Social media and basically all the equestrian media has been brimming with “No Stirrups November”. The US Dressage Federation magazine says that this is courtesy of “our friends in the hunter/jumper world.” Now don’t get me wrong I am the first person to stand up and say there is nothing like it for improving your seat, position, balance etc etc. BUT…… November?
Here’s the thing….look at the photos of all those people doing their no stirrups riding. What’s in the background? Palm trees and other plant life that clearly indicates that these riders are not in Ontario or Illinois! Nope! Want to know what it looked like in Ontario on November 10, 2017? It looked like this. That’s the view from our kitchen window.
And the temperature? Minus 10 Celsius. Now I admit that it has not stayed quite as cold as this since then but no one is going to go into an arena, even a closed one, on a morning like that and do no stirrups work. Why? Because horses find a whole new level of energy and friskiness in that brisk air. The barn cat that crosses the arena may appear to them to be a cougar and Whoosh they have to flee to the other end of the arena to get away from it. On a warmer day they would just look and say “oh ya, the barn cat.”
It is my personal opinion that all those gleeful no stirrups people are riding south of the Mason Dixon line or in Southern California. And I salute them. No stirrups work is very worthwhile. Back in the summer my coach Belinda Trussell assigned me six weeks of no stirrups work. We started with 10 minutes and worked up to 30 minutes. That is thirty- 30- minutes of riding without stirrups! As you may gather training with Belinda is not for the faint of heart. And I was not going to cry for mercy .But it produced the desired results. First of all here is a video of the trot work with no stirrups. This was in July. No need to watch the whole thing just take a look at the shoulder in and volte down the long side.
Now here is the same movement from just two weeks ago. There are still many things I would like to improve about myself. But…..the main reason Belinda wanted me to do those six weeks was to strengthen my lower leg and make it more effective. Here is the result. Can you see the difference in how Biasini is moving?
So I am a believer in no stirrups work. Just not in November for those of us in Northern climes. So….how about STIRRUPLESS SEPTEMBER?
What do you think? Is ‘No Stirrups November’ a Southern conspiracy? Yes? No? Let me know.