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COMMONLY used in the United States and on the Continent, the Freejump X’up stirrup is supposedly one of safest types of stirrups around. But who uses them, and how do they stay attached to the rider’s feet?

Who uses them?

SHOW jumper Tim Gredley, who spent some time in America, saw them used over there and was given a pair to try. Tim rode in several Nations Cup competitions using them last year, and competed at last week’s Hickstead riding in the X’up system.

Numerous top European riders also use them, including Ludger Beerbaum and Marco Kutscher.

How do they work?

BY combining the stirrups with a special pair of boots, in a manner similar to the designs of ski or bicycle pedal bindings.

The stirrups have an “automatic release” binding, which fastens to a bronze plate on the soles of the boots. This prevents the rider from losing their stirrup, but will release instantly in the event of a fall.

Riders can either buy the specially made es’one shoes and chaps from Freejump, or have an existing pair of boots modified, providing they can be resoled.

What is Tim’s verdict?

“I really like them because they make you feel a lot safer in the saddle, and can help you maintain your balance,” says Tim.

“In the Nations Cup at Aachen last year, I had a big crash on the first day and the stirrups released very quickly. But they won’t fall off unless you do.”

Are they difficult to use?

NOT according to Tim. “Once you get the hang of them, they’re easy.”

Where do you get them?

THE X’up stirrups cost around £182 a pair, the es’one shoes £110, and the mini-chaps £96 (all excluding delivery).

Information

Contact Freejump Tel: 01892 863785 www.freejumpsystem.com

This Q&A was first published in Horse & Hound (3 August, ’06)