Alright, the challenge has officially started! And I decided that I would share my progress with you. I promise, there won’t be long winded posts! (maybe)
That is unless I have a breakthrough moment with Frisby during our riding sessions. Then, all bets are off!
But you might be wondering what the Lose the Leathers challenge is. Maybe you haven’t heard about it? Well, let’s talk about the challenge first.
Chronicle of the Horse Lose the Leathers November Challenge
This is the information from COTH Lose the Leathers Private Facebook Group:
“The main goal of the challenge is to complete the 12 rides, and every ride does count. Everyone who completes will be eligible to enter the drawing for prizes. (And as mentioned, the first 500 to submit your completed forms after Dec. 1 will win one of these awesome ribbons.) We will award a few special prizes to those who go above and beyond, at our discretion.
We want you to have fun and be creative with it, and hopefully improve your riding at the same time! We have a lot of cool things planned for this group, and we’re looking forward to learning more about you and your horses.
If you want to ‘officially’ join the challenge and have an opportunity to win a really cool ribbon, go over to the COTH Lose the Leathers Facebook group and ask to join. It’s a private group, so you have to ask to be included.”
Then print out their calendar, and all that’s left to do is to get on your horse, and ride! Without stirrups! Or if you want you can make your own calendar, which is what I did.
I am thinking of adding a captured photo from the Equilab app on my phone on each of the days that I ride without stirrups. This way I don’t have to write anything down, I can just put a picture on each day. I know, writing it down would be easier. But I hardly ever do things the easy way!
And while I really like my calendar, I don’t want to do anything that could jeopardize my chance for getting that pretty ribbon….. so I will probably end up submitting their calendar, just to be safe.
So here we are, November 1st, which is the first day of the challenge! And for me this really is a challenge, because I don’t have an indoor arena. I also don’t have arena lights for my arena, or do I?
I decided that since I will be doing this challenge, I needed a way to mount some lights so I can ride at night. And I did a complete post of How To DIY Arena Lights.
And while I wish this is what my riding area looks like right now, it doesn’t. Nope, right now, at the time of writing this, my arena looks like this:
Yep, it snowed. And not just a dusting of snow. Earlier this week, it snowed for over 36 hours straight. And that was added on top of a previous 6 inches of snow. So I won’t be doing any intense riding for now. But I will be riding!
And in true Colorado fashion, yesterday was warm, or relatively warm at around 46 degrees. And today when I got home, it was 26 degrees. Thankfully tomorrow is Saturday, and the weather forecast is to be in the high 40’s again. So riding will be a little more comfortable, even if it is sloppy.
But with this being the first day of the challenge, my motivation is strong! And I decided to ride for at least a little bit tonight after work. I simply bundled up, and climbed onto Frisby bareback.
Do you ever ride bareback? I have been riding bareback a lot more lately. Mainly because how easy it is. I simply brush him off, pick out his feet, and then climb aboard! So much easier than dragging out all of my tack.
And I get the added benefit of his body warmth. This boy is warm!
Riding Without Stirrups is Fun!
And I find riding bareback is excellent for helping my balance too. I mean I have no saddle to help with my position, it is left up to me. If you want to learn balance, riding bareback is an excellent exercise.
We didn’t do anything fancy, or fast for that matter. Just lots of walking, and working on turns as well as standing still and backing up.
One thing that has stuck with me since I was a fearless teenager and riding no matter what the weather was, is that you shouldn’t push your horse if the temperature is below freezing, because it can cause respiratory problems. So no trotting or cantering when the temperature is below freezing.
But that doesn’t mean I can’t spend a few minutes riding around at the walk. So that is what we did.
Join The Challenge!
If you are up to a challenge, why not play along? You don’t have to officially join the COTH Lose the Leathers Challenge, but you could make your own calendar, and work on improving your leg strength, seat and balance by riding without stirrups.
That’s my goal anyway, which is why I did join the challenge. And it’s fun! There are over 1000 equestrians who have joined the challenge, so there is a lot of support in the group.
I don’t know about you, but I find having a like minded group of people really help to motivate me to accomplish a goal. And this is why I signed up.
How about you, do you ever ride without stirrups? Have you ever done a no stirrups November? Let me know in the comment section! And if you are in the Facebook group, I look forward to seeing your progress too!