Do You Keep Losing Your Stirrups?

horseback riding lessons

A common problem when you start taking horseback riding lessons is keeping your feet in the stirrups. They have a habit of slipping out, making you lose balance and feel unsafe.

This is pretty scary early on in your horseback riding training because you’re unable to concentrate on controlling the horse while you ’fish’ for that lost iron.

Here’s an exercise to help.

Work Without Stirrups

When a stirrup comes off one foot is supported and the other is left dangling. You lean more on the supported foot and you’re now sitting crookedly which feels precarious.

Halt your horse, and place each stirrup iron across the front of the saddle. Stretch both legs downwards, then put your heels down as if your feet were still in the stirrups. Relax and ask your horse to walk, using your legs as normal. Ride round the arena, and follow this with large circles in both directions.

Center your weight in the saddle. This exercise will highlight any uneven distribution of pressure on your seat-bones and is a chance for you to correct it.

Taking Back Your Stirrups

Uncross your stirrups and place the balls of your feet on the treads. The leathers feel too short, don’t they? You may want to take them down a hole, but it’ll be easier for you to rest both feet evenly in them now.

You lose an iron when you bring your knee up while riding instead of lengthening the leg. If both feet come out, you’re pulling both knees up – and probably gripping the saddle with them.

Riding without stirrups lengthens both legs and centers your weight, so you place equal pressure on both stirrups.

Retrieving a Lost Stirrup

Learn to ‘find’ a lost stirrup without looking down. Stay calm and turn your toe inwards while seeking the iron. It takes a bit of practice. Being able to get back your stirrups without having to halt the horse is very useful and will stop you from worrying every time your foot slips out.

Any time you lose a stirrup, take it as a useful sign that you need to readdress your position in the saddle.

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