For many of us, a frightening riding nightmare centers on falling off and getting a foot stuck in a stirrup, then being dragged. That’s why the people at Intelligent Inventions created Toe Stoppers.
Each Toe Stopper is a strip of black rubber that forms a nearly closed end to the front of your stirrup iron, effectively preventing your foot from sliding too far into the stirrup iron and getting caught there. The device attaches easily and effectively to your stirrup irons with Velcro closures.
Toe Stoppers (www.iiwinners.com) are available in five varieties: Equestrian Toe Stoppers come in seven sizes (starting at a child-sized 3 ?? inches) and fit most English-type stirrups; Universal Toe Stoppers come only in the 4 ??-inch size and are designed mostly for steeplechase racing; the Race Toe Stoppers are designed for lightweight racing stirrups; and the Western and Endurance Toe Stoppers are designed for the larger, more supportive stirrups used by those two disciplines. The 4 ??- and five-inch sizes of the Equestrian Toe Stoppers should fit most adult stirrup irons.
In our trial with the Equestrian Toe Stopper, we experienced no slipping of our feet in the stirrups, and the stirrups didn’t feel any different while riding. Plus, the Toe Stoppers fit our Fillis-type stirrup irons well.
But we didn’t think the black rubber devices were attractive or classic-looking on a horse. They also made the saddle feel heavier to us. Each five-inch Toe Stopper weighs nearly 14 oz., making the stirrups heavier. It’s not a lot of weight, but it could be significant if you’re thinking about using them for long-distance riding or racing. And, since they stick out in front of the stirrup, and we found they can poke the horse (again, particularly small horses) in the shoulder or elbow.
The biggest issue for us, though, is that Toe Stoppers make it difficult to run your stirrups up, and your stirrups will no longer lie flat against your saddle flap. Yes, you can run your stirrups up, and the brochure shows you how to loop your stirrup leathers to keep your stirrups from sliding down. But if you are meticulous about keeping your stirrups run up unless you’re mounted, you may find this annoying.
Toe Stoppers are currently available from three U.S. distributors: Hill View Farms (www.hillviewfarms.com, 507-276-8571), Positively Riding (www.positivelyriding.com) and Saddle Up Tack (www.saddleuptack.com, 888-467-7324). Suggested retail price is $99.95.
If you’re worried about your own (or your child’s) foot getting stuck in a stirrup, Toe Stoppers will ease your mind, just like wearing an ASTM/SEI-approved body protector to shield your body in the event of a fall. Otherwise, you’ll likely have better uses for the money. That said, it’s difficult to put a price on piece of mind.