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As we have now come to the end of #nostirrupnovember and we are eager to get our feet back in the stirrups. In this blog, we have researched a vast selection of popular stirrup choices on the market to help you choose what horse riding stirrups you may want to purchase.
Stirrups in their simplest form are designed to hold our foot in place and help provide security whilst in the saddle. There is now a plethora of stirrup choices out there with varying designs and features including grip, adjustable bases and safety features, and they sometimes hefty price tags.
Just because it is the end of No Stirrup November does not mean we should abandon no stirrup work altogether. It has many benefits to our horse-riding position and security in the saddle. Riding our horses without stirrups main benefit is to develop your seat and security in the saddle, giving us more of a chance of staying on board when the horse does something unexpected, for example taking off from a jump on an unplanned stride.
In the classical riding schools of Europe, horse riders were required to ride without stirrups for the first three years they were there (puts our doing it for 1 month to shame!!), and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t start developing your seat and riding without stirrups from a beginner with the correct instruction.
Correct Size Stirrup
Firstly, no matter what design stirrup we choose the sizing is everything a stirrup that is to small could lead to your foot becoming stuck in the iron if you fall off the horse. With the ball of the foot in the stirrup, you want to allow ½ an inch spacing on each side between the side of your boot/foot and the edge of the stirrup iron.
In my opinion, this should be essential, the horror of a horse rider being dragged and trampled if a foot becomes stuck should just not be happening anymore with the amount of modern technology available (This could avoid a very serious injury to the rider). There are many different types of safety stirrups now and we will be reviewing a few of them below.
Safety stirrups are stirrups that allow your foot to be safely released from the stirrup when you have a fall from a horse (these could be especially helpful for Cross country and hunting disciplines when the horse is likely to be galloping and in a large space).
The weight of the stirrup can also be an important factor especially within racing, endurance, eventing where the horse must travel long distances and/or at high speeds.
The design of the stirrup, is it a fixed base or some innovative stirrups have bases that pivot in 2 or 4 directions simultaneously, allowing greater comfort and flexibility to help alleviate tension and pain in the hips, knees and ankles by softening the impact on joints, great for riders that suffer from aches and pains when in the saddle. Also, the grip on the base should be considered for riders foot security and to help to stop slipping.
The price, this is up to the individuals budget and in the last 10 or so years stirrups have developed massively and as a result, the prices have also increased with it not being unusual to expect to pay £100-£200 plus on a pair of stirrups.
Although this may seem like a lot to spend on a pair of stirrups most pairs last for many years and if they provide you with comfort, more stability and safety in the saddle they could well be worth it.
Below is a varying range of stirrups the features they have and price tags they come with. There are still much more available on the market, but we have managed to cover a great range of them here:
Obviously, there are too many stirrups out there to mention them all so we have selected a range of popular different brands, we have also provided links to tack stores for the stirrups we cannot guarantee that this is the best deal out there so it’s always worth shopping around.
The Stirrups we have listed below are as follows:
The Original – Stainless steel and about as simple as it gets. They are the original stirrups design and although they do the job, there are better, more stable and definitely safer options on the market. But for value for money, they are up there. These will either come with a rubber tread or you may have to purchase some treads separately which cost very little.
There are also many plastic and lighter-weight options of this design, they are lighter and some quite stylish but buying the correct size would be essential with no safety feature.
The classic pony club stirrup, as above its stainless steel, an affordable option especially if safety is key as often is with kids on ponies. It offers a rubber side that pops off when pressure applied/ foot is stuck (spares of the rubber would be required)
Very similar to the above, often used in the hunting field as a safter but still smart option to the original. If you want a safe and affordable stirrup you can’t go wrong with these however foot tread security/stability may not be as good as other options on the market.
Note the bend of the stirrup should be on the outside, and the bend towards the horses head to allow the foot to come out.
There are 4 different ranges from Free Jump, theres no doubt that these stirrups are stylish and safe with here flexible outer branch that allows foot release, but they come with a hefty price tag. They only come in one size so be aware if you think you have wider feet.
Air’s Collection £180
Although this range is not a safety stirrup in the same way as the others in the range. The upper polyamide headband is designed to trigger in case of high pressure to facilitate the release of the foot if necessary.
It also offers, Super Grip studs for foot stability, plus, a flat or inclined floor depending on the riders preference. And looks pretty stylish.
Soft Up Classic £209
The stirrup’s eye, positioned further forward in comparison to the tread, this encourages the rider to keep their heels down. This applies to all 3 stirrup designs. Designed to provide an extremely effective grip without causing wear to the soles.
Also find the Free jump Classic Pearl
Soft Up Pro £229.95
A development on the Soft Up Classic stirrups in that they have an enlarged platform with rounded corners to improve the comfort and foot stability, plus non slip longer studs.
Also comes in a crystal edition
Soft Up Lite
Outer branch more flexible and now customizable.
Single-branch stirrups reduced in size (footwear up to 39)
Safe design and a lightweight and technical design. Robust, strong and durable. And, the flexible shape memory arch prevents any stress points. A take on the Free jumps but would argue not as stylish, and a slightly cheaper price tag.
Only come in one size
There are 3 models from the Flex on range, the Pro balance, Balance and Safeon.- Prices start at £175
They all Have an Ultra-lightweight design, yet strong frame and Ultra-grip studs (It is worth noting that it is easy to replace the footbed insert if worn or damaged). Flex-on frames are off-set and skewed at an angle. This, combined with an inclined footbed helps achieve an ideal leg position, dramatically adding stability and confidence when in the saddle. Flex-on now offer two main footbed types: flat, and incline.
For a super in depth review on Flex on Stirrups visit About Flex-On stirrups – Shadow Horse
There doesn’t seem to be much these stirrups don’t have, but they also come with a pretty chunky price tag but the reviews seem to all be in favour of them.
Be aware that the cheaper option Flex on Composite is not a safety stirrup, the Flex-On-Safe-On stirrups have a Safety Arm that is customisable in a variety of colours. (£224.94)
The balance being the cheaper option starting at £175
Arena Alu Pro Stirrup & Alu Plus Aluminium Stirrup & A junior collection – From £110
Comes in one size, has an outer release branch and features a easy and reliable “one-click” re-engagement of the stirrup locking and release mechanism once triggered
The springing stirrup bow, and foot support assembly is capable of effectively absorbing and compensating for short-term and sudden impacts exerted through the rider’s weight from the top. Therefore, also very interesting for riders suffering from orthopedic problems.
The plus being a newer and upgraded version of the Pro for a slightly higher price tag.
Stylish stirrup, with no safety feature. The stirrup pad with its practical long holes (avoiding dirt accumulations between boot sole and tread), 4 rivets with screw thread for a stronger grip effect. The extra-large stirrup pad is inclined towards the rider’s foot (5° angle), permitting the rider to achieve an optimum leg position.
Acavallo Adjustable Stirrup with rubber or Steel Pad/Tread
The pivoted stirrup pad which can be adjusted by a simple turn of an allen key (included in supply), can be swivelled to any angle required by the rider in order to achieve an optimum leg position and balance.
Comes in one size and there is no safety feature.
Acavallo Opera Stirrup
No safety feature, but has a large tread for better grip and security, and comes in one size. The Opera stirrup has a special patented loop construction, which allows the stirrup to adhere to the saddle flap, avoiding friction between the leg and the stirrup, for a more correct, comfortable and secure ride
Has a Footplate supported by their twin arch balance system that disperses weight evenly across the base of the stirrup. Also features a safety arm with a two stage release system so that it doesn’t open unecessarily. Top point of frame is offset thus encourages a 45 outward position to assist the rider in an improved secure footing in the stirrup.
Also comes in a lighter weight option for a slightly higher price tag. They are very stylish stirrups and have a variety of colours (In case you aren’t a fan of the pink!). A hinged, opening side that uses a magnetic mechanism to allow the foot to escape in the event of a fall, after which the mobile part of the stirrup returns to its original position. The superior grip is designed to prevent the loss of a stirrup during riding as well as the accumulation of mud
Sprenger Bow balance £173.30
It is optimally balanced and offers more comfort. An extra-wide tread surface with inserts made from two different rubber hardnesses provides more grip and absorbs tangles, although I imagine if you allow it to get dirty grip will be reduced. The tried and tested safety system ensures separation when falling.
The balanced mobility in four directions protects the ligaments and tendons without being spongy and unstable. The stirrups are marked with R for right and L for left for the respective side.
SPRENGER Flexcite Safety Stirrups
Perfectly balanced for an optimal and safe thigh and foot position. Shock absorbing and gentle on joints, ligaments. Facilitates the release of the foot in the event of a fall. They are a Modern design stirrup in elegant silver/black
I personally have never seen this stirrup before doing this blog but theres many occasions I would have loved it!! It is a mechanical stirrup designed for riders, giving you the option/ a whole 6 extra inches to be able to mount your horse when a mounting block is not assessable. It’s lightweight and had rigorous testing, the extra arm folds away and the safety locking feature ensures non-deployment during use.
We hope this has helped give you a better idea of some of the stirrups that are out there and what you would choose. Finally, be sure to keep your stirrups from scratching your fabulous saddles or making them dirty this winter by getting yourself some stirrups covers.
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