I am relatively new to riding Western and would like to know how to determine the best length for Western stirrups. I have ridden English most of my life and realize that in Western riding it is typical to ride with a longer leg than what I am used to. Does anyone have any tips that will help me? Thanks!
I think I've heard some formula for proper length, but ignored it. I just put em where I'm comfortable with em. and that usually ends up way out at the end of the adjustment range because I aint short. If they're too short I fatague too fast, (specially when posting the trot) too long and I can't properly use the spring in my ankles and bend of knees to adsorb shock.
I went to a clinic conducted by Lynn Palm and after years of riding with my stirrups too long, she explained you must have some contact and bend in your knee to transition properly. You must have heels down and stretch those calf muscles. The line must be there from your shoulder down through your waist and reconnect at your heel. You must ride from the seat no pressure in the stirrups, but a bend is a must, but not too much.
you do not want your stirrups too long becuz all your balance is in your legs....you should be able to stand up in the stirrups and clear your crotch off the saddle about an inch...that is about the most confortable, yet balanced way.
Thanks so much for all of your input. It looks like I will be putting more holes in the stirrup leathers. I bought a set of those stirrup turners, and of course they add length, so an adjustment is a must.
Thanks again to those that responded!
If you ride several horses and change saddle s alot, quick way to judge is to pull the stirrup straight from the saddle while it is on the horse. Put stirrup under your arm, stretch your arm up the fender and where your wrist starts should be at the spot it connects with the seat.
When I was showing western equitation, the basic rule was to make a fist, pull the stirrup under your arm and into your armpit. The stirrup is close to the right length if your fist reaches the side of the seat.
When you are in the saddle, the stirrup should bump your heel.
These lengths are for equitation though, and I found the stirrup length to be a little long for some purposes. Although, it does give you a nice position in the saddle and lots of leg for yields and pressure points.
I may not be the best to give advice on this subject...but I say whatever is comfortable! IF you're only trail riding. I have a SSH that is over 16 hands, and I have duck legs! So I keep my stirrups really long to make mounting easier. I figure as long as I can stand in them , I'm o.k. I do know that if you keep them short it wears out your knees and ankles really quick!!! I think the actual "etiquete (sp) calls for a "slight bend in the knee and able to fit your hand sideways between you and the saddle when standing in the stirrups". Hope this helps!
Weatern riding is totally different. Mostly it is more realaxed. The rule is when you are in the saddle and stand it should be 3" between your crouch and the saddle. That is a guide if riding on the trail for hours you may want to lengthen your stirrup some. As long as you have some bend in the knee you should be fine. Main rule be comfortable.
i feel comfortable with, if you can stand up just enought to get off the saddle but still have the knee just bent to feel that i could brace myself. but if it is to high your knee and lower leg will go numb. just lower down one it will feel much better.