Usually, stirrup leathers don't come with the saddle, so you will have to buy them separately. Your first goal is to have leathers that are long enough for your preferred discipline. Your second goal is to color-coordinate the leathers to match the color of your saddle.
Types of stirrup leathers
Generally, there are three different types of leathers for stirrups: traditional, synthetic and lined.
Traditional stirrup leathers are made of leather and they are easy to use and keep clean. If needed, you can even add holes to them. The only downside is that they may stretch over time, depending on the habits of the rider.
Synthetic leather for stirrups made by those saddle manufacturers that produce synthetic saddles. They are easy to clean as well. However, you should not put synthetic stirrup leathers in a regular leather saddle, as the synthetic material can scratch the leather.
Lines stirrup leathers are made of a nylon core with soft leather lining on the outside. The nylon inside is made to protect the stirrups against stretching. The downside of them is that you cannot punch holes in them, or cut them if needed.
What to consider when choosing stirrup leathers?
In addition to the material, you should consider the width of the leathers as well as the spaces between the holes. Usually, the holes can be either a half an inch or a full inch apart from each other. If you need a very specific length, half an inch between holes is better.
Also, the width is important and mainly a matter of preference. Especially small riders, such as children, should usually use more narrow leathers.
In addition, you might want to consider the type of buckle the leathers have. Some are curved, some straight and some made of stainless steel.
Color of your stirrup leather
It is usually preferred among riders to choose leathers so that they match the color of the saddle. If your saddle is black, you will have absolutely no trouble matching your stirrup leathers. However, if your saddle is brown, you should use some time to find the correct color match.
Often times, the leathers won't match perfectly in color with your brown saddle. This is because stirrup leathers are made of different leather than the saddle and they absorb color dye differently.
Also, take into account that brown saddles usually darken over time after conditioning.
Stirrup leather length
The length of your stirrup leather varies depending on how tall you are and what your preferred discipline is.
Usually, jumpers use 54 inch leathers. If you are short, you might want to choose stirrup leathers that are between 48 and 52 inches. On the other hand, tall riders may require 56 inch stirrup leathers.
For dressage, the average length is 60 inches. If you are short, 56 or 58 inches may be enough. On the other hand, tall riders might want to consider 62-67 inch stirrup leather.
Measure your stirrup leather length
It is easy to measure the correct length for your stirrups.
1. Measure the length of your arm from your armpit to the tips of your fingers for jumpers. Or inseam of your leg to the ankle bone for dressage riders.
2. Double the measurement
3. Add a couple of inches for jumpers, or 6-8 inches for dressage riders
Don't forget your stirrups
Frequently asked questions
What is the best material for stirrup leathers?
There are a few options for you to choose from: you can have real leather, synthetic leather, or liner. Whichever option is the best for you, that is the one you should get. Ultimately, they all have their pros and cons. However, most riders prefer real leather.
How much should I spend?
Usually, you get what you pay for. You should always ensure that the product you buy is of good quality, especially when it comes to stirrup leathers. Bad quality leathers can stretch or break.
Where should I buy them?
You can purchase your leathers either online or from a local tack store. If you already know what you want, online might be the way to go. However, if you don't, it might be worth it to check out options at your local tack store.
How often should I replace my stirrup leathers?
Stirrup leathers do show wear and tear after some time of use. For instance, they might start stretching, which will ultimately (in a long run) cause them to snap. So, inspect your stirrup leathers on a regular basis and replace them when needed. Also, remember not to use oil for stirrup leathers when cleaning them, as it will make them softer and aid in stretching of the material.
Choosing the correct length for your stirrups is essential, as when they are too short, you might run out of length. And if they are too long, you will have too much leeway flapping around that you do not need. Remember, that you should always check your stirrup leathers regularly for wear and tear, and replace them when needed.