The Do’s and Don’ts of No Stirrup November

As of this morning ‘No Stirrup November’ is upon us, which bring to mind myfavorite quote; “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.”

That being said, there are definitely some do’s, as well as don’ts, when it comes tocrossing your stirrups over.Do get excited about the results that you’re going to see by the end of the month, butdon’t forget that you really should be riding stirrup-less throughout the year.

Honestly, before baby and a long break, I almost never flatted with stirrups. I couldfeel a difference in my horses when I forced myself to use my legs as I have atendency to brace against my stirrups, rather than let my heel sink down and risefrom my hips.

If this is the first time you are dropping those stirrups, or have dropped them in along time, don’t quit them cold turkey. Not only are you going to make yourself sosore that it will be a week before you can walk, let alone ride again, but you are alsogoing to make your horse’s back very sore. Until you develop those leg muscles towithstand an entire ride sans stirrups, you’re going to fall back into the saddle andbounce around. That’s ok! It’s part of the journey. Do warm up in your irons, dropthem for 5-10 minutes, and pick them back up. Increase that times as you can.

Do set small goals for yourself. If for the first few rides you can only ride a postingtrot for one trip around the pen, set the goal to go one and a half trips by week two.Don’t get discouraged. I remember the first time my stirrups were taken awaybecause I could NOT figure out how to open up my knees and grip with the inside ofmy lower leg to drive my horse out at the trot and post properly. It was a hugemental block for me. I was a confident rider, but when I took off for the first timewith no irons I realized just how out of balance I was and how hard I was leaning onthem. It broke my heart, but I’m just hard headed enough to down my head and goto work.

Eventually it wasn’t a chore, but the best thing that I ever did.No Stirrup November it here! Go out and reach your goals. Be safe out there, andremember to have fun first. The rest will fall into place!

By #TeamDiO Member Brittany Rhea

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