How to Put On Stirrups On a Saddle?

Once you buy a saddle, you need to attach the rest of the tack. English and Western saddles have different designs. That’s why the ways how to put on stirrups on a saddle are also different. This article includes guidelines for both saddle types.

What Are Stirrups?

Stirrups are metal frames where a rider places their feet. This piece is attached to a saddle with a strap. This strap is called stirrup leather. Stirrups help a rider to mount and dismount an equine. These bars play a role of a pivot point when lifting a leg over the horse’s back.

Stirrups help to keep you tight in a saddle while riding. They are also used to control a horse and lead the animal. Stirrups are commonly made of stainless steel that is light and durable. In some cases, they can be done with aluminum or nickel to cheap the tack.

English stirrups are usually called irons. As they were originally made with iron. The standard iron is designed with a tread to place your foot and two branches. There’s a hole at the top to get the stirrup leather through it.

You may also find safety stirrups that come with one branch curved. It’s done so the foot can be easily released in case you fall off. Another design has a breakaway branch. It comes off when pulling out if you need to free your foot. It’s up to your personal preference which stirrup/iron design to choose.

rider checks saddle stirrups

How to Put Stirrups On an English Saddle?

Before you start, make sure you have all the essentials. These are an English saddle, a pair of stirrup leathers, and a pair of irons. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Find a metal bar under the saddle skirt. The skirt is located at the top of the flap under the seat. It helps the stirrup leather’s buckle not to disturb the rider’s leg.
  • Take a stirrup for the right leg. Get the stirrup leather through the hole at the top of the stirrup. Hold both ends in your hand like making a loop.
  • Raise the skirt up and push the end of the stirrup leather under the bar. When the leather comes out, take it and pull it through. Choose a hole and do the buckle. Make sure the buckle is secure.
  • Grab the part of the leather that is closest to the saddle. Pull it down so the buckle slides under the skirt and upward. You’ll hear a click sound which is a good sign.
  • Pull the stirrup into the bar. It should be close to the front of the stirrup bar.

What Is The Right Length For English Stirrups?

When you set the stirrups, you have to adjust them properly. Make sure you put both irons on the same holes. It’s easy to do as most English stirrup leathers come with numbered holes.

Next, put your fingers under the saddle skirt. Place them at the top of the buckle. With your other hand, pull the iron out against your arm. Place the iron under your arm. Check if the bottom of the iron touches your armpit. If no, adjust the stirrups. Then check again till it’s done.

There’s another method to check the stirrup length on an English saddle. You have to get on a horse and rest your legs down. Check where the bottom of the stirrup is. It should be at the ankle level.

custom made western stirrups

How to Put Stirrups On a Western Saddle?

To put on stirrups on a saddle you’ll need a Western saddle, two fenders, and two stirrups. Here are the steps to follow:

  • Attach the fenders to the Western saddle if needed. In most cases, Western saddles come with their fenders attached. But it’s a good thing to know how to do that. Push the fender over the stirrup bar. The bar is under the skirt. Pull the fender through under the Western saddle.
  • Push the fender to the outside of the Western saddle. Move it under the stirrup bar. Pull the leather until it’s tight with the stirrup flaps.
  • Attach Blevins buckles to the fenders. Slide them over the stirrup leather. Loop the leather through the stirrup. When putting to through, the side with metal posts faces the horse saddle.
  • Push the bars through the holes.
  • Secure the metal posts with Belvins by sliding them down.

What Is The Right Length For Western Stirrups?

Make sure your stirrups provide the proper knee position. To do so, you have to adjust your Western stirrups.

  • Grab the stirrup and pull the metal slide that is covered with leather.
  • Pull the metal slide out of the hole. This will release the posts that fit in the holes of the stirrup leather.
  • Pull the posts out of the holes. Move the posts up to shorten your stirrups. Or move the posts down to lengthen your stirrups.
  • Keep in mind how many holes you moved up or down.
  • Place the metal slide back over the posts. This will secure them.
  • Do the same thing with another stirrup. Move the posts at the same level. This will make them even on both sides.
cowboy boot on angled stirrup

How to Put On Angled Stirrups?

Slanted or angled stirrups come with one side longer than another. There’s a crooked part in angled stirrups. Crooked stirrups are designed to relieve knee and foot pain. When they hang off a horse saddle, the bottom of the stirrup is parallel to the ground. Unlike regular stirrups that are at an angle when rested.

Crooked stirrups are a great fit for Western saddles. They are worn in the same way as regular stirrups. Angled stirrups may not fit treeless saddles.

cowboy in western saddle close view

The Final Word On Stirrups

Get your perfect balance with proper stirrups. The right stirrup length ensures you’ll ride comfortably for long. The ways to put on stirrups are different. They depend on the style of horse saddles you use. This article contains guides for Western and English saddle stirrups. In general, you need stirrup leathers to attach the gear. If you have week knees, consider crooked stirrups.

Riding apparel is also essential to provide enough comfort and protection. Check our review of horse riding boots that are securely placed on the stirrups.