What Are The Best Stirrups On The Market?

When you are riding, whether you are just plodding around the back lanes or you are a top level eventer, your first priority should be safety. Horse riding can be a dangerous hobby, so all your equipment needs to be of the highest quality, well looked after and kept in good shape to minimize any potential injuries to you or your horse. Saddles and bridles are obviously a key consideration, as is a really good girth, but what about the best stirrups?

Stirrups are very important; they keep your leg in the right place for good grip on your horse, and can encourage a good position too. Losing a stirrup, as we all know, can be the first step to an undignified exit from the saddle, so you need to make sure you have good ones.

Key considerations for your purchase are:

  • Safety: If you do fall, you want your stirrup to instantly release your foot so there is no danger of you getting stuck in it and dragged along behind your horse.
  • Strength: Your stirrups need to be well made and strong, so they stand up the rigors of riding.
  • Fit: You need to make sure that the stirrup is wide enough for your foot, so that it is comfortable and so that you don’t get your foot stuck in the event of a fall.
  • Comfort: It’s no good having the top rated, highest quality stirrups if they are uncomfortable and make your rides less fun.
  • Secure: Having your lower leg positioned right means that your position on the horse is better, more comfortable and more safe.

Top Rated Stirrup Reviews

Let’s have a look at three of the best stirrups for different types of riding:

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Stirrups

Price

Coronet Fillis Stirrup Irons, Premium Quality 4 3/4 Premium Fillis Stirrup Irons

Good, standard, value for money, budget stirrups.

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Lorenzini Titanium - Horse Riding - 2 English Stirrups for Saddle - Jumping - Anthracite - Made in Italy Lorenzini Titanium Stirrups

Ideal stirrups for eventing, made from finest materials.

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Free Jump Stirrups Soft Up Pro (Black) TOP PICK: FreeJump Safety Stirrups

Top of the range, highest quality / safety stirrups.

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1. Premium Fillis Stirrup Irons Review

Coronet Fillis Stirrup Irons, Premium Quality 4 3/4

These are your standard, good quality stirrup irons that can be found somewhere in just about any yard anywhere in the world. They are a good fit for most feet, and have a built in grip.

Pros

  • Will fit just about any foot – You don’t have to worry too much about not being able to get your boot into these, even if you have extra wide feet.
  • Sturdy stainless steel construction – Stainless steel is a strong material which will not rust, bend or break, no matter what the weather or your riding conditions throw at it.
  • They come as a pair – Unlike some stirrup irons, these ones are sold as a pair, meaning that they are ready to go as soon as you receive them.
  • Ideal for all types of riding – Whether you are hacking, showing, jumping or doing dressage tests on your horse, these stirrups will be just fine for any discipline.

Cons

  • The rubber pad may slide about inside the iron – There have been reports of the rubber pad being too small for the stirrup, leading to slipping.

Recommendation

These are a fantastic pair of stirrups for the price. They are fairly basic, but don’t let that put you off – they are suitable for anything, and will last for years to come so they are a great investment.

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2. Lorenzini Titanium Horseriding Jumping Stirrups Review

Lorenzini Titanium - Horse Riding - 2 English Stirrups for Saddle - Jumping - Anthracite - Made in Italy

These lightweight stirrups are ideal for eventing, as they are incredibly strong and the ergonomic shape means your foot is instantly released in the event of a fall.

Pros

  • Titanium and aluminium construction means they are incredibly strong – Titanium is a very hard wearing material, as s aluminium, and they are both very light, which is just what you want in a pair of stirrups.
  • Ergonomic design limits damage in case of falls – The way the stirrup is made means that if you do fall off, your foot is unlikely to twist or be damaged on the way down.
  • A wide range of colors available – Now you can color match your entire kit, including the stirrups! You can even choose between shiny and matt finishes.
  • Footplate guarantees good grip – The footplate is inclined and knurled, meaning that you are less likely to lose a stirrup and your foot will be in a good position.

Cons

  • They are pretty pricey – You always end up paying more for quality items, and these great stirrups are no exception. Think of it in terms of how many years you will use them for and they won’t seem quite so expensive!

Recommendation

A great pair of stirrups, using the latest technology and finest materials to make sure your ride is the best, safest and most comfortable it can be.

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3. FreeJump Safety Stirrups Soft Up Pro Review

Free Jump Stirrups Soft Up Pro (Black)

These stirrups really are the top of the range, most sophisticated stirrups money can buy. They have a really space age look to them, which is designed with your safety in mind.

Pros

  • Outer arm is designed to snap in case of a fall – Like the old elasticated sides to stirrups that we all remember well, this stirrup is designed to completely come apart in case of a fall, thus ensuring you don’t get your foot caught.
  • Stirrup is angled to swing back towards your foot – This is great for those “help, I’ve lost a stirrup!” moments. No more flailing about trying to find your stirrup with these!
  • Footbed is wider than many other stirrups – This not only offers comfort, but it is safer than many other stirrups as you will have good grip.
  • Patented flexible outer branch – This branch is made of Elastollan, and it is super strong and durable as well as flexible.

Cons

  • If the outer arm snaps the stirrups are useless – If they snap during a fall as they are designed to do, they will be replaced free of charge but you will have to wait for your replacements, meaning that it may be wise to have a back up pair.

Recommendation

These are a truly sophisticated, state of the art pair of stirrups that are designed to keep you safe and encourage a good riding position. They are well worth the price tag and can be used for various occasions, e.g. trail riding, cross country, pleasure riding, etc.

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are the different types of stirrups?

There are many different sorts of stirrups for you to choose from, here is a basic listing:

  • Western Bell are the classic Western stirrup made of metal, wood or plastic. They are typically covered with leather they are bell-shaped – hence the name. These are good general-purpose stirrups for western saddles.
  • Curved Western may be angled for both safety and comfort. They vary from discipline to discipline and are suitable for barrel racing, roping reining and trail riding.
  • Oxbow Western are quite common and are named for their rounded shape. The foot rest of this type of stirrup is quite narrow, so this is not a comfortable stirrup to use for long rides. You will seldom see Oxbow stirrups on modern saddles, but they were quite common in the early 1900s.
  • Hooded Western have cages or tapadaros designed to prevent your foot from sliding through the stirrup. This type of stirrup is good for trail riding and pleasure riding.
  • Endurance trail riding stirrups have a wider and deeper footbed for greater comfort on long rides.
  • English peacock are very simple safety stirrups. They are designed with an elastic band at one side that allows the rider’s foot to be easily released in the event of a fall. This type of stirrup is usually used for beginning riders or for children.
  • Jointed English have a jointed link in the upper portion. These types of stirrups are very comfortable and flexible and are quite frequently used by eventers and jumpers. The jointed section is covered with rubber and allows the rider’s foot to slip out of the stirrup easily.
  • English stirrups are a familiar, classic style. Older designs have a solid metal bottom. Newer designs have an open oval bottom with a rubber stirrup pad affixed over the oval. This type of stirrup is available in many varieties to accommodate different types of riders.
  • English Fillis are also called knife edged stirrups. This type of stirrup has a thicker and heavier bottom than the classic English stirrup. They were designed by a dressage trainer named James Fillis late in the nineteenth century. These heavier stirrups are very well suited to showing and dressage.
  • Baroque can be seen on Spanish style saddles typically used on Baroque breeds such as Andalusians. These stirrups do not lie flat against the horse’s sides. Instead, they hang sideways. They may be quite simple or quite ornate and are intended for showing.
  • Buddy are auxiliary stirrups that you attach to your Western or Australian saddle horn. This is a second set of stirrups that you can use if you have a small child riding in the saddle in front of you. These are intended to help very small children feel secure while learning to ride.

2. What should you consider first when choosing stirrups?

If you’re planning on showing, jumping or participating in rodeo, you should look into the rules of the discipline you plan to pursue. Be sure to read the entire rulebook and find out what types of equipment are allowed. Follow the guidelines closely to avoid being disqualified from your competitions.

3. Which is better, light or heavy stirrups?

Heavier stirrups can cause a bit of fatigue if you’re participating in very active horse sports or when trail riding for a long distance. Lightweight stirrups are less bulky and may make it easier for you to use your legs and feet as needed to cue your horse.

4. Are there stirrups that make it easier for people with injuries or disabilities to ride?

If you have had a broken bone or if you have a disability, look for stirrups that are cut at an angle that accommodate your condition or that are flexible or jointed to help facilitate easier movement on your part.

5. What kind of stirrups are best for people who have arthritis or other joint problems?

Jointed stirrups are designed to flex when you place your weight in them. This allows you to drop your heels and to move your ankles and knees more easily. This design can help alleviate strain on your hips and knees.

6. What should you consider when thinking of safety?

Having your foot slide through the stirrup if you fall or are thrown from the saddle, is a classic fear for horse men and women. Be sure to choose the right size stirrups so that your feet cannot slip through. Additionally, you may wish to purchase safety stirrups that are designed to open or disengage entirely from the saddle if you fall or are thrown.

7. What kind of safety stirrups are available for Western and Australian riding?

For Western disciplines look for breakaway stirrups. They detach if your foot rotates 72° backward or 45° forward.

Another Western alternative is the oxbow stirrup which has a curved design that allows your foot to slip out of the stirrup easily if you fall or are thrown. If you’re riding with an Australian saddle, look for an S curved stirrup which allows your foot to slide out of the stirrup easily if you lose your seat.

Another safety feature that’s available for both Western and Australian saddles is a cover or cage that prevents your foot from sliding through.

8. Do good stirrups have to be expensive?

Good, basic stirrups do not have to be costly. Look for stirrups that are the right size, are acceptable for any discipline you plan to pursue and that match your tack. A simple set of stirrups should not be prohibitively costly.

9. How do you choose the right size stirrup?

No matter what style or type of stirrup you choose, you should have no more than a half inch of space between each side of your foot and the inside of the stirrup. You want to be able to remove your foot from the stirrup quickly and easily when you need to. Simultaneously you don’t want the stirrup to be so large that your foot can slip through it.

10. Do you need different size stirrups for different types of riding footwear?

You may very well need a slightly wider set of stirrups to accommodate your western boots. A quick way to measure your stirrups to be sure that they are wide enough for the shoes or boots you happen to have on is to simply ensure that there is a finger’s with of space on either side of your foot in the stirrup.

11. Are there ever any instances when stirrups should be narrower or wider?

In very active rodeo events such as barrel racing, you may want narrower stirrups for a more secure seat. If you’re participating in roping and need more flexibility you may want slightly wider stirrups. When you participate in endurance riding, you may want a very wide stirrup that provides better weight distribution for long trips.

12. What kind of riding footwear is best for stirrup safety?

No matter what time of year, you should be sure that your boots or riding shoes have a good heel to help prevent your foot from slipping through the stirrup. Never wear flat soled shoes or boots for riding unless you are riding without stirrups.

13. Why is it important to choose the right stirrups?

The wrong stirrups can ruin your ride and even do anatomical damage to your body. Stirrups that are the right length, the right size and the right angle help improve your seat and keep you more secure in the saddle. They also help you to be positioned correctly as you ride. This is more comfortable for both you and your horse.


Conclusion

Good recommended stirrups are the finishing touches to your safety riding gear. As we all know, losing a stirrup is common and irritating, but it can be fixed by having stirrups that angle back towards your feet so you can find them easily. And what about the nightmare of falling off and being dragged alongside a bolting horse? These worries are gone when you buy a pair of stirrups with detachable outer arms. The best stirrups will keep you safe and comfortable on your horse, so it is well worth investing in a really good pair.

Sam Ellis
Sam is a founder and editor of Horses & Foals. In personal life he is a proud father of a boy and twin girls. He believes it is more important than ever before to encourage children to experience the joy of horse riding. Horses make as much sense as the sunshine in our world.


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