Which way do safety stirrups go?

Stirrups and more importantly safety stirrups are an essential part of your tack. No matter the discipline, chances are that you use stirrups on your saddle. When you buy a new saddle, it doesn't come with safety stirrups: you have to buy them separately. Also, whenever you buy new safety stirrups, you have to detach the old ones and replace them with the new ones. But which way do safety stirrups go?

Attach your stirrups on the saddle - here's how you do it

If you have never had to detach and attach your stirrups before, it may feel a bit complicated at first. The first thing to do if to detach your old stirrups from the saddle. Do it by unlatching the stirrup leathers completely and pull out the leather. Then, you can slide your old stirrups out.

Replace the old stirrups with your new safety stirrups. Here's the tricky part: you want to ensure that you attach the stirrups the right way. Safety stirrups usually have an unlocking mechanism or an open side - that side should always be pointing outward when your foot is in the stirrup.

So, the open side should be closer to the knee pad of the saddle after they have been attached. See the image below. No matter the brand of your safety stirrups, this is the way they should be positioned.

Safety stirrups

After you have figured out the right way for the stirrups to hang off the stirrup leathers, start by sliding the stirrup leather through the hook that's on your saddle. This may be challenging especially if you have a new saddle. Tip: use the help of a hoof pick to pull your stirrup leather through the hook, if you are having trouble.

Ophena Smart Attach System makes detaching super fast and easy

If you have ever changed your safety stirrups before, you know that it can be frustrating or challenging at times. Especially, when you have to be able to do it quickly. Fortunately, Ophena has taken this into account when designing their safety stirrups.

Ophena magnetic safety stirrups feature a Smart Attach System that allows you to remove your stirrups without detaching the stirrup leathers. Look at the images below to get an idea:

Safety stirrups
Here, Ophena S has not been attached yet. Notice how the stirrup leathers have not been removed.
Ophena S safety stirrups
Slide the leather through our Smart Attach System.
Safety stirrups
And now you can set the length of your stirrups!

As you can see, when using Ophena Smart Attach system, it only takes a few minutes to attach your stirrups. In fact, this feature is one of the reasons why our customers love the stirrups so much.

Where can I buy safety stirrups?

You can buy your safety stirrups online or at a tack store. There are multiple different brands on the market, so you should use some time and compare all available ones. When choosing your safety stirrups, take into account your discipline, material preference, price range and other factors that you may need to consider.

We have compiled many different safety stirrups in our article about the best safety stirrups for adults, so you can easily compare them and pick a pair that suits you best.

Why are safety stirrups important?

The purpose of safety stirrups is to release your foot from the stirrups in case of an accident. This way, you will not get stuck in your stirrups, like the rider in the video below:


There are many different kinds of safety stirrups on the market. When you buy yours, make sure that you insert them the correct way. Otherwise, the safety mechanism of the stirrups won't be able to do its job.

If you are unsure about how you should place your safety stirrups, you can always contact the manufacturer to ask for advice.