…because they’re not sure which stirrups are safe.

Safety stirrups - designed to release the rider’s foot in a fall - have become a popular item of equestrian kit. 

Just under half of riders use them, according to new research released by the British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA). 

And of those who don’t, 55% would be more likely to if safety stirrups had a mark or standard akin to riding hats and body protectors. 

BETA’s survey has unveiled a thirst for more information about safety stirrups. 

A quarter of riders who don’t use them said they were “not entirely sure which are safe”. While 12% admitted they “don’t know how they work so wouldn’t know which to choose.”

Almost one in five non-users said safety stirrups were “too expensive.”

When it came to choosing specific brands, “the way they work” and “feeling comfortable when using them” were the biggest influencers. 

Asked how they would describe safety stirrups to non-users, riders named their ability to “release the foot in an emergency dismount” and “fall apart so you aren’t dragged by the horse”.

Others said safety stirrups offer “peace of mind” and “come apart under pressure”.

Claire Williams from BETA said the trade association had “become increasingly aware of confusion over what exactly a ‘safety’ stirrup is. 

“We undertook the survey to better understand what the market thought,” she added. “And the results reinforce our view that there needs to be at least greater clarity of what it is that makes a ‘safety’ stirrup safe.” 

BETA regularly surveys equestrian consumers via its research panel which comprises thousands of riders and horse owners across the UK.

The results are available to purchase. Bespoke questionnaires or questions within wider surveys can be arranged.