I need stirrup irons for my dressage saddle, and am interested in jointed irons. Is this a 'you get what you pay for' thing? I'm finding Sta-Brite jointed irons for as low as $22, and no brand name ones on eBay for $35. Would one of those work just fine? From there the prices jump quite a bit, however I cannot bring myself to spend $150 on irons.
I don't think I *need* them (my knees are not injured), but it's more that I think I'd like them.
Or... should I get regular irons and be done with it.
I have some "no-name" ones I bought at Equine Affaire for $30-$40 and they were fine. I still have them, I used them for probably 4 years of 4x/week riding with no issues. I switched back to solid irons (had them on my jump saddle) because I felt they were allowing me to goose my horse too much when I was working on solidifying my leg. I don't know if the "real" ones are better, but I found mine worked just fine!
I have a pair of knock-off jointed irons and a pair of Herm Sprengers. I think the cheap ones are just fine. I only have the HS brand because they came with a saddle I bought years ago.
In fact, would you mind sharing some links? I'd like to buy another pair of el-cheapos so I can have them on all three saddles.
It's a matter of personal preference, so you won't know if you like them until you try them. I find them much more comfortable than standard irons. They allow my ankles to flex and they help me keep my leg softer and quieter.
The knock-offs only have a touch of bend, so they aren't nearly as noticeable as the HS.
I have a bad ankle and found when I used my friend's HS jointed stirrups, they made me feel very unstable. They bend a lot easier. If you go to a tack store and check out the cheapos vs the $150+ stirrups, you'll feel the difference just in your hands and the way they bend.
I personally prefer the cheapos, they have just enough bend to relieve the stress and pressure on my bad ankle and not so much as to make me feel insecure or wobbly.
I want to update my earlier comment about the knock-offs. I took a good look at them and the rubber wrapping is starting to fall apart. They're also making an annoying crackling sound. These knock-offs are about four-five years old and do not have nearly the miles as the Herm Sprengers.
The Herm Sprenger stirrups are around 12 years old, heavily used and still in perfect condition. I think I will save my money or look for a deal and get another pair of these when I can afford them.
I also agree that the HS stirrups are more flexible than the knock-offs.