Detachable stirrups increase rider safety by detaching from the saddle if the rider falls, preventing them from being dragged. They come in various styles and are recommended for novice riders and those working with nervous horses. The stirrups work through rubber bands, rotating hooks, or peeling off the saddle. It’s important to understand how they work and maintain them properly. Check if breakaways are allowed in show rings and use appropriate styles.
Detachable stirrups are stirrups designed to detach from the saddle if a rider falls, ensuring that the rider is not dragged if their foot is caught in the stirrup. These stirrups significantly increase the rider’s safety, saving him from serious injury and even death. Most companies that supply tacks carry detachable yokes in a range of styles to suit all riders; these stirrups are highly recommended for novice riders or riders who work with nervous horses.
When a rider falls out of the saddle, getting caught in the stirrups is a major concern. Assuming the rider wears a helmet to protect his head, as long as he can roll off the horse, the risk of injury is fairly minimal. However, if the rider’s boots or shoes are caught in the stirrups, the horse will drag the rider until he decides to stop, and the drag may startle the horse, causing it to run even further than it otherwise would have. Besides being quite humiliating, this can also be very painful; the rider will be irritated and run the risk of being kicked or dragged over obstacles, which can be very dangerous.
If a rider is using detachable stirrups, when he falls, the stirrups detach, allowing the rider to roll off the horse while the animal runs free. The stirrups can easily be reattached to the saddle once the horse has calmed down and stopped. Depending on the conditions of the fall, the ride may resume, or it may be postponed until both horse and rider feel less disturbed.
These brackets work in several ways. Some are simply secured with strong rubber bands that hold under normal riding conditions, but give way under intense strain. Others are designed with hooks that rotate out of the stirrup skins if the stirrups shift from the normal riding position, as would happen if a rider fell with a boot in the stirrup. In some cases, the stirrup and stirrup leather both peel off the saddle.
When buying release stirrups, it is good to understand how they work and to buy stirrups that are appropriate for the type of saddle you are using. For people showing their horses, it may be advisable to check whether or not breakaways are allowed in the show ring and, if they are, whether there is a particular style that should be used. Like all nails, detachable brackets benefit from regular maintenance, which includes cleaning, oiling the metal parts to prevent rust, and checking for any damage that could cause the brackets to break or fail.