Dressage saddle stirrup length? - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 11 Old 08-25-2010, 11:32 PM Thread Starter
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Dressage saddle stirrup length?

So... I finally got a dressage saddle, which seem to fit my girls (ended up trying a lot + local saddle fitter opinion, what a frustrating search!). I never rode in dressage saddle before (I used A/P and jumping). What should be the length of the stirrup?

I posted couple pics, but I must confess the stirrup feels too long. May be because I'm not used to it. Would love to hear the opinions if it's OK length or I have to shorten them (BTW, feel free to throw critique of the position/legs/hands as well).

Yes, I take lessons with dressage trainer as well and would just ask her, but due to some personal unexpected circumstances I'm not sure when will be my next lesson (I REALLY hope it'll be very soon though!).
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post #2 of 11 Old 08-26-2010, 12:18 AM
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To me they look a bit to long because when you post you have to go on your tippy toes. I would shorten them 1 or maybe even 2 holes. I like my stirrups to feel like my heels are down, and if I had to I can go over a jump (not jumping length, just the feeling that I wouldnt be stuck in the saddle if my horse went over a log or something)

I think your position is quite good, just make sure your thumbs are on top of your hands, not at a tilt, I know, it feels pretty to keep them at a slant.... (or maybe that's just me... lol) but it doesnt look good at all compared to thumbs on top! :)
And keep your hands closed ;) I had that problem too, but trust me, its nicer for the horse to have hands that are closed instead of just open.

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post #3 of 11 Old 08-26-2010, 01:13 AM
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The tread of your irons should bang against your angle bone when you 'drop' your leg.
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post #4 of 11 Old 08-26-2010, 02:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Kayty View Post
The tread of your irons should bang against your angle bone when you 'drop' your leg.
This is a good way to find the "ball park" of where your stirrups should be... but it isn't the be all end all. Each rider is different. What we often don't take into account is the differences in proportion from person to person. Some people have relatively long thighs, others have relatively short calves and so on. Even going from saddle to saddle or horse to horse can cause you to change the stirrups one way or another.

Kitten_Val, your stirrups do look a bit too long. I would go up one or two holes from there as previously suggested and see how it feels.
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post #5 of 11 Old 08-26-2010, 02:29 AM
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Yes, but having the stirrup at that length gives the rider the most appropriate angle of the upper and lower leg. Some ride shorter or longer often due to balance or inexperience.

Stirrup Length
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post #6 of 11 Old 08-26-2010, 07:52 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you, All, for help and comments!

I felt something is not quite right because when I post (even very low) the heels go up because I have too long of leg (and it's not a case in A/P saddle).

Ridergirl23, I try to keep the thumb on top and pay my attention to it (actually it was completely wrong month or so back till Kayty mentioned I keep the reins wrong). The problem is I can't keep the hand with WHIP quite parallel. I'm working on it though. Thanks for mentioning that!
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post #7 of 11 Old 08-26-2010, 11:20 AM
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Originally Posted by kitten_Val View Post

Ridergirl23, I try to keep the thumb on top and pay my attention to it (actually it was completely wrong month or so back till Kayty mentioned I keep the reins wrong). The problem is I can't keep the hand with WHIP quite parallel. I'm working on it though. Thanks for mentioning that!
haha yes, I had some trouble with that a while ago, heck, I still do, lol. So I just finally decided to hold my whip in front of my leg, it might not be what your supposed to do, but it works for me!

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post #8 of 11 Old 09-01-2010, 09:52 AM
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Shorten, as suggested above, 1 - 2 holes. Once you start sitting the trot you can lower the stirrup length as you leg will lengthen and your heels no longer come up.

What is happening now is stirrups are too long for you, causing heels tom come up and you to post on your toes, causing more gripping with your thigh. Better to shorten the leathers and later, as your leg lengthens as you become a better rider, lengthen them again.

Keeping them too long for your current riding ability will introduce more BAD habits than good.

Dressage is for Trainers!
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post #9 of 11 Old 09-01-2010, 12:02 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Valentina View Post
Keeping them too long for your current riding ability will introduce more BAD habits than good.
Lol! Actually I did put them up one hole after getting responses in this thread. Feels MUCH more comfortable and let me keep heels down.
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post #10 of 11 Old 09-10-2010, 02:44 AM
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Kitten-Val (intrigueing name, BTW)

I would do two holes, were it me. Most dressage riders ride with their stirrups so long that they are fishing with their toes for them and the stirrup no longer can be used as an aid; to absorb some of the weight of the rider and for the rider to weight more one stirrup over the other, when bending or doing lateral movements.You will be better able to keep you leg under you, too.

May I respectfuly suggest you breathe. You look like you're holding your breather and tensing your shoulders up into your neck. Heck, sometimes I think I might faint from forgetting to breathe!
Breathing will help you to relax and drop your shoulders down. Let your upper arms hang down around your ribcage. Even think of actually dropping your elbow downward toward the top of your hips.
Eventually , you will start taking up a more meaningful contact with your horse and bringing his energy more upward rather than letting it all fall out the front end. In the photos he is totally "unstrung" but that is proably appropriate for where you are.
I only ride Training level, so I can only give modest advice up to that level.
I have really enjoyed many of your other posts.

Last edited by tinyliny; 09-10-2010 at 02:46 AM. Reason: mispelling
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