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No Stirrup Month - Survival Tips?

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  • No Stirrup Month - Survival Tips?

    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 ....

    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!!

  • #2
    Gotta love sitting trot and sitting canter, otherwise I'm shot in 10 minutes...


    • #3
      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!


      • #4
        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!


        • #5
          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.


          • #6
            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.
            If only horses would use their athletic powers for good instead of evil. ~ MHM


            • #7
              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!


              • #8
                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)


                • #9
                  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.


                  • Original Poster

                    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....


                    • #11
                      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 .
                      There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the
                      inside of a man.

                      -Sir Winston Churchill


                      • #12
                        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!
                        Proud mother to Matt, a 18 year-old TB gelding.



                        • #13
                          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.


                          • #14
                            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
                            Faibel Farms Custom Fly Bonnets
                            Like us on Facebook!


                            • #15
                              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;
                              "Remain relentlessly cheerful."

                              Graphite/Pastel Portraits


                              • #16
                                I did no stirrups for 3 months last year . . . Don't be complaining to ME!! 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. 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. Methinks after a few rides I am going to miss keeping my stirrups in my tack box!

                                "You keep one leg on one side, the other leg on the other side, and your mind in the middle." -- Henry Taylor, "Riding Lesson"


                                • #17
                                  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! She chooses our "things" based on what we usually screw up while on course.


                                  • #18
                                    Set goals!

                                    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!


                                    • #19
                                      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!
                                      Specialized Equine Rehabilitation, Reproduction, and Fitness in the Wine Country of Northern California


                                      • #20
                                        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.
                                        "Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out." ~John Wooden

                                        Phoenix Animal Rescue