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Lets Do The Twist

In my 15 years riding horses I have worked with lots of tack, and even made some in the form of nose bands and martingales. I wanted to share a method, the readers can use for twisting a saddle stirrup, which will allow the stirrup to hang perpendicular to the horses body.

I had tried different methods over the years with limited success, but nothing that seemed to be a permanent fix. The idea occurred to me when I saw a new saddle, with a pre-twisted stirrup and thought I could duplicate it on an older saddle. The method is actually fairly simple and easily duplicated by anybody with the desire to do so.

You may be asking why you should go through the trouble at all? Well there are a few reasons:

-Safety is always a concern when riding, so getting into your position of balance easily, can only be a good thing. Finding the offside stirrup will be much easier with the twist in place.

-There is an obvious monetary advantage to doing this yourself, as opposed to buying a new saddle just to obtain this feature.

-Comfort is also a concern. Applying this modification will ease the pressure on your knees, providing a more comfortable ride.


Ok lets stop talking and get to it.

1. The first thing we need to do is to place your saddle on a rack, or a fence in an uncluttered area, which allows you to work both sides of the saddle.

2. You will also need two leather strips, about 24 inches long.

3. With the stirrup/fender hanging free on the saddle, release the quick change buckle. Note how it came apart (for the newbie's among us) so you can reverse the steps later.

4. The section of leather we will be twisting is the extension of the fender. The extension runs through the stirrup, and has the insertion piece of the quick change buckle on its end. Once you have the leather free of its restraint, grasp the end of the fender extension and give it one complete twist toward the rear of the saddle. When you do this you will need someone to hold the stirrup for you. Having the hobble strap in place, ensures the twist goes no further than the intended area.

5. The lace can now be wrapped in such a way that it will tighten on itself. The length of lace should be long enough to prevent a back slip and loosening of the wrap.

6. Depending on how supple your leather is this twist may be difficult to complete, but is well worth the effort. If you wet the leather prior to manipulation, you will find it to be more supple. Make sure you apply saddle oil to the leather after completion of this process. With the above steps completed you can now put the buckle back in place.

7. Now this is the awkward part, after locking the buckle in place, you can begin the wrap described below. If you have someone holding the stirrup and with the quick release buckle fastened, the leather will stay in place while you wrap it tight.


The experienced readers will no doubt know many methods of securing the lace, as described above, and should feel free to use what you're comfortable with. For those less experienced among us, I included the method described below.

1. You will want to fold the lace at the 1/3 mark and lay it against the stirrup twist, with the loop pointing to the floor.

2. Starting at the top, with enough of the end sticking out to get a grip on, wrap the lace in a downward motion. You will be covering the lace as you go. The loop end of the lace should remain exposed at least an inch or so and the end of the lace fed through the loop.

3. With the end of the lace through the loop, take hold of the other end at the top of the wrap.

4. Once you have the end in hand pull it until the loop disappears under the wrap or you feel resistance to the pull. This will lock the wrap in place but you should be careful not to pull the loop completely through the wrap.

5. Of course, you will want to keep the wrap tight. Leave the free end of the lace dangling to prevent it from being pulled back through. We want to cover as much of the actual twisted area as possible with the tightly wrapped lace.

6. The stirrup should now hang perpendicular to the horse. Just repeat for the other side and enjoy.

7. Thatís it, you're all done.

PHOTO: The saddle on the left represents the saddle before modifications and the saddle on the right shows how the saddle should look after completing the twisting method provided by Charlie Morrison.

This How-To Article was written and provided by Charlie Morrison. Charlie has a long background with horses. He has been riding going on 15 years at Barditch Farms in Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. He has worked in a local tack shop and spent 8 years as a ferrier. He also used to teach children's riding lessons many years ago. Please take the time to visit his photography site: http://www.chasmorrphotography.ifp3.com


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