English Stirrup Types
There are several types of English stirrups, and their differences relate mainly to the level of safety they provide.
• Standard Iron: This is the common, no-frills English stirrup comprising a tread connected to two branches (side bars) with an eye at the top through which you attach the stirrup leather. This is a tried-and-true basic stirrup that works well but does not include any safeguards to prevent dragging. Novices, children, and riders engaging in dangerous activities such as jumping and eventing may want to forgo using this stirrup in favor of one with a safety feature.
• Australian Simplex/Bent-Leg Stirrup: This is a safety stirrup whose outside branch is not straight like the inside one but instead bent, so that the foot will easily come out during a fall. It provides anti-dragging benefits without compromising durability, so it is a good style for riders with little experience or those performing high-risk activities.
• Peacock/Safety Stirrup: On this stirrup, the outside branch is a thick and strong rubber band with a leather loop, and it detaches when the rider exerts pressure upon it. One disadvantage of this stirrup is that the rubber band eventually weakens and may break at any time. Another drawback is the unequal support that the tread receives. With only one branch bearing its weight, the tread may eventually bend.
Because of these potential problems, it is important to check this type of stirrup regularly for wear and tear and to replace the rubber band periodically. It is a good choice for children learning to ride, but adults must be vigilant about checking the integrity of the rubber bands every time youngsters set out on horseback.
• Precision Stirrup: This is a blanket category of stirrups designed for riders with special needs, such as those suffering from joint problems. If the traditional riding posture poses problems for you because of a physical condition, using a stirrup that addresses your concerns is a definite plus.
One such stirrup has hinges or joints in the branches that allow them to flex. If you use this stirrup, it is important to check the hinges routinely, as some have been known to break. Another type of precision stirrup features an adjustable eye at the top that allows riders to change the angle at which the stirrup rests against the horse to give the leg more support.
• Specialty Stirrup:
This is a category that includes any kind of custom-made stirrup. As with any other product made especially to fit you alone, it delivers the best performance but comes at a higher price.
• Side-Saddle Stirrup: The eye on this stirrup is larger than on other types to accommodate the thicker leathers used with sidesaddles.
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