How to choose safety stirrups for your discipline

Safety stirrups are essential for all equestrians. No matter if your discipline is showjumping, dressage, eventing, or simply trail riding, safety stirrups have been designed to increase safety and to minimize the risk of serious injuries. 

However, not all stirrups are created the same. All stirrups have different features and safety mechanisms, which makes them suitable for different needs and different disciplines. 

Here, we will look at how you can choose safety stirrups that suit your needs and are the best for your discipline. 

Safety stirrup models: numerous stirrup types

All safety stirrups have one goal: to increase safety and to reduce the chance of serious injury. This is achieved by creating a release mechanism that releases the rider's foot in case of a fall. By allowing the foot to release from the stirrups, serious injuries, such as getting dragged behind the horse or getting kicked, can be avoided. 

However, every manufacturer has different ways of achieving this goal, and every stirrup model has their own release mechanisms and safety features. 

Below, we have listed a few common safety features:

  • Open design: open outer side that releases the foot easier
  • Toe cover: prevents the foot from slipping through the stirrup
  • Release mechanism: the stirrup opens when pressure is applied

How to choose the right safety stirrups for your discipline

Especially riders who compete and attend shows have to consider what kind of safety stirrups to choose, because the stirrups have to comply with the rules and regulations. 

Next, we will look at some of the most essential things riders of these three main disciplines should keep in mind when choosing safety stirrups.

Dressage riders

The most important thing to keep in mind about dressage shows is that no extra aid is allowed. This means, for instance, crops and magnetic safety stirrups. So, dressage riders should look for safety stirrups without magnets or anything that could be considered as an extra aid. 

Also, dressage is all about presentation and how the rider and the horse look together. This is why most dressage riders also pay close attention to how their tack looks.

While there are many safety stirrups suitable for dressage, dressage riders also want to consider how visually pleasing the stirrup model is. 


Compared to dressage riders, showjumpers have much more freedom when it comes to tack. In showjumping, the main objective is to stay safe, and safety stirrups are encouraged if not mandatory. 

Showjumping is also a much riskier discipline than dressage, which means that riders have to take all safety aspects into account. For instance, in addition to the possibility of getting caught in the stirrups, the riders risk losing a stirrup during the ride. 

Thus, magnetic safety stirrups can be an excellent choice for showjumpers: the magnet keeps the rider's foot in place and decreases the chance of losing the stirrups when riding.


Riders who do eventing have to consider both dressage and showjumping aspects. In addition, they have to consider the cross country test. Eventing is a high-speed sport that includes big risks. For instance, eventers have to deal with different types of weather when doing their cross country tests.

In addition to considering all of the above, eventers should also consider the grip of the safety stirrup. The better the grip, the lesser of a chance of the rider's foot slipping out of the stirrups.

Ophena stirrups are suitable for all disciplines

Indeed, time to toot our own horn. Ophena manufactures safety stirrups that are suitable for all disciplines. 

First, we want to mention our magnetic safety stirrups, Ophena S and Ophena S Pro, that are excellent for showjumpers. They feature a magnetic connection and an open design that make them ideal for showjumpers.

The magnetic connection decreases the chance of losing the stirrup during a ride, and the open design decreases the chance of getting caught in the stirrup in case of an accident. 

Also, Ophena S and Ophena S Pro are approved by FEI showjumping

Ophena A is a regular safety stirrup that features patent-pending technology. The stirrups do not have a magnetic connection, and the outer side is closed by a silicone piece that releases when pressure is applied. 

This makes the stirrups suitable for all disciplines, even dressage. Also, they include integrated dampening that absorb harder impacts, making them an excellent choice for showjumpers and eventers, too. 

As a cherry on top, all of our stirrups have an excellent grip, thanks to carefully designed treading.

Ready to get your own safety stirrups?

Check out our safety stirrups and see which model suits you the best. If you have any questions, we are always here to help.