Sunday, November 3, 2013

No Stirrups November Challenge - It's not too late to get started

Nov. 5th Update:

I'm happy yo hear that a bunch of you have taken me up on the challenge on "No Stirrups November" but many of you have not signed up on the 'official' Challenge form. Here's the link again.

There has been some question about how to add additional information.  I have never done a form where you can go back in again but for subsequent weeks but I have played around with it a little and I think I have figured it out.  Follow these steps
  1. go to the form again and enter your name again and hit submit
  2. You will see the following:

    "No Stirrups November Challenge"

    Your response has been recorded. Thank you for participating in the "No Stirrups November Challenge"
         See previous responses 
         Edit your response 
         Submit another response
    Click on Edit Your Response and you can update your form             
To view the data base to see your report as well as the others participating click on the 'previous responses'.  At that point you will be taken to a summary page and in the upper left hand corner it will say View All Responses.  That will take you to to another page which is a spread sheet of all the participants.  I was going to link it here, gut I thought it would be best to only allow those who are participating in the challenge to view it.  You can also and or edit your information when you get to this page.  Please keep in mind that other participants can also edit information.  If you are making a comment on someone else's information I ask that:
  1. in the word of my mother "if you can't say anything nice; don't say anything at all"
  2. but words of encouragement or comments said in good humor are welcomed and encouraged...I'm not sure if it was Barb or someone else who posted "LIAR, LIAR THIGHS ON FIRE" ;)        
In addition to logging your rides and minutes please share your experiences on the Stone Gate Farm Facebook page or leave a comment on this blog.  Remember we still have to decide how we're going to decide who the winners are and what the prize is going to me.  Personally I think a pass for a spa for a massage would be a great idea ;)

That's it for now, and remember it's never too late to start 'working' on become the best rider that you can be; so join us today for the "No Stirrups November Challenge"  We'll be posting weekly updates.  Until then 'ride on without...'


Nov 3 - "The Challenge"

I first heard about 'No Stirrups November' last year and this year I decided to give it a try  I thought who wouldn't want to be a better, stronger, more confident rider who is better equipped to better communicate with our horses? Not me, but riding without stirrups?  To some people it may be a little intimidating, to others it's just plain hard and to others they may just think it's unnecessary. Deep down we all know that we, and ultimately our horses, would benefit from riding us without stirrups but we just need a little nudge to do it.  So that's why I challenged my  Face Book friends to join me as I did when I started my "Success in the Saddle" work out regime a while back. For me, going public keeps me honest and I also hope that I can inspire others to join me.

So last week I made the challenge on Facebook and I was happy to see that many of my friends decided to join me and give it a go. Interestingly enough, those who accepted the challenge were not only adults, but adults who are over 40.  How were we going to get more kids involved?  That's when I got a text message from Terry Mansky, the DC of the Bath Pony Club, who wanted to challenge all Pony Club members in the Tri-State Region to participate in a "No Stirrups November" challenge.  We're still working on the details but time is of the essence and we need to get the challenge started.  But why should Pony Club have all the fun?  I challenge each and everyone of you to participate in "No Stirrups November".

We're still working out the details but since it is already Nov 3rd we have to get going. I have made out a form so you can track your progress and that of your friends on line; here's the  link. You only have to answer a few questions a week and of course ride without your stirrups ;)  Get together with a few friends and challenge a few of your other friends and have a friendly competition.  We can make up the rules as we go. 

I  have however made a few rules for your safety and your horses comfort:
  • riding without stirrups or bareback are considered the same
  • trail riding can be done with stirrups, but you must do the ride in the 2 point
  • you may use stirrups to jump ( this is ore for your horse's benefit)
Be sure to record how long you can do rising trot without your stirrups without stopping for a starting point and then set a goal time to aim for at the end of the challenge.  Then record how many rides in a week that you have ridden without stirrups and for how long.  You will report the same thing at the beginning of each week.  The results should be interesting.

I started on Friday with one ride, skipped yesterday & did another ride today.  A word of advice; it is MUCH easier to do rising trot in a jumping saddle.  Just as a reference point I rode 5 minutes straight without my stirrups.  The first minute and a half I was thinking to myself "oh yeah, I got this", in my mind I had set a goal of 5 minutes.  Well 2 and a half minutes came around and I could not believe I was only half way to my 5 minute goal.  The next minute and a half was a bit of a struggle and by the time I got to the last minute I was holding onto the garb strap just in case Hannah should spook as I didn't think my legs would be able to keep me on.  I finally made it to 5 minutes and took a break. And then for some unknown reason I set my end goal at 10 minutes ... that's twice as much as I did today ... we'll see.

So what was I going to do for the rest of my ride?  I couldn't do much more rising trot and I have never done that much sitting trot with Hannah as she can get tight and tense in her back.  I knew that I was partly responsible for her tightness but that was really evident today.  Since I basically had no leg left I was much looser in my hips and thighs and I had the one of the best rides ever!!!  Freely swinging forward, really good transitions both up and down and best of all a happy horse!!  I think I will definitely keep up with "No Stirrups November" and even if I don't meet my numeric goal; I definitely think I will meet my goals of being a better rider who can more effectively communicate with a happy willing horse.

So I challenge each and everyone of you to accept the "No Stirrups November" and to work hard to meet your goals, whatever they may be.... and remember if I can do it so can you!!!