Dropping Stirrups – Tips on Developing a Strong Seat
Learning to ride without stirrups is a huge confidence builder as a rider. It’s a way to gain a deeper seat and better balance through your seat without squeezing your thighs or legs.
When you first start to ride, you want a shorter stirrup so you have a tighter leg. But as you get to be a better rider, you want to elongate your leg so you can sit deeper in the saddle to get a full swing and more use of your leg and foot. That’s true whether you are riding English or western events. Riding without stirrups will help you achieve that.
It also helps your confidence and skill if you lose your stirrup or stirrups in a class or in a maneuver. With or without your stirrups, you know how to maintain your balance as a rider.
To practice riding without stirrups, you can cross your stirrups over your horse’s withers so they don’t flop around and hit your foot. You do that also in a class if the judge calls for an entire pattern to be ridden without stirrups. If you are asked to drop your stirrups on the rail or if you are asked to do only part of a pattern without them, don’t cross them over.
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