Happy Friday everyone!
Riding without stirrups is one of the most dreadful things your instructor could say during a lesson sometimes, especially if you aren't used to it. Believe it or not, they are doing you a favour. Let's face it, you cannot depend on your stirrups for balance. If your horse decides to turn quickly or pop a jump, you may end up loosing your stirrup. In some cases, you just don't have the time to get it back. So, you need to be able to ride without them. It will also help you to become stronger in your legs and will improve you riding.
The first thing you need to know is that your leg position should not change once you have dropped your stirrups. It shouldn't start to swing while you move, it shouldn't drop to the point where there isn't a bend in your knee any more and it shouldn't rise up to the point where the bend in your knee is past 90 degrees. You also want to make sure that you do not grip with your knees or the reins for balance. You should also make sure that your heels are down. The best thing to do is to relax. Your riding shouldn't be compromised because the stirrups are gone.
The next thing you need to know is what to do with your stirrups. When you are starting to learn how to ride without them, just take your feet out and let them hang against the horse's belly. Chances are that you will start to loose your balance after a few steps. You will need to work up gradually. So having your stirrups right next to your feet allows you to take them back when you need to.
Once you are comfortable enough to ride a little longer without your stirrups, you can cross them out of your way. Crossing your stirrups involves lowering the stirrup leather's buckle and crossing them in front of the pommel of the saddle. Make sure that the stirrup leathers lie flat under the saddle's skirt. That way, your thighs won't get pinched as you ride.
Once you are able to ride for a long time without your stirrups, the next thing you can do is get rid of them completely. Take them off of your saddle and ride the whole time without them. By this point you should be very comfortable with riding without your stirrups. You should be well balanced and should have a strong leg.
I also have a couple tips I would like to give all of you about riding without those stirrups:
Make sure that you don't hold onto the reins. It's something a lot of us seem to do, but your horse won't like it and you won't be as balanced as you could be.
Another thing to remember is to keep your horse moving at an active pace. If your horse has an active stride, it will be a lot easier for you as his movements can help you out. Posting your trot is probably one of the hardest things to do without your stirrups. If your horse is lazy, you'll have a much harder time posting than you will if your horse is active.
I hope this information helps you all in becoming better riders. Remember to do this gradually and at your own speed. It will be a workout for a while, I promise you that. But you will become better and stronger because of it.
Until next week, I hope you all are doing well. Thank you for reading and subscribing to my blog. If you haven't subscribed yet, you can do so two different ways at the bottom of this page. That way, you will be updated every time I post another entry. Take care and enjoy the time you have with your horses.