Improve your seat - ride without stirrups

Stirrups are an essential part of our tack, as they help us balance better on the horse. However, riding without stirrups can be very useful, as it helps you to improve your seat and posture. In this article, we will look at some exercises you can do in order to improve your seat and ride better.

Ride without stirrups

Why should I ride without stirrups?

Stirrups are often taken for granted. They help us balance better and make riding a lot easier - in fact, the invention of stirrups was the reason why many militaries became victorious in the past. However, as soon as you take your stirrups off, you may notice imbalances and might even have difficulty communicating with your horse.

Riding without stirrups has many benefits:

  • Your posture will improve
  • Your balance will become better
  • You will find your center easier
  • Your core will become stronger
  • You will learn to relax your legs

When we ride with stirrups, we often rely on them a lot. In fact, we may even create bad habits that are hard to correct. This is why many riders keep themselves in check by riding without stirrups every now and then.

How to improve your riding without stirrups

One of the best things to do is to cross your stirrups over the neck of the horse and start riding as you normally would. This way, your stirrups are out of the way and you can even grab onto them if you feel like you will lose your balance.

If you have someone to help you, having them lunge the horse in a big circle while you focus on your seat and posture instead of steering the horse, can be very useful. You can let go of the reins, relax your shoulders and legs, and simply focus on staying in the center and moving with the horse.

As you ride without stirrups, the most important thing to focus on is not gripping the horse with your legs while trying to balance. Instead, you should focus on keeping your back straight and your core tight. You will soon notice that you may have been trusting your stirrups to provide you with balance.

Can I jump without stirrups?

Showjumpers need to have a good balance and quick reaction time. While riding without stirrups is extremely beneficial for dressage riders, showjumpers should not neglect riding without stirrups, either. An experienced showjumper can even practice cavaletti’s or small fences without stirrups.

Remember safety stirrups

Remember, that you should always have safety stirrups when you ride. Nowadays, it is easy to find different types of safety stirrups online or at a tack store. For instance, you can order your safety stirrups through us and receive them directly in your mailbox.

Ophena S and Ophena T magnetic safety stirrups feature a magnetic connection, an open side, a foot stopper, and Smart Attach -system. In addition, our stirrups have a 60-day money-back guarantee, which is how we ensure the happiness of our customers.

Frequently asked questions

What are the benefits of riding without stirrups?

Riding without stirrups can improve your posture, balance, seat, and relax your hips.

Should I trail ride without stirrups?

Trail riding without stirrups is not the best idea, as riding without stirrups increases your chances of falling off your horse.

How do I ride without stirrups?

Simply cross your stirrups over each other in front of the saddle.


Riding without stirrups is an excellent way to improve yourself as a rider. Whether you are a jumper or a dressage rider, or only ride for fun, crossing your stirrups over the horse's neck every now and then is great for your balance. Remember, that when you do use stirrups, you should always use safety stirrups.