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Discipline: LD/Endurance, CMO, Trail Rider, Cartoonist, Writer, Co-Director/ Green Bean Endurance

April 29, 2010

The length of your leathers

A few days ago I had raised my stirrups / leather length out of necessity to put us back on "good" leather. At first it felt odd having them shorter by one inch, but after riding in them a little while I found I was able to stay back on my seat bones MUCH MUCH better, and felt more balanced overall than I have for a long time. It is surprising how one little change can make such a profound difference. No more tippy toes reaching to maintain my stirrup. Not sure what my bad knees will have to say about the change, but we are going with it for awhile to see how well I'm able to maintain with a more bent knee. Going from long to bent is definitely different! ~E.G.


  1. It will feel more comforatble for faster gaits too. You can lift yourself up off her back easier. I am very particular about my stirrup length. Can't be too long nor too short! I'd rather have no stirrups at all if they aren't just the right length.


  2. Length definitely has an impact. I sometimes adjust based on Doc's energy levels. :-)

    Also, if you have sore knees and ankles, I would be checking into balance of saddle, fit of saddle, stirrup length, tension in your body, etc. I never realized how important saddle fit and balance was for the rider until I started riding in a western saddle. I was OK for a couple of hours, but longer than that - everything got sore. I was thinking of my horse - western saddle - more surface area, better for his back. I got a nice one that I thought had pretty good balance, but I can ride all day in my inexpensive little wintec (and I even use regular stirrups), but not my western saddle. Lucky for me, my wintec seems to be working for Doc too - no sore back yet and I am comfy all day - tired maybe, but not sore.

  3. I used to think the answer to my problems in the saddle was longer and longer stirrups (to mimic bareback) but Now I've started to shorten them back up again and I'm finding it much more confortable. My dressage instructor actually had my shorten my leathers by a hole, because she says that proper leg position comes before being able to lengthen the leg and lengthening the leg is NOT the same as lengthening the stirrup to the point where the leg is no utilizing the stirrup properly.

    Glad you are playing around with different things. Hopefully you will find your perfect combination of gear and adjustments!

  4. Lida,

    I have arthritic knees. They work better straight than bent.