Would you buy these stirrups?


K'vall stirrups
K'vall stirrups are designed to give the rider more stability and to reduce fatigue.

After many decades of the basic Fillis stirrup iron, there have been a number of efforts to improve upon the design. First there were safety stirrups, then jointed stirrups. Then there were stirrup/boot systems that “lock” together.

Now this company has come out with a new type of stirrup design that supports the whole foot and is supposed to increase rider stability and reduce fatigue.

The designers of the stirrup claim that the traditional design puts riders in an inherently weak position in that the traditional heels down position requires increased ankle flexion and an elongated calf with too much pressure on the ball of the foot. They propose that the K’vall stirrup balances physical efforts between the front and the back of the leg and that the full foot support prevents fatigue.

Certainly, I’ve had times when I’ve had my feet “go to sleep” on long rides — especially those where I’ve been jumping a lot or riding in two point.

E Z Ride Stirrup with Cage
The K'vall reminds me of the EZ ride stirrups I had for trail riding.

In this regard the K’vall stirrup appears to be a cousin of the endurance stirrup. E-Z ride stirrups have a foot bed that’s four inches front to back, and padded to boot. They definitely help with weight dissipation and are quite comfortable on long rides.

Of course, in addition to the wide foot bed and the cage, the K’vall stirrups use a second strap to stabilize the leg by creating a triangle.

Is the stirrup too secure? On forum discussions I’ve read concerns about safety. The manufacturer says that it has a very efficient foot release.

  • The back axis and the rear belts unclip automatically in case of an emergency fall.
  • The cage is wide in order to give the foot the most possible freedom.
  • The side branches are indented for an easy foot release.
  • The stirrup strap can separate from the stirrup bar.

So, what do riders who have tried this stirrup think?

I found a few comments from two riders who’ve tried the K’vall stirrup, both on the Horse and Hound Forum.

Here’s the first review:

. . . riding was an interesting experience, they use slightly difference muscles as your foot now has a level footbed. I tried in the heels down position, but soon moved to horizontal due to my muscles screaming!

So thus far I have hacked, showjumped, played on our cross county and done a 12mile fun ride in them. I can truly say I’m hooked!

I love these stirrups, they are far more stable than anything I have ever ridden in, and even when the horse leaps sideways due to horse eating pigs behind the hedge, you can stay in the plate much easier.

Now I’m a terrible toes down heels up type person, especially jumping, and these babies have cured that and your lower leg doesn’t swing back. Interestingly as you are more stable, it eliminates that need to pivot on your knees too.

For cross country they are marvellous! I did our trakenner and ski jumps and was completely stable and everything becomes easy. Encouraging enough to think about doing more XC from a committed sj’ing person!

And here’s another:

I’ve been using them since Feb 2010 and would not be without them now.

I used to get lower back pain when doing a lot of canter work (caused by slouching at work rather than riding), however with the kvall I get no pain at all and can do a 12 mile fun ride even when not riding fit and suffer no consequences the next day (normally would be very stiff and on the ibuprofen).

They have also been great hunting, and people may comment on the unusual looks, but most people have been interested rather than rude (well to my face!!!)

Here are some people riding with the K’vall stirrups.

I admit that they are intriguing but with a $250 price tag, I think I’ll wait for a few more reviews or for the price to come down.

6 thoughts on “Would you buy these stirrups?

  1. would the two point position purist think that alters the way the rider distributes weight without the work that develops the seat?

    sounds like a good safety idea to me. Similarly, that’s what I like about riding in western stirrups – the bracing support. Good for those of us riding with back conditions ! But the price is steep indeed.

  2. I would think that it would put you riding with your balance on your feet instead of your thighs and calves and it would encourage you to brace against the movement instead of going with the movement. If you are riding standing in the stirrups with regular irons it probably feels more secure. If you have a good seat with even contact down your whole leg I would think it would feel less secure.
    Not for me, but then I didn’t like the saddle seat belt or other gimmicks either.

  3. Interesting. But I agree with Barbara above when she says it isn’t likely to help with true balance and horsemanship. Ideally, one should be able to ride bareback with the same balance and control as with stirrups….not that I can, mind you, but that is the theory : )
    They also look like a dragging accident waiting to happen. I would be afraid of them for that reason. but if they are so comfortable for people than that is great! Maybe even they can have a use in rehab riding?

  4. I would absolutely buy those stirrups for my mom. If I were to go on hunts, there’s a good chance I’d be interested for that, too.
    My mom prefers a western saddle to an english saddle despite the fact hers puts her in a very unstable position – which equates to unsafe given she’s… more advanced in age, and not very fit. I think the added stability those stirrups seem to give would help support her attempts for a better leg position in an english saddle, and encourage her to continue with her FAR better riding in one. She doesn’t want to show, ever, so show ring appeal wouldn’t matter at all.

  5. Firstly the price is quite prohibative for most riders and secondly I worry about safety. If an accident should occur, how difficult is it to get your foot out? Definately not for me.

  6. As a user (as many others) of those stirrups, and i have several time got “ejected” of my horse i can insure you that those stirrups are the ultimate security ones. It is just IMPOSSIBLE to remain blocked in, the lateral security works perfectly.
    In terms of comfort and balance, no judgment can be given without testing them. Balance is just immediate, gravity centers are aligned (the human and the horse one). I will just never ride without anymore !

    A nice video of the perfect security function (old one but still evident ) : http://affairekvall.passion-cheval.net/temoignages/chute-cheval-kvall/ (the post is in french but the video is in horse ^^)

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