Anyone feel a little anti- no stirrup November?

I sold my horse and took some time off from riding. I am now barely coming back into work and showed up Monday to all the stirrups gone in the barn. I now only ride twice a week, I’m not tying to go to medal finals, I’m just trying to have some fun and jump a few jumps. Doing a month of zero stirrups sounds great for the teens who are showing, riding, jumping regularly. For me, it just sounds a little abusive to the poor animals that have to put up with me. I should add that my time off means I have been riding at least a little over the last couple months and I’m actually pretty great at riding without stirrups because I always incorporate it. I’m not a total sack of potatoes, I just feel like maybe it’s not the productive thing to do for everyone to toss stirrups for a whole month. Any other adults with me, or am I just complaining?


Yes I have always joked that no stirrup November = Call your vet december and why is my horse still lame January hahaha

I feel bad enough for my horse dealing with me learning sitting trot haha


I feel that if it’s something you want to participate in, it should be introduced gradually, both over the course of the month and over the course of each ride, so that the horse and rider have the opportunity to warm up without an unbalanced rider constantly slamming into the back.

I don’t think that just taking all of the stirrups in the barn away for a month is the way to do it.


Umm I would be pretty POed if I found out there were zero stirrups for all of November.
I have loony horses to ride.

I’ve always thought it was a little silly anyways. Instead of no stirrup November, just do 2-5 minutes no stirrups every ride. Or, if you ride a crazy animal, keep those stirrups on so you don’t die.


Or maybe no stirrups Wednesdays or something? Seems more reasonable


McExcuse me?! Have you had a discussion with your trainer about this?

Add me to the camp that never participates in NSN. I’m not going to say it’s useless, but until a rider develops confidence and a semi-decent independent seat, it can be uncomfortable for the horses and a big source of confidence loss for riders. I’d rather see riders introduced to a month of no stirrup work on their own timeline, not when the internet dictates it so.

It’s also a hell of a lot easier to do NSN on a barn full of QH or huntery types than big fancy moving horses. I could easily do NSN all month on horse #1… but I definitely would struggle on horse #2. I usually do a 10m walk with no stirrups every time I ride, and a few times a week do 2-5m of no stirrup work. I find this way more beneficial and the horse doesn’t get sick of the flopping.

If we’re doing no stirrup work, I prefer to do it on the lunge so the rider doesn’t learn to brace with their hands when they lose their stirrups. I see way too many riders participate in the NSN who just hang off of their horse’s mouth the whole month.


I’m with you. Stirrups for us or we mutiny at dawn.


I fall into the camp of I’m a grown-ass adult who will drop or keep my stirrups outside of a lesson as I well please. I do not need to be guilted into participating in a challenge just because it has a cutesy name. Should I drop my irons more often? Probably. Do I want to die in November when everyone is wild because it’s getting cold, horses are bouncy, and I’m perpetually out of shape? Definitely not.

When I was a junior, I had a trainer that would go to Florida for the month of February to help her sister and lock our stirrups in her house before she left. I was 14 and regularly rode bareback so I didn’t really care. Now I’d be super pissed if that happened.


I’m a grown ass amateur and I get to decide if I drop my stirrups or not (when not in a lesson, where I’m paying for someone to help me practice.)

I’d be mad as heck if someone took my stirrups off without having a discussion about it first.

Also, just like any other training progression, if you haven’t been riding without them already, you need to phase into it, or you will be ineffectual and a burden to your horse.

ETA and I say that as someone who’s doing No-Stirrups November… because my horse is retired and furry, and I’ll be riding bareback the whole month. I think it counts. Historically, I’ve always done NSN as a reminder to myself to practice riding without my irons on a regular basis. I drop them for a couple of minutes every ride. I do this frequently enough throughout the year that I can start with a few minutes and scale up to 10-20 minutes, or doing my trot sets without them. If I didn’t do that, I would start with a lap around the ring at the canter, scaling up to a couple of laps at the rising trot by the end of the month.

If your trainer doesn’t have people practicing without them as part of their regularly scheduled programming, then taking them away entirely with no warning is bad athletic training. It doesn’t account for how bodies work. It’s bad for you and it’s bad for your horses.


I’m an adult. If a trainer decided without my permission that my stirrups were gone I would very quickly decide that my money and horses were gone too.


I’m old and grumpy. I would inform the instructor that I would not be riding unless those stirrups showed up.

“No Stirrup November” is supposed to be an aspirational goal and a reminder that working without stirrups is important to the development of an independent seat. It isn’t supposed to be a one-size-fits-all prescription or an excuse for passive-aggressive instructors/trainers to torture their students.


Oi. Are these your personal stirrups? Like you own them?

I’d be mad as a wet hen if someone jacked the leathers and irons off my saddle.


My barn participates in NSN in the sense of everyone gets SOME time without stirrups in their lessons all month. How long, at what gait, and what exercises depends on the rider, the horse, the goal. This is reasonable, and fun! I’m new to the barn, riding once a week after years off, and am just getting enough core and leg strength to not be mildly scary trying to stop my lesson horse that gets strong. So, I got to keep my stirrups for the first lesson this month, though I did my walk warmup without them of my own accord.
Taking the stirrups away entirely is just dangerous (and unfair to the horses) - though I had a trainer who did it. Man did you learn to ride, but her students were all relatively balanced, heavily competing, scrappy teens on their own horses (so no school horses getting 2 WTC lessons a day with people pounding their kidneys).

I’d talk to trainer, explain that you appreciate the idea and don’t mind starting small and working up to a longer time without stirrups, but that you don’t feel comfortable being without them the whole month. You’re an adult riding for fun, and trainer should definitely be willing and happy to work with you in this. If not, I’d be worried about what the rest of their program looks like


Yea no, I wouldn’t be too happy. Also if a rider isn’t ready to go without stirrups they’ll just end up pinching with their knees or bracing on the horses face for balance which isn’t going to do any good. NSN is great for riders that are already in pretty really decent shape and need a challenge but not everyone.

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Ugh. My college coach did this to our team and also to all of her private lesson students. Keep in mind this was IHSA so we had everyone from intro riders just learning how to post, to open riders who could confidently jump entire courses without stirrups. She’d cackle while taking the stirrups off of every saddle in the barn and hiding them for the entire month.

I always felt so bad for her horses - imagine an entire string of horses forced to endure nothing but no-stirrups lessons. Some of them were doing 2 lessons a day, 6 days a week with riders of wildly varying abilities.

I didn’t know any better then, but now I cringe at the thought. I’d much rather see someone do 5 minutes of no stirrup work during each ride or a few times a week, than ditch their stirrups entirely for a whole month.


Right. 'Tis better to ride 5 minutes every day than 25 minutes only on a Sunday, etc.


I totally refuse to ride without stirrups. I am 70 years old, I have MS, I have horrible balance and I DEPEND on my stirrups not to fall off.

Back when I was much younger I rode bareback a lot, once I rode bareback one whole summer so it would have been no sweat back then, but now? Absolutely not.

I was so vehement about it when my riding teacher once made a mild suggestion about it that she was very surprised one calm day when the lesson horse was chill I dropped my stirrups for maybe three minutes. I have not done that since, why risk falling off?


My trainers stopped taking away my stirrups when I challenged them to a jumping competition without stirrups and I could hang with them and even beat them. Get off my lawn you young ass punks.


I’m loving the support I’m getting on this. I think it’s settled that NSN is not for grown a$$ adults


McExcuse me :rofl: