Does anyone ride with a saddle and no stirrups? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 11-07-2011, 12:04 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Florida
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Cool Does anyone ride with a saddle and no stirrups?

Is there any disadvantage to riding western without stirrups?

I had a lesson today and was trying out a new saddle on my lease horse. Well, I am only 5 feet tall and yes... you guessed it... the stirrups were too long. I kept losing them and started to become pre-occupied with keeping my feet in the stirrups. I started becoming a tiny bit agitated and distracted, and of course so did my horse. I told my instructor I was going to ride without stirrups. Literally everything took a complete 180 degree turn around. I began to focus on my balance and control, my horse started listening to my cues for the first time on the whole lesson. It was actually the best lesson we've had together .

I don't ever really want to ride with stirrups again. I have lost my stirrups in other lessons during a trot, I would just ignore it and keep riding until I stopped my horse and put my feet back in them again.

Any thoughts? Does anyone else ride without stirrups? I don't want to start riding bareback or w/a bareback pad bc I have heard a saddle distributes a riders weight better on the horse.

Thanks... That's all :)
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post #2 of 7 Old 11-07-2011, 12:56 AM
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If you adjust your stirrups properly you should be able to focus on your balance and control just as well with your feet in the stirrups as out of them.

There's nothing like the Rockies in the springtime... Nothing like the freedom in the air... And there ain't nothing better than draggin calves to the fire and there's nothing like the smell of burning hair. -Brenn Hill
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post #3 of 7 Old 11-08-2011, 11:46 AM
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There are definitely benefits to riding without stirrups on occasion. It can help you improve you seat and balance, and it can help prevent you from becoming overly dependent on them. I've found it's especially useful for people who have developed a habit of bracing their feet against the stirrups. If you take the stirrups away they can get used to sinking their weight down into their heels instead of the ball of their foot.

If I'm planning on going an entire ride without stirrups, I like to take the stirrups off the saddle so they aren't banging on the horse's side the whole time.

I'm guessing the saddle you were using had the stirrups set on the top hole and they were still too long. In that situation, I think you did the right thing. It's better to ditch the stirrups than to mess up your position by trying to reach for them the whole ride. However, riding with stirrups also has its advantages, and I think if you're planning on continuing to use that saddle, you should look into getting some more holes punched in it so you can adjust your stirrups correctly.
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post #4 of 7 Old 11-08-2011, 12:08 PM
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INk is right. UNLESS you are already a practicing athlete in competition (like at the collegiate level) you'll have trouble learning to ride without stirrups at this stage. It's a good thing to do in every lesson, but when I taught, my students didn't kick off their stirrups until they'd been riding with me for awhile, and even then, they rode without stirrups at the walk, initially. Right now, I have a "pony club" of two 14 yo girls who help me train on the weekends. One girl has been fighting a chair seat, and I have her ride for the first hour on an English saddle without stirrups--she uses a mounting block, but still has to lay across the saddle to get on. HOWEVER, she rides my 13yo, very safe mare with a long-shanked curb bit for control. You could be hurt if you don't have the strength to stay on, and I think I'd be discouraged bc you won't be making progress as quickly as the rest of your class. I had a youth western saddle for my lessons. A youth saddle would fit you and you'd have stirrups that fit--see if they could find one for you.
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post #5 of 7 Old 11-13-2011, 12:56 AM
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First off, adjust your stirrups to the proper length :)

Secondly, riding without stirrups is a good way to test your balance. Sometimes I do it as an excerize to help my seat, a lot of times after I'm done working my horse on a normal session I'll take the saddle off completely and ride bareback for awhile. I noticed that since I had been doing this I have excellent leg muscle now.

Pssh.I didn't pick up the wrong lead
It's called a counter canter...
...A very advanced maneuver.
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post #6 of 7 Old 11-13-2011, 01:27 AM
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i do it but i dont compete or anything its only when im lazy and out on trail i loop them over the horn and go. I have found that it has helped my seat and balance greatly, in saying that i wouldn't adios your stirrups forever!

the hardest part of riding is the ground... yup sounds about right
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post #7 of 7 Old 11-13-2011, 09:36 AM
Green Broke
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For me, no stirrups means I'm out relaxing on the trail (or heading to the trail). If I don't know the horse as well (I'll ride Lucky stirrupless in a heartbeat, but never would I have ridden Fancy without them) I'm more inclined to leave them onthe saddle so I can slip them back on over creeks, bridges, etc where they might jump or freak without me knowing that they plan to.
I have kicked my stirrups to the curb during a barrel pattern though. I ride with oversized stirrups so that I don't get my feet caught up since they're too snug and catch in regular stirrups, but that also means that they occasionally get away from my feet. I don't use my stirrups for balance or anything (unless we have a tantrum or such), so if one comes off or I'm fighting to keep my foot in during a run, it's much easier to just kick them off and go. :p

Two show seasons ago before I started showing I got tired of just sitting the trot while the rest of the people at the barn posted, so I ended up taking my stirrups off and trotted around for ages to try and get a good posting trot without pushing off my stirrups. My BO actually complimented me on my post and was surprised when I told her I didn't use my stirrups to post. :p
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