Stirrups. How Complicated Can They Be?! Read On…

I write the title with a smile.  The idea of writing about stirrups seems like it would take one paragraph.  Right?  Except, when I went to my trailer to photograph all of my stirrups, I started to laugh.  I have 4 saddles with 4 different types of stirrups and I have one more set on the way from Ebay and a few dormant pairs.  So, just little ol’ me, strictly a trail rider, has 8 sets!  There must be a lot to say about stirrups and I’m about to barely scratch the surface with you all today…


First, since I only know what I use, my choices are always for weight (light), safety, ease in turning the leathers, width at the neck, width at the ball of my foot and looks (maybe).   I prefer very lightweight so I like aluminum, titanium, plastic (yup, sorry) or rawhide.  I have pictured my plastic, wide mouthed, narrow foot pad stirrups that I have ridden in for years.  In these tried ‘n true but kinda ugly stirrups, I have lightweight, ease in tying up on the saddle, ease in turning the leathers because of the wide mouth and a very comfortable foot pad – for me.  So, lightweight is my #1.   If a stirrup doesn’t hit me in the shin and cause a bruise when I’m carrying my saddle, I like it.  I absolutely HATE when a clunky stirrup leaves a dent in my leg.  Grrrr.  But, even though I love the lightweight stirrups, I have gone for heavier weight if they have a purpose…


Easy turn of the leathers is one purpose that I have embraced in exchange for lightness.  I have these Herm Sprenger pre-turned stirrups that do mess with my shins but luckily, I can throw them over each side of the saddle and they stay there.  Anyway, I like my Sprengers because I can always find them.  I never, ever do the ankle dance when trying to look find my stirrup without cueing your mount to arabesque.  I have these on my Sensation Saddle


Many, many endurance riders love these stirrups with the wide footpad.  The pair I have also has a caged front for safety.  Now, I’m not saying anything is wrong with these types of stirrups.  I know that some people think they are a Godsend.  For me, they make my knees hurt.  But, if you like these, you can get them in a few different colors with a few options like height of pad, width of pad, material and safety cage.  The most popular brand is EZ Ride.


I am a sucker for the shaped stirrups because in my mind, I think they will free my foot more easily.  But, I am not really sure that is true.  I haven’t had many close calls where I thought to myself, “Gosh, I’m so glad that I had those shaped stirrups or I’d be a goner!.”  However, I think others have said this so I err on the side of other peoples’ experience and purchased a pair of the shaped stirrups.  Now, the pair I have, the Royal Rider, are made in Italy, are aluminum and shaped so you can release your foot (in theory) and also find your stirrup.  They have a narrow mouth (bummer since I like wider leathers) so I can only use them on my English saddle that has the 1″ leathers.  But, I do like them and I never have to do the search-for-my-stirrup leg dance.  They are weighted very well.  I had a heck of a time figuring out which one goes on which side until I realized that the foot pad is flush with the foot side.  Duh.  Anyway, they have a diagram on the box if anyone else has the same issue.  (Obviously others did or they wouldn’t have the diagram on the box.)  I use this on my Dressage saddle.


I have an issue here.  It seems like many stirrups are made for narrow riding boots.  I can understand that.  But, as a trail rider, I wear more rugged (just in case I need to walk/hike) boots when I’m riding.  These types of boots tend to be more wide.  Now, I don’t have a big foot, but I felt like BigFoot with stirrups I’ve tried in the past.  To me, if your foot is too snug in the stirrup, it is a recipe for disaster.  So, I have pictured here my Aussie Aluminum stirrups.  I use these on my FreeForm saddle.  When I tried to find them again online, they seem to have been replaced with several new Aussie Aluminum designs.  So, if you are interested, just do a Google search.


I know the best safety stirrups are the kind with the band on one side.  But, they are usually for English riding.

However, I just found these in my search.  They are called Side Step Safety Stirrups.  I think I will try them and report back.  The website really touts lots of great attributes.  I like that they can spring open from any torque, have an average foot pad, they are wide enough for my boots and it says that it won’t hurt my knees.  Plus a 30-Day money back guarantee!  So, I’m going to give them a whirl.

I also wanted to show these fun, colored, aluminum racing stirrups.  I think that when you want so change things up or just feel a little different, this could be a fun alter-ego fest!  The website is called, “Chick Saddlery”.  It was a huge website.  I think I’ll check out other things they sell – maybe they have some deals I can tell you about…  But for now, this is me signing off on stirrups.

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9 comments have been posted...

  1. dawndi Post author

    The link I had in my post went directly to their site. I’m thinking they went out
    of business. Sad. I googled them and couldn’t find anything.

  2. chris

    its 2017 in US – where can you get the Side Step Safety Stirrups?

  3. jean

    I have used the safety sidestep stirrups for years now and will ride with nothing else! We have 3 sets here and a 4th on the way! My horse reared over backwards this past summer and my feet were immediately freed from the stirrups making it possible for me to quickly get out of the way of her coming over backwards on me. My neighbor also has them, due to my encouragement, and his horse flipped over frontwards and he also had his feet immediately come straight up out of the stirrups freeing him from injury! Great stirrups will not ever switch to anything else! Anyone that rides my horses MUST use these stirrups! Good Choice!

  4. Connie

    I have the sidestep stirrups and they are the best thing for people like myself that have bad knees. I can ride without pain with my foot farther in the stirrup and feel safe. I recommend these to every rider for safety. In fact I purchased them used and now am purchasing another pair for my second saddle.

  5. Jan

    Did you try the Sidesteps? I’m thinking of buying some, but they look kinda wierd and will be expensive to ship from USA to UK, so wondered if anyone has tried them?


  6. dawndi Post author

    Yes! And I can help you find others… But the first one (plastic) are on my Western saddle. And, the last pair with the safety bar is for Western.

  7. michelle

    Will any of these work on western? I’d really like to find something that doesn’t bend up my leg and knee.

  8. dawndi Post author

    I only didn’t mention them because I don’t have them and haven’t used them. But, nice to know about!

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