What stirrups do dressage riders use? It depends.
With so many stirrup options available for dressage riders, it can feel overwhelming picking the right stirrup for you. Stirrups are an item many equestrians choose to invest a little bit more in for several reasons, including safety, durability, and comfort.
A well-made stirrup will last forever with the proper care, so taking the time to pick the right stirrups makes sense from both a time and money-saving perspective.
When you are shopping for stirrups, there are a few important factors to keep in mind including style, use, comfort, safety, and durability.
Some of these considerations will ultimately fall to personal preference and might take a bit of experimenting, and research, to determine what works best for you.
- Style: There are several styles of dressage stirrups available and many riders have a preference on aesthetic.
- Show or Pleasure: Consider if you are using these stirrups for show or pleasure. Most shows have rules governing stirrup type and style so you want to make sure you adhere to these rules to prevent disqualification.
- Comfort: You want your stirrups to be comfortable for you, regardless of how long you are in the saddle. Tread style can make a big difference in stirrup comfort and will range from wide to narrow.
- Safety: Safety stirrups are usually recommended for beginner riders, children, or riders in higher risk situations—all of which have a greater chance of falling. Many advanced riders will opt for lightweight stirrups with a good grip.
- Durability: Most stirrups are designed to last a long time, through tons of rides. If you choose a safety stirrup or a flex stirrup, however, find out how long the rubber components will last and if they are replaceable.
- Joint Issues: Knee, ankle, and even hip pain can be related to stirrups. Choosing a stirrup with more shock absorption can help alleviate joint pain and provide more give.
Best dressage stirrup overall
HS Sprenger System 4 Stirrups
The Herm Sprenger System 4 stirrups have special tread to adapt to your foot to ensure consistent stirrup contact. These stirrups pivot in four directions at the same time, reducing strain and improving leg position. The increased flexibility of these stirrups also softens impact to help alleviate tension and pain.
- High-quality materials
- Pivots in 4 directions simultaneously
Best dressage stirrups for lower leg position
Centaur Stainless Steel Jointed Stirrup Irons
The Centaur Stainless Steel Jointed Stirrup irons are a great option for riders looking for flexibility and comfort, but don’t want to invest several hundreds of dollars in a set of stirrups.
The double joints help to absorb shock, relieving tension, and allow the lower leg to sit comfortably in the correct position.
- Shock absorbing
- Flexible for leg comfort
Best dressage safety stirrups
Acavallo Arena Alupro Safety Stirrups
The stirrup that gets our vote for the best dressage safety stirrup are Acavallo Arena Alupro Safety stirrups. These lightweight stirrups have a stress-activated locking and release mechanism to release the arm in case of emergency.
The stainless-steel tread provides excellent grip, while being durable and shock-absorbing for joint issues.
- Stress activated release mechanism
Best tech dressage stirrups
Tech Stirrups Capri Plus Dressage Stirrups
The Tech Stirrups Capri Plus Dressage Stirrups have a classic look with the latest in stirrup technology. The grip was specifically designed for dressage riders to ensure consistent stirrup contact and proper leg position are maintained.
The shock-absorbing system allows the stirrups to follow the natural movement of the foot and reduces knee and ankle fatigue.
- Specially designed grip
- Shock-absorbing system
- Designed to improve posture and maintain leg position
Best dressage stirrups for knee pain
Flex On Dressage Stirrups
The Flex On Dressage Stirrups come with a built-in shock-absorbing system and have a wide tread with spikes for a great grip. These aluminum stirrups are designed with a Flat Ultra Grip and do not have the slight incline available in the jumping version. The shock absorption system helps isolate shock, reducing the rider’s leg fatigue and resulting pain.
- Shock absorption system
- Great grip
- Wide tread
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you use Flex On stirrups for dressage?
The Flex On brand does have a dressage stirrup option with a flat foot bed instead of the inclined version. Make sure to look for the flat foot bed when buying these stirrups.
How do you choose stirrups?
Choose your stirrups based on style, use, comfort, durability, and safety. Research stirrup brands you are interested in and try before you buy them, if possible.
What are the safest stirrups?
The Acavallo Arena Alupro Safety stirrups are an excellent option for dressage riders looking for safety stirrups.
What are the best dressage stirrup leathers?
Dressage leathers come in several styles and three different materials – leather, leather with nylon core, or synthetic. Most equestrians prefer stirrups leathers made from leather for their durability. Selecting a dressage stirrup leather style will depend a lot on what each rider finds most comfortable.
Picking the right dressage stirrups doesn’t have to be overwhelming or super expensive (though it can be if you want to make an investment). Consider the style, use, comfort, durability, and safety of the dressage stirrups you are looking at before making a purchase. As with all horse equipment, avoid impulse purchases, check return policies, and try before you buy whenever possible.
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