Featured on selected Bates saddles, the Adjustable Ergonomic Stirrup Bar enables the rider to have complete control over their preferred riding position, by easily altering the location of the stirrup bar.
‘Adjustable’ and ‘ergonomic’ may sound like fancy buzz words, but used together, they simply mean you can change something to make it more comfortable and efficient. When applied to a stirrup bar, these features are a gamechanger for allowing a rider to find a natural, balanced position that suits their individual biomechanics.
But I’ve worked for years to improve my position?
Of course, maintaining an effortless, balanced position in the saddle is a result of correct riding. However, riders come in all different shapes and sizes – some of us are even carrying the lasting effects of an injury or two – which means the traditional one-size-fits-all stirrup placement may not make it easy to sustain the perfect ear-shoulder-hip-heel alignment we aspire to.
When your stirrup bar is aligned with your position, you’ll find there’s less tension in your body and you’ll be able to sit centrally without tipping forwards or backwards. For those of us with tight hip flexors or lower back pain, this simple adjustment may even be the key to riding without discomfort.
How does the bar adjust?
You’ll need to adjust the Adjustable Ergonomic Stirrup Bar before you mount.
- Remove your stirrup leathers.
- Lift the catch and slide the bar forwards or backwards until you feel it click into the next location.
- Close the catch by pressing down firmly to lock the bar into place.
- Refit your stirrup leathers.
How do I know which adjustment is right for me?
For this part, you’ll need a coach, friend or an ingenious way of filming your riding when flying solo.
Start by clicking the catch of the Adjustable Ergonomic Stirrup Bar into the central position and then once mounted and travelling forwards on your horse, assess if your upper body is tipping forward or backwards.
If you’re leaning forward a little, moving the bar forwards may help you to achieve a better balance so that you’re not inadvertently blocking your horse’s forward movement.
On the other hand, if you’re tipping backwards with your upper body, you may also feel the sensation of sitting heavier in the saddle. By adjusting the bar backwards, your pelvis will be rotated further underneath you and your horse’s back will gradually soften too as you’re able to sit more lightly.
One little test, if you feel safe to do so, is to try some sit trot with and without your stirrups. If you find sit trot easier without stirrups, then it may be worth trialing a different stirrup bar position.
Wow! Why don’t all saddles have adjustable stirrup bars?
The Bates Saddles development team actually worked on designing an adjustable stirrup bar for many years. We wanted to offer a solution that would not compromise the rider’s ability to keep their thigh close to the horse at competitive levels.
The Adjustable Ergonomic Stirrup Bar is a feature that complements our other high-performance saddle innovations. Traditionally saddle fitting has solely concentrated on the comfort of the horse, so it’s a relatively radical concept to customise the saddle for the rider too.