Tuesday, November 6, 2012


There has been a lot of bouncing going on over the past few days with No-Stirrup November.

These bounces were intentional though.

The colors and lighting in this video are a little funky since one side of the arena was open. I know I'm cheating--jumping WITH stirrups even though it's No-Stirrup November--maybe by the end of the month I'll be strong enough to do some little Xs with no stirrups. I think it's doable--this week I did two 30-min bareback rides on my own (one just WT, the other WTC) and in my lesson, my instructor showed no mercy.

Some highlights from the lesson:
  • Posting the walk with no stirrups. Sounds weird but it was a great leg workout. I realized that I've been doing the lazy man's no-stirrup work because I let my lower leg go down when my seat rises. No longer!
  • You may notice in the video that I've developed a bit of a chair seat (and that my stirrups are way long for jumping). Yuck. So one exercise I've been prescribed is to drop my stirrups, let my legs hang, lift them away from the horse's sides (with the legs straight, no bent knees, and no leaning forward) and bring my thighs back. Then let the legs drop in the new position, with my toes just behind the girth. Again, without dropping my upper body forward. Aaaaaahoooouuuuuuuwwwwww. That's a muscle I haven't been using...ever. But I did find that Shadow was MUCH more responsive to my leg when it was farther back.
  • Another good exercise that I will be stealing for my students is to have them take their feet out of the stirrups at the halt and put their knees over the saddle so that it makes a right angle and their lower legs are in front of the saddle. This doesn't strengthen anything but it does make you aware of where your seat bones should be. I think I've just been gliding along behind the motion on my butt, without that third support--which is why my legs have been creeping forward.
And the lesson students are all for No-Stirrup November too. (We'll see how they feel after week 4.) Even the beginners can try it at the walk. Legs of steel for everyone!

Really looking forward to weather in the 60s and 70s tomorrow. I see trail rides in the future...

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