It was like the downhill scene in “The Man from Snowy River!” Unfortunately, I’m no Jim Craig...
WHY Origin of Western Safety Stirrup
I began a quest to design, build, and patent a western safety stirrup as a result of a bad fall I took off a horse in the mountains of New Hampshire. We were high up a mountain in a logging area several miles from the nearest dirt road. As we rode through a particularly rough and very steep section of the trail, we had to cross a log that was up to my horse’s belly. My horse stepped over with both front feet and one rear foot. As he stepped with his last rear foot over the log, he stepped on a branch that popped up and hit him in the belly.
I was riding a green horse and the poke in the belly was just too much for him to handle. He blew up and started bucking down the hill. It was like the downhill scene in “The Man from Snowy River!” Unfortunately, I’m no Jim Craig and I was thrown.
I went off the right side of my horse with my left foot caught in the stirrup. I was slammed into the ground repeatedly as my horse bucked down the mountainside. "Luckily" I was knocked unconscious on my first impact with the ground so was spared the terror my poor wife Trudy and our friend Sally felt as they watched me repeatedly slam into the rocks, logs, and ground as my horse bucked and careened down the hill. Finally my foot dislodged and my horse and I thankfully parted company, leaving me in a heap on a mountainside 3 miles from the nearest dirt road with broken ribs, a concussion, cuts requiring stitches, and contusions and bruises too numerous to count.
The next couple of hours are a blur. I remember regaining consciousness and hearing Trudy calling to me to stay still. I heard an other worldly groaning that I slowly came to realize was coming out of my throat as I fought to regain consciousness and get some much needed air into my lungs. Trudy’s voice sounded faint and far away even though she was kneeling on the ground right next to me.
My recovery was slow and painful. The biggest damage was to my confidence—this accident shook me to the core. Luckily, I was wearing a quality helmet. If not, I would not be writing this today. That one incident was the origin of Western Safety Stirrup and changed several things forever. It wrecked a good horse, he was never the same about carrying a rider again. It also adversely affected my enthusiasm and riding confidence for some time. I determined not to ride again until I had a stirrup that would release in just about any situation.
I searched the Internet and could not find a western safety stirrup that I felt was affordable for most, and that met the aesthetic requirement I was looking for as well. That started me on a quest to create, design, and Patent what we offer here.
Tim Harvey founder, designer of the Western Safety Stirrup