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Best stirrup irons for nervous novice?

16 replies

bornandraised · 18/04/2021 23:03

Would anyone be kind enough to advise?

My nine year old finds it difficult to position her stirrup on the ball of her foot and keep it there. Also on the wish list - we'd like something that's easy to find it if she loses her stirrup. I don't think her Peacock safety stirrups are that easy to find. However, I'm terrified by by thoughts of her falling off and being dragged. So we need a light, maximum safety stirrup that is somehow easy to get your foot into.

Some hypermobility going on but we hear conflicting stories about what to buy for this. It seems easy to break the bank with stirrups. I'd like to break it in the right direction.

Thank you if you can help.

OP posts:
FreedomFromLockdown · 19/04/2021 06:55

You can get lightweight stirrups where one arm will break away like a peacock iron, acavallo do one.
I have to say though, at this age it is just a case of repetition and encouragement without too much focus on correct leg position. If she rides everyday it will come naturally.

MarySanderson · 19/04/2021 07:04

Just needs more practice - surely a light stirrup will be more difficult to find than a heavier one? Maybe ride without stirrups - might be kinder on the knees if it's an issue. DS1 very hypermobile but doesn't ride - he'd probably struggle more with hands though I think.

Bloodyfuckit · 19/04/2021 07:30

Look at toe cages.

lastqueenofscotland · 19/04/2021 12:17

Modern stirrups are very light and can be harder to get back if you lose them.
Bent leg stirrups are still incredibly popular in racing circles (about as dangerous as it gets) and are cheap as chips.

HappyGirlNow · 19/04/2021 12:55

Ophena magnetic stirrups are amazing as they ‘stick’ to the sole of the foot in the correct position and so can’t really be lost or in the wrong position. They’re also completely open at the sides making them super safe.

For someone learning they would give them confidence that they wouldn’t lose their stirrups and that the stirrups were in the correct position but downside for a learner would be that there is less consequence to not keeping weight in the stirrups and therefore can allow bad habits to be maintained.

Other downside is they are £££s...

Polkadotties · 19/04/2021 12:56


You can get lightweight stirrups where one arm will break away like a peacock iron, acavallo do one.
I have to say though, at this age it is just a case of repetition and encouragement without too much focus on correct leg position. If she rides everyday it will come naturally.

I believe acavallo are looking into their safety stirrups as they aren’t that safe. People have fallen, their foot has been caught in the release mechanism and been dragged. There are also stories of people’s boots getting ruined.
bornandraised · 19/04/2021 13:13

Thank you for the advice.

Her ankles aren't strong so she struggles to push her toe into a lost stirrup but yes if it was feather light that would be an issue too!

I love the sound of the magnetic stirrups. When she doesn't put her weight into her stirrup and starts to lose it, she doesn't self correct so anything that helps her to relax enough to sit deeply would be helpful, I think.

OP posts:
Lobelia123 · 19/04/2021 13:23

There are so many trends and fashions in stirrup irons - hinged to help your joints etc etc but I find the best ones are the old fashioned kind of heavy stainless steel ones (mine are Stubben), I find they stay in place better and dont swing around and it gives me a sense of security that they are heavy and my feet can find them easily if I lose them etc. Be careful to buy a size that is big enough for your feet - too small or narrow is dangerous and its a horrible panicky feeling when your feet get jammed in and stuck. If youre trying to work on getting your heels down, then the offset stirrups help as they angle your foot in a way to encourage correct angle and position.

crazylikechocolate · 19/04/2021 14:33

Get good quality leathers of a decent weight and the correct length and weighted stainless steel stirrup irons , usually called fillis irons . Make sure they are the correct width for her in her boots , they should be 1 inch wider than the part of her boot at the ball of the foot , make sure the treads are replaced if they get worn and make sure that her boots are smooth soled

Avoid 'safety' peacock irons as they are really not safe , they can lead to so many accidents. There are lots of gadgets and gimmicks that come and go but she should be better with a well weighted iron that is the correct width , make sure her stirrup leather is correctly adjusted too as being at the incorrect length means she's already at a disadvantage in keeping her feet in the stirrups

Has she been correctly taught where to put her foot ? Center of the stirrup with the ball ( fleshy bit behind the toes ) resting on the tread

I used to get my riders to practice loosing and finding their stirrups , if you make it into a bit of a game they love it and become quite competitive , I would expect a rider to be able to take their feet out of the stirrups and find them again very easily and with minimum fuss at most paces and stay balanced, practice is usually better than anything else

FreedomFromLockdown · 19/04/2021 14:57

Echo the above poster and would add, get her to look down past her knee. She should be able to see her toe but only a tiny sliver.

TooManyAnimals94 · 19/04/2021 15:02

Generally stirrups can't fix a poor foot position and actually taking the stirrups away (or even the saddle...bareback riding can be fun!) So that she learns to stretch her lower leg and keep her weight in her feet. Giving her a crutch will not help in the long term. All the best riders I know learnt with bog standard safety stirrups 😁

DotBall · 19/04/2021 15:37

Bent leg stirrups are pretty common at our stables for learners and experienced alike.

‘Who can get their feet back in the stirrups first’ races during lessons were always fun, especially after leg and hip stretching exercises which meant your legs felt 3” longer 😂

bornandraised · 19/04/2021 19:57

Thank you for the advice! All gratefully appreciated! She has been carefully taught. Nerves are the problem really as she forgets when scared. There are some processing issues that make it hard for her to remember what to do when the adrenaline is there.

We do lots of work without stirrups and intentionally losing the stirrups. That's when I noticed they're hard to find and wondered if something easier was available. I'm interested that the Peacocks aren't recommended here as that what she has been using. The outer bands seem to pop off unpredictably.

Her pony is very good, I can't fault him at all. He stops when she loses the stirrups, unless she is unintentionally telling him to speed up by clinging on with her legs.

Sometimes it feels like one step forwards two steps back. It's her choice to ride. I suppose it's tempting to hope that gadgets will help her relax.

OP posts:
HornungTheHelpful · 20/04/2021 16:00

I am hypermobile. My ankles are my worst joint and have been hugely problematic in recent years (I'm old). After a bit of experimentation I have found the best combination for me is flexon stirrups (wide tread, slight incline - they also do a safety version called "safeon" but have never been a fan of safety stirrups generally so went with the normal ones) and custom made long boots (were expensive - but have made a huge difference to the stability of my leg position and confidence because I know my legs will stay and I don't struggle to stabilise them with the rest of my body, I can rely on them as a stable base for the rest of my body). I think Celeris do custom mades for children that are a bit adjustable as they grow. The boots made the biggest difference (they are reinforced dressage boots, which i was nervous about but they are incredible. Not jumping at the moment but I would jump in them).

I was struggling to move from elementary to medium at dressage. 4 months in and I'm starting to do advanced medium work, despite being pregnant. The difference has been that huge.

Also check out the hypermobile riders group on Facebook. I've found it very helpful and supportive and all different types and levels of riders (and hyper mobility).

Lexilooo · 22/04/2021 10:34

For a child who tends to let the stirrup slide back to the instep I would recommend toe cages on traditional fillis irons so she can't get caught up. Endurance riders use them so they can wear footwear that wouldn't normally be safe in stirrups.

To make it easier to get her stirrup after she's lost it you can get stirrups with an offset eye so they hang at the right angle rather than flat against the pony's side.

QuestionableMouse · 22/04/2021 10:48
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