Did you watch the CHIO Aachen or any other big equestrian event last weekend? Did you notice how many top riders were using Flex-on stirrups in the jumping ring, on the cross country course and even in the dressage arena? From Shane Rose, Chris Burton and Jonelle Price to Lillie Keenan, Leopold van Asten, Sergio Álvarez Moya, Rodrigo Pessoa, Shane Breen, William Whitaker or 2018 Young Rider European Dressage Champion Paulina Holzknecht, riders rely on Flex-on all over the world.
What makes them special?
With some many stirrup designs and brands out there, it has become difficult to see the ‘forest for trees’. But Flex-on have created a revolutionary design based on their founders' combination of high-tech engineering expertise and top-level competitive riding experience.
Here are some of the benefits
++ Ultra-lightweight yet strong frames: The carefully designed frames and footbeds use aerospace-grade aluminium or high-tech composites with steel core to produce a stirrup weighing only 450g. The composite model's steel core protects against the risk of breakages experienced with some other composite-framed stirrups.
++ Innovative frame design: The stirrup-leather slot is off-set and skewed at an angle. This, combined with a carefully designed inclined footbed helps achieve an ideal leg position, adds stability and confidence and reduces stress and strain on the hip, knee and ankle joints.
++ Shock absorption: Elastomers built into the base of the footbed, plus the carefully designed flex characteristics of the frame itself, help the stirrup absorb shocks and vibration, again improving comfort and reducing strain on the rider’s body.
++ Ergonomic footrest with "Ultra-grip" studs: The footrest is inclined at a carefully designed angle to match the natural heel position, while small studs built into the footbed help grip the rider's boot to prevent slipping out of the iron.
The range: Aluminium vs. Green Composite
Both models incorporate the same engineering with all the features outlined above, but the two Aluminium models (Aluminium and Hunter) are made from a block of solid aerospace-grade aluminium. They also offer a choice of elastomer hardness (soft, medium, hard) and feature four-point support between the frame and footbed.
The Green Composite range provides a two-point support, a choice of treads and many other customisation options. Designed from an organically sourced polyamide material, with an internal steel frame for strength, they are super easy to clean and maintain.
We recommend the Aluminium model for high-level competitive showjumping and eventing, or for everyone who prefers a choice of elastomer hardness. The Green Composite stirrups work equally well, but are designed to be competitively priced, making them suitable for a wider choice of riders.
Make them yours
Flex-on offers a huge range of options that allow the rider to customise the stirrups to their requirements and style.
Frame colour: The Aluminium stirrups are available in 2 frame colours (silver and black), the Green Composite model is available in 9 colours and the Junior model even in 10!
Shock absorber colours: There are 14 different colour choices for the elastomers under the footbed.
Custom inserts: All models (except the Hunter) have plastic inserts built into the top part of the frame, these are held in place by magnets and can be easily swapped. Black inserts are standard, with the "on" in Flex-on matching the colour of the shock absorbers. But there is an endless menu of magnetic inserts available to order from, including different colours, national flags or carbon-optic.
Footrest: The choice of footbed allows the rider to configure the stirrups to suit his or her position and riding style. The “Mixed Inclination" footbed has two sections at different angles, while the "Inclined" shape has a single angle. There is also a regular flat option, as well as a specially shaped deeper footbed for endurance riding. Flex-on tend to recommend the inclined footbed for jumping, but often it comes down to the rider’s personal preference and feeling.
Tread: Flex-on also supply their footrest tread in two variations, ”Grip" with a plain composite gridded surface, and "Ultra-grip" with additional stainless steel studs embedded in the surface for extra grip.
Note that the four main footbed types - mixed & inclined, grip and ultra-grip - can be readily interchanged on an existing stirrup. However, the shock absorbers cannot be changed or switched after the initial manufacture.
Flex-on have submitted their stirrups for a scientific study conducted by Sport Controle, a respected French organisation specialising in biomechanical and other sport-related assessments. They measured the riders' posture and movement through kinematic analysis and accelerometer measurements. The results agreed with the riders’ impression, they showed an improved riding position and less stress on the riders' joints.
Chaballo stocks all four models of Flex-on stirrups, in the most popular footrest and colour options. But we are happy to order any other configuration and custom colours for you.
Get in touch for any questions or orders here.
Photos: © Turniergesellschaft Luhmühlen and Séverine Moronval - Photographe