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Delfina 06-02-2010 12:01 AM

Stirrup leathers?
Ok, I am short, all of 5'2" and hardly any of that is in my legs. I was given a County Dressage saddle and while it fits me great, the leathers are way too long and I was told they needed to be replaced by the previous owner as they are worn.

So I hopped on down to the local tack shop who had ONE pair of black stirrup leathers, they were 54" and with only 12 holes in them, I was told that there was no way they would go short enough and none of the dozen people there had any idea how I could find ones with more holes.

My instructor has a set on her saddle with 22 holes (midget me uses hole 20) so I know they exist.... any idea on who makes them or where I could find them?

JustDressageIt 06-02-2010 12:12 AM

You can put more holes in, with a leather punch. If you would rather not do that, you can actually get children's leathers (48" is common).
Fairfield Stirrup Leathers - Dover Saddlery.

Nutty Saddler 06-02-2010 01:32 AM

12 holes is normal for a pair of leathers - I do put more in a pair if asked to do so, but this is only for someone who has more than one person using them and they have a difference in height. I normally make a pair to suit the person using them.

Be careful when buying leathers that are ' childrens ' leathers because most of the time they are either thinner leather or less wide (3/4" or 7/8" not 1' - the leathers in the advertised link are only 3/4" wide and really only for children) - again normal because children generally weigh less. If you have a local saddler either ask them to make you a pair or shorten the 54" - this must be done properly by removing the buckle cutting the leather to length and then re-stitching .

If you want I could make you a pair of 1" * 48" and send them to you.

JustDressageIt 06-02-2010 01:44 AM

NS, that's why you're the best - I knew there was something niggling at the back of my mind, but it didn't connect about the difference in thickness.
I do know that our store carries shorter leathers (48") for adults, it's just a matter of finding a supplier.

If you can, though, buy from NS. He'll make exactly what you need, custom :)

Nutty Saddler 06-02-2010 02:05 AM

Thanks JustDressageIt - there is more to making a pair of stirrup leathers than most know, if made properly they aren't just a strip of leather with holes in one end and buckles on the other

Making a pair of Leathers

Firstly the leathers must be cut as a pair, the leather along the backbone will stretch less than that near the belly - if you have a ' pair ' of leathers and one has stretched more than the other then they aren't really a pair .

Hint - look for a number on the leathers ( normally on the point on the underneath ) if the number is there make sure both leathers have the same number - When making leathers the pairs should be numbered when cutting so the pairs stay as pairs.

The leathers should also be made with the best end at the point - this is where the holes are so it needs to be stronger.

Hint - bend the leather - one end will be more ' supple ' than the other , make sure the ' stiffer' end is at the point.

Stirrup leathers should NEVER be machine stitched - machine stitching comes apart rapidly when worn - break one stitch and the rest will follow really quickly - This does not happen when hand stitched - every stitch would have to be cut .

Hint - look for 3 Rows of stitching - the rows will be joined at the underside by the thread twisting and joining the rows of stitching together.

The ' grain ' or ' shiny side ' should be on the underneath - in effect it looks like the leathers have been made the wrong way round. The reason for this is that the grain/shiny side is harder wearing - and this is the part that will wear against the saddle bars and the stirrups themselves.

Remember - sometimes your life may depend on your leathers - check they are made properly. Also check your leathers at least once a week - look for excess wear on the stitching and the holes starting to elongate too much - If the stitching is starting to wear get them re-stitched and if the holes are starting to show excess wear replace them

luvs2ride1979 06-02-2010 09:15 AM

There's a thread on here about "Gary's Leathers." He custom makes stirrup leathers at a reasonable price. You can order a pair in just the length you need with as many holes in them as you want ;-).

I agree, 48" is probably what you need, 1" wide.

maura 06-02-2010 09:52 AM


Thank you for posting this. Even though I'm tall at 5' 7", standard 54" leathers are usually too long for me and I end up punching holes, which I hate. I would love a pair of good quality 48" leathers with riveted ends, but haven't been able to find a pair I like.

Could you let me know the price range?

Nutty Saddler 06-02-2010 11:51 AM

I never rivet my leathers - the rivets weaken the buckle turn and also provide a place where moisture can get into the leather - the rivets also get corroded internally which can be a weak point.

I only hand stitch with three rows of stitching on stirrup leathers.

A pair of 1" wide stirrup leathers are currently $60 USD - I can't say what price they will be in the future as the GBP/USD keeps changing. Added to this there is a real shortage in the leather market at the moment ( I am told the asian market is buying all the raw leather ) so the price of the leather I am buying keeps going up.

Delfina 06-02-2010 03:22 PM

I'm going to PM you Nutty,

I'm hesitant to go with 48" leathers as my trainer is taller than myself and will quite often hop on my horse to assist me. My saddle is already a lil small for her, I'd hate to add in ridiculously short stirrups, so I do want ones with more holes than normal.

Nutty Saddler 06-02-2010 07:10 PM

Delfina -No problem, 54" with extra holes it is then - will wait for your PM

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