History of stirrups and how they evolved to magnetic safety stirrups

Nowadays, all saddles have stirrups. Whether they are magnetic safety stirrups (like ours) or something else. However, very few of us actually think about when stirrups were invented and how they became to be an essential part of our tack. Let's take a brief look into the history of stirrups!

This is where magnetic safety stirrups started - the very beginning

Considering that horses were domesticated already in about 4500 BC, and the very first invention of saddle-like equipment happened in 700 BC, the invention of stirrups happened relatively late.

Before there were actual stirrups made of iron, there were so-called toe loops that held the big toe. It was used in India in the second century BC, but it is believed that they may have appeared earlier as well. This toe loop consisted of a looped rope and it was attached at the bottom of the saddle. This was excellent for people of India and southern countries, where the climate was hot and people rode mostly barefoot.

It is said, that after this, they invented megalithic double bent iron bars for stirrups in India, though this is just a guess. Also, Buddhist carvings in the temples of Sanchi, Bhaja and Mathura show men riding horses with feet slipped under girths. Some, on the other hand, say that the Central Asian Sarmatians were the first people to develop stirrups.

When a solid saddle tree was invented, it allowed the use of stirrups as they are known today. If there was no tree, the rider's weight would distribute unevenly, making the horse's back sore, though some modern day tree-less saddles have managed to add stirrups to their designs.

In Asia, some of the first saddles with solid trees were invented in about 200 BC. Also, some say that the Romans invented solid-tree as early as the 1st century BC, but these saddles didn't yet have stirrups.

How did we get to magnetic safety stirrups?

As a matter of fact, safety stirrups as an invention are not that old. It was only a few decades ago that there was no such thing as safety stirrups. In the past 10-20 years, peacock stirrups and bending safety stirrups have come to market. However, it wasn't until very recently that magnetic safety stirrups were invented.

Our Ophena S and Ophena S Pro are in fact one of the few magnetic safety stirrup brands on the market. Our invention has something unique, that no other brand has. We have combined our magnetic safety stirrups with an open side and a foot stopper, making our safety stirrup the ultimate super safe stirrup.


Next time you ride your horse, imagine if you didn't have stirrups at all. Riding would be a whole lot harder! Remember, that safety stirrups are essential for your safety to prevent your foot getting caught in the stirrup in case of a fall.