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Stirrup Bars up or down?

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  • Stirrup Bars up or down?

    Always kept my stirrup bars down and not locked into place, was told a long time ago that it is better to lose a stirrup than to be dragged
    Learned for myself last night, had a jumping lesson, put weight into my right stirrup and viola! off it came. I flew off flat on my back off my 17.3 hand Holsteiner :0
    Current trainer says the bars should have been up, just curious what everyone else does.....
    Finally in FL, loving the weather but still missing the Green Mountains!!

  • #2
    NO! Bars should never be up. Did you check your leathers before you got on to make sure they were firmly up against the front of the stirrup bar? Also, is the saddle old? The stirrup bars can loosen with age.

    Comment


    • #3
      Devil's advocate here: why is up an option if you shouldn't use it?

      (Disclosure: Neither of my saddles has bars that can flip up. They are all one solid length of metal -- no hinge.)
      Originally posted by tidy rabbit
      Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community.

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        No, not old at all. Didnt check to make sure they were up against the edge though. Saddle is fairly new and in excellent condition.

        Had just cleaned last week so maybe they just plain slipped off.

        Still afraid to flip those bars up :0
        Finally in FL, loving the weather but still missing the Green Mountains!!

        Comment


        • #5
          Bars down, always. I never had a leather slip off, but I did check occasionally to be sure that they were positioned correctly.

          Comment


          • #6
            I was always told to leave them down when I had saddles growing up. Same reason, so the leather will come off and you don't get drug. My saddles now don't even have a lock on them, just the bar with a slight upward curve. We had a girl though that ended up with a new saddle from Crosby for next to nothing when her stirrup bar broke during a jump lesson. The metal just snapped right off, and not a terribly old saddle at all , maybe 6 years.

            Comment


            • #7
              I'm going to be the minority and say that I always flip mine up.

              HOWEVER, the stirrup bars on my saddle are very easy to flip up and down. I can do it with one hand and without a huge amount of force, much less than the pressure my body would create if it was for whatever reason dangling from a stirrup. If I needed considerable force/a tool to flip them up and down, I would leave them down for safety's sake.

              I have had a stirrup IRON break on me before though! I was cantering along in a half seat and the bottom part just snapped right off from the branches. So always check your equipment!
              Proud member of the "I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday" clique

              PONY'TUDE

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by caradino View Post
                I'm going to be the minority and say that I always flip mine up.

                HOWEVER, the stirrup bars on my saddle are very easy to flip up and down. I can do it with one hand and without a huge amount of force, much less than the pressure my body would create if it was for whatever reason dangling from a stirrup. If I needed considerable force/a tool to flip them up and down, I would leave them down for safety's sake.

                I have had a stirrup IRON break on me before though! I was cantering along in a half seat and the bottom part just snapped right off from the branches. So always check your equipment!
                Ditto to this whole post.
                I use similar logic. If the bar can be flipped up & down easily then I put it up. If it is stiff to move the bar I leave it down.
                I have had a stirrup come off. I was trail riding with a junior this summer that had one come off the curved style bar.

                Funny thing is that I, like OP, also had a stirrup break while cantering. The flexi-stirrup had rusted under the rubber boot. It was less than 1 year old.
                Funny thing was I had noticed that day the branch of the stirrup above the boot had a bit of rust. I took a closer look and realized that it was just really light surface rust. It never occurred to me that what was under the boot might rust let alone be that much more rusty than the visible part.

                I too figure why have a lever that can flip up it you aren't supposed to flip it up.
                Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community. (Tidy Rabbit)

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by caradino View Post

                  I have had a stirrup IRON break on me before though! I was cantering along in a half seat and the bottom part just snapped right off from the branches. So always check your equipment!
                  Had this happen to me too! In the middle of a show during one of my best trips ever, right before the last jump. I was not happy. lol

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I didn't used to do it on my daughters saddle, until a few weeks ago when I took her saddle off after her lesson and saw that the stirrup leather was almsot off the bar! don't know how it happened, but she's only 8 and just started jumping so I don't even want to think of what would have happened if it fell off during the lesson. Now hers are also very easily to push up and down, otherwise, I would leave it.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I really don't understand why anyone would take a chance with the bars up unless you were doing something where there was a very high likelyhood of jarring the stirrups loose where you wouldn't be able to stop and fix it (maybe hunting or xc but I'd almost rather lose the stirrup anyways than risk the drag).

                      To me riding with the bar up is like not wearing your seatbelt. Yes there are accidents where seatbelts do more harm than good but the overwhelming majority of the time, you're better off having had one on.

                      Having the bars up won't help you if the leather or stirrup itself breaks. The only thing it can prevent is the stirrup leather slipping off, which can also be prevented in almost all cases by checking it before you get on and after any really awkward moment.

                      If you fall off and your foot gets stuck, you want that leather to release as soon as possible. Every second delay could have disasterous consequences.

                      If you're good enough to jump a course, you should be good enough to have a pretty decent shot of hanging on if one of your stirrups falls off. On the other hand, it oesn't matter how well you ride, I don't like your chances if you're foot is stuck in the stirrup as you're coming off your horse.


                      Hopefully everyone riding with the bar up is riding in safety stirrups so you're not relying on that bar being hit at the proper angle to come down then have the leather slide off.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        The bar up is traditional for traveling. Stirrups can slip off on some saddles when when the horse is not wearing the saddle and pressing the flaps up against the bars, especially when they are well used. In fact, I actually have an old one that they can slip off very easily when not in actual use. Little annoying but still very secure when in use- and yes, I always flip them back down to ride in it.
                        Shop online at
                        www.KoperEquine.com
                        http://sweetolivefarm.com/services.php

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          WWPCS?

                          (What Would Pony Club Say?)

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            What vbunny says...DOWN while riding. Up if you are shipping or transporting the saddle and don't want the stirrup leathers to slide off and get lost.

                            Losing a stirrup is not that big of a disaster...annoying, possibly messing up a round, but not deadly. Getting your foot caught and being dragged? Disaster.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              BHM, I'm curious -- what kind of saddle is it? Back when I was saddle shopping a couple of years ago, one of the owners of the local tack store told me that owners of some newer Pessoas were having problems with stirrups flying off the bars during use ...

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Down, always. I have never had a stirrup and leather come off when I didn't want it to, but I HAVE had them come off during a fall thanks to the bar being down.
                                Flickr

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Part of getting ready to ride is checking your equipment. If your saddle does not have safety bars, then you should check that your stirrup leather is properly positioned and in no danger of slipping off during regular work. If you have safety bars, you should know the status of the hinge, ie. whether it can release the way it was designed to, or if it is too stiff to open easily and needs oiling.

                                  Every so often I would check my stirrup bars by swiftly yanking them towards the rear. Mine always released easily so I always rode with them up.
                                  ~Kryswyn~ Always look on the bright side of life, de doo, de doo de doo de doo
                                  Check out my Kryswyn JRTs on Facebook

                                  "Life is merrier with a terrier!"

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    In the year 1957, I was dragged.

                                    Fare enough that I had time to think I was a dead man.

                                    Ever since that day I not only insist that my bars be down, but that I ride ONLY in proper shoes, boots, etc.

                                    Some saddles have the bars places so close to the flap, skirt or whatever, that the leathers are hard to slide off even with the bars down.

                                    I would never ever ride in one like that.

                                    If your leathers are coming off the bars, no matter how easy they are to slip off, you are not using your legs properly., jumping on your knees with your feet behind the vertical or something similar.

                                    I can tell you that getting dragged is something you do not want. I can close my eyes and see the horse shoes, nails and all, going past my face.

                                    54 years ago.

                                    CSSJR

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Kryswyn View Post
                                      Part of getting ready to ride is checking your equipment. If your saddle does not have safety bars, then you should check that your stirrup leather is properly positioned and in no danger of slipping off during regular work. If you have safety bars, you should know the status of the hinge, ie. whether it can release the way it was designed to, or if it is too stiff to open easily and needs oiling.

                                      Every so often I would check my stirrup bars by swiftly yanking them towards the rear. Mine always released easily so I always rode with them up.
                                      Remember that when you test, you are pulling the leather back toward th.rear.

                                      When you fall, only part of your weight is to the rear. Most of your weight is in a downward direction.

                                      So even though it is easy to push your clips down when testing, the force is not all in the same direction when you fall, so your test might not be a true picture of what will happen in a fall.

                                      CSSJR

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Bars always down. I'd rather take a digger from losing a stirrup then be dragged... All school saddles bars are always always required to be down here. Checking to make sure they are where they should be before getting on is just part of the pre-ride tack check. The bars up position is only for transport.

                                        And This...

                                        Originally posted by cssutton View Post
                                        If your leathers are coming off the bars, no matter how easy they are to slip off, you are not using your legs properly., jumping on your knees with your feet behind the vertical or something similar.

                                        Just this summer, one of my students who has her horse at home, came to me telling me she fell off a couple times because her stirrups were falling off the saddle over fences. She was convinced that the saddle had something wrong with it. She then got on one of our schoolies and I had her hop over some fences, and surprise surprise, a different saddle thats used in our program everyday, but yet the stirrups came right off over the first fence. She developed herself a habit jumping ahead off her stirrups so badly that she was pulling them right off, while trying to jump for her horse (the lazy minimal effort type of horse). We fixed the legs back where they should be and stopped the jumping ahead, and the stirrups stay on the saddles as they should.

                                        Comment

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