I treated myself to a pair of new E-Z Ride stirrups. Both my hip joints are prone to soreness, and my lower back has picked up a lot of wear and tear. So a stirrup with a bit of cushioning in the form of a flexible rubber tread appealed to me. Of course these are not a stock item in Britain so an order had to be sent across the Atlantic Ocean. Six weeks later a pair of stirrups arrived.
I like these stirrups. To start with my boots fit them. OK, I know that stirrups can be ordered in various sizes. However traditional English stirrups don't tend to be designed for heavy steel toecap boots - Chippewa lumberjack boots in this case. My new stirrups seem to have been designed for people who dress like I do for riding. Not out of reverence for tradition like so much English gear.
I like those boots. Brena has stood on one and I noticed only when I tried to step away and found it pinned to the ground. Then I told her to move over, and she freed me. They're comfortable to walk in too. As you can see from the picture, they have been dragged through plenty of thorns too. That's one reason why I didn't buy caged stirrups - all the more chance of getting hooked up on something.
Riding is more comfortable too, with just a bit of spring in trot and canter. I noticed a slight squeak in trot. It was a boot moving against the side of a stirrup. So clearly the suspension aspect of these stirrups works. If I'm comfortable I'll be more balanced, and that makes me less of a burden to Brena.
I ride with long stirrups, with most of my anatomical suspension provided (I suppose) by ankles and feet. I find riding that way easier, with plenty of weight in my feet: more Western than English. Foam treads are going to enhance the limited spring that my body provides after twenty thousand trail miles. I do wish that I'd discovered these stirrups thousands of miles ago.