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Bow Balance, MDC, Compositi and Other Non-traditional stirrups

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  • Bow Balance, MDC, Compositi and Other Non-traditional stirrups

    I have a jacked up ankle and feet that make long hours in the saddle very painful. Switching to a generic jointed stirrup worked wonders to alleviate knee pain but I'd like to add a wider foot bed to help with foot pain and possibly an offset attachment to help with the twist of the leather across my shin.

    My main question is about Bow Balance stirrups since they have joints, wide foot bed and offset. From the photos I see online it looks like the angle of the stirrup would require the leather to twist even more than a traditional stirrup. Has anyone used them and purposely put then on backward so it would twist less? I am thinking these paired with Millbrook leathers would address all my needs. I fox hunt, so it doesn't have to look ring appropriate.

    Also interesting is the Compositi stirrups. I do tend to ride with my feet farther home in the stirrups due to ankle pain so I'm not sure if the flex action of these would help.
    Last edited by gypsymare; Nov. 15, 2018, 12:07 PM. Reason: Posted before finishing
    Equestrian and Sporting Oil Paintings
    www.laurenfanning.com
    Roxy 2001 APHA, Al Amir 2005 OTTB,
    Ten Purposes 2009 OTTB

  • #2
    I have a bad ankle too from a fall that never healed right. I found that spring stirrups actually made it worse for me, but I really like the Royal Rider plastic stirrups with the cheese grater footbed. I found that the lightness of the stirrup felt nicer, and the wide footbed helps to stabilize the leg. My ankle pain is not 0, mind, but it's much better than it used to be.

    The springs in different stirrups flex more or less depending on the brand. Sprengers have a very very bendy spring, which means you won't feel as stable. The generic spring stirrup that's like $50 at Dover is less bendy. My ankle pain was actually worse with the Bow Balances than the generic.

    If you're set on a springy stirrup, try the MDC Ultimates which have both springs and the click-top which allows you to rotate the stirrup so it doesn't wrap around your leg. I found little difference either way when it came to my issues with the click-top.

    Also, check the way you put weight into your leg - I found out that my ankles bend to the outside when I ride, which puts strain on the outside tendons. To put it another way, I essentially put almost too much weight into the outside of my foot. I had a wonderful clinic where the instructor pointed it out, and when she fixed it (having me put a little weight into the inside of my foot to center my balance) I found my pain lessened significantly.

    I don't know how you ride, or what the circumstances of your ankle pain is, but hopefully this was helpful to you!

    Comment


    • #3
      I have had the original Herm Sprenger jointed stirrups for 10+ years and really felt the difference in ankle and knee pain, and riding fatigue. I have a bad R ankle and two knee replacements, so they were a significant help.

      I recently got the MDC Ultimates for the click top because I have a terrible time catching my right stirrup when I mount. There's an awkward moment and then I use my stick to hold the right stirrup out so I can catch it. Not a great safety practice. So the click top feature on the MDC Ultimates is *wonderful* and I feel safer and more secure. I don't notice much difference in the flexibility between the Sprengers and the MDCs.

      I would try to borrow some of the various specialty stirrups and try them out. The ones that work for you and your particular issue are well worth the money, but it is a lot of $$ to spend for something that doesn't work for your particular issue.
      The plural of anecdote is not data.

      Comment


      • #4
        Haven't tried the Compositi or Bow Balance, but did try the MDC with the s-shape, and the wide footbed seemed to cause me to lose my stirrup more frequently (as in, after every jump line, when normally I don't lose them at all!). I went back to regular fillis irons - This was at the very beginning of me returning to riding, and I was looking for more leg stability/security. I don't have knee or ankle pain, though, so I can't say if those issues would be alleviated.

        Comment


        • #5
          I, too, have the MDC Ultimates. I had ankle surgery a few years ago, and still have an issue with my ankle, and the click tops really, really help me. I really don't even notice the flexi part. But I like that they're still heavy. I'm always worried to try the light-weight stirrups.

          Comment


          • #6
            I had the MDC Super Sports (wide base, twist top, bendy sides) and ended up selling them. I really liked the twist top and the wide base, however the bending sides made my joints hurt worse. I ended up replacing them with FreeJumps which I like more than anything I've tried

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              I don't notice the difference in stability between the jointed and unjointed stirrups, but I am amazed at the lack of knee pain they seem to magically cause. I have no idea why it happens, but that is why I'd like to stick with the joints. Thanks for all the feedback!
              Equestrian and Sporting Oil Paintings
              www.laurenfanning.com
              Roxy 2001 APHA, Al Amir 2005 OTTB,
              Ten Purposes 2009 OTTB

              Comment


              • #8
                I have owned and ridden in the Herm Springer Bow Balance stirrups for years. I have really liked them as they have pretty much eradicated my ankle pain. I never noticed any difference in the twisting of the stirrup leathers. I don't recommend turning them backward as that would alter the safety performance of the stirrup.

                If you're looking for any other stirrup suggestions, I completely recommend looking at a pair of Jin stirrups. They aren't jointed, but they have really helped my joint pain as well! I actually just replaced my pair of Bow Balances with a new-to-me set of Jin stirrups and have been very pleased with their performance.
                https://pembrokesandponies.com

                Comment


                • #9
                  I have a lovely mix of ankle, knee, and now back issues. I rode in the original HS flex stirrups for years. Before my back injury I also spent some time riding in my trainer's composite stirrups. I could never get comfortable in the composites. Coming back from a year off with sciatica I switched to the HS bow balance and find I'm much more comfortable with them. They are definitely lighter, but I haven't found that to be an issue for me.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I have terrible ankles and love the bow balance. They have been a life saver. Before having them, whenever I was sitting for a while and stood up, or dismounted, I'd limp a few steps before "working out of it". That's virtually vanished since switching.

                    I will say they are a bit less stable than solid stirrups, but as long as I keep up on my no stirrup work, it isn't an issue. It is also worth the trade off for the joint relief. Whenever I have to ride in normal stirrups for longer than 15 minutes, I can feel it in my ankles.
                    The Procrastinators Anonymous meeting has been postponed again.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by ExpialidociousOTTB View Post
                      Haven't tried the Compositi or Bow Balance, but did try the MDC with the s-shape, and the wide footbed seemed to cause me to lose my stirrup more frequently (as in, after every jump line, when normally I don't lose them at all!).
                      I had exactly the same issue with the s shaped MDC. They were comfortable but I definitely lost them frequently. Went back to my old Sprengers and issue resolved. Not a cheap fail. I'd borrow before you buy if you can.

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Originally posted by hunterjumper98 View Post
                        I have owned and ridden in the Herm Springer Bow Balance stirrups for years. I have really liked them as they have pretty much eradicated my ankle pain. I never noticed any difference in the twisting of the stirrup leathers. I don't recommend turning them backward as that would alter the safety performance of the stirrup.

                        If you're looking for any other stirrup suggestions, I completely recommend looking at a pair of Jin stirrups. They aren't jointed, but they have really helped my joint pain as well! I actually just replaced my pair of Bow Balances with a new-to-me set of Jin stirrups and have been very pleased with their performance.
                        The Jin stirrups look interesting but don't appear to have any sort of cushioning. Though an experience yesterday left me reconsidering the bow balances because of the rubber tread. I got some mud between my boot and stirrup pad kicked up by a horse in front and it was SLICK!! Sliding all over the place. Maybe I should narrow my search to cheese graters!
                        Equestrian and Sporting Oil Paintings
                        www.laurenfanning.com
                        Roxy 2001 APHA, Al Amir 2005 OTTB,
                        Ten Purposes 2009 OTTB

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          The Compositi reflex stirrups are not cheese graters, per se, but they definitely have more grip than the traditional rubber pad. I really like the wide footbed and subtle shock absorbing action. To me, they feel very different than the MDC Ultimates I had before. The MDC's had a lot of movement, so much so that my hips began to ache because they were compensating. The Compositis have been perfect for me, but they do feel a lot different than jointed stirrups IMO.
                          "The horse is bigger than you are, and it should carry you. The quieter you sit, the easier this will be for the horse." William Steinkraus

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I went from the original HS to the plain Royal Riders with cheese graters, and just recently bought the MDC S Flex irons. I love them. They are stiffer than the HS jointed ones, and have the wide footbed that I liked about the Royal Riders. They are heavy and becuse of the S curve they stay at the perfect angle. The tread is grippy but not take the skin off your knuckles like the cheese graters. I feel like my leg is stable, and there is just enough shock absorption for my old, broken ankles, knees and hips.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I just got the Compositi Reflex stirrups for my jumping saddle and they have nearly eradicated my ankle pain. I used to only be able to trot for about 5 minutes before my right ankle would start burning, never mind landing from a jump, and now I can go until my muscles start hurting. I resisted composite stirrups for a long, long time because I like a heavier iron, but these have been a game-changer for me.

                              YMMV, though, because my ankle problems are much worse with any kind of jointed iron. The one time I rode in the HS Bow Balance stirrups I was hurting from about 5 minutes in and that was in a dressage saddle.
                              I love my Econo-Nag!

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                Originally posted by billiebob View Post
                                I just got the Compositi Reflex stirrups for my jumping saddle and they have nearly eradicated my ankle pain. I used to only be able to trot for about 5 minutes before my right ankle would start burning, never mind landing from a jump, and now I can go until my muscles start hurting. I resisted composite stirrups for a long, long time because I like a heavier iron, but these have been a game-changer for me.

                                YMMV, though, because my ankle problems are much worse with any kind of jointed iron. The one time I rode in the HS Bow Balance stirrups I was hurting from about 5 minutes in and that was in a dressage saddle.
                                This is great to hear. The price tag on these is a lot more palatable, too.

                                I also swapped out my nylon-lined leathers for traditional full grain leathers in hopes that they might have a little bit of shock absorption, too.
                                Equestrian and Sporting Oil Paintings
                                www.laurenfanning.com
                                Roxy 2001 APHA, Al Amir 2005 OTTB,
                                Ten Purposes 2009 OTTB

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