Stirrup irons: what's the difference? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 12-24-2012, 06:55 AM Thread Starter
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Stirrup irons: what's the difference?

May be a dumb question, but... What is the difference between cheap stirrups vs expensive ones? Better grip?

Say, Fillis Style Stirrup Irons | Dover Saddlery vs Stubben Fillis Stirrup Irons | Dover Saddlery vs OnTyte Magnetic Stirrup Iron Stainless Steel Fillis Stirrup | Dover Saddlery

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post #2 of 17 Old 12-24-2012, 07:21 AM
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the first two not much, I imagine the cheaper one is chineses, course the more expensive one may be as well, with just a European name.
The last one has a magnet, and evidently a steel plate to put in your boot to make it stick. SOunds like a gimick to me.
I just wish I could find some deeper ones that were 5". I found some cheese grater style that were advertised as 5" got them and barely 4.75" wide.
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post #3 of 17 Old 12-24-2012, 10:32 AM
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You might get a little more polish in a more expensive stirrup, but I suspect you are mostly paying for name. Some expensive stirrups have features that may be worth paying for, depending on the person. I wouldn't want to use magnets to hold the stirrup to my feet, but someone doing a sport may be willing to pay for that little bit of extra security. Stirrups with hinges or springs do nothing for me, but may help someone else.

With western stirrups, I think you can get a lot more out of a more expensive stirrup. If a stirrup is made of wood, then the quality and drying process used is pretty important, or the leather wrapping may be higher quality. The stirrups on my Circle Y are much higher quality than the cheap western ones I used to use on my Aussie saddle. And a stirrup like this:

EZ Ride Leather Caged Stirrups

May work better for some folks, and I can see how quality may vary with price.

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post #4 of 17 Old 12-24-2012, 10:37 AM
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Val, I've ridden in Sprenger, Metalab, FES, and generic Dover and StateLine stirrups. They all felt pretty much the same, quality wise. I use jointed irons because they help with my hip, back, ankle, and knee pain from all the riding abuse I've taken over the years, and I honestly can't tell that one is 'better' than any other. The only real difference are the prices.

As far as the magnetic stirrup systems, I'd steer clear. I saw a professional rider fall while using them, and although his foot was supposed to easily come out of the stirrup, he got hung up on the horse because of the magnets. Not something I'd willingly use.
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post #5 of 17 Old 12-24-2012, 11:02 AM
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The Stubben irons are supposed to be more rust-resistant than some of the cheaper stainless irons. That's probably more important to eventers and people who live in damp climates.
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post #6 of 17 Old 12-24-2012, 01:50 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Speed Racer View Post
Val, I've ridden in Sprenger, Metalab, FES, and generic Dover and StateLine stirrups. They all felt pretty much the same, quality wise. I use jointed irons because they help with my hip, back, ankle, and knee pain from all the riding abuse I've taken over the years, and I honestly can't tell that one is 'better' than any other. The only real difference are the prices.
Thanks, Susan! I was just wondering if it makes sense to put more money into new ones or just keep replacing the pads on my old cheap ones (and they still look like new, no rust or anything).

Yeah, magnetic sounds like a gimmick, I was just curious as I've never seen anyone using one around here.

All, thank you for opinions! And Merry Christmas to everyone! :)

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post #7 of 17 Old 12-24-2012, 02:47 PM
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the jointed stirrups do feel a bit better.
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post #8 of 17 Old 12-24-2012, 09:19 PM
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For plain old fillis style, there's some chance that it might be better balanced or made with better steel, but most people probably wouldn't notice a difference. And you could buy 2 pairs of the cheaper pair (one for show, one for schooling) for the price of the brand name ones. The only reason I see to pay more for stirrups is for either comfort (i.e. Jointed or angled stirrups), safety, or a big difference in style.

Of course, even safety stirrups vary wildly in price. I recently got these for my cheapie saddle: EquiRoyal Safety Stirrup - 4 1/2" But for my nicer saddle I sprang for Kwik-Outs

These stirrups would have to clean my horse's stall for me at that price: Herm Sprenger Bow Balance Stirrup - Stirrup Irons from SmartPak Equine
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post #9 of 17 Old 12-25-2012, 06:09 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by verona1016 View Post
These stirrups would have to clean my horse's stall for me at that price: Herm Sprenger Bow Balance Stirrup - Stirrup Irons from SmartPak Equine

"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass: it's about learning to dance in the rain..."

"When we are no longer able to change a situation - we are challenged to change ourselves."

"How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours."
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post #10 of 17 Old 12-25-2012, 11:24 AM
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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!
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Last edited by maura; 12-25-2012 at 11:26 AM.
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