ADJUSTABLE WESTERN SADDLE STIRRUPS POSITION
Where do you place your stirrups? We know stirrup length affects your position, forces, and contact with your horse. But recent study results suggest that horizontal stirrup placement does, as well. By adjusting the site where you attach your stirrup leathers to your saddle, you could change the way you ride—for better or for worse.
Easy Fit saddles are adjustable forward and back, bringing the fenders farther forward or father backwards on the saddle, can help customize the ride. The biomechanical effects on two riders using a saddle with adjustable stirrups.
Each rider rode the same horse at a canter with the stirrups set to three different positions: forward, central, and back. They found that each rider’s biomechanics changed dramatically from one position to another. The first rider was small and had a very high level of experienced, and the second rider was taller and had an intermediate level of experience. Their size differences and especially the differences in their experience affected their biomechanics. For example, the higher-level rider tended to lean more forward when the stirrups were adjusted farther back, and sit straighter when the stirrups were adjusted more to the front. Likewise, her forces on the horse’s back were greater under the front part of the saddle when the stirrups were back and under the back part of the saddle when the stirrups were in front. She indicated that she preferred having the stirrups in the most forward position,
The intermediate-level rider showed little change in her posture, which remained fairly stiff throughout the experiment, regardless of the stirrup position, the researchers said. But the forward (stirrup) position caused her to have equal pressures across the horse’s back. “This rider indicated that the forward position made her feel like she was being thrown backwards.
Rider biomechanics can significantly influence their horses’ biomechanics, affecting performance, musculoskeletal health, and welfare. These study results suggest that offering an adjustable stirrup bar that changes the fender position horizontally can provide a more customized seat and ride for rider-horse pairs of all levels. The horizontal placement of the stirrups may be as important as their vertical placement. Even so, it’s possible that teaching the intermediate-level rider to adjust her position might have more importance than adjusting the stirrups’ position.