Most of us have had jointed stirrups somewhere along the way, you know, the ones with the rubber on the sides. About 12 -15 years ago they first hit the scene and they were the “it” stirrups to have, much like the composite ones that came on about 5-10 years ago and the FreeJump stirrups I wrote about that hit in a similar time frame. “I remember those, I think I still have them, somewhere in the abyss of my tack locker under some 3 year old dirty leg wraps from when Fluffy had that cut.” Gross, clean out your tack locker. “I ain’t got no time for that.” So this gets a bit long but I promise it ends with “wild” college story.
Anyhow, I decided I was going to “destruct” a pair of mine that are about 10 years old, maybe more. I paid about $40 for them so it wasn’t a huge hit to the bank and I was no longer using them anyhow. Well, I got my scissors out and was all ready to start hacking away at that rubber when I realized that it was rather easy to slide the rubber up so I could look underneath. Those of you who know me, this possibly saved me hundreds of dollars in stitches when I cut myself with those damned scissors while trying to hack at that rubber. Sooo, on my frugal side, this was a win! “Yeah you are a total clutz, let’s not even get started on that incident with the hedge trimmers, that was enough to make a person puke.” Hey, everyone was saying, don’t be like so and so and cut the cord, so I didn’t. “Yeah you cut your finger instead.” What’s a little finger meat among friends. Anyhow, back to stirrups.
So as you can see, the rubber on these stirrups is cracked. So does that mean they will break on me?” No, because if you look at the picture below, you will see that there is a sturdy metal linkage, although it is possible to break, it is not very likely. As you can see these only joint in one direction. “So do all jointed stirrups look like that?” Actually no.
I got curious and went out to check the other pair of stirrups I have. The rubber sleeve was much more difficult to “slide” but I did get it moved. These are touted as 6 way jointed stirrups, as you can see from the pictures, it can fold like the other pair but can also do side to side movement.
“So what happens if the rubber falls off the sides?” Great question, well the rubber helps control the movement, so if you lose the rubber, the stirrups become very loose and unstable. The good thing about this is that the odd of this happening in the middle of your cross rails class with Fluffy pony or even in a grand prix with his pasture mate Stinky, you are unlikely to have the rubber just fall off without warning. “Rude, don’t you know that Fluffy is doing verticals now. Good thing about Stinky too cus he’s gonna win that Grand Prix.”
I did retire the cracked pair of stirrups, they have done their time and taken their abuse. “Free Willy! I mean Free Stirrups!!!” Wow, a rather obscure movie from the 90s? “That’s how I roll.” So at the end of the day, if you want a pair of stirrups that will last, For-Ev-Er, For-Ev-Er, get your plain old fillis stirrups. “And you were giving me flack for 90’s movies references?” Whatever, Sandlot is a classic, everyone knows that. “You’re killing me Smalls.” Anyhow, as the rubber starts to rot, fall apart, or be rubbed thin by something, these guys should be replaced as they will lose stability.
Time to get personal, as promised, my “wild” college story. Ok so I did some wild stuff in college but I was not super wild. “More like super mild.” Anywho, my senior design project was to create a sight thingy for guns, you look through a piece of glass on top of the gun and it puts a red dot on whatever you are trying to shoot. “Kind of like those movies where you see a red dot on the guy’s head before he gets shot?” Almost, only the person holding the gun can see the red dot. So we got this huge chunk of titanium from the person we were building this for, it was an odd shape but if it had been made of steel it probably would have weighed about 20-30 lbs. but it weighed next to nothing. I could easily toss it around. So if you have 2 blocks of metal, one steel and one titanium and they are exactly the same size, the titanium weighs about half what the steel does. Sadly, we did not have the equipment to work with the titanium so we had to use aluminum. “So where is this wild story?” Well that was it. “Seriously? You are so lame.”
I know, I know buuut, I was wondering, why don’t we have titanium stirrups, they are as strong, or stronger than stainless steel with half the weight. Not as light as the plastic stirrups but less likely to break. For the record, I do not trust plastic stirrups, plastic does not handle shock loads or fatigue well. This is just my engineering point of view, I don’t own them but if I did, I would probably swap them out every year or 2 if I did, just for safety reasons. So back to my gazillion dollar idea of titanium stirrups, I was all ready to patent it when I realized, they already exist, sort of. An Italian company named Lorenzini has dressage and jumping “Titanium and Aluminum” stirrups. There is not a lot of info out on them so I will be interested to get my hands on a pair but am not ready to jump out and spend $230+ on them. Anyone have them?
Ok real college story, one night we were hanging out in a friends driveway, eating burgers and hanging out, like college students in Lubbock do, because there aint much to do in Lubbock. Anyhow, I grabbed a burger patty and was about to eat it when someone slapped it out of my hand, it hit the driveway, I totally picked it up and ate it. 5 second rule, amiright? “OMG you are sooo Lame.” Ok I did a kegstand once? Oddly enough some of my more paltry nights were post college. Including being very full of beverages, going ice skating, and busting my eyebrow open. I had no idea I had blood running down my face. The oil field was a bit more wild and woolly in the past. And yes, that is a hot pink hard hat and a tape measure hooked on my belt. I was awesome.