The Jury Is Still Out

So first let me describe the Stubben Offset Stirrups:

Stubben Offset Stirrup

I have trouble keeping my lower leg against PJ’s side, especially in trot. When I look in the mirror while trotting it looks like my calf/ankle/foot comes away from the horse with each stride, even if it doesn’t feel that way to me.  I did not have this problem with any other horse I’ve owned (that I know of), so it’s the combination of my leg anatomy with PJ’s girth anatomy.  The alternatives as I saw it were buy a new horse that fit my leg better (not going to happen), buy a new saddle that may position my seat/hip/leg better (a possibility but my saddle fits both me and PJ pretty well and saddles are expensive but I’m still open to this possibility), or try these stirrups, which are supposed to help put your leg against the horse.  I chose to go with the cheapest option and found a brand new pair on Ebay for less than I could get anywhere else.  Disclosure: I thought I was buying “Double Offset Stirrups” but from looking at pictures on the Internet, I think these are just “Offsets,” which some people say are better anyway (some people reported back issues with the double offsets).  FYI: for those who get the Dressage Extensions catalog, the cover shot of the Spring 2012 catalog has the stirrups on backwards for dressage.

I do think these are helping.  At the walk you’re supposed to push the barrel from side to side to keep the walk.  It used to be that I used all my strength to just keep my legs against PJ’s sides and I had nothing left to push his barrel.  With these stirrups I could use the same effort I used to use, but I actually was being effective.  At the trot, it still took a lot of effort for me to keep my legs still, but when I put in that effort, I saw a difference.  It also helped me to ride off the inside of the ball of my feel instead of the outside, which is my habit, and also helped me keep my toes in, something else I needed to work on.   There were two cons that I experienced.  The first was that my hips hurt in the initial minutes of my ride but got better and didn’t bother me at all by the time I got off.  It actually tells me that these stirrups were doing something.  The second was that if you loose your stirrup, it’s MUCH harder to pick it back up.  I think these are going to help me but they are definitely no magic fix.  I’m looking forward to riding in them more.

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