Safety stirrups vs. non-safety stirrups - what’s the difference?

Riding horses is a risky sport, which is why equestrians take good care of their safety. Wearing a helmet and a safety vest are an excellent start, and many even choose to use safety stirrups. But what is the difference between safety stirrups and non-safety stirrups? 

Today, we will look at the key differences and ponder whether or not using safety stirrups is worth the trouble and cost.

What are safety stirrups?

First things first: what are safety stirrups? They are stirrups that have a release mechanism that allows the rider’s foot to release from the stirrup in case of a fall. Now, you might wonder why this is so important. 

Usually, falls are not very serious. A rider might experience a bruise or two, or twist their wrist. However, in extreme cases, the rider may get their foot stuck in the stirrup and get dragged behind a spooked horse. Unfortunately, this happens often enough that safety stirrups have become a standard.

In the video below, you will see an example of an extreme fall. Note: the rider survived and is back on the horse.

Safety mechanisms in safety stirrups

The safety mechanisms are different and they operate in different ways depending on the brand and the manufacturer. For instance, some stirrups have a toe cover that prevents the foot from sliding through. Others have a mechanism on the outside of the stirrup and it opens when pressure is put onto it. Also, peacock stirrups with a rubber band covering the open side on the outside are quite popular (but not as safe as they look).

Ophena magnetic safety stirrups, on the other hand, have an open design that allows the foot to release. This safety mechanism has become popular among amateurs and professionals all over the world.

In the video below, you will see how Ophena S and Ophena S Pro operate. These magnetic safety stirrups are popular particularly among showjumpers.

In the video below, you will see how our new Ophena A safety stirrups work. These stirrups are great for everyone, no matter what discipline, but dressage riders have fallen in love with them as they are visually pleasing and also accepted at FEI shows.

Benefits of safety stirrups

The number one benefit that safety stirrups offer is, of course, increased safety. This is also the main difference between safety stirrups and non-safety stirrups. 

There are many different kinds of brands on the market, and each of them have their own benefits.

Below, we will list some benefits that Ophena safety stirrups provide:

  • Increased safety: Ophena S and Ophena S Pro feature an open design, whereas Ophena A features (patent-pending) The Twister
  • Beautiful design
  • Excellent grip
  • Smart Attach™ system for easier detachment and attachment of stirrups

What are non-safety stirrups?

Non-safety stirrups are regular stirrups that do not have a safety mechanism. There are still many stirrups of this kind on the market these days, so sometimes you may run into regular stirrups that have no release mechanism.

These kinds of stirrups are not recommended to anyone, no matter the discipline. You should always rather choose safety stirrups, even if you simply do trail rides or ride at home.

Order Ophena safety stirrups at

Ophena safety stirrups (Ophena S, Ophena S Pro, Ophena A) are all available exclusively at You can order your stirrups easily.

  1. Choose your favorite stirrup at our shop
  2. Choose the color
  3. Choose the size for your magnetic insoles (for Ophena S and Ophena S Pro)
  4. Place your order

All of our stirrups have a 60-day money-back guarantee. Also, if you would like to personalize your stirrups, you can do so by choosing engraving to your stirrups. 

Any questions? Contact us!