Stirrups: their history, which one to choose and the correct foot position


The stirrups are one of the fundamental elements for the rider when it comes to maintaining balance on the horse. It is an essential piece for the rider's safety, the weight falls on it.

Therefore, the choice of stirrups is essential, as well as the correct position of the foot. Let's see a little more about it all!

In any of the riding disciplines, foot position must be correct To maintain balance, an essential piece is involved here: the stirrup. You must stomp down and carry the stirrup on the tip of the foot.

When a stirrup is well arranged, it reaches the ankle bone and lets the leg hang freely from the chair. Here it comes into play to check that the actions from which the stirrup hangs have a suitable length for the rider.


Something important to take into account with the stirrups, is never leave them hanging unless you are going to ride, as they can damage the horse hitting against it or getting caught on something. The most convenient is lcarry them tied by sliding them up and passing the action between them to secure them.

The stirrups over time

Over the years, the stirrups they have been evolving in form and materials. Reaching a point where the competition riders themselves, together with the leading manufacturers in the equestrian market, have developed products where they have put all their personal and professional experiences, increasing safety, comfort and quality.

How did the stirrups come about?

At some point in the XNUMXth century of our era, were designed and began to be used in China unos supports for the foot that facilitate the support of the rider to the horse. They were performed in cast iron and also some in bronze and they were suspended by straps.

However, primitive stirrups that had the shape of a loop are known and are represented in the art of India as early as the XNUMXst century BC. These antecedents of the stirrups, could be very loose and it seemed that they were used to mount only, and, on the other hand, others whose shape and representation suggest that only the big toe was inserted. However, it is not known for sure if these elements represented in the ancient images of Indian art, were really stirrups.

This invention was spreading over time. Temper were common in the XNUMXth century among some Asian peoples, particularly the avars, who were spreading them.

The first Avarian stirrups were circular pieces flattened at the bottom to better support the foot. They also had a kind of perforated tongue at the top, where it was attached to the strap suspension. Some scholars claim that the stirrups came to the West from the hand of the Avars, when these in the 6th century they came to the Byzantine Empire. The Franks soon joined in adding this piece to their saddles.

Many people appreciated the benefits of using the stirrups. This element, helped the rider to have greater control of the animal to ride. In addition, that being responsible for maintaining the stability of the rider, it provided a greater precision when shooting arrows from the horse and facilitated the use of swords or other weapons. Therefore, this invention was also an improvement in warfare.

horse stirrup

From the ninth century there is evidence of numerous representations of stirrups in Europe.

Types of stirrup

It is not possible to indicate which stirrup is better since the tastes of each come into play. If we can give some recommendations of what we think a good stirrup should have.

The important thing when choosing stirrups is that provide total support to the foot, so that nothing moves at all so that the rider does not have to be concerned with correct foot position and focus on riding. In this sense in Recommended width is approximately 1cm on each side of the foot. With a wider stirrup the foot would slip and with one narrower the foot would be trapped in case of fall, something very dangerous for the rider.

In addition, the width must be checked that the rubber sole is well fixed since this element is the one that will prevent the foot from slipping. Another important piece of information is that its design guarantees the release of the rider's foot in the event of a fall.

Another interesting detail is that the stirrup have weight, about 3 kg. so that in case they are released they do not get thrown in any direction as with those stirrups that weigh very little. Thus the rider can retrieve them more easily.

equestrian stowage

Let's now see the types of stirrups that we can find:

Classic or English stirrups

They are the most used since their design is suitable for almost all disciplines, except racing. The classic stirrups are made of stainless steel that incorporate rubber studs.

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Of security

These stirrups incorporate in their design a rubber tied on the outside so that in the event of a fall the rider's foot is released quickly and easily. If a fall occurs, this rubber will come loose or break releasing the foot.

To buy - Safety stirrups


Its characteristic is that its design makes the heel lower than the tip of the foot. This is due to the fact that the groove through which the ation passes is displaced inwards and the branches of the stirrup are inclined forward.

Australian simple or wavy branch

The outer branch of the stirrup is wavy, this prevents the rider's foot from being trapped in the event of a fall.

Curved or cage type

They have a forward-facing curvature or cage. This type of stirrup is recommended for those who tend to wear the stirrup too much.

I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I did writing it.

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