need to shorten stirrups for kids - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 11-30-2013, 10:35 AM Thread Starter
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need to shorten stirrups for kids

so the kids are getting riding lessons, and the instructor is working with them on keeping their heels down

problem is the saddle we have doesn't shorten enough for them to do that.

I need to put some new holes in the leather to move the blevins buckle up higher.

is there a certain tool or process you guys use?

i was thinking to use the buckles and lightly hammer it onto the leather to leave a mark and then get a leather punch or something to make the holes.
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post #2 of 15 Old 11-30-2013, 10:41 AM
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are you using english or western saddles? I use "Lil' dude stirrups" on my western saddles, LOVE them!

Lil' Dude Stirrups @
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post #3 of 15 Old 11-30-2013, 10:47 AM
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Do those work for adults with short legs? I actually use child leathers for my english saddle because I have too much leather length to tuck away/cut off otherwise!
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post #4 of 15 Old 11-30-2013, 11:02 AM
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Yes, they do work for adults too...
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post #5 of 15 Old 11-30-2013, 11:54 AM
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I use a power drill for put extra holes in leathers, English or western.

There is a hole punch tool, and I carry one when riding far, but it is more difficult to use that a drill.
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post #6 of 15 Old 11-30-2013, 12:46 PM
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I just use a quality leather hole punch.
Posted via Mobile Device
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post #7 of 15 Old 11-30-2013, 01:29 PM
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I have both a leather punch like this

And a set of leather punches like this that you use with a hammer

For putting more holes in the leathers to shorten the stirrups on a western saddle, I have to use the latter because the first one won't reach to the middle of the leather. I've never been able to get clean holes with a power drill, even if I was using a new bit.

Something you might consider, though: is there enough space to punch holes to shorten the leathers enough without compromising the mobility of the leather and "trapping" their leg in a certain position? If the fenders are too long, then there is only so far that you can pull them up to the tree and only so far that you can pull the stirrup up before they start looking like this and make riding very uncomfortable.

If you can't shorten them enough without making them look like that, then you might be better off searching for a smaller pair of fenders/leathers like this and switching them out.

Or, buying a set of leathers without any fenders on them so that they would basically just be a strip of leather about 2 inches wide that is 100%, fully adjustable to the exact length you need.
Western Stirrup Leathers - Vertical punched for Blevin buckles

Western Stirrup Leathers - Horizontal punched for Al-Ray or Blevin styles

Doing that would make the stirrups look more like those on a plantation saddle

Or and Australian stock saddle

but they would work well.

As for those little buddy stirrup things, I suppose they would work in a pinch, but if you want your child to learn to ride properly, then they'll be a bigger pain than they're worth. Because they attach to the saddle horn, they are basically guaranteeing that your child is forced into a massive chair seat position because they won't be able to get their feet under their hips to ride correctly.

I like the position that these put the rider in, but I wonder about stability with the elastic around the cantle
Saddle Sidekicks - Saddle Adapter for Kids
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post #8 of 15 Old 11-30-2013, 08:03 PM
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"Lil' dude stirrups" work very well! Otherwise just a nice leather punch will work fine.
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post #9 of 15 Old 11-30-2013, 09:40 PM
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Thanks for all those awesome suggestions, smrobs!
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post #10 of 15 Old 12-01-2013, 09:22 AM Thread Starter
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thanks guys

good info -- i will look for a leather punch today

i only need to shorten the leather by about 4 inches because they are "just" out of reach -- the kids are in the 4'-4'6" range
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