Friday, November 27, 2015

No-Stirrup November

I saw a blurb about a fundraiser for Lope Texas challenging riders to ride without stirrups and raise money through sponsors. I decided to sign on and see how much I could accomplish in one month. Since I don't really have any horsey friends at work to back me,  I'm on my own. Without an indoor arena, or even a fenced ring, and a mount who can be a bit "fiery" with the blustery fall weather, my No-Stirrup November has been a bit sporadic. I'm forced to pick and choose where along the trail might be a good spot to drop the stirrups--not some place Harley usually spooks. And I need to assess how he's behaving on any given day--would I be courting a disastrous flying dismount? If I'm going solo, I tend to err on the side of caution. Without his trail buddy Rolex alongside, bravery flies out the window. One day, he paced sideways, back and forth in the crossties, whinnying for Rolex. I thought, "Boy, this is going to be some ride--maybe I shouldn't even try." But I didn't chicken out. We rode behind the barn in the flat area, trotting and circling, working on transitions, while the wind swirled leaves in the air. I decided he was settled enough to hit the trails. And surprise, surprise--Harley was great! I even dropped my stirrups a few times as we walked and jogged along. And you know--my position felt better without stirrups!

I've got only a few days left now to complete my No-Stirrup November. It has boosted my confidence as well as helped my seat and position. So now I just need to make a point of doing it more often, maybe a little on each ride. A little niggling voice has always told me that I needed to get the gumption up to drop my irons. I guess the Lope Texas challenge finally forced me to drop the irons

But can I just make one teeny tiny request? Maybe next year they can do "Sans-Stirrup September" when we still have long days and warmer weather?

So Lope Texas, you will be receiving a donation from me for the time I spent turning my legs to jelly aboard my handsome OTTB Halawa Moon.