Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Canberra Australia
From my own experience, and from that of others I have seen learning, or helped learn, it will probably change.
When I first started learning to ride as a kid I rode in an Australian stock saddle and was taught to ride the Australian bush way, and doing that they tend to ride really short, have their feet stuck out in front of the horses shoulders (think of marking out in a bronc ride) sitting back on the backside slouching in the saddle. And in doing this they tend to wedge themselves under the knee pads on the saddle.
Once I started to learn to ride properly, from about 13 or 14, and started to sit on my seat bones, heels under me, I found I had to ride much longer, so my stirrup lengths started gradually dropping. This went overboard when I was about 18, I got my first custom saddle, as half-breed saddle with a hard seat. I rode so long I could barely touch the stirrups. I was working on a cattle station at the time and the head stockman would continually sneak up and put my lengths up whenever I wasn’t on my horse, but I just couldn’t ride like that, felt like my legs would bounce me out of the saddle. I knew I was riding too long, but I just couldn’t stand having the lengths shorter. It wasn’t from a lack of riding, we were working on the back of a horse in all sorts of country all day every day for months at a time.
Not long after that though, I got on one day and thought, “why do these stirrups feel so long?” I thought someone as playing a trick on me, but, no, the stirrups hadn’t moved. My seat had just gotten better and it was time to put them up where they should be, or nearly, took another few months to get them where they have stayed for the last 18 to 19 years.
So I guess what I am saying is, though there may well be a right and or a wrong place to have the stirrups in an overall sense, in the sense of your kid learning to ride, what is right for her at the stage she is in in her learning is probably what will be right at any given time. Sure, it might not fit a particular discipline, or proper structure, but learning is a process of learning then consolidating the knowledge, that is a process that may well not fit the guidelines of some discipline or style of horse riding.