I am just getting back to riding hunters and Eq after a 6 year break. I am wondering what stirrups everyone loves? I could use some help with stability, leg position, and I have a knee issue so currenlty been looking at the Herm Sprenger and the Flex-on, with them being so pricey I wanted to get some feedback and recommendations before I purchase. Thank you in advance for all of your help!!!
Welcome to the COTH BB and back to riding!
Here is my stirrup history working backwards.
FreeJumps - pricey and probably somewhat unconventional for hunter/eq (but legal per the rule book) but I love them. Comfortable with good support. Able to keep leg nicely against horse. Can’t really run stirrups up in traditional manner.
Acavallo (?) Alushield - bought bc wanted a safety stirrup and was planning to do eq/hunters when purchased. Good support. Liked (not as much as FreeJumps) but the mechanism that keeps them latched started to slip on one.
Various MDC stirrups. OK but replaced with AluPros after friend got hung up in stirrup when horse tripped.
It seems that what works with one person and their malady/conformation/horse conformation may or may not work with a person in a similar situation so it is a bit of an iterative process. YMMV
This recent thread covers a lot of the popular stirrups: Adult Eq-Appropriate Stirrups to Reduce Knee/Ankle Pain
I love my American Equus stirrups even though they’re pricy. It really does depend on the individual though, the best way to figure out what works for you will be to buy from a tack store with a good return policy or buy used and resell what doesn’t work.
I have the Free Jumps that look more traditional. Good stability and you can run them up like normal stirrups. I mainly moved to them for the flexible outer branch safety feature but before I loved my MDC ultimates with the wide footbeds.
Yikes - really?! I thought they were supposed to be safer. I was recently pitched after a horse tripped and went down – this was shortly after the rotational fall tragedy so these scenarios are now topping my Big Fears List.
I have a pair of MDC Hunter Classics that I’ve been using roughly a year, including during the tripping incident. But I’m going back and forth on them. I don’t know how much of it is an ongoing fight with stirrup length and my uneven legs - uneven even (sic) with the involvement of a chiro and a shoe lift. I don’t know how much of it is the stirrups and footwear combo. I’m struggling with keeping my foot properly positioned and the stirrups not sliding around particularly when wearing my tall Der Daus. When I ride in a clunky pair of cheap paddock boots, everything’s more stable.
I was actually planning on trying an old-school pair of fillis irons the next time I ride in boots and breeches to see if that makes a difference. I use my own irons and leathers on school tack and the barn saddles mainly have lightweight composite stirrups.
I liked the MDCs when I was trying them out. Which I’m realizing now was in cold weather and my big, Ariat winter paddock boots. That pair of MDCs was too large but the pair I have now is supposed to be right but I’m liking them less throws hands in air.
So glad the OP’s bringing up a fresh stirrup thread.
FWIW I hated the MDCs. I tried Jins on a sales saddle and now I will never go back.
@HipNo34 you may like a slanted footbed. I like a wide tread, no flex, but inclined footbed. The flat wide stirrups slide around for me, unless they’ve got a pretty toothy cheese grater tread. Regular fillis irons give me numbness and pain in the balls of my feet if I’m in the saddle long (specifically seated at the walk like on a trail ride).
I used fillis irons for a long time, but eventually bought the jointed Herm Sprenger stirrups. I eventually had to stop riding in them because they caused severe knee pain that made it painful to walk after dismounting. I then got non-jointed Royal Rider stirrups which I liked, but they were so lightweight that they were very hard to pick back up if I dropped an iron. I then went to fillis irons with the super comfort wrap around pads. Then to some Amerigo aluminum stirrups. They were royal blue so did not work for showing in hunters/eq. Then back to fillis irons with the wrap around pads. Then to flex ons which I thought I loved, but after having some ankle pain I found that I actually preferred my fillis irons with the wrap around pads. A couple months ago I found some MDC S flex stirrups with the wide aluminum footbed on sale and decided to give them a try. I was having a hard time keeping my heels down and thought it may help. I am 35 now and at this point I don’t think I’ll ride in anything but the MDCs. I am totally sold on them.
This is just my singular, recent experience so it’s by no means reflective of what anyone else has gone through but…
I went from Herm Sprengers to MDC Hunter S Classic irons a little over a year ago because I needed stability in a half seat. A couple days ago, I tried my Herm Sprengers again because my new horse is more of a “sit down” kind of ride. My lower leg was all over the place in the Herm Sprenger irons. I went back to the MDC’s and felt much more stable and in control of my leg. I plan on selling the Herm Sprengers. This all to say - I think the flex in the Sprenger’s removed some stability. The lack of flex in the MDC’s improved the stability.
That said, I STILL have trouble figuring out where to balance in the MDC’s and I feel like my heel doesn’t go down as well. The good news is, I don’t ride in Eq and I don’t need to have a pretty, jammed down heel - only an effectively positioned one.
I have a pair of the Sprenger ones in good used condition that I would sell for a fraction of what they cost new, if you wanted to try a pair without paying new prices. I found that for me personally the Sprengers and the MDC Jumper Classic stirrups were my favorites, but it is definitely all personal preference. It took me more than just a ride or two to figure out what I like, so borrowing some, buying used, or taking advantage of a trial policy worked well for me.
Not sure what stirrups friend was riding in. Didn’t mean to imply they were MDCs. Just that the incident caused me to want safety stirrups.
But I did have a weird incident with a pair of MDCs with the swivel thing on the top. The mounting block tipped over when I pushed off with my right leg and I ended up with my right leg on the ground and my left foot in the stirrup. Horse was unnerved by the mounting block incident and started to back up slowly. I couldn’t get my foot out of the stirrup and ended up hopping along with him on my right foot while the left foot remained in the stirrup. Fortunately he was a good boy and didn’t panic: eventually he stopped and I was able to extricate my left foot. I replaced those with the MDCs with the wave at the top.
Oh yes that would be great! Just really struggling on which direction to go for both comfort and position. Seems like from other replies it varies for everyone and is really based on preference and what works best for them.
Love the free jumps. I have a torn miniscus currently with no pain while riding, although I’m not sure if a fillis would cause problems or not. As I’ve gotten older I’ve prioritized safety more, so a breakaway stirrup is a must for me. It’s one of the few areas I’m not totally cheap in
Sending you a PM!
I LOVE my Tech Venice Slope stirrups. For the first time after riding over 50 years I can put my feet in the stirrups and forget about them. I got them mostly for the safety aspect, but I keep them because I no longer have to be permanently conscious about what my feet are doing in the stirrups.
I HATE Fillis stirrups irons. They made the balls of my feet hurt so badly that I nearly gave up on riding horses. When I dismounted I could barely walk back to the barn.
First I went to the old fashioned Prussian sided stirrups. These did not make my feet hurt at all. Then I went to the Prussian sided double off-set stirrups but the slope of the stirrup bed was too drastic for my feet.
The Tech Venice Slope stirrups are the best!
Flexon Safeon. Great safety stirrups!
I think I may try those.
I did switch the MDCs out for a lesson yesterday where I wore my tall boots and breeches. Much, much better in the fillis.
Also fine this AM when I rode in chaps and big, clunky, SmartPak Chelseas (my lazy boots). I feel kind of like a chump, lol.
I’ll look around for a slant footbed and in the meantime, the MDCs will get sold.
I really, really wanted this to be my experience. Especially after reading all their website copy, etc.
It’s wild how much YMMV with stirrups. Back in my original day, there were no choices!
My favorite hunter/eq is the MDC with wide grippy footbed; favorite jumper is the Tech Safety
Anything, ANYTHING with a quick release safety feature gets my vote.
I personally use FreeJump Soft Up Pros (LOVE them, don’t love that I can’t run them up - crossing them over just isn’t as tidy).
Tried the MDC Super Sports or whichever had the wide bed + swivel top + joints. They ended up causing me to toe out and torque my knees.
I recently ish bought the Vector Control stirrups by Le Meiux and like them pretty well! Safety feature and some of the features I like from the FreeJumps. Still trying to decide which I like better.