Western Saddle Guide

Western Saddle Guide > Saddle How To's > Stirrup Length

How To Determine Correct Stirrup Length

While there are some guidelines, stirrup length ends up being mainly a matter of personal preference. Some folks like to ride with shorter stirrups, some folks with longer ones.

The activity you're involved in can also impact stirrup length. Heading out for an all day trail ride and you'll probably want the comfort of stirrups on the longer side. Saddling up to train a young horse and you'll probably want the security and feel of shorter stirrups.

There are several good techniques for estimating a starting point for your stirrup length. One method is done from the ground and two are done from the saddle. Many riders will find these techniques will give them the right length. Others will need to adjust the length further to fit their own personal preferences.

stirrup length
From the Ground
  • A good place to start is to have your stirrups the same length as your arm. With your hand touching where the stirrup leather attaches to the saddle tree (underneath the seat jockey), adjust the length so that the bottom of your stirrup reaches your armpit.

    This technique allows you to mount the horse knowing that your stirrups are at the least "in the ballpark," which is a good safety practice.

stirrup length
From the Saddle
  • Hang your legs down out of the stirrups. Adjust your stirrup so that the bottom of the stirrup is level or slightly below your anklebone.

  • Stand in the saddle. Adjust your stirrup so that you have clearance of approximately the width of your fist between your seat and the seat of the saddle.

If you're a beginner rider, you should err on the side of shorter stirrups. You'll have more control while you work on further developing your riding skills.

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