I am shopping for new stirrup irons --
Bow balance? Original Herm springer sysytem 4? Intec UMS?
I am low level eventer and have been riding forever. My current irons are just too tough on my knees,hips etc and I could use help to keep my heel down.
I would see if you can test drive a friend's stirrups before you buy them. The Herm Springer were great to ride in but made my knees ache when walking afterward. I gave them to my trainer and she has no problems with them. I did end up with "bendy" MDC which have helped my crooked foot angle. Trainer tried those and felt no difference from "regular" stirrups. Trying before you buy may be very useful! Good Luck
I wouldn't necessarily count on stirrups fixing either position problems or sore joints. Yes, they can for some individuals but it's certainly not a given. Definitely try before you buy--personally I find flexy, bendy irons horrible and they make my legs more fatigued if I spend a lot of time in two-point or galloping. I use good old peacocks for jumping and the ones where the "eye" faces 90 degrees instead of parallel to the iron for dressage--those do help keep my toes in slightly.
I have the bow balance, and while they have helped take the pain out of my ankles and knees when I ride, they are very bouncy. It makes it very hard to have a stable lower leg, I think they flex a bit *too* much.
i have the bow balance HS after a rash of moderate knee pain a few years ago while riding. since then, no knee pain.
and someone mentioned, they are kinda bouncy, but after a few ankle accidents, i don't have as much flexibility in my ankles so they are more forgiving. of course, HRH GM wouldn't approve, but oh well!
And the wise, Jack Daniels drinking, slow-truck-driving, veteran TB handler who took "no shit from no hoss Miss L, y'hear," said: "She aint wrapped too tight."
I also have the "bendy" MDCs. I got them when I was having medial knee pain on one side. The pain has completely disappeared and my jumping position has improved. I was able to find them for half the price on Ebay.
"I am still under the impression there is nothing alive quite so beautiful
as a thoroughbred horse."
I foxhunt in Composite Reflex wide track stirrups. They are amazing.
To elaborate because I have the time now, I like them because the footbed tips just a little to allow you to easily get your heels down, but the stirrup itself holds still. They feel perfectly solid even on a squirrley Arab at speed. I can't hunt in the bendy ones, though I did use them for trails before I found the composite ones.
I have knee pain with other stirrups, even bendy ones. My knees haven't hurt since the day I got these though.
I bought the bow balance stirrups this fall as a I had a discount coupon for SmartPak and I was looking for a bit more comfort while out hunting. I was skeptical, but I have to say I love them. Even on long hunts (3+ hours) I had no knee pain.
I less expensive alternative it to buy the Super Comfort Stirrup pads. They wrap around your existing stirrup irons and give you more width and a bit of give. I have those on my other irons (I can't justify more than one pair of the Bow Balance). They also are grippy so great for riding in the rain.
I have a pair of the Royal Rider composites and never felt they lived up to the hype.
I LOVE Royal Rider T3s. They are composite stirrups that are slightly off-set... I had tried several different types of off set stirrups (both composite and metal) that I never really liked, but something about the T3s just really helps my position & comfort. I have some pretty substantial knee and ankle issues, and I am significantly more comfortable riding in those than any other type of stirrups that I've encountered, including any type of flex stirrup. Having said that... I switch back into traditional stirrup irons whenever I take a clinic with anyone even remotely old school
Unfortunately they are pretty pricey and impossible to find used... the best deal I've been able to find was through a store in the UK on ebay, I think it came out to $150 with shipping. Which normally I would never pay for stirrups... but these are truly worth it.