My history of buying saddles from overseas (England, France, and Germany to date) has led me to be a member of some pretty damn random facebook groups. Mainly tack groups based in France, where all the good fancy stuff comes from. Sometimes I see interesting things in these groups… things that are new and different, or haven’t caught on in the US yet. We tend to be a few seasons behind them, and way more conservative in general.
This thing I saw last week though… it had me doing a serious WHAT THE all over the internet, trying to figure out what it was all about. Behold the K’Vall stirrup.
Apparently I am super late to the game on this and these have been around for a long time, because in my research I found people (Europeans, natch) talking about them as long ago as 2009. They seem to have never really gained any traction here aside from a handful of endurance riders, which I guess makes sense.
My first thought was that these things look unsafe, although further research revealed that they do have release mechanisms built in at the heel area similar to a peacock stirrup iron. And then I thought it must feel like you’re standing on an elliptical on a pair of skis. And then I was trying to figure out the biomechanics, and how they would actually work in different scenarios, especially in eventing where we need to be able move around so much. I can see them being more stable in general, but I don’t see how you’d be able to get your heel down for added stability in sports like jumping. Granted, if you’re essentially standing on a big ass platform under your entire foot, maybe you don’t need to?
Most of the reviews you see for them are pretty positive, but then again there aren’t really that many to begin with. I can’t get over how weird the whole thing looks. Guessing it’s next to freaking impossible to lose a stirrup, since you’re strapped in and buttoned down. How easy are they to get out of, if you need to dismount quickly? I have a hard time thinking these would be competition legal?
I think I’ll stick to my “regular” weird irons, Lorenzini and Royal Rider.
Anyone seen these before?