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stirrup question - english to western

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  • stirrup question - english to western

    So I will hopefully be back in the saddle in the Spring. Will have been completely OUT of the saddle for about 1.5 years, and was broken for a year before that and not riding particularly well.

    I am planning on going back in a Western saddle (one of Dave Genadek's).

    I am, however, completely confused about western stirrups.

    I ride in Sprenger 4-ways because I have the worlds STIFFEST ankles (tried to take tap dancing once, and the instructor just kind of shook her head because it was hopeless ).

    I'll still need something with some flex in the Western saddle to make up for my miserable ankles.

    So I've seen multitudinous adds for various types of stirrups that are supposed to 'help you out' in some way or another...from slanted/crooked stirrups, to EZ riders, to Cloud stirrups, to nettles laminated wood stirrups...


  • #2
    There are several things you can do...You can get either cheapo (cheapest being nylon dog collars) or expensive stirrup turners so that the stirrup hangs at right angles to the fenders. You can get trail stirrups which have cushy thick pads and a scoopy profile minimizing the chance of getting hung. You can go to http://www.american-flex.com/stirrups.htm and get the truly odd looking contraption that puts literally a spring in the stirrup to absorb shock.

    Or, if you really like your english stirrups and arent worried about the occasional odd look you might get, you can take the fenders, leathers, and stirrups OFF that western saddle and put your "English" leathers on it instead.

    My own ancient ankles and knees have benefitted from several of the above mentioned options. Since I'm now riding in English saddles, I am going to indulge myself with a pair of Icelandic stirrups for one saddle, and use my narrow neck trail stirrups on t'other. (The horse that trots tends to help me lose stirrups so his saddle will get the Icelandics. The horse that doesnt trot, well, I just put my feet on the dashboard and go.)


    • Original Poster

      The fenders are cordura and will be pre-turned....

      Hadn't heard about the 'springie-thingie'...I'll check that out!

      oooo...that is WIERD! maybe not....

      OTOH the English leathers on the saddle at the bottom look kind of
      interesting...is that hard to do?


      • #4
        The big endurance stirrups (EZ Ride) provide really great support and shock absorption. If you decide to go with the Western fenders, that would be what I would choose.


        • #5
          Why not go with an aussie saddle?? You get english stirrups, ( ugly in my opinion, but you didn't ask! ), and more secure seat.


          • #6
            I have problems with my knees and ankles aching due to Chronic Lyme disease, and I also had a problem with the stiffness of the Western saddle fenders/stirrups. I decided to try the stirrup rotators sold in Country Supply by catalog. They work great, you can turn the stirrups however you like, and it really takes the pressure off. You can tighten the screw so the stirrups stay the position you like, or you can have them swivel freely. I'm happy with them...Cost $30, two or so years ago.


            • Original Poster

              Thanks! I never knew if my issues were more due to the fenders, or just that Western saddles were 'different'....


              • #8
                Originally posted by tollertwins View Post
                The fenders are cordura and will be pre-turned....

                Hadn't heard about the 'springie-thingie'...I'll check that out!

                oooo...that is WIERD! maybe not....

                OTOH the English leathers on the saddle at the bottom look kind of
                interesting...is that hard to do?
                Its somewhat more difficult to pull out or push in Western fenders than it is to put English leathers in. Typically there is a slot in a Western tree that the leathers/fenders go thru and there is ample room for either standard one inch English or wider Aussie or the 2" biothane stirrup straps. On a new saddle, and when one is unaccustomed to the anatomy of the Western saddle, figuring out where the hole is and getting the old and new leathers to cooperate can be challenging. Tying a string on new leathers and threading that thru first can make the task easier.

                I prefer the cordura fenders myself but preturned or not they will never be as noodly flexible as English leathers, which for some people is not a good thing--lots of folks hate cordura because it is floppier than leather. I actually like the idea of add on fender thing Hill View sells as perhaps providing the best of both worlds. Western leathers are a LOT harder (try, nearly impossible) to adjust while mounted and that can be an issue for those of us who have bad underpinning.


                • Original Poster

                  I might be one of the 'not as noodly is a good thing' types for awhile.

                  Watched a vid from shortly before I gave up....my toes were pointing completely in the WRONG direction....


                  • #10
                    Most of the higher quality western saddles have stirrups that are turn-tied. You still have to adjust them from the ground or have someone do it for you but when the stirrup hangs, it will be in the correct position in the first place. You don't have to do much to pick up your stirrups and less pressure on your ankles. Also, in the better qualled saddles, the leather is soooo much better and will turn obediently, easily, almost buttery feeling. Be sure to use your stirrup hobbles too, that helps hold the stirrups in place.

                    When you use a lesser saddle, you probably run into Mexican or Pakistani leather, which is cured by urine only, leaves it feeling a bit like cardboard. No matter how you try, you can't get the soft, good feeling of quality leather.


                    • Original Poster

                      Cured by WHAT?????


                      • #12
                        yep, pee.

                        And they are using belly leather for parts of the saddle which should NEVER be the hard, yet porous, papery belly hide.

                        AnyWHO the cushy endurance type stirrups are fabulous. Order carefully based on the stirrup neck width (you know the bar the stirrup leather runs through). You can get them with cages or hoods, too, adds safety. I love them, ugly, but lovable, they are LOL. Do not get metal ones- they will bang your shins while you tote the saddle, get the fabricated plastic or whatever they are...

                        I do NOT like the metal, adjustable stirrup turners. IF you are short they add about 2" to your stirrup length, so for me it's a deal breaker on some saddles (I'm 5'5"). And they are heavy, AND I think the way the leather lays against my leg with them feels foreign, I don't know, I just don't care for them.


                        • Original Poster

                          The saddle will have pre-turned stirrups....but so far - the ones with major cush seem to have the most thumbs up!