View Full Version : When to give up safety stirrups?

Apr. 14, 2009, 09:18 AM
Is there an age or level where safety stirrups (the kind with the big rubber band) are no longer appropriate. Does a judge ever look in the ring and see safety stirrups and think "novice rider"?

Apr. 14, 2009, 09:23 AM
Sometimes I think it depends on the rest of the turnout if the judge thinks novice rider. I guess I was 11 or 12 when I quite using them and had been riding my whole life. Usually at the shows you don't see them much past the 2' level but it doesn't bother me to see them higher.

Private Diamonds
Apr. 14, 2009, 09:33 AM
As soon as my daughter went to tall boots the safety stirrups were taken off.

Apr. 14, 2009, 10:05 AM
I started using them again when I got my ottb and I am officially a grown-up! I have switched to "Quick outs" now and will use Royal Rider flexy ones this season. I don't see a problem with using them and if the chances of getting dumped are high (with a green horse...) I think it is wise. I have never used them in the hunter ring though and wouldn't.

Apr. 14, 2009, 10:27 AM
A few years ago I stopped using them after my knee surgery - I switched to the MDC Ultimates because I needed something that would "flex" to help alleviate the knee pain. Just to give you an idea of my age... I started riding in the early/mid 70's :eek:.

I don't see a problem with people using them - after seeing a good number of kids/adults fall off and get caught up in the stirrups over the years - i'm all for anything that can prevent someone from getting hurt worse than they need to.


Apr. 14, 2009, 10:32 AM
You never 'have' to switch out of them. It's not like everyone uses traditional stirrups and you will look out of place- there are all sorts of screwy stirrups out there now, including ones with no outside branch at all. In terms of when regular irons become "more safe," it is when the foot has grown enough that it is difficult to impossible to get the foot entirely through the stirrup iron. If you can still easily slip your foot clear through the iron- either stick with safeties, or look for a different shaped (more stout) iron.

Apr. 14, 2009, 10:56 AM
I hope I don't curse myself by saying this, but I've fallen off more times than I can count (since I started at age 5, 28+ years ago) and I've never gotten hung up in my stirrups-- and I've NEVER used safety stirrups. Frankly, the few times I HAVE used safety stirrups (on a borrowed saddle), I've had problems-- either with the bands popping off, or dismounting down over them and getting them hung up on clothes, etc. Personally, I hate the things.

Apr. 14, 2009, 11:41 AM
I think as far as showing goes, most people give them up when they switch from garters to tall boots.

Angel Undercover
Apr. 14, 2009, 12:50 PM
I thought the safeties the OP is talking about (with the rubber bands) were only supposed to be used on riders up to 100 lbs? I could definitely be wrong, but that's what I've been told.

Apr. 14, 2009, 01:01 PM
I think Angel Undercover is right... you should quit using them when you excede the weight limit... at some point they aren't going to hold up to the pressure. I recall an add that said something about the pounds of pressure that a rider creates in the sturrips when landing off a 4 ft fence... it was A LOT more than you might think.

Apr. 14, 2009, 03:31 PM
once they get to tall boots, it's time for real stirrups.

Hunter Mom
Apr. 14, 2009, 03:43 PM
If you're "too big" to ride in peacocks, there are several other kinds of safety stirrups - Foot Free are curved, Kwik Out look like normal irons but will release, Mountain Horse also makes a Quick Release stirrup.

I'm sure there are others that look more traditional but have the safety features.

Apr. 14, 2009, 05:40 PM
I thought the safeties the OP is talking about (with the rubber bands) were only supposed to be used on riders up to 100 lbs? I could definitely be wrong, but that's what I've been told.

There is a recommended weight limit - I vaguely remember something about 100 lbs too. Thankfully I never had a problem with them breaking and I did a LOT of jumping in them!


Apr. 14, 2009, 07:55 PM
Around here it's usually around the age of 12, or when the kid moves up to Long Stirrup.

Apr. 14, 2009, 09:48 PM
i used them up until 15 (whoops). we just forgot to switch them, but once i got my horse, i got irons. however, when i was 15 i was under 100 pounds and on aa pony, so i guess i didnt really break the rules?

Apr. 14, 2009, 10:07 PM
I ride in them all the time and I'm 27. However, when I show, I have a plain pair of fillis irons that I switch to, because I think the elastic looks cheesy. I'm paranoid about getting caught up and I get nervous about riding in non-safety stirrups, but at least with spending less time in the saddle for a show class than I do for schooling, I can reassure myself that there's less probability of it.

If the weight limit for peacocks is 100 lbs I'm under it, so that may make a difference--but the general size and shape is the same between the peacock and fillis so I don't notice any difference when I switch for showing.

And then if I ever get to clinic with GM I can start in his good graces by riding in plain old-fashioned fillis. (;

Apr. 15, 2009, 12:37 AM
I thought the safeties the OP is talking about (with the rubber bands) were only supposed to be used on riders up to 100 lbs? I could definitely be wrong, but that's what I've been told.

I am not sure about what the "weight limit" is, but you are indeed correct that the stirrups become a problem once the rider reaches a certain weight.

Many decades ago, we tried to have them on all of our lesson/school saddles (beginner adults are just as "beginner" as the kids!). Turned out that we could only use them on the saddles for the smaller riders. With the larger riders the stirrups would "bend" over time. Not sure that bend is the right word here. Because the stirrups only had one branch that was metal, the stirrups would become longer on the elastic side - as if someone deliberately removed the elastic and then pulled on each end of the stirrup. Like we do with the water bucket handles when they get a little smushed! It was not an instant thing, but it didn't take too many "bigger person" rides to have it happen. Once the stirrup was bent or stretched, it made the bottom outside of the stirrup slant down. Not good! Years ago there was no option for larger people other than "regular" stirrups. Thankfully, now there are. So for the larger saddles we have the Kwick Out stirrups now, but we still use the elastic ones on the smaller saddles.

Apr. 15, 2009, 01:37 AM
GM did not say a word about my peacock stirrups in the two clinics I did. He even touched my foot to readjust it (swoon). I am well over 100 pounds and have never seen any sign of bending in any of the pairs I have used over the last 15 years. However, I don't jump over 3'6", so maybe there is a difference using them consistently at the higher levels. Put me in the paranoid group; I have never come even close to getting hung up, but that doesn't prevent me from fearing the worst!

I have a question about the Kwick-Outs...aren't the physics the same as the peacock stirrup? Although there is (superficially) an outside branch, it is not really used as for weight distribution since it is not part of one integrated metal arch. It seems that Kwick-Outs are the same as peacocks in the sense that the weight is borne on only one metal branch of the stirrup arch. So, wouldn't there be the same weight distribution concerns as with the peacocks? Mountain Horse has quick release stirrups with no outside branch, and there is no weight restriction, and I have never seen a weight restriction listed for generic peacocks.

To the OP: I am not sure about the effect on judging, but there was a critique for "From the Judge's Box" in COTH in January (this (http://www.chronofhorse.com/index.php?cat=1332606080443757&ShowArticle_ID=1332201093927747)link should work even if you don't subscribe) from Geoff Teall, who said:

"I would like to see both horse and rider conform a bit more to the rules of turnout. A braided mane is correct. Also, the loop on the noseband for a flash attachment is inappropriate, as are the buckle attachments for the bit to the bridle. I also feel that there is a time and a place to let the safety stirrups go."

So, I would say that, at least for some judges, safety stirrups are not really appropriate beyond a certain age in subjectively judged classes. As others stated, most stop using them when they move to tall boots.

Apr. 15, 2009, 01:42 AM
First off, I'm a little offended at the comment that my stirrups aren't "real" just because they're safety stirrups, to me, safety is more important than fashion. As I was just saying in the dressage thread about helmets, watching a girl die because her foot got caught tends to influence one's choices about safety versus fashion and tradition. That said though, I'd say leave the peacock irons to the little kids and switch to a more traditional looking safety stirrup. Not only am I past the 100lb limit, but I find them to be too lightweight, and therefore harder to pick up if you drop a stirrup. Personally, I'm fond of the S-curve irons, but Hunter Mom mentioned a few others that sound good.

Apr. 15, 2009, 06:47 AM
Sometimes those peacock stirrups aren't so safe when a kid gets their paddock boot lace caught on the hook! I would rather use the other kinds of saftey stirrups that are available.

Apr. 15, 2009, 07:12 AM
I rode in regular stirrups for decades and switched back when my kids were jrs. This also corresponded to knowing three people who were caught in their irons and drug (major injuries and one death), my husband get caught in an iron on a really nice mare who stood there for him to extricate himself and watching Karen O'Connor caught in her iron upside down at Rolex in the water.
I weigh considerably more than 100 lbs (I think 100 lbs was maybe back around 6th grade) and have never had a problem.
I own a pair of kwik outs and they squeak like no bodies business so most of the time I just use the old peacocks.
People used to have the vapors about helmets with harnesses in the show ring and in the hunt field. No one worries about that any more, so I just figure if Karen O'Connor can get unloaded and caught, why not eliminate one more potential problem. When someone designs a really good safety stirrup, I'll buy it.
and that was my kid that Geoff Teal crtiqued and we tease her about it all the time. and like most kids that age, she rolls her eyes.

Apr. 15, 2009, 09:01 AM
i used peacock stirrups up until i was about 17 or 18. *hangs head in shame* never noticed an issue with 'bending,' but then again i've never weighed much over that supposed 100lb limit.

but when i got to college, sold my gawdawful cheapiemccheap AP saddle and bought something decent, i bought 'real' stirrups to go with it, because i had a sudden revelation that the rubber bands just looked awful. though i did get 4 1/4" size irons to fit my narrow feet, and reduce the likelihood of my feet actually slipping through them and getting caught.

Hunter Mom
Apr. 15, 2009, 09:42 AM
I do know that, like everything else, peacock stirrups come in various versions with various weight limits (although I've never seen them advertised as such). My trainer asked me to pick a pair up for a lesson saddle when I was trekking to a tack store, and the first pair I picked up was H-E-A-V-Y. As in WAAYYYY heavier than my own non-safety stirrups. The one branch of these stirrups was as thick as my finger. I don't see anyone having trouble with those bending.

Apr. 15, 2009, 01:29 PM
hmm, i bought peacocks cuz the tack store didn't have the right sized closed irons that day--i said "eh i'll get the peacocks, no biggie" and no one said anything about a weight limit... but i ride weekly, and am only a bit over 100 so i suppose they should last a good long time. i volunteered for years at a TR stable, where it was all peacocks, all the time--i don't recall bending being an issue. (then again, a regular korsteel closed iron just plain *broke* under another rider in class last year...)

one of the intructors at my current barn had one foot in the stirrup on a new horse that was having a bad hair day; he exploded, took off, she got dragged--spiral fracture of her femur, surgery, traction, months out of work... owie. i'll stick to my peacocks. (although i did get hooked on the left one sliding off the horse the other day...)