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Getting back into no stirrups work - your tips!

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  • Getting back into no stirrups work - your tips!

    Hey all.

    I've been out of commission for a few weeks. I tore my MCL after a fall (still trying to figure out how it happened... kind of wish I had the fall on videotape!) and luckily, no surgery, but I've been sloooowly rehabbing it, etc. My orthopedist has given me advice on how to ease back into shape and stuff but.. How do I ease back into no stirrups work?

    I got on for the first time in weeks today and I tried to do no stirrup work. Omg. It wasn't even there! I could barely get my butt out of the saddle to post! I lost my no stirrups groove. I lost all the strength in my leg (and really, the other one too), but I lost the groove most of all. I can't really remember how to find the horse's momentum to push me up out of the saddle? I'm planning on asking my trainer, but I was wondering if you guys had any advice about how to ease back into doing no stirrups work and how to find that mojo.


  • #2
    Well, not to sound flip, but you just have to do it. Drop them for a few laps, sit the trot, then post, then do a few more laps, then do it at the canter, then do two-point, etc. etc. I take mine off when I want to be serious about it, but that might be a little ways down the line for you since you had an injury.
    You can take a line and say it isn't straight- but that won't change its shape. Jets to Brazil


    • #3
      Something that I always have to remind myself if I'm getting back into riding or getting a horse back into a program is that there is so much that can be done at the walk. Simply working on a very good walk and asking correctly for various movements like shoulder in/haunches in, leg yields, lengthening, collection, spirals, etc, can be done at the walk. Monitor your leg position throughout, feel your seat bones, note how your hips move with the horses and affect your horse's movement. You can also do slow posting at the walk--it's hard, but you don't have to do a lot to be effective. I usually think up-1-2-3-4 (on four I've posted up with butt out of the saddle) down-1-2-3-4 (by four my butt is in the saddle, gently, not slamming back down). And yes, no stirrups work is good, but two-point work can be really effective, too. Be sure to concentrate on weight in heels and utilizing your core to hold you up! Doing transitions between gaits (especially halt transitions) while in two-point can help you tighten up immensely. When I have to get back into riding shape fast, I will alternate between no stirrups and two-point work for six rides. It can be painfully sore, but it gets me back to a respectable fitness level to start managing more horses to ride, stick over a 3' course, etc.

      I'm presently doing slow rehab and conditioning after dealing with dislocated ribs for the past month, so I feel your pain. I've been walking on an old retiree the last few rides; tomorrow I'm supposed to trot again (!).

      Remember, you may not feel the pain while you're riding, but after the adrenaline wears off you will, so be careful not to push yourself past your limit. The only thing worse than an injury is a re-injury.


      • Original Poster

        Thanks guys

        I like the two-point 1-2-3-4 move at the walk. I gotta give that a try!


        • #5
          To add--with two-point work, DO use your stirrups. I only do two-point no-stirrups if I'm already fairly fit, otherwise you can do some pain and damage to your back from not having strong enough support from your core/legs.

          As for the 1-2-3-4, make sure you're going up like a post and not into two point. sometimes if you do two point that slow, your leg can slip back, and bye-bye center-of-gravity.

          Good luck! At least you've got warm weather to recover and rehab in now.


          • #6
            To add--with two-point work, DO use your stirrups. I only do two-point no-stirrups if I'm already fairly fit, otherwise you can do some pain and damage to your back from not having strong enough support from your core/legs.

            As for the 1-2-3-4, make sure you're going up like a post and not into two point. sometimes if you do two point that slow, your leg can slip back, and bye-bye center-of-gravity.

            Good luck! At least you've got warm weather to recover and rehab in now.


            • Original Poster

              Anymore suggestions from you wise people?


              • #8
                I would post the trot with your stirrups and stand for 2 beats, sit for one, stand for 2, sit for 1. You'll be surprised at how much strength it takes!! And agreed with Pony+, as usual.

                Also, I tore my meniscus by bending down to pick up a pen I dropped, so I feel your pain on the "I injured myself and am not quite sure how front"!
                Proudly blogging for The Chronicle of the Horse!


                • #9
                  ^^^oh yes, that's a GREAT one. I think I'm going to that this weekend haha.


                  • #10
                    I think you should start out sitting the trot. Get your body used to it, then try posting two or so steps, then sitting again. Then try posting a little more and more so you can slowly re-teach your body.