Choosing stirrups requires an understanding of the type of horseback riding that you do, such as jumping, roping, side-saddling or racing. Stirrups offer different features, such as safety releases that allow the foot to disengage at a certain angle in case of a fall. Stirrups also come in various shapes, including narrow oxbow stirrups that offer a tight fit for small feet or difficult riding during colt-breaking .Wide and deep roper stirrups, worn during Western riding, offer more foot movement. Regardless of the type of stirrup you need, wearing the correct boot and stirrup size provides comfort and security for the rider by stabilising the foot and weight.
Bring or wear your riding boots when sizing your foot for stirrups. Wear riding boots that have a thick heel because the heel offers traction. Boots with a heel can prevent falling or injury, preventing your foot from sliding through the stirrup in the event that your horse makes a sudden movement.
Measure the widest part of your foot in inches with measuring tape, from side-to-side, with your boots on. Add one to two inches onto your measurement to account for one inch or a half-inch of slack on both sides of your stirrups, based on your preference and riding style. The extra room allows you to fit your foot in and out of the stirrup, offering movement when riding or foot release when falling.
Place your boot in the stirrup closest to your size. Stirrup sizes range from 4 to 4.25 inches for children or adults with small feet, 4.5 inches for a medium foot and 4.75 to 5 inches for a large or extra large foot.
Test your stirrups while riding. Your feet should sit in the middle of the stirrup without shifting against the sides and the stirrup should feel comfortable on your feet and against your legs.