As autumn leaves paint the world in warm hues, riders around the globe eagerly anticipate a month-long challenge that promises to transform their riding.
Ok, ok, maybe we’re not EAGER for a No-Stirrup November challenge, but let’s give it a shot! This month we will bring you simple tasks to try each week, as well as articles about developing your seat and riding without stirrups.
Welcome to No-Stirrup November, an annual tradition that pushes riders out of their comfort zones and helps you develop your seat. So what’s the deal? This month is dedicated to riding without stirrups, an exercise that might initially seem daunting but ultimately leads to profound improvements in balance, strength, and overall horsemanship. The challenge is not about enduring discomfort, but rather about improving your riding and strengthening your bond with your horse.
What are the Benefits?
Building Core Strength:
- Riding without stirrups engages your core muscles, leading to improved stability and balance in the saddle. This newfound strength translates to a more effective way to communicate with your horse.
2. Enhancing Leg Position and Stability:
- Without stirrups, your legs learn to move in unison with your horse’s motion. This promotes a deeper and more secure seat, allowing you to communicate your cues with subtlety and precision.
3. Fostering a Deeper Connection:
- Riding without stirrups encourages you to rely on your seat and leg aids, deepening the communication and trust between you and your horse. It’s an exercise in subtlety, allowing for a more nuanced and responsive ride.
- Gradual Progression:
- Begin by riding without stirrups for short spurts, gradually increasing the duration as your confidence and strength grow.
- Seek Guidance:
- Furthermore, enlist the help of a knowledgeable trainer or experienced rider to offer guidance and constructive feedback as you navigate this challenge.
- Focus on Form:
- Pay close attention to your posture. Engage your core, relax your hips, and maintain a deep, balanced seat. Don’t end up building bad habits while practicing No Stirrup November!
- Choose the Right Horse:
- Ideally, start with a well-trained and steady mount that you trust. This will provide a secure foundation for your no stirrup work. If your horse is green, young, or you’re not a fully confident rider, take precautions when riding without stirrups.
- Listen to Your Body:
- Additionally, take breaks when needed, and never push yourself to the point of discomfort or strain. It’s important to prioritize safety and gradual progress.
Let’s get down to the nitty gritty. For week one, give these exercises a try a few times a week to become comfortable with riding without stirrups.