Retail Price: $179.95
What I Paid: $170.95 at SmartPak
Purchased: August 2013
These stirrups are very traditional-looking, and only upon closer inspection would you notice they are not fillis irons, which I liked. The wide foot bed has a nearly cheese-grater pad that helps keep your foot from moving around, but isn’t as harsh as the full cheese-grater pads, plus they are ever so slightly angled down, to help with “heels down.” The rotating eyelet seems sturdy, and while not hard to move, it also doesn’t feel like it will ever move on its own. Finally, I love the wide foot bed – it really gave me a sense of extra stability, and the pad stops me from constantly readjusting where my foot is in the stirrup.
I tried all angles of the eyelet (no angle, 45 degrees and 90 degrees), and noticed I liked different variations for different horses. On Vinnie, who is super wide, I didn’t notice too much of a difference, except no pressure across my shins; I never realized that pressure was there until it wasn’t! On Diamond, I noticed the most difference. My right leg is much weaker and on Diamond for whatever reason it basically just hangs there uselessly. But as soon as I rotated my right stirrup 90 degrees, it was flush against her side, and stayed there; I could even push her off the rail using my right leg! On Miles, who is the lankiest of the bunch, I like my right stirrup to be rotated 90 degrees, but my left stirrup rotated only 45 degrees.
On all three horses, I have no more numbness after I ride and absolutely no knee pain. My back pain is also greatly reduced, and I blame the lingering issues there on compensating for poor abdominal strength.
Buy them! I was very skeptical at first, but after feeling the difference myself, I wouldn’t go back. They are a little pricey, but for the look I wanted and the pain-free riding I’m experiencing now, they are totally worth it. I feel so much more secure in the saddle, it’s fantastic! Plus you can tell they are made to last, and while lighter than my Fillis irons, they are not flimsy in the least.
I don’t think these stirrups are for everyone (why fix it, if it ain’t broke?) but if you have any numbness or pain that you want to get rid of, I would highly recommend the MDC brand. These stirrups come in various variations, including black, as well as with rubber pads and even ones with jointed branches, depending on what you’re looking for.