irons than bugging the heck out of the horse for the month of February. IME, some of these horses are happier with a bareback rider than a saddle without irons, so that could be your no-stirrups option.

:)

Heinz 57
Jan. 28, 2012, 10:02 PM
If you don't want to "bug the heck out of the horse for the month of February", don't sign up. Nobody is forcing anything. 2 minutes, 2 weeks, 2 months, nobody is going to hold anyone accountable.

(and frankly, JER, if the saddle doesn't fit the rider? It's not going to fit any better with stirrups. :lol:)

Adamantane
Jan. 28, 2012, 10:04 PM
I didn't think and flatly refuse to believe that my longtime wise RI is or ever will be into silly fads. But my Friday lesson was without stirrups (in a saddle) and my hack today (by my own spontaneous choice) was bareback, too. Both were mostly sitting trot.

I'm almost afraid to look into where this fad came from.:eek:

That said, both the lesson and today's ring and trail efforts were highly constructive in terms of flexibility and balance.

I came to riding in mid-life and a few years ago decided that if practically every little girl in America who ever rode a horse used to ride bareback, by damn, so could and would I. :yes:

Which I began literally. With no pad. The male barn co-manager expressed surprising admiration at the outset which puzzled me, but fortunately the horse I rode was not a ridge-backed TB. :lol:

I did switch to a pad and then bought one of my own. The first two weeks the pad would slowly shift to one side or another after a few minutes and I'd have to readjust. Thereafter, miraculously, it never moved again at all. :no: Ever.

How many significant and enduring riding corrections ever occur automatically with no conscious effort?! ;)

While I still have nagging shoulder asymmetries, I have never again shifted over time laterally. Cheapest and most effective permanent riding correction I've ever heard of. :yes:

So skip the stirrups if that's the flavor of the month, but skip the saddle, too.

AnEnglishRider
Jan. 28, 2012, 10:17 PM
Seriously?? I can't believe that half the responses to this thread (and the h/j one) are things like "I can't, my horse is wild" or whatever other excuse. Either do it or don't! Hardly anyone is stepping up and saying "Ok!"

I'm game! I will probably warm up the wild mare for 15-20 minutes with stirrups to get the sillies out, and then do 10 minutes of no stirrup work, work up to 15 min, then 20, etc... I really want to get fitter by spring and what better way than no stirrup work!

Hey, the way my horse hauled off bucking after a jump today, is why I said on the hunter jumper thread that he's getting warmed up with stirrups before I ever drop them :yes: He was enjoying himself a little too much.
http://i1006.photobucket.com/albums/af182/MadBurns_2010/canter-1.png

(not a picture of the bucking, more just general excitedness from today :lol: "stop" was not in his working vocabulary, first time jumping outside since like 3 months ago... we had to refresh a little on behavior after that... also, he looks so happy with himself there, if only I wasn't so obviously trying to stop him :lol: "home" was in the direction we were heading, unfortunately)

Some days, like today, I do not drop them at all. Other times, like yesterday, I probably could have done my whole ride without them (if I was fit enough, which I'm not). Which is why I can only conditionally commit to "as much as I can" when it gets around to no stirrup month. I draw the line at getting bucked off when I could have stayed on with my stirrups, if I know he's that fresh.

Adamantane
Jan. 28, 2012, 10:47 PM
Seriously?? I can't believe that half the responses to this thread (and the h/j one) are things like "I can't, my horse is wild" or whatever other excuse. Either do it or don't! Hardly anyone is stepping up and saying "Ok!"

Never imagined I'd see a day when I found myself in the bolder half of any riding activity. Much as I enjoyed my ride earlier, this really made my day!

JER
Jan. 29, 2012, 01:01 AM
If you don't want to "bug the heck out of the horse for the month of February", don't sign up. Nobody is forcing anything. 2 minutes, 2 weeks, 2 months, nobody is going to hold anyone accountable.

(and frankly, JER, if the saddle doesn't fit the rider? It's not going to fit any better with stirrups. :lol:)

Heinz, I was responding to Flying Heart's admonishments. There can be very legitimate reasons not to swear off stirrups.

As for saddle fit, the plain truth is that many riders have to make do with the equipment and horses available to them. If you're riding someone else's horse in someone else's saddle, one of the ways you can adjust the fit of the saddle is to raise or lower the irons. So yes, while the fit may still not be ideal, it can be a more functional fit with stirrups.

Here are my reasons for not joining your crusade: Ride #1 is a gangly not-yet 4YO TB. He'll be an awesome packer someday, but right now he needs a rider who can sometimes balance off his back, especially in canter. Ride #2 is a pony with a buck-and-leap issue. Needs forward, light transitions, and I need to ride a little short for extra adjustability and leverage. Ride #3 is a older lesson pony (not mine) who does not like a heavy seat (at all), is a recovering bolter, and needs to be kept in tune for beginner kids. I've made a lot of progress with her but as her day job is a priority, I really can't change the recipe.

I've had other horses that I could ride bareback or stirrup-less for days; however, the current lot aren't those horses. Not yet anyway.

:)

snoopy
Jan. 29, 2012, 02:06 AM
Please understand that the no-stirrups pledge is of limited value in many cases.

A rider can benefit from no-stirrups work on the right horse and in a saddle that fits the rider. Otherwise, there's not really much (if any) benefit, and you might find yourself developing some bad habits (like a stiff, rather than relaxed, leg or using the hand to balance).

Many horses are not candidates for extended no-stirrups work. Some horses get irritated by a rider's shifting balance or extra weight in the seat. You're better off improving your balance and lightening your seat with irons than bugging the heck out of the horse for the month of February. IME, some of these horses are happier with a bareback rider than a saddle without irons, so that could be your no-stirrups option.

:)



JER

You beat me to the punch.

Tuesday's Child
Jan. 29, 2012, 08:10 AM
My mare is coming off a 3-month string of injuries and only just getting back into work, so I don't want to make promises I can't keep. However, if she continues to improve I vow to include some no stirrups work in every ride I have in February (although it may just be at the walk when we're cooling out, depending on the day :lol: ) Maybe by the end of the month, I will be brave/fit enough to try some bareback with her too. Adamantane, your point about little girls and their horses made me laugh!

NSRider
Jan. 29, 2012, 12:54 PM
I'm down! Why not? Time to build up those muscles, work on balance, etc. If things get a little sketchy, toss the stirrups back down and carry on!

FLeckenAwesome
Jan. 29, 2012, 12:54 PM
I"m game to try. I"m lucky in that my horsey is awesome and can handle no stirrup work, bareback work, etc. I"m more likely to get bucked off walking him then doing anything in particular. And by bucked off I mean he trips and falls and I fall off. ;) hee hee. Seriously though... I know I've come off him because he's spun on me or stopped at a fence. But I don't think this horse has EVER attempted to buck me off. He porpoises and that's the extent of it.

So... I am joining the crusade. I need to work on my leg and seat anyways. :) THanks for the motivation!

ohrebecca
Jan. 29, 2012, 06:04 PM
I told my trainer that when I get back to lessoning (money's tight right now), I want her to punish me with no-stirrups work for a long time. I'm a masochist.

Crzy4Mares
Jan. 29, 2012, 06:18 PM
I took my stirrups off of both my dressage and jumping saddles for the month of November. I found it extremely beneficial for both my horse and myself. Boy, did I learn exactly where my core was and how ineffectively I was using it! It also amazed me how much more responsive my horse was to my seat when I wasn't bracing against my stirrups (bad habit...). I was even brave enough to take my jumping lessons without the stirrups. I'll definitely be marking my calendar for No Stirrup November again next year.

phoebetrainer
Jan. 29, 2012, 07:30 PM
I work every day without stirrups - not all day, but a little bit every day. I also do lots of rising trot without stirrups. REALLY good for core muscles, much harder than sitting trot with no stirrups:eek:.

I have one horse who is difficult to fit a saddle to. I rode him lots last year in a sheepskin pad surcingled on - road work, hills, fast work, some jumping. You name it, we did it without a saddle. Only time I seriously thought I was going to part company was when a group of cyclist came whirring towards us on the road - none of them were saying anything and he was sure it was a whirling monster coming to get him. They were travelling pretty fast though and when they go closer, he whirled around 360 and by the time he was back facing the right way, they had gone past. I then nearly fell off again - from laughing because he was so astounded that they had disappeared. They checked I was okay and realised I was laughing so kept going.

Love my stirrups free work. I'll keep the stirrups on the ponies I am currently backing though.

slp2
Jan. 29, 2012, 08:34 PM
I'm in. I warmed up my older horse yesterday and then dropped the stirrups. It was helpful for me because when I ride dressage, I tend to tip forward with my upper body and let my knee creep up (always trying to perfect my fetal position on horseback!) I had to lengthen my leg and stay more upright without stirrups.

I don't think I'll go stirrup-less on my younger horse. She can be tense in the back, and I don't think it would be a positive experience for either of us. ;)

quietann
Jan. 29, 2012, 10:41 PM
I'm in, for a few minutes of every ride, at least. Maresy's rock-solid, with a good "stop button" and her trot's as smooth as silk once she's warmed up. Tried no stirrups for 10 minutes on Thursday in a lesson, and my trainer said I used my seat way better than usual. So yeah. Let's see if I can do more than 10 minutes by the end of February :)

Flying Hearts
Jan. 29, 2012, 11:46 PM
JER, I completely agree with you. And I will take it a step further and say that sometimes no stirrup work is BAD for your position. You can really develop and/or reinforce some bad habits. Somehow you mistook my post as me saying everyone should drop their stirrups, which I'm certainly not!

I just meant, if you are going to come in the "No stirrups month" thread and make a post, make it a post saying "Yeah, let's do this!" Not a post saying you aren't doing it, or you're only gonna sort of do it. When I come in to read people's responses I want to be motivated! Not hear reasons why people aren't going to drop their stirrups! :)

KMErickson
Jan. 30, 2012, 03:54 AM
I'm in! Though whenever I do a 'no stirrups ride' I always warm up with stirrups, cross them for the 'work' portion of the ride, and then take them back to do stretchy work at the end. That way, my horse's back is as warmed up and well maintained as possible for the potato-sack-style flopping that I force him to endure while I practice sitting! ;)

But seriously, I do mostly pure dressage now so I've got serious motivation to try to improve my seat, and when push comes to shove there's only one way to really do it: practice, practice, practice. Riding without stirrups gives me the push to actually sit the right way and not brace off the irons with my toe (which is my go to bad habit).

Wordplay1832
Jan. 30, 2012, 10:57 AM
I did this last year, just flatwork without stirrups for a month, and it made a huge difference in my seat, especially how I rode my horse's canter (she has a....unconventional canter, it can be quite lovely, but I had never been quite able to sit it correctly enough to get that out of her consistently). I felt like I was in such better shape. Something really important was posting without stirrups, not just sitting the trot. This year I think I will have to do it more in March instead of Jan/Feb because my horse is just getting back in work after a few months of vacation, and sitting that much on her sensitive back is asking for trouble! But I do try to drop my stirrups for a few minutes at the end of most rides.

I noticed after those few months off my sitting trot has gone out the window-need to get that back (and my abs back-oof!)

Heinz 57
Jan. 30, 2012, 12:10 PM
I just meant, if you are going to come in the "No stirrups month" thread and make a post, make it a post saying "Yeah, let's do this!" Not a post saying you aren't doing it, or you're only gonna sort of do it. When I come in to read people's responses I want to be motivated! Not hear reasons why people aren't going to drop their stirrups! :)

I was a little miffed at this, too. :confused:

Regardless, YAY for everyone that IS actually going to give it a shot. Whether you're putting in five minutes of walk work or going for the whole enchilada, I'm proud of you! And feeling your pain. :winkgrin: We may even progress to some jumping without stirrups, later in the month, but I may don my vest for that, because I shall surely go splat at least once or twice. :lol: If you want some motivation, go look at the H/J thread and the pictures PNWjumper posted of herself jumping large jumps without stirrups and looking fabulous. :yes: