Gear Riding

Acavallo Stirrups Review: Why I Feel Safer Than Ever

acavallo safety stirrups review
Written by Horse Rookie

All About Acavallo Arena Pro Safety Stirrups

Rookies and pros, alike, aren’t immune from accidents. That’s why so many horse riders love the concept of a safety stirrup, which release your feet in the event of a fall to avoid getting dragged.

(Been there. Prefer not to be there ever again!)

Safety stirrups are getting more innovative every year, so you have a lot more options than a traditional peacock stirrup or a bent-side iron. In this article, I’ll walk you through why I chose Acavallo Arena Pro safety stirrups and what I think after riding in them for several months.

Quick Look: Acavallo Safety Stirrups
  • 10/10
    Safety - 10/10
  • 9/10
    Grip - 9/10
  • 9.5/10
    Comfort - 9.5/10
  • 8/10
    Durability - 8/10
  • 8.5/10
    Design - 8.5/10
9/10

Summary

These stirrups prove you can stay safe and look good doing it. Less expensive than “deluxe” safety stirrups, Acavallos are a great chioce for riders at all levels.

What We Love:

  • Safety release prevents feet from getting caught in the stirrups
  • Extra wide footbed gives you a solid foundation
  • Grippy “cheese grater” tread keeps your feet in place
  • Ultra-durable for long-time use
  • No squeaking parts while riding, unlike some other safety stirrups

What We Don’t:

  • Tread may scratch leathers when you run stirrups up
  • They’re on the heavier side, but not enough to bother me
acavallo safety stirrups

Click to see these stirrups at Amazon

Why I Choose Acavallo

We have several articles about different types and brands of safety stirrups, so that’s where I started when it was time for a new pair. 

Though high-end brands like FreeJump are very popular, I simply couldn’t justify the cost given my jumping level and frequency. Plus, you have to buy special stirrup leathers and stirrup pockets since they don’t attach or run up like normal irons. 

Even though FreeJump stirrups weren’t right for me, I still wanted high-tech, modern stirrups.

When I started evaluating Acavallo Arena Pros, I realized they ticked all the boxes on my wish list:

  • Quick Release: The stress-activated locking and release mechanism is on the lower end of the outer, pivoting stirrup arm, and it clicks back into place instantly after being triggered, unlike traditional stirrups.
  • Footbed: Made from stainless steel, the cheese grater footbed is extra wide, offset, and the tread is super-duper grippy. They help your heels stay down, but without feeling like you have to shove your entire boot into the stirrup for security.
  • Comfort: Acavallos are designed to provide relief for foot soles, ankles, knees, and hips. Plus, there’s a bit of spring in the stirrup so it absorbs shock (imperceptibly) when you post, land from jumps, etc.
  • Durability: The stirrup bow is aluminum, and the quick-release side arm is made of strong polyamide material. In addition, reviews didn’t mention any squeaky noises, unlike those for several other brands.
  • Color & Style: Though I love the bright colors available, I wanted something more subtle for everyday schooling and the hunter show ring. The black English stirrup irons look classy in any arena and with any outfit.

Read Customer Reviews on Amazon

My Experience So Far

When I unboxed these stirrups, they were clearly well made. They felt really sturdy in my hands, and I loved the overall look of them.

acavallo safety stirrups unboxing

Unboxing my Acavallo safety stirrups

The next thing I noticed was the footbed. Wide and grippy treads are my favorite, and the deep cheese grater on my Acavallo stirrups looked right up my alley.

I wasn’t sure if the screws would loosen over time, but so far, so good.

When ordering these irons, I hadn’t realized they featured an offset footbed at all — so that was a surprise. After doing a quick Google search, though, it turned out that should help keep my heels down.

And, guess what? Dirt falls through slots in the stirrup so they stay cleaner.

acavallo safety stirrup footbed

The footbed is wide, with grippy tread, and stabilizes the rider’s foot.

The next thing I did was test the quick-release sidebar. It’s spring-loaded and snaps back into place immediately.

Though I had a similar concern about whether the top screw would ever loosen, I haven’t had any issues. If I ever do need to retighten them, it’d take a simple Phillips screwdriver.

acavallo quick release stirrup feature

Quick release side bars open to free your feet in the event of a fall.

Next, it was time to bring them to the barn and try them out!

The photo below shows the offset footbed from the side. Despite the significant offset toward the back, the stirrups still hang perfectly vertical.

acavallo footbed offset

The footbed is noticeably offset toward the back.

As I mentioned earlier, I wanted stirrups that wouldn’t require a special stirrup leather or iron pockets. 

Acavallo slips onto your regular stirrup leather, and you can run them up like usual. 

Just be careful not to scrape your stirrup leather with the cheese grater tread.

run up acavallo safety stirrups with saddle

You can run up these stirrups like normal.

Parting Thoughts

It didn’t take me long to fall in love with my Acavallo Arena Pro safety stirrups. In fact, it took exactly one ride!

acavallo safety stirrups

Click to see these stirrups at Amazon

My foot and leg felt so secure (bless you, cheese grater tread!), and the extra wide footbed gave me plenty of real estate for balance. Having them offset also helped my heels stay down, but without ankle or leg pain.

Several riders at my barn have already asked to try them, and everyone agrees they’re a more budget-friendly alternative to FreeJump stirrups and a safer alternative to a traditional peacock stirrup.

Overall, I’m thrilled!

Frequently Asked Questions

online horse courses

What are the best safety stirrups?

As you can probably guess from this review, I’m a big fan of the Acavallo safety stirrups. For some other great safety stirrups, check out this list of our top eight favorite safety stirrups

Which way do stirrups face?

In many cases, stirrups do not have a front or back. The Acavallo Safety stirrups are offset, meaning one side of the footbed is longer than the other. In this case, you’ll want the wider portion goes towards the back. This is intentionally designed to help you keep your heels down. This also places the movable safety side of the stirrup to the outside, as it should be.

How short should your stirrups be for jumping?

A general rule for stirrup length while jumping is to go up two holes higher than normal on your stirrups leathers. You may need to make adjustments based on your horse, leg length, or types of jumping. Make sure your feet are firmly in the stirrups with your heels down as you approach the jump. This will help you keep your stirrups!

How do you run stirrups up?

Running your stirrups up after your ride and during storage will keep your tack room tidy and reduce stretching of your stirrup leathers. To start, slide your stirrup up the stirrup leather closest to the saddle. When the stirrup reaches the top of the leather, take both sides of the leather and place them through the center of the stirrup. This will secure your stirrup until your next ride.

Why should I purchase a safety stirrup?

If you have ever see a rider with a foot caught in the stirrup, you’ll understand exactly why safety stirrups are worth the investment. Safety stirrups are designed to release the rider’s foot, rather than trap it, and prevent the rider from being dragged by a horse.

 

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About the author

Horse Rookie

I began riding horses at age six, and I'm just as infatuated (OK, more!) with the sport decades later. My AQHA gelding exemplifies the versatility of the breed -- reined cow horse, reining, roping, ranch riding, trail, dressage, and jumping. We're also dipping our toes (hooves) into Working Equitation!