Sue and Carter - photo by Cindy Lawler

Sue and Carter – photo by Cindy Lawler

A few weeks ago I twisted my knee. Yep, it hurt but I didn’t think anything of the pain and walked it off. The next several weeks I noticed that my knee hurt a bit after riding. Shrugged it off as pain from doing a lot of lateral work. Well, the pain continued and last week I rode in pain and decided a more serious course of action was needed.

After two arthroscopic surgeries to correct synovial issues in my right knee from my earlier years as a ballet dancer and competitive tennis player I know I have bad knees, and I knew the drill – ice and two aspirin at least once a day until I decided that it’s time to visit my Ortho again after so many years to tell him he was right – and welcome to my left knee. The ice and aspirin regime started working but I thought there had to be a tack fix, too, that might help take the pressure off my knees, hips, lower back so I searched and found MDC Ultimate Stirrups. Many riders seemed to be in my position after knee surgery or just aging. I was optimistic but tentative.

MDC Ultimate Stirrups

MDC Ultimate Stirrups

After I lesson where I couldn’t continue because the pain was affecting my balance, his balance and our overall ride I decided that I wasn’t procrastinating…the worst that could happen is they didn’t work and I’d return them and be a big girl and call the doctor.  Off to the tack store I went in search of these promised comfort, reduced pressure irons that could save my riding.

I waited for my lesson to try them out. Hopped in the saddle. Adjusted the left to 90 degrees and the right to 45 degrees and off I went. After a bit of hesitation and disbelief I thought, “does my knee hurt?” No, it didn’t. I also felt I had a better seat. It couldn’t be so soon (although the majority of reviews said it took no more than one ride to tell a huge difference). I rode for a while growing happier because my knee wasn’t hurting. I could leg yield with no pain. I could canter with no pain. I noticed that while my left felt awesome, my right still felt a bit restricted so I changed the 45 degree to 90 degree and viola! I decided after an hour that I found what I consider to be the best stirrups, ever!

Honestly, I felt more secure in my seat. I felt more relaxed and not bracing. I think Carter noticed the difference, too, because he was on the bit more than he’d been in a while. He huffed his sign of approval more than once when we were going to the right (which used to cause me intense pain and resulted in my inability to turn properly).

I know I have to give these a few more trial rides to see if they stay true to my initial results, but if they do may the chorus of riding angels continue to sing!  And, yes, I know that I cannot avoid the doctor forever. And, I know that I need to get my butt in gear and workout more — yoga, pilates, barre, aerobics; but I also need to keep riding. So, right now, I’m giving them a full five stars. I couldn’t believe the difference in a lot of things that I noticed in my riding last night, including a better leg, seat, no pain – I mean NO pain, and feeling more secure. (I did have to shorten my leathers two holes – they must be longer than my previous irons).