If you’re wondering whether the larger, wider stirrup leathers are worth it, here is your answer!
Are those wide stirrup leathers really worth it? The answer for me was an easy yes because of all of my leg issues. I’ve had four knee surgeries including ACL repairs on both knees, a fibular spiral fracture on my right ankle with breaks in multiple places, a disaster break that was deemed inoperable in my left tibia, and a slew of other issues, so I’m keenly aware of what stirrups and leathers I ride in all the time. But I wanted to get an opinion from someone who wasn’t perhaps a broken eventer, to whom even more people could relate. So I asked my student, Eden.
At 15 years old, Eden’s been riding her whole life. The only thing is that most of that riding has been western and bareback, usually on gaited horses, with little formal English riding or jumping training. For her, the transition from western to English was a challenging one when it came to lower leg stability, especially over fences. So I handed Eden my Total Saddle Fit Stability Stirrup Leathers with a challenge. Try them out and write a product review on how they affect your riding. If you do a good job, you can keep them. Don’t and you lose your stirrups entirely for our next set of lessons. Game on!
One Quidditch Tourney, a bunch of flat lessons, a handful of jumping lessons, and a few hunter paces later, here’s Eden’s take on these leathers.
In Eden’s own words:
If you’re like me, converting from being a primarily western rider doing barrel racing and some western pleasure to English, you would know that learning to keep your legs underneath you for jumping instead of set forward is kind of hard. When my trainer CJ Millar lent me her Total Saddle Fit Stability Stirrup Leathers, I immediately liked them but didn’t really notice the difference as I am also working on my seat, hands, and everything else! But then us crazy equestrians decided to go to Sunside Equestrian center to play a game of Quidditch on horseback!
While we were there I decided to ride in one of CJ’s saddles with the Stability Leathers. After the tournament, one of our equally crazy equestrian friends decided to borrow the demo saddle I was using that day and I accidentally left the saddle there WITH the Stability Leathers still on. This was the beginning of my realization at just how much those stirrup leathers really helped my leg position and overall stability in the saddle.
Around 2 weeks later we still hadn’t gotten the saddle back from our friend and we had plans to go to a hunter pace… my FIRST EVER hunter pace. When we arrived at the pace I had CJ’s old stirrup leathers on normal everyday stirrups. Oh boy did I regret that! While we had our friend bring the saddle (with leathers still attached, of course!) to the pace, she arrived after we had already headed out on course and due to steady rain, it just didn’t make sense to wait. After a 7 mile hunter pace, I knew my legs would already be feeling it, but by the last mile I really noticed my legs becoming unsteady. When we got back to the trailer I was extremely happy to go get the saddle and stirrups back and couldn’t wait to ride in it again (after my legs recovered from my first hunter pace)!
A few weeks later there was another hunter pace, but this time I was prepared: the Total Saddle Fit Stability Leathers were safely attached to the saddle I was going to be riding in for the pace – thank goodness! Throughout this entire pace my legs never got unsteady and I felt a tremendous difference in my riding position, especially over fences. I never worried when jumping that my leg would slide forward or back, and I could really focus on the effectiveness of my position and riding overall. By the end of the pace, I was amazed at the difference the leathers made. I never want to give up these leathers.
So when it came to writing a product review in exchange for keeping the leathers, I was all for it! My life like most people’s, is really busy even without horses involved. However, the thought of giving these leathers back won out and I found the time to write the review, even with school and everything else going on in my life. But…like most 15 year olds, I might have procrastinated a bit about the actual writing part. I then got a little persuasion when CJ said it had been a few weeks since she asked and she was going to make me ride without the Staibility Leathers if the article wasn’t worked on this week. EEEK! I jumped right on and got to writing because I DID NOT want to ride without those leathers.
While writing the review, I also found another way that the Total Saddle Fit Stability Stirrup Leathers helped me – with old hip pain from a past injury. Around two years ago I was barrel racing and my horse slipped and hit me into the barrel. Since that day I have had problems with my hip bothering me when I ride for long periods of time and sometimes it will just randomly bother me on rainy days and such. I noticed that with these stirrups my hip wasn’t hurting when I rode anymore. Even with posting and two-point!
This past weekend there was another hunter pace and I hadn’t finished this article yet (bad news for me) because CJ’s other student (my friend Morgan) came too. When CJ asked me if I had finished the article and I said no, I forgot… she gave Morgan the Stability Leathers for the hunter pace. That was enough for me to jump on the computer today — the day after the pace — and hurry to finish this article before my lesson so that I don’t have to ride without my Total Saddle Fit Stability Stirrup Leathers again!
Thanks so much for the great review, Eden. And if you’re a rider like Eden, or a broken down old eventer / fox hunter like me, we both agree — the Total Saddle Fit Stability Leathers are a great buy!