Incase you have missed the news on your equestrian social media this week, it is No Stirrups November! It’s a fantastic to see so many people embracing this idea and sharing their No Stirrups November stories. But you might not want to take the stirrups off your saddle just yet!
Why are people doing it?
It is widely accepted that riding without stirrups is fantastic for your seat. It means you have to develope your seat and balance to stay in the saddle and not bounce around without relying on your stirrups. People who regularly ditch the stirrups or saddle seem to be much better at staying on!
Should I give it ago?
Yes! Everyone can benefit from riding without stirrups every now and then. However, the extremes many people are going to this month are not for everyone! Going without stirrups often means you use muscles you don’t use as often. So you will probably be quite sore after! Also, if you don’t have the best seat or if your horse is particularly bouncy, expecting to do much without your saddles can be uncomfortable for both you and your horse and could potentially lead to an unplanned dismount!
Ease into it!
You don’t need to jump straight into it (and you will probably regret it the next day if you do!) At some point during your usual schooling session, take your feet out of the stirrups while walking and do a few mins of this. If you are happy doing this, have a trot and see how you feel. If you feel balanced and you trust your horse, have a go at canter. You don’t need to do anything you aren’t comfortable doing. If you only want to walk, try to build it up each session so you are doing a bit more each session. You don’t need to do an entire session without stirrups to feel the benefits!
My Top Tips
- Don’t forget to cross your stirrups over in front of your saddle
- If you have never done it before, or if you don’t know how your horse will react, have an instructor or knowledgeable friend on the ground to help you
- If you want to trot without stirrups, I would first do some sitting trot with stirrups to check how the horse reacts
- Really think about stretching your heels down to the ground, this will help stop your legs creeping up
- Don’t hold on with your legs!
- Put on a neck strap on hold the saddle with one hand to help keep you comfortable
- Don’t try it for the first time when your horse is already feeling a tad excitable!
- Do share your progress on social media with the #NoStirrupsNovember hashtag and join in on the discussion!