Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Short-Legged Stirrup Problem

I am short. I am 5 foot nothing tall. My inseam is (at most) 27". And for some reason, I keep riding chunky, wide horses, instead of the slab-sided ponies I should be on based on my conformation.

A couple of years ago I came upon this article by Wendy Murdoch. What she wrote kind of made sense to me.

I am short from hip to knee. And tight in my right hip. I have never been able to ride in long stirrups (my hunter/jumper background probably has something to do with it also). On my chunky horses, my knee doesn't come down very far on their sides.
My stirrups felt so much longer than the picture proved them to be.

I have definitely seen many pictures where my feet are not level in my stirrups, and my big toe sits much lower than the outside of my foot. What Wendy described is exactly what happens to me.

So I built a set of shims for my stirrups, using cardboard, duct tape and vetrap. And here is the difference.

How did it ride, you ask? On my initial ride, I didn't feel too much of a difference at a trot, but definitely felt better at a canter.  It felt just as was written in the article - like I had a balanced base underneath me. It doesn't seem to help in 2-point though - I have a really hard time keeping my foot in the right spot when I try and canter around a corner. It might have to do with the amount of pressure in the stirrup needed in 2-point versus in a full seat. 

So I have continued to use a wedge pad in my stirrups. I did upgrade to proper rubber treads. They weren't easy to find. So hard to find, I couldn't find a picture online to put on this post.

And now I have a dilemma.

I will need to use safety stirrups on my new treeless saddle that should arrive around Christmas. And I am having a hard time finding a set of stirrups that I can use the wedge pad in. 

I know that I don't want peacock stirrups. I've always hated how the elastic would ping off as I was getting on the horse. So that may only leave the curved side stirrups as my only option.
Style 1

Or style 2?

For jumping work, I might use my beloved MDC Super Sport stirrups, and just add cages to the toes. I hate the way that cages look, but pretty sure I would hate the damage done to me should I get hung up in a stirrup even more.


  1. Interesting information for those of use who are short.

    1. The theory behind it made sense to me. So I thought it was worth a try!