I wanted to share an exercise that has many benefits and can be performed at any gait! Whether you are just starting out or an old pro, everyone can benefit. Everyone knows riding without stirrups helps improve your seat and leg, but what about riding with one stirrup?! Riding with one stirrup increases your awareness of how dependent you are on each stirrup.
Everyone has a stirrup they love (mine is my left) and another stirrup that needs more love. Here’s how to do it: Start at the halt and drop both stirrups and work to place your feet back in the stirrups. This helps to develop confidence that you can find your stirrup in a pinch, which is usually when things are going wrong. Practice this now so that when you need it you have the skills to find your lost stirrup. Then move on to dropping one stirrup and picking it back up and repeat with the other, feel which one is easier to sit with and which one is easier for you to find. We all have one that is better. If that is easy move onto the walk.
Drop both stirrups and feel the motion (I find riding with no stirrups is easier than one so I always start there) then pick one up. Repeat on the other side. You want to feel which one is HARDER to ride with, ride with that one more. If this is too easy move onto the trot, canter, and even jumping with just one stirrup. Your focus is being balanced in the saddle and forcing you onto your weak side.
Worry Less and Ride More!