Okay, so I know November is already almost half over, but I thought I’d jump on the band wagon and do a little no stirrups work. I’ve been remiss in working on it for the past, oh about six months, so I figured I was due. Since it was cold, wet and snowing, I decided it was best to ride inside this week – a fate I think is quickly coming on a weekly basis.
Immediately after getting on I crossed my stirrups over the front of the saddle. I had a brief moment where I thought about keeping them for at least one loop around the arena as Luc was giving the scary end the stink eye and I was concerned there might be some antics. But instead of chickening out, I settled deep into the saddle, put my leg on and prayed for the best.
I wasn’t disappointed. While he was a little hesitant to go down to that end, there was no silliness or spooking. Success! I worked a bit at a walk in both directions before moving forward into a trot. Luc was still a little sticky heading toward that one end, so I was forced to use even more leg. We worked at the trot for a good while before picking up a canter. Luc was nice and round and decently forward. I felt stable and secure.
Then it was on to pole work. We did various patterns of trot and canter poles. Some poles Luc barely picked up his feet for, and others he launched over. It seems that blue poles mean jump, while green poles mean don’t.
Through it all I felt very secure in my seat. My leg wasn’t swinging, I wasn’t bouncing around on Luc’s back, and I was confident enough that even if Luc had tried to pull something stupid I wasn’t likely to come off.
I credit my full seat breeches for that added boost of confidence. I haven’t worn them yet this year (they are my winter breeches after all), and forgot how much they really help you stick in the saddle. They leave so little movement that when I first got on, I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to get properly into position. My butt felt glued to the saddle and I had to stand up in my stirrups to fix it.
I don’t know if I’m going to follow through with the rest of no stirrups November. But I do think I should continue to work without irons at least once a month. I know, I know. You’ve heard all this from me before. But maybe this time I’ll actually follow through on an on-going basis.
I’m also thinking of starting something new – No Saddle Septembers – but I have many, many months to talk myself out of that idea. What do you think?