Stirrup Leather Keepers
If you’ve ever shed a good deal of weight, you probably already understand the concept of stirrup leather keepers. Just as you need a way of securing the excess length of a belt that is too large for your waist, a rider must do something with the extra stirrup leather that remains after a stirrup has been adjusted and fastened. In both cases, the little loop that the strap goes through is called a keeper.
This keeper is a small but important element, as it allows the rider to tuck the spare stirrup leathers out of the way safely and neatly. Without a keeper, the straps could easily become entangled with the rider’s leg or interfere with the saddling or unsaddling process.
Saddlers usually sew this useful piece onto the saddle flap, but sometimes the keeper is not a loop but merely a slot cut into that saddle section. The rider simply threads the leather through the slash-hole for safekeeping.
Don’t overlook this small part when you’re inspecting saddles. Saddle manufacturers will sometimes treat stirrup leather keepers as advertising space by attaching tabs or buttons bearing names or logos. It is amazing how quickly a tiny piece of metal seems to grow to enormous proportions when it is digging into your leg.
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