Sprenger Bow Balance Stirrups *****

I am 26, but my left knee feels 38 and my right 74, do you ever get that feeling of relief after a long ride when you take your feet out the stirrups...that tight stiffness in your knees as you slowly straighten your legs...and then the dread of jumping off your horse and onto the hard ground...ouuucccchhhhh, well...I don't get any of these sensations any more, they are but a mere memory as in May 2013 I invested in a pair of Sprenger Bow Balance Stirrups.

I must start my review with: The sizing; they're quite big, bulky stirrups, I am a shoe size 4 1/2 - 5 and my Sprenger Bow Balance stirrups are a size 120mm/4.3/4 - the sizing bamboozled me, they just looked huge until I got them onto the saddle and put my foot in.
The shape; ensures to improve leg position as it changes the weight ratio hanging through the stirrup leathers, helping to improve your centre of balance (thus you feel more balanced riding with them). I find the curved shape makes them easier to find too, on those embarrassing occasions when we 'loose' our stirrups. 
The dual lateral flexibility (aka the black rubbery bits at the sides); allows movement in 4 directions at once, which enables immediate release in the event of a fall. It is also what makes your body ache less because the flex reduces the impact on cartilage and ligaments reducing tension through hips, knees, ankles and calves. 
The tread; picks up your foot immediately, once your foot is in, its in! The tread is made of shock absorbing dual density rubber, and it is wider than that of normal irons.
The cost, they were a bit of an investment costing £145.00 (I have found them on offer from Old Mill Saddlery at £134.95 for those of you interested in purchasing some; The 'selling point' for me was comfort, because Oscar and I love long hacks and they have provided exactly that and have become a must-have item for me, I ride in them 4-5 times a week doing a variety of activities from jumping, hacking to schooling and they show no signs of wear and tear.
Cheaper alternative; I haven't tried these stirrups but a friend of mine recommends Dever, Flexi Stirrup Irons, £35.00
The wiggle test; Sprenger Bow Balance Stirrups have all this flexibility I have just raved on about but don't feel 'wiggly' so take care when shopping for a cheaper brand as there shouldn't be a great amount of movement when played with in your hands, remember they'll be taking most of your body weight when you'e in the saddle and too much 'wiggle' (technical term) will make you wobbly when riding and may unbalance you.
A picture of Oscar and I. Oscar looks fabulous...I on the other hand look un-stylish but happy...anyway the point of this picture is to show how the stirrups look on the saddle when ridden :o) so you can stop looking at me now, just focus on the feet please.

Do you ride in an alternitive flexi stirrup? If so which brand and why? 
Thank you for reading, Jessica & Oscar xx

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