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What are stirrups? (and 6 types of stirrups)

What are stirrups? Exploring the essential Equestrian gear: Stirrups

The intricate world of horse tack and equipment is wide and fascinating. One piece of gear that has captured many equestrians’ attention is the humble stirrup. Stirrups play a pivotal role in horse riding, offering balance, stability, and control to riders. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the world of stirrups from the perspective of Jeffers, and explore how they are an integral part of horse tack for both Western and English riding styles.

Stirrups: The Unsung Heroes of Horse Riding

Stirrups are an indispensable part of horse tack, offering a secure platform for a rider’s feet. Whether you’re riding Western-style or English-style, the importance of stirrups cannot be understated. Let’s take a closer look at how they enhance the riding experience.

Western and English Riding Styles

The choice between Western and English riding styles dictates the type of stirrups used. Western stirrups, such as those available at Jeffers (as mentioned in Jeffers Pet – How to Tack Up a Horse: Western Edition), tend to be larger and more substantial, providing a broader base for the rider’s foot. This design promotes comfort and stability during long rides and allows the rider to distribute their weight evenly.

On the other hand, English riding stirrups (as featured in Jeffers Pet – How to Tack Up a Horse: English Style) are smaller and lighter, emphasizing a close contact between the rider’s leg and the horse. This design offers greater flexibility for the rider’s leg movement, which is crucial for activities like jumping or dressage.

Different Types of Stirrups

In addition to the Western and English styles, there are various types of stirrups, each designed to cater to specific riding disciplines and individual preferences. Let’s explore some of the most popular types:

  1. Traditional Wooden Stirrups: These are classic stirrups made of wood, often associated with Western riding. They provide a traditional and rustic look.
  2. Oxbow Stirrups: Oxbow stirrups have a distinctive curved shape that cradles the rider’s foot. This design provides added security and comfort, making them popular among Western riders.
  3. Aluminum Stirrups: Lightweight and durable, aluminum stirrups are favored by many English riders and Barrel racers. They come in various designs, including the popular “fillis” stirrup, which offers a sleek, traditional appearance.
  4. Composite Stirrups: These are modern stirrups made from materials like plastic or composite materials. They are often used in endurance riding due to their lightweight and shock-absorbing properties.
  5. Safety Stirrups: Safety stirrups are designed with mechanisms that allow the rider’s foot to easily release in case of a fall. These stirrups prioritize rider safety, making them ideal for beginners and those concerned about falling off.
  6. Offset Stirrups: These stirrups are designed to relieve pressure on the rider’s knees and hips. They are popular among riders who suffer from joint pain or discomfort.


Stirrups are often overlooked, but they are a vital component of horse tack. Whether you prefer the Western or English riding style, the right stirrups can significantly impact your riding experience. Jeffers, a trusted name in equestrian gear, offers a wide range of horse tack options to cater to the diverse needs of riders, including the different types of stirrups mentioned above. Shop a wide range of Western horse tack and English horse tack at Jeffers.

By understanding the importance of stirrups and choosing the right ones for your riding style, you can ensure a safer, more comfortable, and more enjoyable experience in the saddle. So, don’t underestimate the significance of stirrups in your equestrian journey!