4 Drills To Keep Your Feet In Their Assigned Seat!

I was watching a girl work with her trainer today as she went through the barrel pattern. After her second barrel, she yelled out in a slight panic that she had lost her stirrup and proceeded to completely forget about how to ride the horse she was on. 

We have all been here; losing a stirrup happens, but the way you react to it tells me a lot about your confidence in your riding. This tells me that we need to go back to the basics and work on some core strength and this tells me you’re not quite ready to add any speed, much less be on the pattern…That’s right, I said it. Why would you not be on the pattern? Because the slightest bit of fear and doubt in your seat can cause more harm than good when it comes time to add speed. 

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been on some dragons that when they get to flying and I lose a stirrup during the run, you betcha my heart drops to my butt. However, you think I’m going to let my dragon know their driver just blew out the clutch?! NO! I stay centered, I keep riding and my feet will find the stirrup on their own. Be fully prepared to use your core and hold on but don’t panic and lose your ability to ride. Odds are, when you pull up, look down, or freak out you will cause an accident or create a bad habit that is harder to fix. If you lose a stirrup, you keep rolling with the punches until it’s time to abandon the ship. DO NOT PANIC!!!! There is no room for that nonsense during a run.  


  • Walk, Trot, Lope without stirrups…real original, I know. 
  • Do the above but now incorporate taking your feet in and out of the stirrups. Time yourself for funsies. The key is to do this without looking down or searching for your stirrups. 
  • Learn the Emergency Dismount. This is dismounting your horse without stirrups while the horse is moving. This comes in handy during emergency situations (Imagine that) and also helps you get over the fear of falling. 
  • Posting during the trot without stirrups. Do this in intervals. 30 seconds posting 30 seconds sitting trot kinda thing. You can also challenge yourself with asking for a long trot or slow trot transition. 
  • Shorten your Stirrups. If you are constantly fishing for your stirrups, shorten them a hair.

**Pro tip: these drills will really work your inner thighs and hip flexors. In order to prevent back soreness, do lunge stretches after.

I know some smartass is going to say just rubber band your stirrups. I’m not a “solve a symptom” girl, I’m more of “let’s find the cure”. Yes, I do believe in this little tip in order to keep your feet in their assigned seat, however, doing this for the wrong reasons and the wrong way can be extremely dangerous!

Don’t use thick rubber bands! They should snap easy and be thin. You should still know how to get your stirrup back without looking down or panicking. Rubber Bands should be fixed in a way that allows you to still take your foot out in case of an emergency. They’re really there for moral support if I’m being honest.  



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