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Stirrup Irons

A stirrup iron in the English riding disciplines suspends from a narrow strip of leather and offers a flat base of support for the ball of the rider’s foot to assist with mounting and riding. Stirrup irons got their name from centuries’ old versions that were originally forged from iron. Today, they can be made from long-wearing stainless steel, lightweight composite materials, aluminum and even heavy-duty colored plastic. Styles of stirrups vary now just as widely, from traditional Fillis irons to peacock “safety” stirrups to designs that relieve stress on the rider’s joints, remove excess weight or make proper leg positioning easier to achieve. No matter what style of stirrup irons you prefer, Dover Saddlery has you covered.
Your choice of stirrups will be influenced by your riding discipline—especially if you compete. Pleasure riders can select any type of stirrup they find comfortable. But in competition in the English disciplines, hunter, jumper, dressage and event riders should check and adhere to the latest version of the USEF Rulebook. Once you’ve familiarized yourself with the types of stirrups allowed in your riding discipline, you’re better equipped to start shopping our wide selection of styles from all the leading brands, including Herm Sprenger®, Stubben, Intec®, Korsteel®, FreeJump® and others.

Fillis irons are always acceptable and popular, offering the most classic look. Always made of stainless steel in varying degrees, fillis stirrups come at all price points from the most budget-friendly to premium.

Offset eye irons, a variation on the Fillis iron, help keep the stirrup leather flat against the rider’s leg, thereby offering assistance in keeping the stirrup straight against the ball of the foot. This design also makes dropped stirrups easier to regain.

Flex stirrups, another take on the classic Fillis iron, feature insets in each branch of the stirrup. Usually recognizable by black or gray rubber, the flexible branches help take uncomfortable pressure off the rider’s knees or ankle joints—often helpful for those with arthritis or joint injuries.

Quick release stirrups are made to release a rider’s foot in the event of a fall. Peacock stirrups fit into this type, with a rubber ring making up one branch of the stirrup. Breakaway stirrups have the appearance of a solid Fillis iron from a distance, but up close one can see that a branch is designed on a hinge that gives way if needed.

Composite or aluminum stirrups eliminate excess weight. Stirrups weighing 200 grams or less are often favored by competitive jumpers. Also pay attention to the pad provided on the base of the stirrup. Some can be swapped out for grated metal to offer more hold, but most involve the use of a rubber pad with a grid.

Before you place your order, be sure to select the right size for your riding boots. An iron should be 1" wider than the width of your boot width at the ball of your foot to provide 1/2" space on each side when your foot is in place. If an iron is too snug against your boot, you face a dangerous situation. If an iron is too wide, your foot can slip through easily and you may struggle to keep the proper foot position.