Dropping stirrups in an emergency - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 21 Old 01-17-2012, 01:22 PM Thread Starter
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Dropping stirrups in an emergency

Well, My stirrups are adjusted fine for me, but whenever I get into a bind I tend to ditch them like they're on fire. And my trainer absolutely hates it.

I suppose its a worry over my safety, but whenever a horse acts up I automatically pull my feet out. I think its just a habit I developed because I am absolutely horrified of being drug or getting hung up, to the point where I have nightmares about it. (I came pretty darn close to being drug all the way across a field once, had it not been for my trainer's catlike reflexes grabbing my horse before he could run and allowing me to shake loose)

I always end up in a one rein stop disengaging the hindquarters, but the stirrups always seem to come first.

Are there any other stirrup ditchers here? Or do I just have a wierd habit of it?

Pssh.I didn't pick up the wrong lead
It's called a counter canter...
...A very advanced maneuver.
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post #2 of 21 Old 01-17-2012, 01:31 PM
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Interestingly, i dont see this as a bad habit. I sometimes practice thinking, feet out, feet out. I just dont have the forced thinking to get my feet out liek i should. I have the same fear of being dragged but i think it may one day happen because i have a hard time pulling my feet lose in a quick, non thinking way.
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post #3 of 21 Old 01-17-2012, 01:32 PM
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You get security when you can stay on without your stirrups. What's the deal with your horse that you don't trust him? I would have been SERIOUSLY hurt 4 years ago when I was horse-shopping and got on "Alpo". He started bucking when I closed my calves for a trot--maybe his name was "Kennel Ration?!?!"...can't remember now...--but I was lots more comfortable trying a horse I didn't know without them. Riding sans stirrups was normal in ancient Rome. The Chinese invented them. I used to love riding "Corporal,", Arabian (1982-2009, RIP) collected, without stirrups, especially his collected canter. I even, literally rode circles around a novice rider (who was on my quiet QH) one time, without stirrups.
If I were your trainer we'd spend oodles of time riding without stirrups. You'd have the best darn seat in the county!!!!
I think you have an issue with your horse, and I kinda suspect things about your trainer, too, who SHOULD be training confidence into you instead of criticizing...OH, I mean, "Assessing" your riding.
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post #4 of 21 Old 01-17-2012, 01:37 PM Thread Starter
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I haven't been having any sort of recent problems with my horses. The one time with the almost-drag was because a huge flock of birds decided that it would be hilarious to ALLLLL fly out of the bushes at the same time when we were riding past. (Rebel is absolutely TERRIFIED of birds flying at his face....But what horse wouldn't be?)

Selena does have a history of bucking but that is done and over with now...She does occasionally get a little frisky but not nearly what she used to, in fact I'm really, really proud of how well she's doing.

It's not that I don't trust my horses....Its just that I have the instinct to do it. And as far as my trainer goes, she's taught me so much but I think she wants me to stay on more than anything so she expects me to keep my feet in the stirrups for stability in those situations. I don't know, maybe I should ask her. We did do a couple weeks of bareback lessons after she noticed my legs were getting weaker from not doing it. Not sure I understand her issue with ditching the stirrups fully though.

Pssh.I didn't pick up the wrong lead
It's called a counter canter...
...A very advanced maneuver.
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post #5 of 21 Old 01-17-2012, 02:12 PM
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Nope. Would never enter my head to drop my stirrups. Much more control of the horse without the stirrups banging around on them.
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post #6 of 21 Old 01-17-2012, 02:55 PM
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I rarely drop my stirrups on purpose, but I have lost them and not bothered at trying to get my feet back in.
I regularly dropped them when I was working with Dude because he was a rearer and I knew he had the potential to go over if I didn't catch it beforehand, which happened sometimes. I don't think of my stirrups as anything other than an asset to me hauling my ass up on a horse or using them to bring myself centred after leaning halfway off my horse to grab something. I don't need them to stay on, but like mls said-it's much easier to control a misbehaving horse without stirrups in the way of where I want my feet to be.
I've never intentionally dropped my stirrups on Lucky, Fancy, or Poco like I did Dude though. If he acted up and got really light on his forehand I'd drop them and continue what I was doing, just because of the fact that my feet DID get stuck in those stirrups because they weren't wide enough for my boots/feet. I now have stirrups I can slip into and out of easily, so I don't make it a point to try and take them out, because 19 times out of 20 they will fall out on their own if I go flying. Because with the wide ropers or oversized stirrups come off as soon as I bring my heels up, but the barrel stirrups would constantly get stuck, even if I barely had my toe in them.

So..moral of my babble, if the stirrups are a bit too small, I'll ditch them, if not, on they stay unless they accidently fall from my foot. :p Though, the oversized ones constantly got in my way when I dropped or lost them, so I tried to keep them on as long as possible while working out the kinks. If they don't get in your way though, I don't see an issue dropping them, personally. Because I can now do just about anything I would in a saddle bareback (for what I generally do around the barn whilst training, barring shows), I don't have an issue staying on if I drop or lose my stirrups.
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post #7 of 21 Old 01-17-2012, 03:36 PM
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I would not drop them at the first sign of trouble. But then I don't jam my feet home into them and I use english saddles whose stirrups hang from much more flexible straps than a stiff western fender and are thinner.
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post #8 of 21 Old 01-17-2012, 04:38 PM
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For many years people rode in boots with leather soles for that very reason, it was easy to ditch the stirrups.
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post #9 of 21 Old 01-17-2012, 05:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Saddlebag View Post
For many years people rode in boots with leather soles for that very reason, it was easy to ditch the stirrups.
You mean easy for the sole to slip out during your fall so you don't get dragged (not drug) behind the horse?

I've never been trained by any one to let go of my stirrups when TSHTF on top of a horse. Ever.

Quite the opposite. I want every advantage I can to stay on and in control.
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post #10 of 21 Old 01-17-2012, 05:16 PM
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Ahhh! No!! It seems like you're expecting the worst and just ditching them.. no no no missy! You need to relax.. habits form usually for defensive measures.. like curling up fetal or throwing hands up to face level..

At least you don't do an emergency dismount.. we had a kiddo that would bail every time her horse did something she didn't want (which would include turning.. trotting... not stopping..) and it turned into a crazy habit.

Try breaking it down.. think.. hey I know I will pull my feet out of my stirrups when something goes awry... so why not make myself keep them in for a delay of one second, then I can drop them. So count "one one thousand.." and take your feet out. When you can handle that and it becomes habit.. then do 5 seconds... then 10 seconds... then 30... then NEVER EVER AGAIN UNLESS TOLD!!! :P

You won't get dragged if your foot is where it should be and you don't have crazy amount of traction on the sold of your footwear.. and as long as you use those seat bones to stay on or with your horse. And the more supple you are, the less likely you are to get your feet lodged in those stirrups.. I can't see it happening!

You can do this! :) Baby steps my dear
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