No-stirrups November: Week 3

Yet another rather pathetic week of NSN for me. ¬†I have some excuses buuuut really I’m just bad at NSN.

Saturday, November 15th – Dressage, in anticipation of our Tina lesson. ¬†I dropped my stirrups for our new warm-up exercise, the walk-to-slow-sitting-trot-to-walk for 4-10 strides all around the arena. ¬†Really struggled to keep Murray’s back elevated during this, but sitting the trot is soooo much easier without stirrups.

Sunday, November 16th – Murray’s day off.

Monday, November 17th – Murray’s second, impromptu day off because of the kitten.

IMG_20141118_084626“study buddy”

Tuesday, November 18th РDressage ride to prep for my Tina lesson on Wednesday.  Kept my irons to work on our lateral work, and had a rather miserable, behind-the-leg ride that necessitated getting off and grabbing my whip.

Wednesday, November 19th – Tina dressage lesson! Kept my stirrups because dressage lesson.

Thursday, November 20th – Murray’s third day off this week. In anticipation of me riding every day up until Thanksgiving. ¬†I played with him in the round pen¬†and worked on some clicker training instead.

Friday, November 21st РAn evening dressage ride. I opted not to drop my irons because I am trying to radically change my upper body position and stop riding twisted to the left.  This was hard enough with stirrups, though perhaps dropping them would have evened me out more!  I did actually drop them at one point to lengthen my left leg and kick Murray off of it when we were cantering (he falls in horribly on left lead canter), but that hardly counts.

Saturday, November 22nd – Finally got my no-stirrups game together for today’s ride. ¬†Started out with our walk-trot-walk transitions no stirrups, which are seriously helping with my sitting trot. ¬†Then lots of walk and posting the trot without stirrups, and a fairly paltry attempt at two-point without stirrups (ummm Hunters out there, can you tell me htf you do that?!). ¬†Cantered poles and a little X also. ¬†Seriously, my first time jumping without stirrups and it was very revealing! ¬†I think next time I will just have to commit to taking the stirrups off my saddle entirely though, because having them crossed over in front is really uncomfortable under my thighs.


November must be the month for athletic challenges, because somehow I’m involved in both Planksgiving and No Stirrups November. ¬†Predictably, I’m doing terribly with both. ¬†Terise at Breeches and Boatshoes¬†inspired me to be a bit more accountable with my No Stirrups November work this year, as she is doing, and hopefully this will make me actually¬†do some no stirrups work in the coming weeks!

So far, my no stirrups rides have mostly consisted of warm-ups and cool-downs. ¬†I have to be careful when dropping my stirrups, as Murray is stiff-backed and it isn’t always productive for us. ¬†I will post the trot in my jump¬†saddle, but draw the line at posting the trot in my dressage tack — it simply isn’t done! ¬†But more to the point, it doesn’t positively influence my position the way it does in jump tack. ¬†Even when I post without stirrups, Murray sometimes becomes stiffer and resistant, so I have to be careful to keep things below threshold for him: I want him to stay positive and relaxed, and not get cranky when I try to drop my stirrups or sit the trot.

So here’s this week’s breakdown.

November 14th — Today! I haven’t ridden yet. So here’s the plan: no stirrups trot work in the jump tack, lateral work practice (both with and without the irons), and some gallop sets since¬†somebody is too naked right now to have a relaxed dressage ride.

November 13th — No stirrups warm-up exercise — walk to slow trot

November 12th — No stirrups cool down. Yep, I walked on a loose rein around the property without no stirrups. I am going to pretend I don’t always do this.

November 11th — Murray got the day off.

November 10th — I jumped with a friend and had¬†not a single no-stirrups moment in this ride. I am terrible.

I am claiming leeway because I did at least four no stirrups rides in October to work on my position!!  This is a feeble excuse.  I aspire to do better next week.