Stirrup choice and use within horse rider falls

J. M. Williams, David Marlin

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


Stirrups aid riders to stabilise their lower leg facilitating effective communication to the horse and maintaining rider position in the saddle, promoting horse and rider safety and performance. Stirrup use during rider falls was evaluated using an online survey distributed via equestrian social media sites; frequency analysis identified 74.0% (n=1,462) of respondents used conventional leather stirrup leathers, however few riders could identify the stirrup type used. Standard guidance suggests riders should have a minimum of 12.7 mm space on each side of the foot in the stirrup. At the time of their last fall, only 17.0% (n=336) of riders recalled having >10 mm clearance. Few respondents (~5%; n=99) recalled experiencing issues with their foot releasing from the stirrup when their fall occurred. For most riders (87.7%; n=1,733), the stirrup leathers remained attached to the saddle when they fell. Both leathers detached in 0.3% (n=6) of falls and one detached in 3.1% (n=62) falls. 56.3% (n=1,114) of riders reported their stirrup bar was in a flat position, 5.8% (n=115) had the stirrup bar raised, 14.7% (n=291) used non-conventional stirrups, negating the function of the stirrup bar, and 23.1% (n=421) couldn’t remember how their stirrup bar was positioned when they last fell. Less than 5% of riders changed their stirrup type after their fall, these riders mostly converted to using a safety stirrup or a popular named brand, recommended as increasing grip and security. Understanding risk factors associated with common riding practices and tack is essential to safeguard horse and rider safety.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022
Event11th International Conference on Equine Exercise Physiology - Uppsala, Sweden
Duration: 26 Jun 20221 Jul 2022


Conference11th International Conference on Equine Exercise Physiology
Abbreviated titleICEEP2022


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