Want Reed Kessler thighs? Sign up for HN’s ‘I’m-Giving-Up-Stirrups-for-Lent’ challenge!

I have a dream, Horse Nation. A dream about thighs. Strong thighs. Mighty thighs. Your thighs in 46 days from now, if you accept this challenge.

Top photo: Reed’s Facebook page

Lent is a time for temporarily giving up something that is dear to us: chocolate, caffeine, potato chips… stirrups?

That’s right, folks–I said stirrups.


Photo: HN

I am here to share the gospel of giving up stirrups for Lent. A couple years ago, I decided to accept the challenge myself, and I’ll tell you what: It wasn’t easy, but it did wonders for my seat, balance and “stickability.” In the dressage, my leg got longer and my seat got deeper. Over fences, my chronic case of “slipped back leg syndrome” all but disappeared.

Did you know that Reed Kessler jumped two to three horses a day sans stirrups in preparation for the Olympics?


From Reed’s Facebook page

Now check out that leg with stirrups:



Yep, I want that.

Here are the challenge guidelines:

  • Kiss your stirrups goodbye.
  • It’s OK and realistic to have exceptions. For example, mine are: “I’m giving up stirrups for Lent, but I can keep them for lessons, horse shows, galloping, and jumping over 3′.”
  • It’s OK to start small. Not ready to give up your stirrups for a whole ride yet? Start with five minutes, and as your leg strength and security in the saddle improves, increase your no-stirrups time accordingly.

Not so bad, right? Plus, we’re going to have weekly check-ins here on Horse Nation for you guys to whine, brag, exchange tips and share encouragements.

Who’s with me?

Sign up for the Horse Nation No-Stirrups Challenge in the comments section below, and be sure to check in each Wednesday for our weekly support group session. Misery loves company, you know, so share this post with your riding buddies if you think they’d like to accept the challenge as well!

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