It’s November and we all know what that means. Drop those stirrups and get to work!
Heels Down Magazine compiled five of our favorite no-stirrup riding exercises to get you started on your path to super strong legs, seat and core. Good luck to all tackling the no-stirrup challenge this month. May the odds be ever in your favor.
- Learn from the master himself: George Morris
In this compilation of clips from the 2015 George H. Morris Horsemastership Training Session presented by USHJA, George asks his riders to work on the flat without stirrups. They start at the walk as a way to “facilitate our ability to understand contact. Right from the get go with active paces,” George says. “I am connecting the horse back to front. That’s called on the bit.” But he does admit, posting the trot without stirrups is pretty hard. “Physically, it’s very difficult.”
2. Picking up and dropping your stirrups while riding
In this video, Olympian Anne Kursinksi explains how to ride effectively and balanced without stirrups, and how to maintain that balance while picking up stirrups without altering the pace or stride of the horse. The exercise shows how riders can correct their seat by dropping their stirrups and lengthening their legs. It helps the rider be more effective in transitions and lateral work.
3. No stirrup work to create and maintain balance
In this instructional video from Lizzy Traband, riders can learn to establish bend and balance with their horse. These are exercises riders can do at the walk, trot and canter to establish contact, bend and help their horse be better on the aids.
4. No stirrup exercises to do at the halt
Riders should only practice without stirrups in a safe environment and on a horse they feel comfortable on. If you have a green or spooky horse, it’s recommended to only do these exercises with a trainer or someone else in the arena with you. To get you started, you can try these exercises riders can do from the halt, thanks to Equi-Learn.
5. Grid work over fences with George Morris (again)
Small fences set in a bounce or grid are a great and challenging way for riders to strengthen their legs and core while learning to maintain balance over jumps. For an added challenge, you can try it one handed, like these poor riders in this George Morris lesson.