After years of working with spinal surgeons on riders back health and riders comfort in the saddle we began working with knee surgeons to develop a product for riders with bad knees. We have all seen the funny photos of cowboys with bowed legs but had not taken this as a true and serious problem until several o f our customers brought it to our attention. It appears not to be just another funny story. People who ride a lot and people who have ridding for most of their lives actually do wind up stretching the outside ligament of their knee. This cannot only cause mild deformity of the legs but can also lead to early arthritis. ThinLine worked with surgeons and developed a simple wedge system which simply sticks to any stirrup ans straightens the lower leg just enough to allow the rider to use the leg effectively against the horse but does not allow the tendon to over stretch.
The wedge is made of plastic and so ThinLine designed a wrap which covers both the wedge and the stirrup. And here is where the real fun begins. Many great products are developed by accident. This holds true for the ThinLine Stirrup Wraps.
While I was taking a dressage lesson my seat was too heavy and I was sitting against the motion of the horse. My trainer used the analogy of standing on a trampoline. Of course you would want to do just the opposite: use the trampoline to NOT bounce, but it is true that I was not placing enough weight into my stirrups and was carrying too much weight in my seat thereby not allowing the horse to lift his back. As I began using my feet to carry more and more weight I noticed that I could actually sit the trot better. Not only did the springs and hinges in my ankle and knees help me to reduce the bounce but the ThinLine allowed my foot not to move (unless I actually picked it up and moved it on purpose) in the stirrup so I could have the confidence to move my lower leg position forward and back as I needed for lateral, extended or collected work. The biggest “aha” moment was when I realized I could put weight into the stirrup and the ThinLine absorbed so much of the bounce I could maintain an upper body position that made me look as though I was not moving on the horse at all! Yes the reverse of the trampoline effect! Bounce with no bounce! Landing off a jump was extraordinary! No more jarring, it was like landing like a feather. My horse loved it and stopped rushing to the fence.
I have a penchant for buying horses with huge gaits but not matter if you are riding warm bloods, Lustitanos, Friesian, Thoroughbreds, or any breed of horse the ThinLine on the stirrup wrap helps you stay with your horse creating a more comfortable ride, for both you and them. Of course the end result is their back goes up, their gaits improve, and wha-la up goes the scores.
So amazing such a simple idea could do so much for my horse, and my riding, and all for under $20.00, . Oh right, I almost forgot my knees don’t hurt any more either!
Happy Riding, Elaine Lockhead.
~ January 11, 2014