I recently audited a George Morris clinic, and he was against the fancy “artificial” stirrup irons (I have the Herm Springer Bow Balance irons, size 4 1/2"). I am looking for two things: new irons that would be George Morris approved, and maybe something that would ease the knee pain of riding many horses each day. Any suggestions?
You and me both! I also have terrible ankle pain, but I got a pair of the wide track composite stirrups and was immediately vetoed by my instructor. Told me I could school in them but not show - but I decided to take them back because there was no point in schooling in something different than I showed.
I have a pair of the offset stirrups right now and they really do seem to help - thinking about trying some new stirrup pads as well. They don’t solve the problem completely - I’m not sure how to deal with that. The agonizing pain in my ankle makes it tough to focus in my lessons but I refuse to stop.
I was in Collierville Saddlery having stirrup discussion about knee and foot pain when a random customer spoke up about MDC stirrups and raved about them. I contacted the company and the owner himself responded with suggestions. The MDC Super Sport or Flex S models were what he recommended for my issues. I love the look of the Flex S for the hunters. They are the latest design with a 45 twist at the top of the iron that is very difficult to see, jointed chromed metal, and extra wide footbed that has a low profile and cheese grater pad. I will be ordering today and will post review! Btw, if you search there are 2 websites. Look for the newer one!
I have a pair of the MDC Sport Classic stirrups and LOVE them. They helped reduce my knee and lower back pain, but were conservative enough for my very traditional instructor who vetoed any black stirrups for the hunter ring.
I have the MDC Ultimates and I love them as well. I am still rehabbing from an ankle injury/surgery, and they really do help. I had knee surgery years ago, too, and these stirrups help my knee feel more comfortable, too. I don’t think GM would like ANYTHING other than the plain Fillis (sp?) stirrups, but I think we have to do what works for us as less-then-perfect (physically) riders.
The best thing I’ve found for my knee pain is a regular Fillis iron with Super Comfort iron pads in place of standard stirrup pads.
I had better relief from the plain fillis with cheese grater pads. Stabilized my foot better I guess, could maintain a real solid leg position with proper weight distribution and alignment.
Tried the bendy ones but my leg felt like it was wandering and I still had pain. Tried the lighter weight ones but did not feel that secure and could not find the iron easily if I lost it getting jumped loose or the horse stumbling.
LOVE my MDC Ultimate stirrups - they are life savers! PLUS a little bird told me that Mr. Morris rides in them himself (the plain ones, no flex). Don’t quote me on it as the info did come 2nd hand, but it would appear that they are in fact GM Approved?!
I will second a plain ol’ fillis iron with the super comfort grip stirrup pads. Really helped my ankle and shin pain, I don’t see why it wouldn’t also help with knee pain. I also feel a lot more secure than a plain stirrup pad.
I have found any of the stirrups with a wider foot bed works well. Whether you prefer a heavy weight, MDC, Sprenger etc. . . Or light weight, Free Jump and Royal Riders, I have ridden in all of them and like a wide foot bed, cheese grater pad and not too much give or flex! My next stirrups will the the Lorenzini stirrups, I will let you know how they work. I have had 4 ankle surgeries, and an ACL repair. I don’t have knee pain, but my ankle can get pretty stiff in achy!
I have found that my MDC Jumper Classic Stirrups have really helped any joint pain in the leg. I second that a wider foot bed is the biggest help.
My advice would be to try to borrow a pair of whatever you want to buy. I bought a pair of the MDC (these, I think) and went back to the Royal Riders after about a month. I never liked them as much as the RR but was determined to get used to them since, who knows, I might actually show again in the eq.
What sealed the deal was one day when I was mounting from a block that slipped out from under me while one foot was in the stirrup and the other on the block. The one in the stirrup got stuck and I ended up hopping across the ring gently saying “whoa” while my horse backed up. It was probably a perfect storm of circumstances that could have happened with other irons, but it soured me on them. Kind of like when I got foot poisoning from turkey at the Soup Exchange. It was a long time before I ate turkey again and a really long time (decades) before I ate at a Soup Exchange.
I have a pair of MDC Hunter Classic stirrups and I love them, probably more than someone should love stirrup. For years I rode in a pair of two-way HS knock-offs, thinking that they were doing wonderful things for my messed up ankle but every time I rode my ankle would throb all night long. Finally I put two and two together and decided to try some more traditional stirrups. It was pretty much love at first ride. Not only does my ankle not hurt nearly as much after riding in them, but the wider foot bed makes me feel much more stable.
I’m someone that always messes with how my stirrups are placed on my feet. If they’re not quite in the right place or come loose while I’m riding, then I start fidgeting and nothing ever feels right. I don’t do that anymore at all with my MDCs. I put my feet where I want them and they’re in the right spot all ride. They have grippy foot beds, but not the cheese-grater kind, just little spikes. I hate the cheese graters, I swear I can feel them through my boot and find them awkward. The MDC grips are more subtle.
From personal experience (broken leg with tear of the ligament connecting the fibula to tibia) as well as teaching others who have had either knee or ankle surgery, I also advocate for using a non-flexibile stirrup, both for comfort and stability.
As to wide and regular foot beds, I used both; perhaps when freshly rehabbing, the wide bed was more comfortable to begin with.
My preference to ride in now is the regular Fillis iron with Pro-Jump treads. I think the flex stirrups compromise stability–you wouldn’t want the edge of steps on a stairway to give way, would you?
Thanks everyone for the input!
I’d suggest that managing your knee pain (aka knee damage) is significantly more important that satisfying GM’s preference.