I have always been a safety conscious horse person, always wore my helmet, wore my back protector riding young horses and so on. So I was very interested to try out the Rid’UP safety stirrup.
As far as I know, it is currently the only “breakaway” stirrup available, especially in Ireland. I have seen many other safety stirrups, such as the Tech stirrups, Acavello Arena and the well known Free jump stirrups, but I always found issues with these stirrups. As we all well know, if you have any piece of equipment that sticks out around horses, its likely to get caught on something. I always felt the same with the safety stirrups that had a bendy arm or a detachable arm, that it could get caught in your boot. I have read, and seen, horses get bridles and bits caught in the free jump stirrups when they go for a fly or sniff your boot while mounted. There is a video on you tube of a rider demonstrating a fall from a mechanical horse with different stirrups. Interestingly all the “safety stirrups” that had detachable or bendable arms all caught her boot. The only one to actually release was a breakaway one. So if I was to design a safety stirrup, it would be a breakaway type.
Does the Rid’Up stirrup break away?
Yes, when the angle that is associated with being dragged is applied to the stirrup, along with pressure, the clip releases from the stirrup. The clip has a ball spring and only comes away when the angle applied. No fear of it coming away when mounting from the ground, or having a bucking horse. While riding in the stirrups, my pony did buck and leap, and the stirrup stayed put. The amount of pressure to get the clip to release was on average of 10.6kg. Two attempts was at 11kg, while one attempt was at 10 kg (you can find a little short clip on this I made here) Either way, little weight can cause it to come away, when the correct angle is applied. This would give confidence to any rider concerned that not enough pressure, would lead them to enduring a drag fall with these stirrups.
Over the years I have had pains in my knees and ankles associated with horse riding, especially when riding for long periods. I have used bendable stirrups or stirrups with a hinge, which have provided more comfort. The Rid’Up Plus has a rubberized foot bed which reduces concussive forces and didn’t lead to any knee or ankle pain after a 2 hour ride up a mountain. I always found wide foot beds to be more comfortable, as there is reduced pressure on the ball of your foot, compared to standard and traditional irons. The Rid’Up is just the same, with a wide foot bed and slight angle to aid with foot stability.
When I got the Rid’Up stirrups, I looked online for other reviews, along with how the release mechanism worked. To my surprise, I couldn’t find many! There were lots of reviews on the stirrup, how comfortable it was etc, but few on the actual falling (or controlled fall) of a rider and the stirrup breaking away. At the end of the day, the point of these stirrups is to stop drag falls. So I have added below, a slow motion video (as best as my phone could provide) on how the stirrup releases.
It is also important to note, its very easy to reattach. I found a video of a rider reviewing the Flex On safety stirrup that pops out the side when pressure is applied, and you need a special tool to reattach the arm. That’s not very user friendly having to remember this tool every time you ride out, especially if you are out hunting or hacking.
The Rid’Up is on the expensive side for stirrups. You can find them in the Equine Ware house (for now anyway) for €269.95 for the Rid’Up Plus and €157.95 for the Rid’Up fun. The difference between the two is that the Fun doesn’t have the concussive support, but still has the safety mechanism. At the end of the day, what is the price of safety?
Over all, I really like this stirrup. I feel it is the best safety stirrup to actually do the job, as breakaway types were shown to actually release the foot when compared to others. Its very comfortable, easy to reattached the release clip if needed and didn’t cause me knee or ankle pain when riding up a mountain for two hours.