Alright, this is mostly for AQHA competitors, not so much USEF competitors (sorry!)
So, over the past few years I've seen black stirrup irons become more and more popular. I was thinking about getting them until I read an article in the AQHA Journal on the AQHA World Show. It was asking one of the judges about the Amateur Equitation Over Fences winner for 2009. The judge (I believe it to be Gary Duffy? I'm not sure...) said that he did not like th black stirrups because they hid your heel, and he'd prefer to see regular silver stirrups because they show your heel more, which is part of your equitation. I showed to him last weekend and got 1st in the equitation under him. I have these kind of stirrups:
Dover Saddlery | Horse-S Jointed Stirrup Irons.
(it relieves the pressure off of my knees, I cannot ride in regular fillis stirrups even though I wish I could..)
What are your opinions on this? I was thinking about getting them, but if it honestly doesn't make a huge difference, I'll save myself the 200$+ and keep my stirrup irons.
Shadbellies? I LOVE the look. You see it all the time at the major AQHA shows like the Congress and the World show. I have never made it to the finals of the AQHYA show, but this will be my 3rd year. Do you think I should get one? I'm becoming a hunter fanatic and just love all the hunter traditions.
Thank you for your opinions!