While I’ve never been too keen on No Stirrups November I have a lot of respect for riders who have the strength and balance to continue on course without them. I have a vivid memory of losing stirrup while galloping through a big field on a foxhunt and being really grateful that we stopped when we did! I also had a moment when my left stirrup broke (also galloping), although that was at home so I could pull up. Judging from the videos below, it seems to happen more often with the left stirrup, so check your leathers carefully.
If you need some inspiration to practice, the Chronicle of the Horse published an article recently that included some classic videos of the gritty equestrians who just kept going. Missing from the group (and I can’t find any video) is Richard Spooner who rode a clear round in the Indio Grand Prix on Robinson in 2006 without stirrups. He’d broken his leg the day before and it was too painful to ride with stirrups (he didn’t discover the leg was broken until after the class).
From the article, here are some videos that will leave you in awe.
Mark Todd on Bertie Blunt finishes Badminton in 1995 with one stirrup. In an interview with Horse & Hound, he talks about the ride:
I didn’t want to be banging around on the horse’s back — and eventually I found a reasonable level of comfort by hitching my left leg right up to the pommel of the saddle for the galloping stretches and dropping it to put my leg on over the fences. The jumping was almost the least of my worries; the galloping was excruciating.
Louise van Dijck (who was only 15) completes the 2018 FEI Pony European Championships in Bishop Burton, England, on Gasmann B Van Het Juxschot.
Harrie Smolders on Emerald NOP had a stirrup break over the first fence in the jump-off at the 2017 CSI2* Ghent (Belgium) and still won the class.
Malin Baryard-Johnsson got jumped out of the tack by H&M Reveur De Hurtebise. She never got her stirrups back but she did finish third.