Due to some incredibly unforeseen circumstances I found myself wanting to purchase a pair of FreeJump Soft Up Classic Stirrups. If you’d like to know why, scroll to the bottom of this post to read the full story. It’ll either make you laugh or cry, either way its worth a read.
After grieving the loss of my old FreeJumps, I felt compelled to log onto the FreeJump website, out of pure curiosity and with absolutely no intention of purchasing a new pair. That was of course, until I saw this stunning pair of Soft Up Classics! I mean..come on, how could I not fall in love with these!? And then I saw the price tag, €279!! That would be a big, unplanned spend. So I decided not to purchase them…yet. Instead I left the page open on a tab in my browser so that I could look and contemplate them every time I used my laptop. I had it there for a good 2 weeks until one evening, after a rubbish day in work, I decided “FECK IT, I’m getting them”. It took me a further half an hour to actually click the ‘Pay Now’ button but I did it, eventually! Now I am the foolish owner of these beautiful stirrups..and I regret absolutely nothing!!
So after biting the bullet and buying the stirrups, how do they hold up in real life? Personally, I love them. They look even better in person than they do online. In saying that, there is more to these stirrups than their looks. The developers in FreeJump tell us there’s a reason for all of these design features:
1. Flexible Outer Branch
What they say: This is the safety element of these stirrups. The flexible branch allows your foot to easily slip out of the stirrup should you find yourself in the position where you could get dragged by your horse.
What I say: couldn’t tell you to be honest. I’m not going to throw myself off Coco to test it out but if it ever occurs Ill be sure to report back!
2. Improved Shock Absorption Ability
What they say: They tell us they have improved the shock absorption ability of these stirrups which is supposed to reduce the strain on each stirrup by two thirds. This in turn relieves the pressure on the rider’s joints and the horses back.
What I say: I have pretty rubbish knees, they tend to lock and seize up. So after a good session in the saddle, they can be quite achey. I’ve only ridden in these stirrups a handful of times so far but I did notice that I wasn’t as sore after I jumped my round last Sunday. Could just be a coincidence but I’d like to think this is a feature of these stirrups that is going to genuinely help me.
3. Wide Base for your foot with tilted grips
What they say: the wide base of the carbon tread provides a supporting structure which alleviates pressure points on the arch of the foot.
What I say: After I lost my old FreeJumps (still hurts to think about) I went back to riding in my old Sprenger Stirrups. And I have to admit I do notice the improved stability that the FreeJumps provide. In saying that though I would still feel pressure in the arches of my feet. At the end of the day, all of your body weight is going into the balls of your feet, and there’s only so much a stirrup can do to help support the rest of your foot that’s hanging out of the stirrup, regardless of what kind of stirrup it is.
4. Centre of gravity set towards the front
What they say: Finally they tell us that the centre of gravity of these stirrups is set towards the front which in turn encourages you to keep your heels down.
What I say: Ill give them this one. I did find it much easier to keep my heels down in these stirrups than I did in my Sprengers. And the 9 stud grips on each tread provides ample grip to stop your foot slipping which is something I struggled with when I moved back to the Sprengers.
Other Things to Note:
- Nearly every element of these stirrups is replaceable. If anything gets worn or breaks, you can contact FreeJump and they’ll send you a replacement part, whatever it might be
- The FreeJump Soft Up Classics were specifically designed for women although I have seen men riding in them
- They offer stunning colour options so you’re guaranteed to find a set that you’ll fall in love with
- They were designed by French rider, Pénélope Leprevost
- If you’re already a lover of FreeJumps and you own a pair of their single strap stirrup leathers, the Classics also have the open eye so you won’t need to go on the hunt for new leathers if you decide to upgrade
- I purchased mine directly from the FreeJump website. Delivery to Ireland took a week which isn’t too bad all things considered.
When it comes to FreeJumps, it seems people either love them or they couldn’t give a fork about them. If you’re a lover and you’re either considering purchasing your first pair or thinking about upgrading, then you definitely won’t be disappointed with the Soft Up Classics. They provide a slightly more classical (OMG just realised that’s where they got their name from!) design in a variety of colours, all while offering the technical benefits of the FreeJump System.
How I lost my original pair of FreeJumps
You may have noticed that myself and Darielle have been travelling much more with the horses recently. This is because I finally got my provisional towing license and a car that can tow (yay!).
A few weeks ago we made a trip to a nearby gallops. We had so much fun and the horses absolutely loved it. Once we were finished we loaded everything back up and headed home. We pulled into the yard and as I started to unpack I had the sudden realisation that I had left my very expensive frickin FREEJUMP SOFT UP PRO stirrups on the side of the trailer :O and had driven the whole way home without realising. I quickly ran to the side of the trailer and there it was…ONE stirrup still sitting there. The other? Gone in the wind. Devastated is not even the word. I unpacked everything (including Coco), unhitched the trailer and took off to retrace my steps. By this point it was after 9pm so the roads were pitch black. I had very little hope for finding my missing stirrup and unfortunately it never turned up. I am the absolute definition of DOPEY. That is me. I hang my head in shame and sorrow.
Oh and if you’re wondering how I managed to leave my stirrups on the side of the trailer – wrapping my stirrups started to mark my old saddle so when I got the new saddle I started taking my stirrups off after ever ride. At the gallops, I left the stirrups on the side of the trailer while I was getting Coco sorted to travel home. She’s so fidgety it took me nearly 15 minutes to sort her out and by that time I had completely forgotten about my stirrups. I KNOW I’M A TOTAL DINGBAT!!! There is literally no excuse good enough.
Moral of the story, never take your stirrups off your saddle It can only end in tears!
As always, thanks for reading!