Advice for buying stirrups for horse riding

The humble stirrup – no longer just somewhere to put your feet while you’re hacking out or schooling your horse.

Foot in stirrup

Look in any tack shop and you’ll find a selection of different types to choose from.

Manufacturers are now using modern materials and developing different designs to make stirrups truly innovative.

The result is some quite futuristic-looking stirrups, with an all manner of features that claim to improve your riding and help you maintain that perfect lower leg position. Who wouldn’t want that from a pair of stirrups?

There are even pairs of stirrups that can relieve pressure on your knees and ankles for a more comfortable ride.

With so many stirrups to choose from nowadays, it can be difficult to know where to start. 

What to consider

There are four key things to consider when you’re looking for a new pair of stirrups to ensure you buy pair of stirrups that are going to meet your needs the best.

1. Size

It's important for your safety to buy the correct size of stirrups for your feet. If they’re too big, your foot is more likely to slide through.

Irons that are too small run the risk of your foot becoming stuck in your stirrup, increasing the risk of you getting dragged if you fall from your horse. 

To check your stirrups are the right size, you should be able to fit one finger width on either side of the widest part of your boot and the stirrup.

Alternatively, measure the bottom of your riding boots across the ball of your foot and add an inch to that measurement.

2. Weight

With the use of modern materials such as plastic and aluminum, stirrups are now extremely lightweight.

These can be a popular choice with competition riders, but what you prefer is a personal choice.

3. Tread

A wide rubber tread is still a popular option for grip. Some manufacturers uses different treads to provide superior grip and security.

There’s also stirrups with a cheese-grater-style tread. This can offer better stability if the sole of your boot gets wet and could be a good option if you’re a regular cross-country rider.

4. Safety

A good feature to consider is stirruups with an easy-release system. This addition could prevent you being dragged if you fall off.

There are a number of options available, but most open at the side of the stirrup so that your foot is quickly released. 

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