HomeExpert AdviceArticleSeven top tips on riding without stirrups

Seven top tips on riding without stirrups

Posted in Flatwork

Do you want to add some work without stirrups to your riding routine? Get it right with H&R

Riding without stirrups

It’s the war cry of instructors everywhere – “right, I’m taking away your stirrups!” But there’s no reason the thought of going stirrupless should leave you quaking in your boots. In fact, it’s a huge asset to your training that shouldn’t be overlooked. You definitely know why you’re doing it, but what about the how? Look no further than our seven top tips to build your confidence and step up your training.

1. On the lunge

Lunge lessons are your friend when it comes to getting comfortable without stirrups. They allow you to focus on your position and balance without worrying about organising your horse. It’s the perfect place to get started and a great way to hone your seat. 

2. Extra security

A neckstrap is a handy investment for any rider, stirrups or not. Whether donning it solo or as part of a breastplate or martingale, it’ll offer extra security and stop you catching your horse’s mouth should you lose your balance and grab the reins for support.

3. Core work

A strong core will help every facet of your riding, work without stirrups included. More consistent balance and the ability to better support your horse will all come with core strength, so a few trips to the gym or sit-up sessions at home each week will go a long way.

4. Get your timing right

Is the first time you sit on your horse after he’s had a week off the best time to practise riding without stirrups? Probably not. Use the second half of your session once you’re both back in the groove to give it a go and stick to the arena, at least to begin with. 

5. Don’t grip!

Riders of all levels and abilities have to resist the urge to grip the saddle when they’ve lost a stirrup. But by relaxing your knees, lengthening your legs and deepening your seat you’ll find a more secure and balanced position in the saddle, plus a better connection with your horse.

6. Don’t cut the engine

It can be really tempting to slow your horse’s pace and lose all the impulsion you’ve carefully cultivated to help you keep your balance without stirrups. However, for it to truly aid your training, it’s important that you maintain the energy and expression in your horse’s paces, with or without stirrups.

7. Short and sweet

Sprinkle work sans stirrups into your flatwork at regular intervals, but don’t immediately try for 45 minutes without them – short, sweet sessions are also easier for your horse and much kind on his back. Little and often goes a long way, so build up gradually.  


If you want to try jumping without stirrups, always start small, with poles on the ground, and have your instructor or an experienced friend on hand to offer support should anything go wrong.

Your Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Newsletter Sign-up

Sign up now