I confess I was not familiar with Millbrook Leathers until a junior rider at my barn was talking about Millbrook Stirrup Leathers on her social media. The website states that these much wider stirrup leathers provide better leg stability and give you a smoother ride. If you have been following my online riding diary you know that as a re-rider (someone who is coming back after much, much, much time off), you need all the extra leg stability you can get! I was pretty much willing to try anything to potentially make my long road ahead easier.
Do the leathers provide more leg stability? Honestly, I am not sure. My leg definitely feels more secure, but I can’t promise that is from the stirrup leathers alone. I do know that I really like how they feel around my calves. I feel like I have something extra and substantial to grip and wrap my leg around. The ride does feels smoother to me and I really can’t explain it better than using those exact words. I read that your weight is better distributed due to the wider stirrup leathers and maybe that is in fact what makes it feel smoother. That also may be why my right ankle doesn’t bother me as much as it used to. I had injured it years ago and it has always been sore after a few days of riding, but I haven’t noticed it since I started using these leathers TEN weeks ago.
I can also tell you that when I rode in another saddle, one that did not have the Millbrook Leathers, it felt all wrong. Sort of like when you ride for weeks in tall boots and then go back to half-chaps. Or maybe I am just weird with things like that? In fact, when I went to put my right foot in the stirrup after mounting in my friend’s saddle, the leather was twisted! I had been riding in my Millbrook Leathers for about 7 weeks at that point and totally forgot that twisting was even a possibility because with the Millbrook Stirrup Leathers twisting is virtually impossible.
Bottom line is, I am not sure what is going on, whether I feel more secure in the saddle because I am riding more OR if it is because of the leathers, or a combination of both, but regardless, I am keeping the leathers! I really did NOT like how it felt when I did not have them a few weeks ago when borrowing the saddle.
Things you should know: 1). I think they run large. I took the advice on the website and measured my previous leathers. I was sort of in the middle of the sizing so I went the shorter route (on the recommendation of the MB owner) and I am glad that I did. They fit perfectly and I have many inches of lengthening to spare. 2). It will take about 2 rides for the leathers to settle and flatten at the buckle. The first ride I was sort of concerned because you feel the buckle rubbing your inner thigh. I promise that goes away after 1 full ride. 3. Check with your trainer. My previous trainer was visiting me one day and she could not get over the look. However, if you look at the picture of my leg in the saddle, you can’t even see the wider part of the stirrup. Regardless, if you are a junior equitation rider you may want to double-check with your trainer because the stirrups are non-returnable if used, due to stretching.
Speaking of stretching, I have not had any stretching issues. These leathers are so much more substantial than my previous leathers that I cannot imagine having to replace them for many years. If you are on the fence about making the transition or have any questions, I really encourage you to reach out to Millbrook Leathers directly because their customer service was very helpful. Let me know if you join the stirrup revolution too. I’d love to hear what you think!
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