Thoughts While Riding Without Stirrups

No-Stirrup November just started on Saturday and Lisa Lach is already feeling the sweet, sweet burn.

Are you participating in the month-long torture session quest for equestrian self-improvement that is No-Stirrup November? Lisa Lach is and submitted this humorous update on her own no-stirrup journey. Remember to keep it locked here for weekly inspirational posts as well as 24/4 support on Equestrians Anonymous, HN’s new forum.

AmypoehlerBy Lisa Lach

It is No Stirrup November. And that means, in the pursuit of iron thighs and catlike balance, we all have a month of pain and suffering ahead.

Thus, the thoughts that every rider experiences when the time comes to drop those irons (or hang up the leathers, if you’re really motivated).

Your first reaction is something like,

please no

And then you’re like, OK, I got this. Yeah. I’m awesome! I’m so strong and balanced!

Half a lap around the arena you’re like,

halfway there

By now your legs are burning. Maybe your instructor is giggling gleefully in the middle of the ring while kindly reminding you to keep your shoulders back, breathe and keep your heels down, dang it.

Success – first lap complete!

success kid

You realize that you’re in this for the long haul now, and you start thinking of all those photos and videos of top riders making amazing saves or jumping with one stirrup (or none!) like it’s no big thing. So you’re like, You know what, self? You are getting so strong. Your legs are made of iron. You can do this all. day. long.

success trains(1)

Well, that mentality lasts all of two laps around the arena. You are basically losing feeling in your legs by now as you dig deep to try not to flop uselessly on your horse’s back. Your can see the other riders wilting, too. And you’re like,

save yourselves

You find yourself dreaming of the sitting trot. Or a nice, leisurely walk break. It’s been at least 45 minutes of this work. Oh, OK, 20. At least 10 minutes. Fine. It’s been like five minutes, and you already know there will be no walking tomorrow without the signature Wide-Legged Wobble.

But there’s so much more to come. After all, you have to go both directions! And canter. And post with just one stirrup… and then just the other so that you work both sides of your body equally.

And finally when you get to stop, it’s like,

hallelujah squirrel

And when you get off after your ride, you can’t really feel your legs. In fact, they feel more like this:

noodle legs

But in the end, it’s always worth it. Because that’s what riding is all about. Hard work, sweat, and a touch of insanity. OK, fine. Maybe a little more than a touch.

Lisa Lach has been riding for 17 years in a variety of disciplines. She currently rides at Lakefield Farm in Grafton, WI, where she competes in the hunter ring and rides anything she can get her hands on. In her free time, she works at her small equine industry marketing business, Top Line Marketing, and blogs at Centered in the Saddle.


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