Stirrups – what to do about the length? Actually, there is no specific rule indicating the correct length. You can basically ride with any kind of length you wish and you probably have your own preferences. The normal perception is that in dressage it is most useful to have “long legs” and in show jumping “short legs”. However, since many people with short og long legs do perfectly well in both disciplines we give you some considerations to think about when it comes to the length of your stirrups.
Not only your legs matter
It is not only your legs that indicate a good length of the stirrups. Also, the shape of your horse, its age, your level as a rider and the saddle, you ride in – it all has an impact.
You may also like to read: A good posture is important for the horse – even when we are not riding
The inexperienced rider´s stirrups
Are you a little inexperienced it is often better that they are a bit short rather than too long. This way, you have more support. After a while when you are more advanced you can try lengthening the them. Just remember it is not an aim to ride with as long stirrups as possible. This will not nessecarily help you become a better rider. The best thing is to find the length that suits you. A lenght where you feel a good connection with your horse and have the necessary support from the stirrups.
The inexperienced horse
If you have an inexperienced or very young horse it is often best to ride with shorter stirrups than usually. The horse is not use to the feeling from a rider’s legs and this can come as a surprise. By slowly getting the horse familiar to the rider it is easier to get the horse to accept the rider’s legs also when the stirrups over time are lengthened.
Too short or too long stirrups?
If you are in doubt – check out this guide.
Maybe too short when your…
- Knees are no longer supported by the saddle even if you push down in the stirrups with your feet.
- Heels are pushed too much down when you try to keep your knees in the correct position in the saddle.
- Legs are placed very tight around the horse.
- Your legs feel like they are placed correctly down and “around” the horse.
- Your knees or ankles show signs of pain.
Maybe too long if you…
- Cannot keep your heels down.
- Hit the front of the saddle when you do a rising trot.
- Constantly lose the stirrups especially when you sit down on the horse in trot.
- Have to stretch down your toes to reach the them, if they fall away.
- Feel pain in your seatbones.