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stirrup,foot support for the rider of a horse in mounting and while riding. It is a ring with a horizontal bar to receive the foot and is attached by a strap to the saddle. To avoid the danger of having a foot caught in a stirrup if the rider is thrown, large stirrups are often used; one of the uses of the stirrup cover or stirrup hood is to prevent the foot from entering too far and getting caught; the same purpose is served by the high heels of the cowboy's boots. There is some evidence that stirrups were used in Assyria c.850 B.C. and in China as early as the Han dynasty, 202 B.C.–A.D. 220. Stirrups are not known to have been used in Europe before the raids of the Huns under Attila in the mid-5th cent.; probably they had their origin in central Asia.
a support for a horseman’s feet while riding and mounting. A stirrup consists of a flat or somewhat curved horizontal bar that goes under the rider’s foot and an arc with a loop or opening for the strap on top. Stirrups hang freely on straps on both sides of the saddle. Metal stirrups, which appeared in the fourth and fifth centuries, were preceded by soft leather loops. Stirrups are usually made of iron, but bronze stirrups were also sometimes used in the early Middle Ages. In the past, show stirrups were adorned with embossments, appliqués, and inlays of precious metals. [24—1687—1]