View Full Version : easy ride stirrup correction for bad knees?

Jun. 25, 2010, 10:35 PM
I have a bad arthritic knee that do not do well in a western saddle. The torque of the stirrup on the knee causes a problem.

I usually ride in a dressage saddle --gotta love the free swinging of the stirrups.

Am looking at the different types of items that make the stirrup hang at a little different angle on a western saddle. Have any of you used any of these? Good bad or otherwise? Did any of them really help, hurt more or not make a bit of difference?

Jun. 25, 2010, 11:47 PM
Have you tried really oiling the stirrup leathers and then twisting them, putting a broom handle through the stirrups, and then let dry? This is the only way I know of for getting those dang things twisted out of the way.

Jun. 26, 2010, 02:14 AM
My knee isn't arthritic (yet) as far as I know, but I suspect it's on its way. Long periods of time in the saddle make it hurt a LOT if the setup is too wide and/or the fenders are heavy.

The thing that helped me most was getting a saddle which allowed me to get rid of as much bulk under my leg as I could, and a narrower twist. Stirrup gizmos/special stirrups didn't do a whole lot for me by themselves, I had to "narrow" my setup as much as I could to get significant relief.

Jun. 26, 2010, 02:24 AM
I have a bad arthritic knee that do not do well in a western saddle. The torque of the stirrup on the knee causes a problem.

I usually ride in a dressage saddle --gotta love the free swinging of the stirrups.

Am looking at the different types of items that make the stirrup hang at a little different angle on a western saddle. Have any of you used any of these? Good bad or otherwise? Did any of them really help, hurt more or not make a bit of difference?

Update if you find something that works that's not a suggestion made here, please. Last time I was in a western saddle (a pretty well broken in one, too) I eventually just dropped the stirrups entirely because I couldn't take the torque it was putting on my knee to keep it positioned properly. (Admittedly I did not fuss that much with the stirrups since it was just a very short for-fun trail ride, but it did not bode well for future adventures.)

I guess you could always try having leathers made for the western saddle that don't have the large fender element and are basically just straps like English/Dressage leathers. That would reduce the amount of leather fighting against you, at least.

Jun. 26, 2010, 09:45 AM
I tried those little thingies, but made my stirrups too long. I am short. By the time I shortened the fenders, they were so far up into the saddle that I had no swing whatsoever and being an english rider, I just couldn't stand the retriction. Another poster had suggested dog collars. Take off the stirrups, close the blevins on the fenders and then wrap the collars around the stirrups and into the fenders where the stirrups normally go. I got 16 inch nylon collars and wrapped them as much as possible before I buckled them. My stirrups now face forward and I have no torque that my knees can complain about. I also use the wide endurance stirrups with cages so that my ankles don't complain. Love those endurance stirrups. I move them from my western to my english saddle for long rides that are 4 hours or more.

Jun. 26, 2010, 12:21 PM
Sonata, thanks so much for the great idea. I will try it on my little used western saddle here at the house.

This western saddle thing is for my pack trip out west for one week. So I cannot do anything to their saddle. I am looking for a quick fix for one week. As I said earlier I ride here at home in a dressage saddle and will not be shipping it out to ride out west.

The dog collars are a great idea. Gotta go try it out.

And Sonata, I use those wide based endurance stirrups all the time. Am borrowing a western pair for the trip. Would not be in the saddle without them!

Jun. 26, 2010, 03:38 PM
If possible buy the dog collars from your local $ store. Will save you bucks and have a wonderful trip. Don't forget to tell us about it and take lots of pictures.

Jun. 26, 2010, 09:32 PM
Went to local dollar store today. My western saddle has been converted to english endurance stirrups. Won;t get a change to ride them until Tuesday, but it looks promising!!!

Yes, Sonata, I will take photos and keep a journal!!! Will share it when we return.

Jun. 27, 2010, 12:22 PM
I have a knee that is cranky. I had hurt it years ago and Western Saddle gave it issues. I got a pair of Crooked Stirrups and Voila! I can ride for hours as long as I am riding with Crooked Stirrups. Without it is just a short while and my knee is an unhappy camper.

I did get rid of my western saddle and now have two Aussie Saddles and I no longer have an issue but if I do ride in hubby's western ever it will be with my Crooked Stirrups. give them a whirl...they are expensive but worth every penny.

Jun. 28, 2010, 08:44 AM
The good thing about the dog collars is they dont cause a significant fender lengthening problem like Stirrup Straights or EZ Knees. Will point out that its not a big deal to take fenders off completely and use english leathers and stirrups on just about any western saddle. Just remember that it CAN be a beyotch to replace the fenders. A piece of baling twine or a long shoelace tied to the fender and threaded thru first can be a big help.

If your ankles/knees are as shot as mine are, offset eye stirrups or Icelandic safety-type stirrups are the bomb for your english saddle. They dont have to cost a fortune, either: http://www.nationalbridleshop.com/

Jun. 28, 2010, 10:44 AM
Put a twist in the stirrup leather. When you get there your outfitter should know what I'm talking about. You take the stirrup leather apart as if you're replacing the stirrup but you put a twist in the leather instead and it makes the stirrup hang facing your foot instead of trying to lay at a 90* from your foot; takes away the tension and the fight against stirrup leathers.

Jun. 28, 2010, 11:59 AM
Endurance type stirrups with a wide foot bed and padding will help your knees as well (like EZ Rides).

Jun. 28, 2010, 12:46 PM
I'm short, too, and so's my husband, and the EZ Ride Stirrups also made the fenders too long for both of us -- so I took the saddle to a local saddlemaker and had him cut the fenders down. Now, long-legged people won't be able to use that saddle anymore, but that doesn't matter to us. My husband doesn't ride very often, but he has bad knees and he noticed a marked difference/improvement with the EZ Ride stirrups, and I like them, too.

Jun. 28, 2010, 03:18 PM
I'm short too and have had to modify just about every saddle I've ever owned to shorten the stirrup length. I even ordered extra holes on my Boz saddle when I had it made. The EZ rides make a huge difference.

Jun. 29, 2010, 09:26 AM
The best thing I ever did was to buy a different saddle!
I now ride only in a Steele saddle with wide stirrups. I sat in the Steele at the tack store and was in total shock, nothing hurt. Up until then for the last 15 years something always hurt when in a western saddle. Unbelievable the difference the brand of saddle can make.

Jun. 29, 2010, 10:49 AM
I can totally relate to a comfortable saddle. I saved my pennies and bought a custom made Boz endurance saddles with sheepskin. It's like sitting on a nice soft cushion that gives you great close contact but is super comfortable.

Jun. 29, 2010, 12:56 PM
also look at the rigging on the saddle. I have a saddle with 2 rings on each side for the cinch straps, so you can have forward rigging and use a back cinch or use the back ring for 3/4 rigging. When I switched from one rigging potition to the other, there was less bulk under my leg and my knee didn't get bugged again.
However, I also dampened my fenders, twisted my stirrups around backwards, put a broomstick in the 2 stirrups and let it dry for a couple of days, and that has put my western stirrups into a face forward position when they hang. I use to just put the broomstick into the stirrups in their normal position and was always fighting their wish to return to hanging flat against the horse's side. Now I have those suckers twisted into submission!

Jun. 30, 2010, 07:28 AM
I trail ride in my dressage saddle and replaced the dressage irons with easy-glides -- nice wide foot area with padding....:D I also lengthened my leathers a little bit. Hope this helps.

Jun. 30, 2010, 08:39 PM
Rode in the converted stirrups to day with the dog collars as the connectors. Worked fantastic. I raised the fenders 1 hole and the stirrups are just perfect.

So the dog collars are going out west with me!!!

So thanks folks, the dog collars give me enough relief.

Great idea.

and those of you who suggested getting this or that saddle, I have a prefect saddle for my every day ride--as I stated in the original post. I ride in a dressage saddle that I love and fits my horse.

This western thing is for a week trip out west for a trip. I have to take the most economic way out of this and can;t do a lot to the outfitters saddle.

My every day ride works great for me-- I don;t and won;t ride western here at the house. No need to.