I have a very important question to pose to readers today: do you change the length of your stirrups to jump? I know it’s a very small thing, and I’m sure everyone does it differently, but this question seems to pop up in my riding at least once every few months. So naturally I’m curious as to everyone’s thoughts on the subject. But let me back up, and give you some insight on my personal dilemma.
When I was in high school [which was the last time I was actively showing on the hunter/jumper circuit] I rode with the same stirrup length regardless of what I was doing: equitation, hunter under saddle, jumping, trail riding, whatever. But when I moved down to Central Ohio and began to ride with some new people, I was told I should lengthen my stirrups to flat and raise them up to jump. On my old, very round, horse I never noticed much of a difference. I felt like the length of my stirrups by one or even two holes just didn’t change my riding or position very much.
Fast forward to my current trainer. She has never said anything to me about the length of my stirrups… but I’ve been playing with them over the last several years. I noticed on Vinnie that I prefer a longer stirrup to help me more effectively wrap my leg around his wider barrel. On Miles, I’ve flip flopped. For a while I shortened my stirrups, but then I had difficulty with “over posting” and not being able to post the trot without stirrups. I read that part of the problem could be that my stirrups were too short. So I lengthened them and was able to wrap my leg down and around my horse again, and posting without stirrups became feasible, if not pretty.
But again in my lesson last Thursday, I felt very unbalanced over fences and noticed that when I’m in half seat or two-point, my legs “extend” so much sometimes that my knee is no longer on the knee roll of my saddle. But I still really prefer a longer stirrup to flat in — it’s easier for me to post and use my leg to push Miles forward at the trot and canter. I know, that’s a ton of information to throw at you but the gist is: I’m in a pickle. And I should really probably just ask my trainer what she thinks, but I wanted to get ya’lls opinion too.