A rider's aids should be invisible, but 100% effective. It is easier for the rider to sit deep in the saddle when the leg is relaxed and comfortably supported in the stirrup.
A dream and goal of every dressage rider is a comfortable and secure position, which also allows the leg to be independent of the seat for effective use in even the most complicated elements. Winderen stirrups will help to achieve this goal.
Stirrups with scientifically proven effectiveness in shock absorption
The effectiveness of the Winderen stirrups in terms of shock absorption and improved leg stability was confirmed by scientific research conducted by Dr Adrian Harrison and M.Sc. Marta Kulikowska from the University of Copenhagen.
Harrison and Kulikowska examined Winderen's stirrups using a modern diagnostic method called acoustic myography, which shows the effectiveness of work and the level of fatigue of the leg structures in real time. Results showed a significant difference in efficient use and fatigue level of the muscles and ligaments, proving that Winderen stirrups actively help to increase effectiveness of the rider's legs. As a result, comfort and balance in the saddle are improved, which affects the aids and harmony of the rider's position and seat.
Olympic dressage rider Dina Ellermann on the Winderen stirrups:
I ride all the horses with Winderen stirrups. My right knee was injured years ago, and it would just pop out due to complete rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament. I have not had surgery because I could not give up half a year to recuperate, and I was not sure that it would help anyway. Since I started using the Winderen stirrups, I have not had any pain at all.
Winderen stirrups' double shock absorbing system
Winderen stirrups feature a unique double shock-absorber system that works effectively, regardless of the rider's body weight, to ensure maximum comfort of the feet in the stirrups, facilitate relaxation of the entire leg, and thus help the rider achieve a deeper seat.
The upper absorber effectively eliminates the shocks generated by the rigid connection of the stirrup eye with the stirrup leather. Thanks to this, it is easier to keep the stirrups in the right position at the widest part of the metatarsus, even when riding young horses or those with big, expressive movements. It can also be a great help to less experienced riders who are just learning to ride with a long leg.
The lower absorber actively reacts to the varying pressure of the rider's foot. This makes it easier to maintain constant contact of the shoe sole with the foot bed, which allows the ankle to relax, and in turn the knees and hip joints. In consequence, it makes it easier for the rider to achieve a deeper seat, which can also improve the effectiveness of aids.
The role of a relaxed leg position in the correct seat
The rider's seat should be in dynamic balance to easily maintain a straight ear-shoulder-hip-heel line. It can be done much more easily with stirrup leathers at the correct length combined with shock-absorbing stirrups. Slightly bent and freely, softly working knees not only allow the amortisation of the horse's expressive movement but also allow the inner thighs to relax, which allows the hip joints to open and deepen the seat, helping to improve communication with the horse.
The position of the stirrup under the ball of the foot with a slightly lowered heel allows the ankle joint to stay flexible whilst being able to give precise and invisible aids. What's more, the foot directed forward lets the rider use the full surface of the calf at any time during the ride. The soft and stable foot position in the stirrup makes it easier to maintain the correct leg position, which can deepen the seat and make the aids more effective.
Effective amortisation in the stirrups can be a valuable factor not only for high-level dressage classes, but also for horses with big and expressive movement, whose gaits require more effort from the rider, or young horses that can be extremely sensitive to a heavy or unbalanced seat. Functional amortization in the stirrups can also be an important training element for novice riders, making it easier for them to relax a long leg onto the stirrup.
Learn more about the Winderen stirrups, their innovative technology of double shock absorbers and the scientific project confirming their effectiveness in improving rider comfort at the Winderen website.