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In their simplest form, stirrups are light metal rings or frames that are attached to the saddle with a strap, sometimes called a stirrup leather.
Stirrups usually come in pairs. They are used to help the rider mount their horse and to hold the rider’s foot in place while they ride, increasing their ability to stay in the saddle and control the horse’s movements.
Horses and humans have had a close bond for centuries. Over that time many kinds of stirrups have been developed to help us direct our animals in a variety of different tasks from farming and transport to sport and even warfare.
The oldest style of the stirrup is the Fillis, which is manufactured using stainless steel. For many riders, simple Fillis irons are a good choice. Their classic appearance makes them popular, acceptable and affordable for both casual riding and the show ring.
Aluminium stirrups are a more modern variation, made using a particular type of aluminium that helps absorbs shock, offering optimal stability and a perfect connection with the mount.
Quick release stirrups were designed with safety in mind. The stirrup allows the rider to free his or her foot easily, reducing the risk of being dragged by the horse by preventing the foot from becoming caught in the stirrup during a fall. There are a few variations of the quick release stirrup. The Peacock iron is very popular for use by children. Designed so that the rubber band will come away in the event of a fall. The Bostock adult safety stirrup will break-apart and free the rider in the event of a fall.
Your stirrup irons should be 2.5 centimetres wider than the width of your boot at the ball of the foot. When your foot is in place, you should have 1-1.5 centimetres of space on each side.
While you don't want your boot to fit too tightly into your iron, you also don't want your stirrup to be too broad. This could allow your foot to slip and you may struggle to keep your stirrups the correct position on the balls of your feet.
When selecting stirrup leathers, correctly choosing your sizes allow you to make the proper length adjustment for the length of your legs and your riding discipline.
Another consideration when choosing stirrup leathers is to match the colour with the colour of your saddle.
At EQ Saddlery we have a variety of stirrups irons including stirrups made from stainless steel, aluminium and plastic and alloy composites.
Stocking the world’s most trusted equestrian brands, we have a wide selection of Stirrup irons and stirrup leathers from makers such as Grainge, Zilco, Stubben, Bates, Wintec, Flex On and Schockemohle.