How to run up your stirrups

How to Run up Stirrups

After dismounting from an English saddle, you'll want to run up your stirrup leathers. This prevents the heavy stirrups from swinging around and hitting you or your horse, should the horse spook. It also prevents the stirrups from catching onto other objects.


  1. Arrange the stirrup leathers so they hang straight down.Allow the leather to lie flat against the saddle without twisting in either direction. The two sides of the leather should be on top of one another. Your stirrup leathers will hang straight down with the stirrups dangling at the ends. Make sure that there are no knots or messes and that the leather straps are smoothly hanging on the stirrup bars.
  2. Pull the stirrup to the top of the inside leather band.The stirrup iron hangs from a loop of leather or webbing which is pulled flat by your weight during the ride. Hold the leather in one hand and the stirrup iron in the other. Slide the stirrup iron up the inside band of leather (the inside being the piece of leather next to the saddle). Keep going until it reaches the top. The top of the stirrup should be touching (or almost touching) the stirrup bars.
    • The inside piece of leather usually has the rough side of the leather facing up.
  3. Put the dangling loop through the stirrup.Hold the stirrup in your left hand while your right hand feeds the leather straps through the middle of the stirrup iron. Now feed the leather straps down under the base of the iron.
  4. Pull the loop snug.Pull the loop of leather so it lays flat underneath the bottom of the stirrup. It should be against the saddle flap. This is usually enough to secure the stirrups. The straps should lie flat against the saddle, pointing towards the ground.
  5. Lock it in place (optional).If your stirrups slide down again, take the steps below to secure them with another loop. Even if they don't slide, this is important to do before lunging.
    • Hold the leather, making sure it isn't twisted.
    • Move it to the front of the stirrup.
    • Fold it over the front side of the stirrup and under the backside.
    • Use the end of the strap to pull it through the bottom of the strap loop and through its holder. This keeps the strap from becoming loose when the horse trots and keeps the stirrup from sliding down.
  6. Repeat with the other stirrup.The process is exactly the same.

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Things You'll Need

  • An English saddle
  • Stirrup leathers attached to the saddle
  • Stirrup irons
  • You don't run up the stirrups of western saddles. When walking through doors with a western saddle, sometimes the right stirrup is put over the horn so that it doesn't knock against the door or get caught on it.
  • It can be a good idea to lunge a young horse with the stirrups down for a while as just another way for him to learn to be calm. When lunging with the saddle on, always loop the loop of the stirrup leather twice around the stirrup to keep it snug & safe while the horse works.


  • Do not flip the end of the stirrup bar up. Although some instructors recommend it for young riders, it can be dangerous if you do not have break away stirrups (the ones with the rubber bands).

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