Q&A Questions and Answers:
I ride hunter/jumper... but when I go to my friend's house we ride Western. I am now starting to show Western -- but how long should my stirrups be? When I ride Engish (which I am used to) they are very short, because I jump... but in Western they always feel very long... like toooo long... but my friend says, "THEY NEED TO BE LONGER!" Well, to get to the point... how long should my stirrups be?
Interesting question... whenever I ride English, I feel like my knees are in danger of hitting my chin! I guess it's a matter of what you're used to! Western stirrups are usually long, because there's less chance of cramping your legs after ten or twelve hours in the saddle. If you expect a lot of "active" riding -- jumping over obstacles, cantering, etc. -- you may wish to shorten your stirrups by one hole from what I'm about to recommend.
There are two checks I do when I need to adjust my stirrups. The first is done from the ground. I slide my fingers under the seat jockey and as close to the top of the stirrup strap as they'll go. At the correct length, the stirrup tread should just tickle me in the armpit.
The second check is done in the saddle. Keeping my heels lower than my toes, I stand straight up and balance on the stirrups without holding on to the saddle. If the stirrups are the correct length, there should be enough room to slide two or three fingers (side-by-side) between my crotch and the saddle. By relaxing my legs and settling straight down onto the saddle I put myself into the proper riding position.
Now that's not so hard, is it?
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