Technical stirrups and how to choose the correct ones

Some older riders probably still remember the time when stirrups were just stirrups. No safety mechanisms or any fancy features, just support for your foot. Nowadays, there are dozens of different kinds of technical stirrups with safety mechanisms and other features that can make the riding experience more pleasant and comfortable - and best of all, safer. 

How do technical stirrups work?

Choosing the correct technical stirrups can be challenging since there are so many exciting and highly-rated stirrups. In this article, we will look at technical stirrups' features and how you can choose the correct ones for yourself. 

What are technical stirrups?

First things first, what are technical stirrups? You may have heard about safety stirrups, magnetic safety stirrups, and peacock stirrups. But how do technical stirrups fit in?

Frankly, technical stirrups have a safety mechanism and possibly other features. Each brand and manufacturer design their stirrups with unique features to, e.g. increase grip or help the rider stay safe during their ride.

Technical stirrups and their features

Technical stirrups can have different features depending on the manufacturer and the brand. Whereas one brand has only a safety mechanism, another may pay attention to other things, such as design or comfort. 

Technical stirrups can have, for instance, some of the following features:

  • Safety mechanism that opens in case of emergency
  • Magnetic connection
  • Open design
  • Toe cover
  • Integrated dampening

Helpful advice for choosing the best technical stirrups

Choosing technical stirrups can become a complex project as there are many different options on the market. However, by approaching the decision logically and systematically, you can narrow down your choices and pick the ones that fit your goals. 

Below, we will look at some valuable tips on choosing the best technical stirrups that suit your needs. 

What kind of safety mechanism are you looking for?

When buying your technical stirrups, this is one of the most important questions to ask yourself. Here, you must consider two things: your primary discipline and safety. 

The most usual safety mechanism is one that opens when pressure is applied. Typically, the stirrups' outer side has a locked mechanism during the ride, but it opens when pressure is applied to it. While this kind of mechanism is excellent, it does present the possibility of getting stuck.

There are also safety stirrups that offer an open design, leaving the outer side completely open. For instance, our Ophena S and Ophena S Pro stirrups feature an open side to allow the rider's foot to release easier in case of an accident. Our magnetic stirrups also have a magnetic connection between the rider's boot and the stirrup, keeping the foot securely in the correct spot and preventing slipping.

You should also consider your primary discipline especially if you plan to show. This is because the rules and regulations carefully outline what kind of stirrups are allowed for each discipline. 

For instance, magnetic stirrups are not allowed in dressage shows butare permitted and approved for showjumping. If you need clarification, check the FEI regulations or the regulations of your national equestrian federation.

Are you looking for any other features?

Some stirrups may have other features in addition to safety features. For instance, our Ophena A safety stirrups have integrated dampening for better shock absorption. On the other hand, Ophena S Pro has improved grip in the treading, making it an excellent choice for eventers. 

Improved grip, a design that allows shock absorption, or other innovative features can help with correct leg positioning, comfort, and flexibility.

Which is better: lightweight or heavier weight?

Technical stirrups can be made with lighter materials, such as plastic or aluminum, or heavier stainless steel. When choosing between lightweight and heavier-weight stirrups, it comes down to preference.

However, heavier stirrups made with stainless steel are easier to get back on your foot should you lose the stirrup during your ride. 

What material should I choose?

Stirrups can be made of stainless steel, aluminum, or plastic. Plastic stirrups come in many attractive colors but generally look cheaper and often have an inner metal core, making them difficult to recycle. Stainless steel is undoubtedly the noblest option with the highest durability, but aluminum stirrups are a great alternative and can be recycled well.

The design matters

Everyone wants to look their best, especially at horse shows. Even the design of the stirrups matters, and you should choose the ones that please your eye. 

Choose the right size

The size of the stirrups matter. If the stirrups are too big, the risk of your foot slipping through the stirrups increases. On the other hand, if the stirrups are too small, the risk of getting caught in your stirrups increases. 

As a rule of thumb, there should be one inch of space on either side of your boot when placed in the stirrups.

Are Ophena stirrups technical stirrups?

Ophena's magnetic safety stirrups and regular safety stirrups are all considered technical stirrups. They include some unique features you have not seen anywhere else:

  • Ophena S is our original magnetic safety stirrup model. It features an open design, magnetic connection, excellent grip, the Smart Attach™ system, and a beautiful design.
  • Ophena S Pro includes all the same features as Ophena S but has improved treading for better grip.
  • Ophena A is a regular safety stirrup without a magnetic connection, making it a good choice for all disciplines. Ophena A includes patent-pending technology, The Twister, that helps to release the rider's foot in case of an accident. 

Buy your own technical stirrups at

You can buy your own Ophena stirrups at Our stirrups are exclusively sold on our website and have received rave reviews among amateurs and professionals. 

Please take a look at our magnetic safety stirrups or Ophena A and choose which model is the best for you. Add it to your cart and complete your order to receive yours! You will also have a 60-day money-back guarantee: this is how much we trust that you'll love our stirrups.

Don't forget our accessories and stirrup leathers

Now that you have your new safety stirrups, you might want to take a look at our accessories that will help you keep your stirrups clean. We offer a useful stirrup cleaning kit that helps you keep your stirrups clean and ready for shows.

We also offer useful stirrup covers that protect your stirrups while they're hanging from your saddle. They are especially useful when your stirrups have harsh treading (to protect your stirrup leathers) and when you're transporting your saddle to shows.

We recently released our own, soft and high-quality stirrup leathers that go perfectly with your new stirrups. They're available in black, chocolate, and cognac! 

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to get in touch with us!