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NordicMan 12-05-2012 11:49 AM

Trotting without Stirrups
Hi -

The newbie here again. Can I ask a question about trotting practice without stirrups.

My trainer had me try posting trot, and while trotting drop one stirrup. I did this both for left and right sides. The effect was comical -- posting fell apart quickly, and I struggled not to lean to one side.

I assume this means my balance and leg strength are still poor -- although with stirrups I thought my posting was OK. Trainer has said posting with stirrups is OK too.

What is the purpose of this exercise? Should I practice this regularly inmy "on my own" practice rides? What should I focus on to not lean and to be able to post correctly with one foot out?

Thanks VERY much -- this forum is a Godsend!

Annanoel 12-05-2012 12:31 PM

It builds muscle in your legs, improves balance and can help you ride bareback as well. I practice it all the time, still not perfected but it's helped me so much! You want to put a little more weight in your thighs and move with the horse. In a lot of shows now they will ask you to drop your stirrups and post! Can be quite nervewracking, but practice makes perfect. Can be a lifesaver to if you have to get somewhere in a hurry in case of an accident or anything, especially on the trail or out and about.

Nikkibella 12-05-2012 12:44 PM

Imagine your riding one day and your horse spooks at something (it happens to all of us) and OOPS! one foot slides right out of the stirrup and your horse bolts , youll fall and hurt yourself if you do not know how to properly keep your balance with only one (or no) stirrups . **TRUST ME IT COMES IN HANDY**

NordicMan 12-05-2012 12:48 PM

Hi - Beleive me I trust you ... How can I exercise or what should I try and concentrate my muscle activity on in my legs? The first time I tried it I tried squezing ang holding .. it worked for a few seconds, then gradual "slide" ;-)

Does it just take a lot of practice?

Annanoel 12-05-2012 01:18 PM

Any sort of exercise to really build the legs in general! I started running and doing exercises with a ball. I didn't purchase the video but I did use some tips and techniques from this website it helped a lot! Fun Strength and Balance Video For Horseback Riding!

wetrain17 12-05-2012 02:00 PM

Zeke 12-05-2012 02:17 PM


Originally Posted by NordicMan (Post 1785766)
Hi - Beleive me I trust you ... How can I exercise or what should I try and concentrate my muscle activity on in my legs? The first time I tried it I tried squezing ang holding .. it worked for a few seconds, then gradual "slide" ;-)

Does it just take a lot of practice?

First off yes, this is a skill that takes lots of work and practice. It'll come but only if you work at it, don't give up! I definitely recommend working with one or really no stirrups as often as you can. Even in your "free" type rides, no stirrup work can be beneficial. Be sure someone's there at the barn in the unfortunate case of a slip and fall, that really goes for all riding though.

As for exercises when not on the horse, ( I think that's what you're getting at? If not consider some!) core strength is key in riding and having good balance on your horse. If your torso cannot support your body, you, to put it bluntly, flop more. Easy things to do are exercises sitting on and working with a yoga ball. A favorite of mine is sitting on a yoga ball instead of the couch while watching TV. You can even practice loosening up your lower back, which is key when you start working on the sitting trot, by circling your hips while sitting on the ball and striving to keep your upper body still with arms stretched to the sides. In the realm of strengthening legs, I like squats, lunges and even propping yourself against a wall as if you were actually sitting in a chair. Just a minute or two of the chair seat exercise is plenty!

While on the horse, beware of too much "squeezing". Next time you ride be sure you are sitting up straight and tall and your knees are not the part of your leg pinching to grasp your horse. This essentially creates a pivot point for your upper body to fall forward.

waresbear 12-05-2012 02:42 PM

It is a great exercise to improve your balance. My instructor has me do most of a lesson without stirrups, that means posting, sitting, cantering, you name it. She is precise on how you retrieve your stirrups as well, no looking down & no stopping.
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Reno Bay 12-05-2012 03:18 PM

When I took H/J classes we did a few weeks in a row of no stirrup work. Sitting trot, posting trot, two-point trot, two-point cantering. It really comes in handy. Builds up your strength. Was I ever glad we did that work too...cause I lost both my stirrups just before going over a jump once...

epjjensen 12-05-2012 06:33 PM

it builds lots of muscle in the your thighs.

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