Unlimited access >

Adult Eq-Appropriate Stirrups to Reduce Knee/Ankle Pain

Hi, all-

I’m getting back into the show ring after a hiatus with little kiddos. In the past, and while foxhunting, I used either jointed MDC or HS flex stirrups to help reduce joint stress/pain with great success. As I’m getting back into the show ring I’m wondering what stirrup irons people recommend these days that are appropriate for adult equitation. I can always use standard irons for a short period of time but just prefer to school in what I’ll show in.

Thanks, everyone!

What kind of leathers do you have? I got freejump stirrups for safety reasons and HATED them. They made my knees hurt. I have wide TSF leathers and regular old fillis stirrup irons now and no pain! And my body hurts. I mean robaxin and foam rolling after a jump school hurts. This has helped a lot. Also making sure your stirrups are the correct length (ie not too short) will alleviate knee pain.

I am about to give the Compositi Eole stirrups a try as I have read a lot of good things about them relieving ankle pain. I am a few months post-op on my ankle. What you need may depend on what kind of ankle issues you have though.

I have ankle issues, and a wide footbed stirrup is much better for me than anything with flex. I hate flexi stirrups because it always feels like they are the wrong length and they can destabilize the leg. My ankle issues came on while I was on a break from horses, and when I started riding again, I was pretty quickly crippled by my standard irons. I got some Jins for a little more classic look with wide footbed, and I have no pain. They are also a little bit heavier than plastic stirrups so don’t flop around quite as much if you drop your stirrups for the equitation. But still not quite as easy to keep in place and pick back up as heavy irons.

If you must have flex, maybe try the FlexOn ones? They look more traditional as far as the branch goes. They basically have springs in the footbed.

Interesting that the TSF leathers worked for you- I already have them on order as we speak arriving Friday :grinning:. I’ll see if they make a difference for me!

1 Like

I’m lucky that I don’t have any underlying injuries other than standard wear and tear at the age of 40 so I think I can go without the flex, especially for the little stuff I’m doing right now, so I’m def open to any suggestions.

I actually rode in a saddle trying out a pony the other day that had what appeared to be very classic irons but with a wider footbed that appeared to be almost offset with a grater pad. Not sure what they were but they were super stable and my joints liked them. Any ideas?


Maybe they were these in silver? Anyone ever try these? Thoughts? Price point is a bit high but a good set of irons should last decades…

1 Like

MDC “S” top stirrups are pretty traditional looking from a distance, and the footbed is nice and wide for stability. I have a pair on my close contact saddle and I’ve really liked them and find them infinitely more comfortable and stable than anything with a “standard” footbed.


I like the Herm Sprenger & Freejump stirrups (mine are silver on the outside, so they can be used in eq).Those reduced my ankle issues

I have fussy knees and an ankle with hardware. I’ve tried a lot of stirrups and found I like anything with a wide footbed, non-flex and medium-weight.

I’ve been riding in the MDC Sport Classic with the little twisty top, not sure if they’re kosher for the eq but I’m a fan. I also love my TSF leathers, they were a big help when I was getting back in the saddle after ankle surgery.

It’s very boring but staying on top of foam rolling, epsom salt baths, stretching, and PT exercises is a big help too.

1 Like

I love my Jin stirrups! I used to have a lot of knee pain but I’ve used these for the past 2 years and I wouldn’t change them.

1 Like

I have TSF wide stability leathers and tech venice sloped stirrups. I love this combo. I have some knee issues, which sometimes translates into ankle and hip issues. I also get cramps (foot, calf, thigh…) regularly in my life. The combo of stirrups and leathers really helps me.

I don’t have photos but did grab some screenshots from a lesson video that show how much you cannot see the leathers and the stirrup irons don’t look too abnormal:

Please no judgement at my position, I am an adult beginner who 4 years ago had never touched a horse in my life.


I have the Flex-On Hunter stirrups and they really seem to help with my stability and joint pain in my hip and knee on that same side. I purchased them overseas from Amira Equi to save some $$.


I have some hardware in my ankle and I thought flexi-stirrups would be perfect when I started riding again but they made everything worse. Gave me too much flexion and not enough support. Decided to try a wide foot bed and went with the MDC but my ankle would start bugging me. For the heck of it I tried some $50 stirrups from Smartpak (Compositi Reflex 3D Swivel Action Wide Track Stirrups) and they are so comfortable. No pain during or after rides now.


I don’t think I have the same pain issues as a lot of people here but I do love my MDC Hunter Classics – except for when footing clumps up in the tread. It’s a little frustrating and a lot hard to clean (I guess I could start a Hints from Heloise thread on the topic unless someone wants to drop a tip here).

I had the same experience with flex stirrups, and I also like the Compositi Reflex.

1 Like

American Equus has several pairs of stirrups designed for the hunter/eq ring. They’re pretty customizable too with options for wide vs standard footbed, extra traction, and a safety release branch. I borrowed a pair from a friend and actually felt a huge difference for my ankles, enough that I bit the bullet and ordered my own pair.

I tried the LeMieux Balance stirrups before these and hated them, they hurt my ankles and I really didn’t like the pins in the footbed holding my foot in place.

I just got a pair of these for trail rides and love them! No more soreness!


So because of this thread I ordered the Compositi Eole stirrups and they came last week. I had a major ankle surgery in January and my surgeon is NOT amused at the idea of me using stirrups for at least another few months. Well I love these things. I got this model because I thought they were a little nicer looking than the slightly cheaper original model.

With that being said, I am not one to upgrade to the latest greatest thing or spend a ton of money with out need. I have been happily riding in my cheese grater pads in plain stirrups since the beginning of time – have tried jointed stirrups before and was not a fan. I am a flat-Hermes-saddle loving, velvet-helmet loving, traditionalist, so for me to like something new says something. (I confess, I have been won over by the white wrap collared shirts do to the cooling fabric and mesh in the sleeves.)

My barn owner (eventer in her 50s) was curious about them and we were both skeptical. Perhaps I was having a placebo effect out of hopes for my newly fixed ankle? She hopped on in my saddle too and instantly said “oh wow! I didn’t think I would like these but I need them… they are… comfortable!.” I agree. I never thought of my stirrups as “uncomfortable” previously, but these certainly are more comfortable.

My biggest fear with these was that I would somehow feel unstable, but I felt secure in them. Admittedly I can only trot a few times around on my ankle currently (and because I am so out of shape after being on human stall-rest for months) but I was able to do an extra lap each direction AND we did a tiny cross rail pain free!