No Stirrup November: Week Three

This year I have decided that I will be participating in the infamous No Stirrup November, but I am not dropping the irons for every ride for the entire month. Instead, I am following my own rules for the sake of my horse and myself.

Week by week, I will be documenting my adventures in NSN, feel free to join in or just follow along. Check out week one and week two!

Welcome to No Stirrup November, week three.

Saturday, November 15th

  • It was BCET’s last IHSA show of the semester today, so yes to stirrups for me.

Sunday, November 16th – Day 10

  • Today was going to be just a light hack because it is FREEZING outside, but Ax was so well behaved that I pushed it a little bit. I warmed up without irons before grabbing them back for some more advanced work. Maybe this NSN thing is making my horse better behaved, or maybe my dropping the stirrups is letting him not work as hard.

Monday, November 17th

  • Rest day.

Tuesday, November 18th – Day 11

  • Now that the season is over we are allowed the option of riding our own horses in whatever lessons we have left, obviously I chose Ax. There ended up only being two of us in the lesson, so we each got a lot of individualized attention to work on exercises that our coach saw at Equine Affaire over the weekend. We warmed up both with and without stirrups before moving on.

    The first flat exercise was to perform a lengthened canter down the straight side of the indoor with a counter-bend to open up the inside hind leg followed by a collected canter in the corners with a true-bend. Ax decided that counter-bend actually meant lead change and proceeded to half-buck/half-swap leads around the whole ring. The next one was a little easier for him though he was still a bit swappy; we were to counter canter the straight side, leg-yield away from the wall halfway down, hold the lead during a half circle in reverse in the corner, and hand-gallop back down the straight on the correct lead.

    The flat and fences exercises.
    The flat and fences exercises.

    Things got much better once we started jumping. She set up a 2′ bounce to a canter pole to a 2’9″ oxer, all of which was set slightly close to force Ax to use his bum (he is not one to put in much effort, so squaring his knees and actually jumping the fence is rare unless the fences are at a decent height). The first comment we got was, “Wow, your horse has a nice jump in him when he puts in the effort!” I couldn’t have been more proud of my jumping bean!

Wednesday, November 19th – Day 12

  • Another chance to ride Ax in the lesson and another stirrup-less warmup. With more people in this lesson, we didn’t do as much as we did yesterday, though I think Ax was grateful for that because he was dragging his hiney the entire time. We stuck to a simple trot in and canter out of a single bounce on a circle. Once Ax got it right we decided to call it a day.

Thursday, November 20th

  • Another rest day. I figured Ax deserved after the past two days of over fences work.

Friday, November 21st – Day 13

  • All of our good rides in the past weeks caught up to me today. I don’t know if it was Ax being tired and a little stiff from the cold weather and the jumping or if he was just being a butthead, but today was awful to say the least. I tried my best to drop my irons but we were going downhill fast. An hour later, we finally got a decent trot and canter before I decided that we were done.

IMG_7073

On to week four!

-TC

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