It is a frustrating fact that very few old sidesaddle safety stirrups will fit a modern boot.
So I was very pleased to find TWO large Cope safety stirrups in the bottom of a case of tack
Just a minute – two – as in a pair….
Sure enough, on the underside of the tread one is marked “Nearside” and the other “Offside”
Alice Hayes described the opening mechanism of these stirrups better than I can (see a previous blog here), and pointed out that they can only work in one direction – hence the curved part of the tread is stamped “TOE”
If the rider falls and their foot remains caught in the stirrup the inner arch of the stirrup rotates backwards and releases the outer edge of the tread.
They are also stamped “B.Cope’s Patent No. 8940″, “Best Reliagine” (probably a tradename for a nickel alloy) and “45297″. Benjamin Cope of Bloxwich patented this stirrup design in 1895 , one can read the full patent description courtesy of Google here
On reflection it seems that these stirrups were intended for someone riding astride, and given their large size (their interior width is 4 inches or 10.2cm) probably a man.
However wouldn’t they be perfect for an ambidextrous sidesaddle rider ?