I'm one of those people who likes to stick with what works once I've found something I like. It's one of the reasons I resisted pulling steel shoes and going to hoof boots in 2009. As it turns out, it was the best equine management decision I've ever made. My horses are more sound and more successful in endurance competition as barefoot and booted horses than they ever were when they were shod. The evidence is undeniable in terms of results at endurance races. There are obviously more factors at play than just hoof protection device choices, but going barefoot and booted made me think about diet, movement and training protocols in ways that I had never done before.
Last February, I sustained a complete tear of my left ACL during a skiing accident. It was a slow-twisting fall, and the knee joint was the first place to give out when my binding didn't release. I had patellar graft surgery to rebuild that ACL in April, and although I rode in the following months, it was against the surgeon's orders, and was very painful in the days following each ride. I really didn't start training for endurance riding seriously until six months after the procedure. I knew I wanted to do another 50 as soon as the horse and rider team could accomplish it, so I started riding again in late September.
The biggest issue for me was an ongoing numbness in the leg that had been operated on. The numbness happened very quickly in every ride, and it lasted for the whole ride. I'm sure it was due to the weakness in the leg, but I knew it would hamper my ability to compete successfully at a 50-mile event.
Enter the E-Z Ride Ultimate stirrup.
EasyCare launched its new line of aluminum stirrups in Fall 2015. In an effort to see what I could do to mitigate the numbness in my left leg, I put a pair of E-Z Ride Ultimate stirrups onto my saddle and got into a more serious training regime in preparation for my next 50-mile event. The good news is that the numbness went away and I was able to train in an efficient frame without being out of balance or compensating onto my right leg in any way.
On my way to getting a top ten placement at the 50-mile event in Scottsdale on November 14, 2015.
The list below summarizes what sets this stirrup apart from all others on the market today.
- The new dimple pad design of the stirrup pads: built out of durable closed-cell EVA, the new design of the stirrup pad offers support for the lower leg with just the right amount of cushion and support. The unique dimples keep the foot firmly in place and reduce the need to constantly readjust one's foot position.
- The aluminum hoop design that forms the framework for the stirrup is lightweight and well balanced. It just hangs nicely from the saddle without being too light or too heavy.
- The hoop is formed out of one solid piece of precision tooled aluminum, so there is no risk of the stirrup being crushed under pressure.
- The stirrup can be used with three sizes of fenders and stirrup leathers without needing any adjustments to the stirrup itself.
- The stirrup is available in all-aluminum (E-Z Ride Ultimate Ultra), or with an aluminum hoop and EBS plastic base (E-Z Ride Ultimate).
- An optional cage is available for purchase with the stirrup. It fits easily into the aluminum or EBS plastic stirrup base without needing any tools or requiring any assembly/disassembly of the the stirrup.
- The stirrup is available in all-black or all-silver versions, depending on the kind of look you are going for. You can also have the silver hoop ad black base if you prefer that. I use the all silver model because I think it looks sharp, but when I get stirrups for my other saddle, I will probably go with all-black because it has a modern carbon-fiber look and feel.
The E-Z Ride Ultimate stirrup on its first ride with my saddle.
And the best part about these stirrups? They will be the last stirrups you ever buy. EasyCare is announcing this week a lifetime warranty on all E-Z Ride Ultimate stirrups. That means that the company will guarantee the integrity of this aluminum hoop-based stirrup for as long as you own the stirrup.
The E-Z Ride Ultimate Ultra in all black with cage.
I'm glad I changed out my stirrups: the ones I was riding with were more than ten years old. With the durability and lightweight design of the aluminum, and with the option to change out pads and cages as needed, this is probably the best and most dependable stirrup on the market today. And if you're dealing with numbness issues when you ride, give this one a try. You might find you like it for the rest of your riding life.
Director of Marketing
I am responsible for the marketing and branding of the EasyCare product line. I believe there is a great deal to be gained from the strategy of using booted protection for horses, no matter what the job you have for your equine partner.