More Than Magnetic Stirrups
If you’ve been a Horse Rookie fan for a while, you’ve probably heard of Ophena. They are best known for their innovative magnetic safety stirrups, which I tried and reviewed. I also tested their horse riding apparel—yet another experience that proved this brand knows what equestrians really want.
This blog also features a lot of safety-related content. From helmets and air vests to body protectors and safety stirrups, safety is NOT “optional” for riders who care about staying healthy and whole.
That’s why I was delighted to see Ophena had developed a new model of safety stirrups—without the magnetic component. The company kindly agreed to send over a pair of their new safety stirrups, Ophena A, to try and review.
Spoiler alert: I loved them even more than the magnetic version!
What are safety stirrups?
Before we go any further, let’s make sure we explain what safety stirrups actually are—stirrups designed to prevent the rider’s foot from getting caught in case of a fall.
Typically, safety stirrups feature an outside edge that bends or detaches when pressure it placed against it. Some safety stirrups, like Ophena’s magnetic model, remove the outside edge from the stirrup entirely.
As someone who has been drug by a caught foot during childhood—and has fallen off many times since—I’m a big fan of safety stirrups. The fact that I had safety stirrups on my jump—but not dressage—saddle was a major reason I haven’t wanted to school dressage lately.
I have a quick, green pony and feel much more secure with safety stirrups—just in case!
A Fitting First Impression
Now that we understand the basics of safety stirrups, let’s get into the unboxing experience. Having tried several Ophena products in the past, my branding expectations were high. And, as expected, the packaging and presentation were gorgeous.
The black and white nested box top features a silver foil logo and crisp lettering on the sides. These are high-end stirrups, and the branding certainly supports a high-end feel.
Like a child unwrapping Christmas presents, I immediately opened the box and surveyed the contents.
Everything is carefully tucked into a die-cut insert, which keeps things from shifting or getting damaged in transit.
The first item I inspected was the silicone safety side piece—called The Twister. Embossed with the Ophena logo, and jet black for a sleek look, they were lightweight and really flexible.
The next item to draw my gaze was the custom engraved stirrup base—such a great touch. You can add engraving to your order, too!
Ophena lets you engrave up to 35 characters (including spaces), and even custom engraved stirrups are part of their 60-day money-back guarantee! They’ll still refund the full product purchase price—only the engraving service itself is non-refundable.
When I removed the stirrups, I was impressed by how substantial they felt. This isn’t a cheap plastic stirrup, not by a long stretch.
The stirrup is made from durable, aerospace-grade, precision-machined aluminum. The Twister (silicone side piece) is made out of UV and water-resistant silicone.
Another element I liked right away was the diamond grip footpads. My personal stirrup tread preference is the spikier the better, so these are right up my alley!
Designed for optimal grip and maximum control, this is one of the grippiest treads on the market. For me, that means less feet shifting and more stability while I ride.
The wide footbed is another benefit, as it increases the surface area your boot rests upon—another element of stability.
Now it was time to assemble my brand new safety stirrups, and it took about five seconds!
The Twisters are clearly labeled with up/down, and you put the lower side in first. Rotate the silicone piece to match the accompanying hole, then twist ninety degrees to “lock” it in place.
Here’s what they look like all together. Seriously, assembly was SO easy.
Either Twister can be used for either stirrup, but the stirrups themselves are different. Look for the stamped “R” label for right, and “L” label for left on the footbeds.
Ophena includes an instruction guide with each box, and it’s really easy to follow along.
It also explain how to clean your stirrups, which is also quite straightforward!
Now let’s talk about the kind of horse I’m riding and why I especially want to use safety stirrups.
Jax is a 14.1hh, 8-year-old green-broke Azteca gelding. His default speed is…fast…and flatwork sessions can actually be more challenging than jumping.
Since he’s still so inexperienced—and athletic—I like to be prepared for any situation. That includes unexpected dismounts!
In the Saddle
I decided to put these stirrups on my dressage saddle, which I had been boycotting. It’s time to start bringing along my pony’s flatwork skills, and it was a good excuse to get back in different tack.
The first thing I noticed after sliding my feet into these stirrups was immediately feeling secure.
While magnetic safety stirrups take quite a bit of getting used to (at least for me), there was zero adjustment period going from my old stirrups to the Ophena A.
I loved wide footbed, and the grip was exactly the way I like it—GRIPPY!
Plus, the Ophena A has integrated dampening. Below the tread is a cushioning element for greater knee comfort. The entire stirrup also flexes slightly to absorb harder impacts.
Available in black or silver, these stirrups are understated (versus bright FreeJump stirrups). They look classic, sleek, and don’t draw the eye away from the rider.
Looks aside, the safety features are most important. The outside edge of these stirrups is closed by the fully removable silicone piece: The Twister.
It can be released at two independent points and in any direction due to Ophena’s patent-pending 360° double safety release technology.
At the walk, trot, and canter (ahem, hand gallop), I felt super secure. My leg could stay quiet, I didn’t adjust my foot all the time, and I had greater peace of mind knowing I would be safer if pony and I…parted ways.
Looking back, that peace of mind was a big deal. I was able to take brain cells that used to worry worst case scenarios and reallocate them to riding well and listening to my horse. That’s priceless!
If you’re looking for a high-quality safety stirrup with an upper-level appearance, the Ophena A is the answer.
Want to try them for yourself? Check out the Ophena website to order your stirrups with a 60-day risk-free trial.
P.S. Enjoy this article? Trot on over to:
- “I jumped & kickboxed in bliss!” (Ophena Apparel Review)
- Magnetic safety stirrups demystified
- What’s the Attraction: Ophena Magnetic Stirrups Review
- 5 Reasons to Try Ophena Horse Riding Tights
- How Safety Stirrups Work (Pros/Cons, Uses, Features, Brands)
- 7 Best Safety Stirrups for Adults (Uses, Features, Reviews)