Itís every riderís nightmare, at least it's one of my fears.
One of my readers sent in a very scary story about how she got hung up in her stirrups while riding.
Based on her incident and our riding experience both on the trail and as registered riding instructors we put together this piece that discusses some of the whyís behind how your foot can get caught; what to look for in footwear to prevent the problem; and a look at different stirrup styles.
What do you do to prevent a hang up? I like tapaderos since Iím partial to lace up boots.
I have had it happen once. Luckily my horse imediately stopped and looked at me, as if to ask, "Why are you down there ? My australian saddle is designed so the stirrup leather comes off in that situation. I'll take their word for it as I have no desire to test it.
I think we should include training our horses to several cues for a halt--the weight, the reins and the verbal--and to ground tie.
Also, we should be schooling our horses without stirrups so that they feel your weight and the stirrups hitting their sides without incident. I like to lunge with a saddle, preferably English, since the stirrups will bang much more than Western stirrups do.
I've had enough really well trained horses and NONE of them ever did what the picture on the original post is doing. Even "Corporal", who parted ways with me when a 5yo--we were delivering a message to the Colonel, riding towards a cannon which he didn't like, we went left, we went right, we went left again, I went left and he went right--He stopped and waited for me to remount. Then again, I've been thrown by several horses who couldn't tolerate anything on their sides, YOUR legs, stirrups, and rope--you NAME it, it bothered them.
This is the PERFECT time for this post. I don't have an indoor arena, so I train and retrain (review, really) basics with my horses this time of year. This is the best time to reinforce your authority over the little things that your horse hasn't really mastered, so that by next Spring, everything will be smoother.
The lady who broke Lilly for us spent some time teaching her that a very badly balanced weight in the saddle meant stop and wait for help. That would be a good thing for a horse to think!
Right now, she is working with my spooky mare Mia. They have had a number of lessons now trying to get Mia to understand that a rope that smacks her legs or even gets tangled in them means stop. She isn't there yet, but is making progress. In Mia's case, it is working with her to get over what seems to be one of her worst fears, but it would sure help if someone did get caught in the stirrup.
When I started riding, I wore those athletic riding shoes, in the theory that the stores SAY they are OK for riding. I still have a pair that I use for loafing around, but now I ride in boots. Period. With slick soles. I'd much rather ride in a cowboy hat than with sneakers or those 'riding shoes'!