How to choose the best safety stirrups for dressage

Although you can use all stirrups for any discipline, at least at home, some stirrups have been explicitly designed with specific disciplines in mind. That said, some safety stirrups are more suitable for dressage riders than others.

By researching the best safety stirrups for dressage, you will be able to find stirrups that elevate your riding experience. Each discipline has different requirements for leg positioning, and choosing the best stirrups can help you to position your leg correctly and to improve your overall riding experience.

In this article, we will look at how you can choose the best safety stirrups for dressage.

What stirrups are legal for dressage?

 If you ride at home, you can use whatever stirrups you like. However, if you plan to attend horse shows, you should be aware of specific requirements that may limit what kind of stirrups you can choose.

  • Dressage shows don't allow any extra aid, meaning the rider cannot use magnetic safety stirrups or stirrups with Velcro straps that attach to the girth.
  • The color of the stirrups needs to be subtle, such as black or silver
  • Safety stirrups are not required but they are strongly recommended

What features are helpful for dressage riders?

Dressage riders want to catch as many points from the judges as possible, so choosing safety stirrups that can help you instead of hinder you is obviously the best choice.

Dressage riders want to ensure that they can keep their leg long and relaxed, heels down, and their lower leg close to the horse's side.

Also, while safety stirrups are not mandatory in dressage, they are recommended and you should consider choosing them over regular stirrups. However, dressage riders usually prefer a sleek and modern style that blends in with their other tack, and some safety mechanisms can be bulky.

Pay attention to the following features:

  • Treading 
  • Design
  • Safety system
  • Comfort


The treading at the bottom of the stirrups should be designed to prevent your foot from slipping unnecessarily. Although extra aid is not allowed in dressage, having good treading can help you to keep your foot in the stirrups better - and that's perfectly legal.


All riders prefer stirrups that look visually pleasing and match their style. The design also includes the color of the stirrup. You want to ensure that the stirrups you choose have a color that has been approved for horse shows. This means that you should stick with black, silver, and other regular colors.

Safety system

Safety stirrups are recommended to all riders no matter their discipline or their experience level. The idea of safety stirrups is to decrease the risk of a severe injury in case of an accident by releasing the rider's foot when pressure is applied.

There are different safety systems for dressage riders and riders should compare available options so they can choose the best one. Remember that magnetic safety stirrups are not allowed in dressage shows.


Of course, you want your stirrups to be comfortable and to help you with your balance and leg position. For instance, the stirrups might be ergonomically designed or they might be flexible with integrated dampening that helps with shock absorption.

The best way to figure out if the comfort is right for you is to simply try the stirrups before purchasing.

Ophena A for dressage riders

Ophena A is a non-magnetic safety stirrup from Ophena. Our magnetic safety stirrups Ophena S and Ophena S Pro received excellent reviews and over 1,700 five stars, but we wanted to create a stirrup that is suitable for dressage riders as well.

Ophena A features patent-pending technology, The Twister, that helps decrease the risk of a serious injury. The outer side of the stirrup is closed with a silicone piece that anchors in two connection points and releases in all directions to allow the rider's foot to release quicker in case of an accident.

In addition, Ophena A utilizes diamond treading for better grip, so even if you attend a horse show in the rain, your foot won't slip. 

Finally, Ophena A also includes integrated dampening that allows for better shock absorption and makes the overall ride more comfortable.

In the video below, you will see how Ophena A works:

Ready to order the best safety stirrups for dressage? Take a look at Ophena A and add it to your cart on our website.

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact us!