Stirrup length

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29 May 2021
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How long are your stirrups supposed to be? I've had comments about mine being 'too' long but I go by how secure I feel in the saddle - especially on a stronger, more forward-going horse. My knee are still slightly bent and shorter stirrups make me feel 'perched'.
 

Fern007

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I was taught to put my fingers on the stirrup bar and run the leather down my arm. The stirrup should come to the crease of your elbow!! But as you've already said you feel safer with longer stirrups so I would stick with that. It would also depend on what saddle you were riding in, jump or dressage.
 

ycbm

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They should be at whatever length you feel comfortable and balanced where you don't have to be constantly trying to find/keep them and don't feel your knees are trying to get into your lap and where your horse understands the aids you are giving them.
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jkitten

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For general school work I find the stirrups that make me feel (slightly!) 'perched' in the first instance are almost always the right length, and the ones where I feel 'comfortable' are a hole too low when I start actually riding, leading to less control of my legs and actually feeling less secure and in control. By contrast, the ones that feel 'perched' initially usually vastly improve my riding as soon as the change is made. It honestly amazes me how much difference an inch can make!
 

ycbm

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I was taught to put my fingers on the stirrup bar and run the leather down my arm. The stirrup should come to the crease of your elbow!! But as you've already said you feel safer with longer stirrups so I would stick with that. It would also depend on what saddle you were riding in, jump or dressage.

😳 I was taught fingers on the stirrup bar, stirrup in the armpit. Your way would be jockey length for me!
 

Widgeon

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For general school work I find the stirrups that make me feel (slightly!) 'perched' in the first instance are almost always the right length, and the ones where I feel 'comfortable' are a hole too low when I start actually riding, leading to less control of my legs and actually feeling less secure and in control. By contrast, the ones that feel 'perched' initially usually vastly improve my riding as soon as the change is made. It honestly amazes me how much difference an inch can make!
I am guilty of *exactly* the same. Glad to hear it's not just me!!
 
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Depends what your doing but if a certain length is more comfortable and effective for your riding then continue doing that. Although longer stirrups from schooling is ideal but it’s not the end of the world if they are shorter
 

sbloom

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They should be at whatever length you feel comfortable and balanced where you don't have to be constantly trying to find/keep them and don't feel your knees are trying to get into your lap and where your horse understands the aids you are giving them.
.
This. There is no magic formula and depends on your relative length of thigh compared to calf, even foot size, and how well your saddle supports your pelvis, in the context of the flap thickness and design and the shape of the horse's ribcage, then add in rider ability and the activity you're actually doing.
 

sbloom

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And bear in mind that taking a set of stirrups from one saddle to another may need a change in length - not just the flap cut and the horse's ribcage shape, but also how wide apart the stirrup bars are. Wider rails (an integral part of the twist) mean stirrup bars are usually further apart and therefore your stirrups may need to be shorter in many cases.

@pistolpete interestingly most people need to ride a little shorter on wider ribcages, and a little more forwards, due to the strain on the hips. May indicate you have wider set hips (outward facing sockets, or a longer/straighter/more horizontal femur head, or both), not that you can tell from the outside so I'm not saying you have "wide hips" in that way!
 
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How long are your stirrups supposed to be? I've had comments about mine being 'too' long but I go by how secure I feel in the saddle - especially on a stronger, more forward-going horse. My knee are still slightly bent and shorter stirrups make me feel 'perched'.
for flatwork and dressage, I generally have the stirrups so that the bottom of the stirrup itself is touching off the bottom of my ankle bone. It just helps me have a longer leg and I personally prefer that for that kind of work. For jumping, I don’t really have a fits all formula, I usually put them up 2 holes, sometimes more sometimes less it just depends on what I feel balanced and secure in that day.

it’s a very personal thing though! I know someone who is an amazing show jumper and he keeps his stirrups so long! I don’t know how he does it, but it just suits him, so while above is my textbook answer, the general rule of thumb is what you feel is best!
 

oldie48

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TBH I'm always prepared to be flexible with stirrup length, there are times when I'll shorten by a hole if a horse seems particularly fresh as I feel more secure just a bit shorter, also being old and a bit stiff, I sometimes find I can drop a hole once I have warmed up. I also have several pairs of boots and they can feel different too. I think it's what you feel comfortable with that matters most.
 
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This I what fascinates me: I'm the complete opposite! If I think I'm in for a more 'interesting' ride I want my stirrups as long as possible so I can 'sit deep and tall'. Dunno why, as it seems the orthodoxy is to come up a bit. Maybe that's down to the limitations of my riding ability - or my physiology (tall with long legs) wanting maximum surface contact and purchase.
 

Cob Life

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They should be at whatever length you feel comfortable and balanced where you don't have to be constantly trying to find/keep them and don't feel your knees are trying to get into your lap and where your horse understands the aids you are giving them.
.
This
I’m quite short (not quite 5foot) so ride with fairly long stirrups so more of my leg is on the horse (especially with my instructors 18hh giant) and go up 1 hole for hacking and 2 or 3 holes for jumping, depending on what horse and how big I’m jumping.
 
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