When you are adjusting the stirrup leathers to fit your height or fit how long your legs are, there is a trick that seems to work every time. I use this trick to get the correct stirrup length not only for myself, but for any of my riding lesson students or others who happen to be riding my horses.
How Do I Know How Long My Stirrups Should Be?
There is an easy trick to be able to tell how long or short that your stirrups need to be. The first thing you should do is take your foot out of the stirrup and let it dangle in a relaxed position. For English riding, you then want to adjust the length of your stirrup leathers until the bottom of your stirrup iron falls just above your ankle bone. For most English riding disciplines, this is the correct stirrup length. For Western styles of riding, you can use a similar trick. Dangle your leg in a relaxed position and adjust your stirrup length until the bottom of the stirrup falls just under your ankle bone. This is, in most cases, the correct stirrup length for riding in the Western style.
How To Find the Correct Stirrup Length For English Riding
There is a special trick you can use to find the correct stirrup length for when you are riding in the English style. This is what you want to do to get an accurate length:
1: Take Your Foot Out Of The Stirrup
When you are adjusting your stirrups, the first thing that you want to do is to take your foot out of the stirrup. This not only will help you to get an accurate measurement, but it will also help to make the adjustment process easier as your foot is not in the way.
2: Let Your Foot & Leg Dangle In A Relaxed Position
The next thing you want to do is to let your leg and foot dangle in a relaxed position. This means to let your leg hang and not intentionally bend it or extend it.
3: Adjust The Stirrup Leathers Until The Bottom Of The Stirrup Iron Falls Just Above Your Ankle Bone
With your leg now in a relaxed position, you can begin to adjust your stirrups using your foot and leg as a measuring tool. To get a correct measurement, find your ankle bone and line the top of the ankle bone up with the bottom part of the stirrup iron. This means that when your leg is out of the stirrups and completely relaxed, your stirrup should hit your leg just above the ankle.
For most English riding disciplines, this should be a pretty accurate way to get a good measurement for the length of your stirrups.
How To Find The Correct Stirrup Length For Western Riding
1. Take Your Foot Out Of The Stirrup
Just like when measuring the stirrup lengths in an English saddle, you will want to take your foot out of the stirrup for adjusting the Western stirrups as well. This is to not only make the accurate measurement, but also to let whoever is adjusting the stirrup to get under the stirrup fender easier to adjust it.
2. Let Your Foot & Leg Dangle In A Relaxed Position
When adjusting the stirrup length on any saddle you want to make sure that your leg is in a relaxed position and that you aren’t extending, bending, or tensing your leg at all. You also should relax your foot as trying to put your heel down may cause your leg to tense up.
3. Adjust The Stirrup leathers Until The Bottom Of The Stirrup Falls Just Below Your Ankle Bone
In Western riding, the stirrups are typically put longer than they would be in English riding. Because of this, you need to measure where your stirrup falls in a different place than when using an English saddle.
In Western, to get the accurate measurement, line the bottom of the stirrup up just below your ankle bone. In most cases, this is the best place to hold your foot when riding Western.