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We Are Flying Solo

January 26, 2010

Wanna Rise To The Challenge?

So I have decided there is no point is pushing Solo too hard until post-injections, especially on the dressage work that really needs him to rock back and step under from behind. Therefore, I must remove temptation for me to keep working on this stuff so I don't get frustrated by the inability to progress.

As a result, I decided to take the stirrups off my dressage saddle until the shots are given. They came off last week and I am not allowed to replace them for any reason. I have left the stirrups on our jump saddle, so light jump schools are ok.

My concession to my body is that I have left my cushy sheepskin seat saver on the dressage saddle. I have no desire to kill myself.

So, all dressage schooling must be done sans stirrups. And yes, that includes W/T/C. This means that I will get tired and owie wayyyy before I'm asking Solo to work too hard, LOL.

We do a little less trot work (hey, I'm not Ironwoman!), but we do a lot more transition work. Lots of bending at the walk and canter. Last night, we warmed up with 5 loop serpentines at the walk. Then, staying on the serpentine, we would trot around the bends, but on the straighaways, transition to walk and leg yield three steps in direction of new bend, then resume trot. At the canter, we did a few 15-m circles, then added a couple loops of semi-counter canter to work on balance. Then my thighs hurt like a sonovabitch, so that was the end. Other days, we went on a trail ride or worked on bending around our trot circles.

My challenge to you is to join us in no-stirrup land for the week. C'mon, I double dog dare ya! It's great for the balance, building muscle and encouraging a longer, drapier leg. You do NOT have to do all three gaits if you don't want to. I will not make you post the trot or two point. Yes, it is hard. BUT, I'm not talking torture session here. My legs are a bit sore, but I'm not forcing myself to continue exercises when my legs are screaming. I agree with P, who says tired, stressed muscles that continue to be drilled will only result in incorrect work. So I do a couple of exercises, push myself just a little, then quit. Rarely do these rides last more than maybe 20-30 minutes.

So who's with me???


  1. Hahaha... I used to steal the stirrups off of the kid's saddles (the ones who I was teaching) and hide them for a week. Then they started stealing mine.... that wasn't as much fun.

  2. I've actually been planning what I think is a baby step on your challenge: I'm only riding in my English saddle for four weeks this spring (Mid March-Mid April). I know that's not much, but for me it's a lot! I do drop my stirrups all the time, but it's a lot easier in a western saddle...with suede fenders.... I'm a wuss.

  3. Not this year, my knee needs a lot more conditioning before I'm up to that! I used to enjoy work without stirrups (yeah, I know lol) so I'm hoping maybe next year I'll be up to it. January is usually no stirrups month with my trainer, but she agrees my leg isn't ready.

  4. That is a great challenge and I am here on the sidelines cheering you all on. :-) Would love to participate myself, but my challenge right now is just to get my butt back in the saddle.

  5. Ooo, fast healing to you, suma! And getting back in the saddle totally counts, OnceUpon!

    Haha, SP, that still counts in my book!

  6. So funny - I actually did take my stirrups off this week! I've been getting lazy this winter, and my leg was taking note. So time to whip it back into shape!