Security Fastener Comparisons and Reviews (2023)

One of the scariest things that can happen in off-road riding is falling off your horse and being pulled away because your leg gets caught in the stirrups. If you've been through it, you know what I'm talking about. If not, imagine your horse is scared and running with you. At best, you get the dreaded road rash. At worst, you're dead.

In many cases this can be avoided by using a removable safety clip. There are many different models on the market. Europe seems to be leading the way in the development of some amazing new technologies. I recently took the time to research various safety mounts and narrowed my top picks down to 4 models for testing and review.

My selection criteria were that it had to have a trigger mechanism, be off-road (the mechanism should not be obstructed by mud and dirt), and be $400 or less ($400 seemed high, but I stretched my usual budget). I didn't include the popular peacock blender because everyone already knows about it. Some people don't like it because it's unbalanced, but it's the perfect safety trigger if you're on a budget. If you want a higher performance blender, read on.

Three of the models I tested were English only and one could be used on English and Western saddles. Apologies to my western readers, but I drive English so that's my focus. My goal is to find a handle that is balanced and stable, and has the confidence to let go when I really need to - even if my foot is locked or sideways.

The four fasteners I reviewed were:

SmartRider Escape: This is a 2 piece whisk that separates when back pressure is applied to the top of the inner piece. It is made in Australia from high quality dense plastic and is very light. Designed for western saddles, it has a slot for narrow leather stirrups so it can also be used on English saddles.

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I think it's a solid safety stirrup because the release mechanism is great for leaning back, and even with your foot sideways on the stirrup, it's rounded and smooth enough that it's less likely to catch your foot. It performed well in our tests. Even if it gets muddy, the trigger mechanism should still work. The only downside is that it's a bit bulky and tall for an English saddle, so it's not the most comfortable of the four. However, $100 is the most affordable.

insaneAruplo Arena: This is an aluminum brace, made in Italy, with a hinged outer branch (hinged at the top) made of polyamide. The wide sole has a "cheese grater" surface to keep your foot in place.

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This whisk is well made. When I ride, I feel well balanced and my footing is stable thanks to the wider tread. But I don't like the trigger mechanism. Since the toe of your boot is usually close to the top of the stirrup when you land, it doesn't give me confidence that it will always dislodge my foot if it's open at the bottom. While the sole provides excellent traction, we found in our testing that it prevents the foot from loosening during handstands, and the lateral part of the crotch can grab your foot.

out of trouble: These fasteners are made in France from reinforced polyamide and metal. A spring-loaded mechanism allows the fastener to snap when pressure is applied to the top. The wide sole has studs for improved grip and the sole is set at a 90 degree angle to the sole.

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Like the SmartRider, this stirrup is designed to release during a handstand fall, and it works really well. We also performed a torsion drop test with the foot in the stirrup, which slipped out easily due to the rounded sides. The sole has grip, but not enough to prevent it from coming loose when the foot is fully inverted.

Technology Venice: This plug is made of high quality Italian aluminum and has a hinged outer branch (hinged at the bottom), also made of aluminum. The wide sole has a raised diamond pattern for grip.

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Hinged on the bottom, this clip is great for back and spin drop. Considering how wide its opening is, it's hard to imagine how your boot wouldn't be able to slip. As a trail rider, my only concern is that the spring mechanism underfoot could be destroyed by a build-up of mud or dirt. If you take good care of it and wash it off after a muddy ride, it should last you a long time.

Here is a video of the clip in action.

generally better:Technology Venice.In our tests we did not publish errors. Excellent engineering and impeccable construction. If you can afford it for $400 (isn't your life worth it?), this is for you. It works just like any English binder,andIt could save your life.

best value:Smartrider escape$100, very affordable. The release mechanism is reliable for backwards falls and the smooth plastic sides are less likely to catch your leg if you fall sideways. A little bulky for British riders, but for off-road riding - definitely practical.

my personal favorite:get rid of it.This is my personal favorite and now lives in my saddle for a number of reasons. First I found a 90 degree blenderMuchTakes the stress off your knees, which is a big advantage on long rides. The trigger mechanism is very good. It runs like a standard stirrup and has a wide sole with just the right grip. The release mechanism is on top so it is less likely to be damaged by mud and dirt than a Tech.

honorary award: untestedSafe Riding S1 stigbøjlerBecause it's out of my price range ($600). But they impress me because they have the most complex mechanism I have ever seen - it allows the outer branches to be released in 3 dimensions - sideways, backwards,andin front of. It seems almost impossible for your foot to get caught in the stirrup. Plus it's a 90 degree stirrer (the bottom is perpendicular to the attachment skin) and I love it! If I had the money I would definitely buy these and wash them carefully after rides to keep them going.

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Where to buy it from:

SmartRider Escape, 100 dollars. I haven't been able to find any US dealers so the best is to start withCanada from this page.clickcame to England, andcome to Australia.

Acavalo Arena Alupro, $200. Available from most major online nail stores.

out of trouble, $300. The only place I know to buy them in the US isThanks NRiderin Wellington, Florida. As of this writing, they retail for $179. In Europe,See this dealer list.

Technology Venice, $400. Available from most major online nail stores.

SafeRiding S1: Available in the US from $ Europe, see a list of locationsher.

Be aware that even safety brackets are not 100% fail-safe. Depending on the position of your foot and anything that might get caught in the boot (such as laces or straps), you could be pulled. Horse riding is inherently dangerous and although we can take steps to reduce the risk, we can never completely eliminate it.

Have a safe and good trip!


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