Today’s subject is a pet peeve of mine; riding in sneakers.
Generally speaking sneakers are not permitted for riding in many places simply because they are not adapted to the task at all. And
they are not adapted for anything that needs to be done around horses. The fine webbing offers very little protection from the weight of the horse, let alone the fact that we often reinforce
their hooves with steel shoes. Here are a few reasons why sneakers aren't a great idea if you are riding:
- The heel-less sole is very dangerous as it won’t prevent the foot from slipping completely through the stirrup. In case of a fall, the foot won’t come loose from the stirrup and the rider will end up being dragged by the horse; causing potentially severe damages to the ankle, foot and leg of the rider, not to mention their head.
- Again due to the lack of heel, the slippery sole gives the ride no stability in the stirrup. This ends in the stirrup sliding up and down the rider’s foot and impacts on their balance and effectiveness when riding.
- When the foot slides too far in the stirrup, the rider’s toes go down, his heels come up, their balance will be impaired and they will have to clench the knees to hold on; creating an unstable riding position.
- The tongue of the sneakers can remain caught in the stirrup when the foot slide too far in, again impairing balance and stability but also adding to the difficulty of freeing the foot from the stirrup to get it back into a more decent position; dangerous in case of a fall as with the foot going fully through the stirrup.
A rider who respects their horse and sport will make sure they are properly equipped when riding so as to put the best chances on their side to ride to the best of their capabilities and progress. As seen above, sneakers harm a good riding position, the rider cannot stay in balance nor have stability in their position. All this of course impacts physically and psychologically on the horse.
Respect your horse and sport; dress appropriately. You wouldn’t go running in flipflops, why ride in sneakers?