Great stirrup options for flatwork and dressage

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  • While stirrups are versatile and can be used across the disciplines, certain designs are tailored specifically for dressage and flatwork. Investing in quality training stirrups designed to promote proper positioning can enhance your feel, coordination, and technique.

    Given the distinct leg positions and physical demands of dressage, selecting the right stirrup design is important for optimal performance and comfort. Having the best stirrups for dressage should not only improves leg position but also helps alleviate discomfort – and they might have a joint or inclined design to help with this.

    However, these features are not essential and some of it will come down to personal preference. Instead, look for a stirrup made from high-quality materials with a wide footbed that provides support and prevents your foot from slipping.

    British Dressage (BD) allow any colour of stirrup, but not stirrups that are attached by mechanical or magnetic means, or by velcro straps to the girth – unless special dispensation has been sought. With that in mind, we’ve included a range of stirrups, including ones we’ve tested ourselves, to curate a selection of options we believe are well-suited for dressage riders, including a selection of the best technical stirrups and the best safety stirrups.

    Best dressage stirrups: the contenders

    Sprenger Flexcite Grip stirrups review

    Sprenger Flexcite Grip Stirrups

    Colours: Silver
    Weight: 650g each
    BD Legal: Yes
    RRP: £253
    H&H Review: 9/10, H&H Approved

    The Flexcite Grip stirrups are jointed stirrups that feature a bowed shape (S-shapes when viewed from above or the side) to help provide the perfect balance to help hold a steady leg position. Consider them an upgrade to the Sprenger Bow Balance.

    The flexible arms are designed to be shock-absorbing to help take the pressure off your ligaments and joints. The extra-wide foot pad is what sets them apart from the Bow Balance stirrups – the Flexcites have a rustproof, stainless steel inlay that ensure a good amount of traction. However, they’re not so grippy that they feel like they wouldn’t release in an emergency.

    Our reviewer loved these stirrups – they’re a bit heavier than other technical stirrups, but if that doesn’t bother you then these are a great option. Read our full Sprenger Flexcite Grip stirrups review.

    Flex-on Aluminium Stirrups

    Flex-On Aluminium Stirrups

    Colours: Black or aluminium, with 17 shock absorber options
    Weight: 450g each
    BD Legal: Yes

    These stirrups are crafted from a special type of aluminum typically used in aerospace applications, making them both sturdy and lightweight. They’re machined from a single block, ensuring durability without adding extra weight. Like other Flex-On stirrups, they include shock-absorbing pads under the footbed to improve rider stability and reduce joint stress.

    The offset leather slot helps maintain a good leg position and contact, making it easier to recover a lost stirrup. The sloping entrance to the footbed also aids in this process. The wide footbed comes in inclined and flat versions, and you can choose between a deep-ridged grip or ultra-grip tread, which has small metal spikes for added traction.

    Sprenger Bow Balance Stirrups

    Colours: Anthracite
    Weight: 552g each
    BD Legal: Yes
    RRP: £195
    H&H Review: 9/10, H&H Approved

    These stirrups are designed to provide a solution for riders aiming to achieve optimal leg position and balance. Featuring a four-link system technology and boasting a safety standard with a 1,600kg breaking strength, these stirrups prioritise security and flexibility. The unique bow design aims to reduce the risk of foot entrapment and offers enhanced stability by allowing movement in four directions simultaneously. Additionally, the stirrups are equipped with shock-absorbing properties, promoting comfort and reducing strain on ligaments and joints.

    We found that the wide footbed provided instant support and that, despite initial concerns about their flexibility compared to traditional stirrups, the unique design offered a comfortable and secure feel, facilitating mobility without sacrificing stability. Read our full Sprenger Bow Balance stirrups review.

    LeMieux technical stirrups

    LeMieux Vector Control Stirrup

    Colours: Black, black/aluminium, aluminium, carbon grey, auburn, rose gold or navy
    Weight: 419g each
    BD Legal: Yes
    RRP: £159.95

    The LeMieux Vector Control stirrups are technically sophisticated and lightweight, but still maintain a timeless aesthetic. Crafted from aviation-grade aluminum, they boast an exceptional strength-to-weight ratio, making them among the lightest stirrups available without compromising on stability.

    They feature an ergonomic, flat footplate, along with a cross-track grip surface embedded with hardened steel pins, these stirrups provide good stability. The top of the frame, where it attaches to the leather, is recessed and offset to the outside, which allows you to retrieve a lost stirrup quicker.

    Equipped with an integrated spring-loaded safety arm that locks into the base of the main frame, these stirrups have a two-stage release system that prevents accidental openings. The stirrup arm breakout force is equivalent to 3.62kg, which is enough resistance to stop it opening unintentionally, but will release when needed.

    In the UK? View now at amazon.co.uk or oakfield-direct.co.uk
    In the US? View now at amazon.com

    Freejump Air Stirrups

    Freejump Air Stirrups

    Colours: Black/silver with a range of sticker/elastomer colours
    Weight: 468g each
    BD Legal: Yes
    RRP: From £190

    These technical stirrups combine a classic stainless steel frame with modern features designed for enhanced comfort, improved balance, and superior grip. You have the option to select straight or angled eyes (leather holes) and either flat footbeds or a 10° incline.

    In case of significant pressure, the top banner is designed to unclip, allowing for the quick release of the foot. Additionally, the frame incorporates elastomer for shock absorption, while the calliper footplates feature removable steel studs for excellent traction.

    In the UK? View now at amazon.co.uk or gsequestrian.co.uk
    In the US? View now at amazon.com

    Tech Stirrups Venice Dressage technical stirrups

    Tech Stirrups Venice Dressage Plus

    Colours: Black or silver
    Weight: 570g each
    BD Legal: Yes
    RRP: £345

    These stirrups are manufactured with high-quality metal and have a very wide opening at the safety mechanism, which releases your foot in case of fall and returns to the closed position automatically. These stirrups are equipped with four shock-absorbing inserts that allow the stirrup to follow the natural movement of the foot. The grip was specifically designed for dressage riders – it has a 3° inclination that helps posture. The pad and the shock-absorbing inserts can be replaced.

    In the UK? View now at amazon.co.uk JS Italia Jin Dressage Stirrups

    JS Italia Jin Dressage Stirrups

    Colours: Black or aluminium, with optional crystals
    Weight: 520g each
    RRP: From £209

    Developed in collaboration with professional dressage riders to offer maximum stability and support, with a beautiful finish and the option of real Swarovski crystals. These stirrups also feature Jin’s patented anatomic footbed which is designed for a rider’s comfort and leg position.

    After feedback from professional dressage riders, the stirrups are also weighted to lower the centre of gravity and improve feel and stability underfoot. They can also be customised with a range of Swarovski Crystals and are guaranteed with a two-year warranty.

    In the US? View now at amazon.com

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