Bring It On November!

No Stirrup November – Working through No Stirrup rides is definitely a challenge. Here we are, halfway through the month, and halfway through No Stirrups November! And this year I haven’t had as many rides for the month as I did last year, but the rides I have had have been very good. I feel that I have made progress with Plezant, mostly because I have really planned out what I want to work on each ride.

No Stirrup November – Working Through No Stirrup Rides

And it seems a lot colder this year for some reason. We have only had one snow since this challenge started (thankfully) but it has been so cold! Now I’m glad to have my winter riding wear!

I think the wind has played a factor in it too. Not only has it been cold, but it’s been really windy. And honestly, I can handle the cold on it’s own. But when you factor in the wind…well that gets me. I really don’t like the wind.

And this past weekend, we had a lot of wind.

My husband was startled awake around 1:30 AM on Saturday to the sound of something crashing down. Me? Well I slept through it. I am a very sound sleeper apparently.

But the evidence of what caused the crashing sound was apparent when we woke up. The large cottonwood tree in our backyard decided to lose some rather large branches.

No Stirrup November – Working Through No Stirrup Rides

Thankfully, no real damage was done, and we got some firewood out of the wood too! And right now, I am glad to have the firewood. Like I said, it is cold! And my favorite way to warm up after a cold ride is to sit by the fire.

No Stirrup November – Working Through No Stirrup Rides

But this post wasn’t supposed to be about me whining about how cold it is. No, I wanted to share with you how I have been planning my rides, and how to use a portion of each ride without stirrups.

One of the challenges I am participating in is being put on by Equisarte. They have a website and Facebook page where they typically have online horse shows. But for November, they have added a No Stirrup November challenge. This wasn’t a free challenge, but the rosette I have a chance of getting if I complete my challenge is beautiful!

No Stirrup November – Working Through No Stirrup Rides
Photo from Equisarte

And a portion of the cost goes to support a Canter chapter. Canter is a program to find homes for Ex-Racehorses. And I love supporting organizations that care about horses. So for me, signing up was a no brainer.

Now if you are riding with a trainer, you have the benefit of having your trainer come up with a plan for each of your rides. But if you don’t, it can be really hard to stick to a plan with your riding, other than walking in endless circles around your arena.

No Stirrup November – Working Through No Stirrup Rides

But Equisarte posted a tips and activities worksheet to help with ideas of what to do to get the most out of your no stirrup work. So that’s what I’ve been doing. Before each ride, I write down a few things that I want to accomplish during my ride. Here are a few ideas to help you in case you want to up your No Stirrups November:

  • Walk 2 Times around the Arena
  •  Walk for 5 minutes
  •  Sit in Proper Position at the Halt
  •  Walk a Serpentine
  •  2 Point for 15 seconds at the Walk
  •  Post at Walk 2 Circles
  •  Trot a Straight Line
  •  Trot 1 Circle

 These are the exercises I focused on for the first 2 weeks of this challenge. Not to shabby right? I didn’t do everything at one time either. No, I took one or two of the ideas and used them for my riding time. I like this because it gives me something to focus on, and a goal. I will typically do this toward the end of my ride. And if I do a good job, and Plezant does a good job, we end the ride. I always try to end each ride on a positive. To me, that is very important.

So with the first section of ideas completed, now it’s time to work toward the next section of ideas:

  •  Drop and Pick up your Stirrups
  •  Walk & Trot for 5 minutes
  •  Trot a Serpentine
  •  2 Point at the Walk across the Diagonals
  •  Sitting Trot 2 Circles
  •  Posting Trot across the short sides of your arena
  •  Canter 1 Circle
  •  Try a Walk/Trot Pattern

I also bring back some of the earlier activities as I work through the new ones. And even though it’s still going to be cold today when I ride, this week is supposed to be warm again. So it should make it a little bit easier to spend more time in the saddle, and accomplish each of these.

No Stirrup November – Working Through No Stirrup Rides

I am really enjoying the Equisarte challenge. And it’s a little bit easier than The Chronicle of the Horse’s challenge, because I only have to have 10 rides instead of 12.

No Stirrup November – Working Through No Stirrup Rides

I have 8 rides in on my calendar so far. And after this post, I will have my 10. And with 15 days left in the month, if I can get another 10 rides in, I will be so happy!

No Stirrup November – Working Through No Stirrup Rides

I try to take a picture or two while I’m riding. But it’s difficult to get different pictures. They seem to always be the same. Sometimes I can get my husband to come out and take a few pictures too, and I love it when this happens. Especially when I remember to charge the battery for my camera!

There is nothing more frustrating than getting into the saddle, texting my husband to come out, and then the battery is dead in my camera! I fixed that problem though, and bought a couple of extra batteries, and a new charger so I will always be ready. Got to be prepared right?

And I have a goal for all those photos too. Just like I did a photo montage with Frisby last year, I want to do the same with Plezant, this year. And then when I am done, I want to actually print both of these montages, and actually frame them for my studio.

It’s one thing to have the pictures on my website, but a completely different thing to have them printed out so I can see them all the time. Not just when I am working on a new blog post or reviewing something on my computer.

No Stirrup November – Working Through No Stirrup Rides

Ok, the month is half way through, and so are my rides. Just a few more to go for my rosette goals. I can’t wait to share those with you! But if I want to get them, I must go ride…. Warm weather or not. So if you’ll excuse me, I have a horse that needs riding….

No Stirrup November – Working Through No Stirrup Rides


I am horse crazy and love DIY projects, and finding great deals on everything horse related. When I have a new idea, or find a great deal I love sharing this information with you........AND just to have FULL Disclosure:Affiliate Disclaimer: Some of the blog posts on my site will allow you to purchase different products and services online provided by other merchants, and not myself. Some of the links that I post on my site are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I may receive an affiliate commission.* I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn a commission by linking to and affiliated sites. *Disclosed in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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