Of course. I have no desire to tell anyone how they should ride.
I do a number of atypical things, based on my reading, thinking, and what seems to work for me.
I've fallen from a horse twice, both when Mia bolted in mid-dismount. The second time went too fast for me to know what happened. My daughter-in-law says Mia exploded and tried to clear an invisible 3' fence while I was part way thru the dismount. I hit the ground and sprained my arm, but that was it.
The first started with a bolt, and the stirrup was on the ball of my foot or slightly forward at the start. Mia had gone beside a field with large, jagged rocks, and I got her stopped at a fence. However, I had the sense she was about to bolt up the hill and thru the rocks, and I thought a fall there might kill me, so I tried to dismount. As always, I slid my left foot back so just my toe was in the stirrup.
As my right leg went over her rump, she half-reared, spun 180, and leaped forward. She then went thru the rock field twice, spinning and doing a 360 part way thru - so maybe getting off WAS the right thing.
Based on where I hit & her tracks, I must have stayed with her thru the 180 & been thrown when she made her leap. And based on the toe of my boot and the bruises on my toes, my foot must have fallen into the stirrup up to the heel. I also must have twisted slightly in the stirrup.
My point is that during violent maneuvers with a horse, the foot may not remain in the original position. I believe very strongly in wearing boots with a heel. My daughter gets to obey MY rules for safety. I will not get in the saddle without boots. Others can do what they want, just not on my horses or my property. I've met people who ride in sneakers or barefoot - and as long as they aren't on my horses, that is their business...although I might ask them why they do it.
Also, one of the reasons I ride in the home position is that when I did not, I tended to respond to the 'I'm losing my stirrup feeling' by pointing my toe down, which set me up for all sorts of bad things. When my feet are homed, I can ride light in the stirrups and still feel confident.
I have also looked hard to find some evidence that this practice increases the chances of getting one's foot caught, but I haven't found any. George Morris mentions that it is wrong for jumping, but gives the reason that you lose the use of the ankle for absorbing shock. I don't jump.
If anyone has any evidence that it is dangerous, then I'm seriously interested. I think the size of the stirrup & the use of good boots is the best best for safety. However, with my Australian saddle, I just got a pair of these:
But since I haven't tried them yet, I don't know what to think.
If anyone needs security AND safety in their saddle, it is cross country riders.
And there is hardly a more knowledgeable person re xc riding than Jimmy Wofford.
Maybe I should look at what he thinks regarding how to use stirrups
Build a Solid Foundation Because your stirrups are your ground, let's start there: Once you have adjusted your stirrup leathers for jumping, put your foot in the stirrup. Don't jam it into the stirrup; place it there very carefully and purposefully. Put the ball of your foot on the tread of the stirrup.
I didn't realize the stirrups in the link were over $300. When the time comes I'll look at something a little cheaper like the other links posted. But honestly, a fall will cost me way more than $300 in medical bills and I have decent health insurance. Still, the copays alone will cost more. So I'll find other ways to pinch a penny than safety.
I hope that doesn't offend anyone. I don't mean it to. I'm a 40 year old, nervous rider. If I was experienced that would be different.
You could also ride aussi, the leathers come off if you get dragged
Are all aussie saddles like that? That would be a cool feature to have.
Honestly, I'd love to be able to jam my foot into the stirrup. It feels better to me. I feel more balanced. As it is now, I'll lose the stirrup every single time I even start to canter.
But still, I ride on the ball of my foot because it's been ingrained into me that the home position is dangerous should I fall off. If I could have a break away western stirrup, I could at least get a foot a little deeper into the stirrup until I'm a better rider.
I ride with all trail riders and I noticed that everyone starts to develop their own style. Most of the guys do ride with their feet in the home position. But they are also pretty good riders who probably know how to not get stuck. Me, I'd be dragged for sure. Lol
It's a false sense of security. Develop your seat instead.
As some one who has ridden more than a year or two, has a very well developed seat, and has done a large variety of riding in many types of situations and terrain, I find that I will sometimes adjust my foot slightly depending on terrain, riding discipline, or saddle type.
Then again, I have very small feet so having my foot placed home in a stirrup looks about the same as on the ball of my foot.
I've always been taught that it's better to have the stirrup right where the little line for most paddock boots is placed, which I think is also right where the ball of the foot is or close.
I'm very picky about my foot position. If it's off it just bothers me to no end and I either tend to start working with my stirrups instead of my legs or lose my stirrups constantly.
Though I'm not sure if putting your foot "home" is dangerous. I've seen plenty of people fall before, and I've never seen one dragged. A few of them had their stirrups right up against the heel on their boots, too. So I'm guessing it really depends on your circumstances and the way you fall.
Use some stirrups like this and be done with it. You can get them with cages if you like, I never felt the need. They are bigger side to side as will as front to back. Unless you got big feet you can be on the balls of your feet and home at the same time.
If anyone needs security AND safety in their saddle, it is cross country riders...
There is a specific, non-safety reason for wanting a free ankle when jumping. However, steeplechase riders also have a pretty good reason to want security & safety, and they typically ride with their feet home in the stirrup.
Originally Posted by mildot
It's a false sense of security. Develop your seat instead.
Wanting to keep the stirrups on your feet isn't looking for a false sense of security. We use stirrups because they are helpful, and they are only helpful when on our feet.
The first time I cantered, it was on a horse that hadn't cantered in a year. It also turns out, compared to my other two horses, that his canter is very rough. With time, my cantering has improved and my legs don't flop around - at least, not as much.
I first used the home position when I was trying to ride with a longer leg, and I didn't want to push down with my toe to try to keep the stirrup. The home position allowed me to do that. With time, the stirrup has migrated forward on my foot, and I now ride with the ball of my foot at the front of the stirrup rather than at the rear. That is where it feels best to me, now.
I raised the point after you posted:
Originally Posted by mildot
I'm going to fundamentally disagree.
While both equipment "solutions" will reduce the chance of getting hung up, the best solution is to train yourself to NEVER place your foot in the stirrup past the ball of the foot. That's even more important with western saddles, where the stirrups are attached to relatively inflexible (compared to english stirrup leathers) fenders.
None of my boots have a heel taller than an inch. But they never go in the irons any farther than the ball of the foot.
I have yet to find any evidence that the home position results in a higher probability of your foot getting caught. And with the wider tread of many western stirrups, that is even more true - not less. The stirrups on my western saddle are quite wide, and go from just in front of my heel to the base of my toes.
My boots have taller heels - about 1.5 inches. If I fall off a horse, it is a safe bet that something unusual happened first. If a horse is bucking, or spinning around, then counting on maintaining a certain stirrup position for safety is more risk than I want. I've never ridden with a set of tapaderos, but only because I haven't seen any that I liked.
I spent a few years working operational test of military equipment. We always preferred to have safety engineered in rather than rely on procedures. If there is only one way to attach a connector, then it will never be connected backwards.
I'm not arguing for anyone to start riding with their feet homed. I did it for a while, and still ride with my feet farther forward than many, but I'm hardly a shining example for others to follow. However, it is also obvious to me that a lot of what is written about riding involves repeating what someone was taught, rather than experimenting with different stuff & styles. The best rationale I know of for NOT riding in the home position is that it robs you of the use of your ankle, and sometimes having that extra joint available to flex is good.
It looks to be dry enough today that I may get a chance to try out the $32 safety stirrups I ordered a few weeks ago. I've no idea if they will help me, or be a nuisance. However, I do believe in using equipment that improves my odds. If these help me, I'll keep them. If not, they will go into my growing box of 'tack I didn't like'...
That design looks decent. I find that english type irons bigger than 4.75" are rarer than hens teeth. Like most things non western, almost everthing is designed around women. I had some carbon fiber trail stirrups I liked but they were only 4.75 wide, and my foot did hang in them occasionally. I switched to the wide endurance padded type and so far so good.