7 safety stirrup types you should know

Safety stirrups are an essential component of equestrian equipment, providing stability and support for riders. However, not all stirrups are created equal when it comes to safety.

In this article, we will explore different types of stirrups and compare their features to determine which ones truly make a difference in terms of rider safety.

From innovative designs to advanced technologies, we will delve into the world of safety stirrups to help you make an informed decision.

The importance of safety stirrups

Riding a horse involves inherent risks, and it is crucial to prioritize the safety of the rider.

Traditional stirrups may pose a potential hazard, especially in the event of a fall or accident.

Safety stirrups, on the other hand, are specifically designed to minimize the risk of accidents and injuries. These stirrups incorporate various mechanisms and features that enhance rider security. Let's explore some of the most popular types of safety stirrups available on the market today.

Peacock stirrups with side rubber

One type of safety stirrup is the peacock stirrup with side rubber. This design features an open frame on the side facing away from the horse, connected by a thick rubber band that releases when pressure is applied.

The footbed of these stirrups provides stability and is not flexible. While this design offers some safety benefits, it may not provide the level of flexibility desired by all riders.

Curved safety stirrups

The curved safety stirrups are a popular choice among riders, particularly those involved with Icelandic horses. These stirrups have a curved frame, with the side facing away from the horse curved forward.

This design aims to prevent the rider's foot from slipping out in case of a fall. The footbed of these stirrups is stable and designed to support the rider's ball of the foot.

Safety stirrups with click mechanism

Safety stirrups with a click mechanism feature a joint connecting the footbed and the stirrup frame. This joint allows the footbed to flex and release when subjected to excessive force, providing added safety.

When the joint is locked, the footbed remains stable, allowing the rider to maintain a secure position. Many riders find this type of stirrup advantageous, as it offers both flexibility and stability.

Flexible joint safety stirrups

Flexible joint safety stirrups are designed with two to four joints incorporated into the stirrup. These joints make the footbed more flexible, allowing for a greater range of movement.

The footbed is not stable but rather moves with the rider's foot. This design aims to reduce the risk of the foot getting trapped in the stirrup during a fall.

Stirrups with foot cage

Stirrups with a foot cage are easily recognizable due to the plastic cage attached to the stirrup, which limits the forward movement of the foot. This design prevents the foot from slipping through the stirrup, even in the event of a fall. It is a visually distinctive option and is often preferred for children or riders who desire extra security.

Magnetic safety stirrups

Magnetic safety stirrups have become increasingly popular in recent years. At Ophena, we manufacture magnetic safety stirrups that have received five-star ratings all over the world.

The magnetic safety stirrups include a magnet that pulls towards the magnet in your magnetic insoles. The magnetic connection keeps the rider’s foot in one place and allows for better balance and posture and improved confidence.

One-arm safety stirrups

One-arm safety stirrups are an innovative design that combines aesthetics with functionality. These stirrups appear seamless on the outside but feature a flexible arm that can open if subjected to significant force.

Modern versions of one-arm safety stirrups often include textured steel footbeds and come in various colors. These stirrups provide both style and safety.

Choosing the right safety stirrups for you

Selecting the appropriate safety stirrups depends on various factors, including your discipline, riding experience, and personal preferences. Consider the following points when choosing safety stirrups:

  1. Discipline: Different disciplines may have specific requirements or preferences when it comes to stirrups. Research the recommendations for your specific discipline to ensure compliance. For instance, dressage riders may have a different stirrup preference to showjumpers.
  2. Experience level: Riders at different experience levels may have varying needs. Beginners may benefit from stirrups with enhanced safety features, while experienced riders may prioritize other factors such as performance or aesthetics.
  3. Safety features: Evaluate the safety features of each stirrup design and consider which ones align with your needs and concerns. Flexibility, stability, and the ability to release under pressure are essential factors to consider.
  4. Comfort: Comfort is crucial for both rider and horse. Test different stirrups to find the design that provides optimal comfort and support for your feet and legs.
  5. Budget: Consider your budget when exploring the various safety stirrup options.

While safety is paramount, it is important to find a balance between quality and affordability.

Remember, safety stirrups are just one aspect of rider safety. It is essential to prioritize proper riding techniques, maintaining a secure seat, and wearing appropriate safety gear.


Safety stirrups play a significant role in minimizing the risk of accidents and injuries while riding. With a wide range of options available, riders can choose the stirrup design that best suits their needs and preferences.
Whether it's the peacock stirrups, curved safety stirrups, safety stirrups with a click mechanism, flexible joint safety stirrups, stirrups with a foot cage, magnetic safety stirrups, or one-arm safety stirrups, each design offers specific benefits.
By considering factors such as discipline, experience level, safety features, comfort, and budget, riders can make an informed decision and ride with confidence and peace of mind.
Remember, safety should always be a top priority, and investing in the right safety stirrups is a step towards ensuring a secure and enjoyable riding experience.