How to Turn Stirrups

Do you have sore knees after a long ride? Many riders develop knee pain as a result of struggling to keep their stirrup leathers and fenders rotated so that their stirrups hang in the proper direction. One of the most prevalent physical issues among western riders can be avoided by learning to turn your stirrups.

While most custom saddles and a few high-quality manufactured saddles have pre-twisted stirrup leathers, the vast majority of produced saddles do not.

The fender will be at a 90-degree angle with a turned stirrup. A stirrup that has not been twisted will hang parallel to the fender. Turned and unturned stirrups are demonstrated in the photographs on this page.

You may easily slip your boot in without having to reach down and grasp the stirrup when the stirrups are turned. You will not have to contend with the natural twist of the leathers and fenders, which is the source of knee pain. There are various stirrups on the market currently that are on a swivel and do not require turning. However, there is no need to purchase anything particular. Your existing stirrups will simply solve the problem.

Turning Western Stirrups

  1. Set your saddle up on a stand.
  2. Insert a 2×4 or equivalent broomstick through each stirrup so that both fenders turn back towards the saddle’s rear. The stirrups, stirrup leathers, and fenders will now be in the proper riding position. The stick should be long enough to pass through both stirrups and hefty enough to secure the fenders.The broomstick, as you can see in the photo, is a little light and does not provide as much turn as we would want.
  3. Oil the fenders (pure neatsfeet oil) every few months or so before installing the stick.The oil will soften the fenders and make them more pliable. Some people propose wetting the fenders with water, but we do not recommend wetting the saddles excessively.

If you make it a habit to always store your saddle with a stick through the stirrups, you will notice that they rapidly learn. Your knees will appreciate it.

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