Staying safe while riding is my number one priority. It’s not that I’m afraid of falling or the pain – I’m afraid of the time I might be out of the saddle if I get hurt badly enough. My horse is hot and incredibly quick – she can be out from underneath you before you’ve even realized that she’s spooking. She also sometimes takes jumps like a rocket ship. Unfortunately, I’m not made too well and I injure easily, so prevention is key for me. I have the knees of a 90 year old aka typical rider knees, so I need to have flex in my irons. I know George Morris is an advocate of the solid fillis style, which is definitely the most traditional, but I prefer being able to walk without wanting to die over tradition so I’ll take my jointed irons. I’ve been using Royal Riders Flex Irons for years, and I love them – they give great grip and have just enough flex. Some stirrups have way too much flex and can cause your leg to be incredibly unstable (like the Sprenger Bow Balance Irons, I hate these) and actually work against you.
After a particularly scary fall, I was looking for a solution to help keep me safer – and that’s when I found OnTyte. I watched every video I could find on YouTube and scoured the internet for information and reviews. My initial questions and concerns were “are these safe? Will my foot come out if I fall? Are these restrictive? Are they comfortable? Are they practical? Are they worth the high price tag?” So I set out to try the demo pair from Solea Equestrian. I got the demo booties and my OnTyte Jointed Grip stirrups, and it was love at first ride. Having to reach down and adjust your stirrup when you first get on definitely takes getting used to, but after they’re set where you want them you don’t need to adjust them at all. They don’t make your foot feel stuck, they really just make you feel almost like you have weights in your feet. Your base just feels grounded and solid. It’s a strange sensation, but definitely a good one. This weighted-ness is really what keeps you from getting out of the tack when you’re not expecting your horse to jump 3 feet higher than necessary. The magnets give you a fighting chance to regain your balance and right yourself in case of a spinning spook. I can’t even count how many times these stirrups have kept me out of the dirt. Since I’ve gotten them (in July 2017), I’ve fallen once and they significantly decreased the rate of speed of which I fell, turning what could have potentially been bad into nothing but dusting my jacket off. I will say that I’ve never had a problem with keeping my stirrups or keeping my heels down, and these should NOT be used as a replacement for proper training and leg position. I think these should only be used by experienced riders who are looking to keep themselves a little safer, not as an easy way to keep your feet in the stirrup or in the proper place. These stirrups are an invaluable backup for me – but that is what they are, a backup.
- The soles: so they make demo booties, but they’re made only for that, and aren’t built to handle every day riding. I bought the Precision Placement Soles soon after trying the demos and got them put on my Parlantis by a cobbler in Burbank. There are 4 areas you can put the metal plates in the sole to customize the position of grip in the stirrup. I only put these on when I’m about to mount, and wear other shoes until then to prolong the life of both my boots and the soles, which seem to be holding up great. Another reason why I don’t wear them around is because they sound like tap shoes. Essentially, they are with the metal plates, so you tap along with every step, and it can be slightly embarrassing.
- The Stirrup: They are well-made, sturdy, and heavy. They have a little too much flex for my taste, but I’ve gotten used to them. I still haven’t found a stirrup with as perfect of a flex at the Royal Riders.
After riding in them for over 6 months, I feel I can confidently go back and answer the initial questions I had:
- Are these safe? Will my foot come out if I fall? Yes. The magnets aren’t so strong that they won’t release your foot in a fall. They also easily release if you lift the inside of your foot, but stay if you lift straight up – it’s pretty cool!
- Are these restrictive? No. They feel like a normal stirrup, just with some added weight in your foot.
- Are they practical? They’re definitely not the most practical. It’s a pain in the ass tohave to get your boots resoled, and the soles are pretty expensive. You don’t have to do anything after getting the soles put on though, and require very little maintenance (just brush the dirt out of the metal plates). I also wish they didn’t sound like tap shoes.
- Are they worth the high price tag? To me, yes. Do I wish they were more affordable? Of course. But how safe they’ve kept me is invaluable. They are lifesavers in my opinion, and I don’t ever see myself using any other stirrup on this particular horse.
Feel free to email me or DM me on Instagram with any questions about these!