How to get the correct stirrup length
Finding the correct stirrup length is crucial to riding safely, having proper control over your horse and keeping a good, balanced form. When you are riding, your ear, shoulder, hip and heel should all be in alignment. If your stirrups are too long or too short, your heels will be too far forward or back.
However, this is not a simple mathematical process. The length can also depend on your body conformation, your horse’s barrel, the type of saddle your’e using, what discipling you’re performing and your own preference. Many beginning riders need the extra security of shorter stirrups.
With the in mind, pay attention to the way your legs hang when you are on the horse. Are you consistently getting pinched? Are your knees knocking against the knee roll? Are you dropping your heel to get your knee in the right spot? Your stirrups are too short. Are you pointing your toe to stay in the stirrup? Is your foot consistently falling out? You stirrups are too long.
The following methods are what many trainers use to judge stirrup length.
Try them out to determine your correct stirrup length.
Method 1: Stirrup to armpit
- Stand next to the fender of your saddle
- Using your forearm, place your hand to the stirrup bar
- The end of the stirrup should end at your armpit
- This method might need some adjustment once you mount
Method 2: Stirrup to ankle
- Have someone eyeball this one for you
- Once you are on your horse, put your leg straight down
- The bottom of the stirrup should be even with your ankle bone
Two common phrases we hear are:
“But I’m extremely tall!” or “I’m the shortest person I know”
If your legs do not fit normal stirrups, you may need to order a pair that are shorter or have more length. Many of our manufacturers offer sets of fenders in different sizes specifically for this purpose. Get your saddle’s make and model handy and give us a call at 866-880-2121 for some problem resolving options.