I somewhat agree with the stirrup/footrest idea, but not completely. When I ride with stirrups, I use them to help me sink my heel waay down. Though I do not depend on them, they do help me jam the weight into my heel nice and low. However, once my heel is down, the ball of my foot rests at a firm and constant pressure, enabling me to use my leg and seat to their full extent while also teaching me to keep my weight down. Thus, the stirrups serve as much more than a foot rest.
What I do believe to be true is that stirrups should not be used as a crutch. Though I think that a good amount of weight should be put into them, the weight should be applied solely through the heel and not the ball of the foot. The point of keeping the heel down is to form a secure base that will absorb the horse's motion; however the knee, ankle, leg and seat should be kept loose so that they can move with the motion and give the nescessary aids.
BUT, it is still always good to do lots of no-stirrup work. There is a difference between relying on the stirrups and using them as an aid to lower your weight, and you do not want to fall into bad habits. So in theory, if you are correctly using your legs and seat, it should be just as easy to ride with as without stirrups. Balance comes from the seat, and stirrups are simply a 'teacher' that should make it easier to use your seat, if used correctly. Don't take advantage of them.
-----In riding horses, we borrow freedom-----
Last edited by emeraldstar642; 08-24-2011 at 08:04 PM.