Kitten, if you like your current stirrups, just keep replacing the pads, that's what I did for years. The difference between the generic Dover irons and the more expensive Stubben irons is the weight and the quality of the metal. In general, you want the stirrup to be heavy and correctly balanced so it hangs straight down from the leather. However, if you're happy with your current ones, no need to upgrade.
Verona, as far as the Herm Sprenger irons, yes, they're outrageously expensive. I have the earlier version, about $200. 8 - 10 years ago, and they were worth every penny. I think any rider over 40 would probably appreciate them, and I wish they had been around when I was still getting on 5 - 6 horses a day.
Since I have an ankle held together with screws, wire, and bone grafts and a total knee replacement they're pretty essential to my being able to ride long distances comfortably and be able to walk the next day.
So don't sneer at them, you may want them yourself one day. IN the meantime, remember my motto - be good to your knees, you'll miss them when they're gone!
Last edited by maura; 12-25-2012 at 11:26 AM.