Trivia Challenge: Do You Know the Benefits of Dropping Your Stirrups?

Challenge yourself! Have fun and test your knowledge of horses and horsemanship with Horse&Rider’s Trivia Challenge, featured in The Ride newsletter.

Illustration by Navah Rae Adams

1. True or false: When you drop your stirrups, your feet should hang down naturally, with your toes pointed downward.

T / F

2. True or false: Dropping your stirrups is an exercise primarily for those who ride hunters and jumpers.

T / F

3. Regularly dropping your stirrups as you ride enables you to…

A) develop the strength in your legs.

B) build your stamina in the saddle.

C) solidify your position at all gaits.

D) achieve all of these key benefits.

4. The ultimate stirrupless challenge is to drop your stirrups and…

A) sit deep in the saddle, with chest raised and shoulders back.

B) maintain a two-point position, with your seat out of the saddle.

C) ride your horse at a lope several times around your arena.

HOW’D YOU DO? (Answers below.)

1. F is correct. For a classic stirrupless exercise, your leg should assume the same position as it would with your foot in the stirrup—your heels down and your toes pointing up and forward. Do try a toes-down version of this exercise occasionally, however, to keep your calf muscles flexible. Also, perform ankle rolls after either version of stirrupless riding to loosen your ankle joint and prepare for another round.

2. F is correct. Stirrupless riding is a time-honored exercise that can greatly benefit a rider of any discipline.

3. D is correct. Stirrupless riding confers so many benefitsno wonder it’s a staple in the tool box of good riding instructors and coaches.

4. B is correct. Maintaining your seat out of the saddle is hard to do without your stirrups but is a great test of your balance and leg muscles. Posting at the trot stirrupless is another extra-tough challenge that multiplies the benefits of the exercise.

[Bonus! Learn the one secret to maximizing the benefit of stirrupless riding.]

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