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Stirrups - Outlander’s characters spend a great deal of time on horseback, and the makers of the television series put Jamie Fraser in a pair of plain iron swivel stirrups that are very similar to examples from colonial sites in Maryland. Most stirrups of the mid-18th century were not particularly decorative, but they helped people get up in the saddle and were essential for long distance travel. Riders without stirrups have to stay firmly seated, feeling the full force of each jolting step, but with stirrups riders can stand and absorb the shock of the horse’s movement. Stirrups also allow riders to manipulate their center of gravity, which is important for effective fighting on horseback. Photo image of a stirrup of the swiveled and barred type, caption reads:This stirrup represents the counterpoint to the “swiveled and barred” stirrups from the Addison Plantation site (above right). It comes from a stable at the Smith’s St. Leonard Plantation, and it has roughly the same archaeological date as the Addison stirrups, ca. 1711-1730, but the eye for the stirrup leathers is fixed and the platform is a thin solid sheet of iron instead of bars with filed teeth for gripping the shoe., photo image of 2 stirrups, side and bottom view:Iron Stirrups, Date: ca. 1690-1730, Site Name: Addison Plantation, Site Number:18PR175/8795 - This matching pair of stirrups was found in a structure that burned down ca. 1730. The heat from the fire helped preserve these stirrups so that the rusty corrosion that is usually found on colonial iron artifacts was limited, and some decorative filing can still be seen on the original surface. This style of stirrup was sometimes called “swiveled and barred” in the 18th century. The “swivel” refers to the top loop for attaching to stirrup leathers, which was made with a joint so that it could turn around. Many stirrups of the period had a fixed eye for the leathers instead, and the choice between swivel stirrups versus fixed ones seems to have been a matter of personal preference. The term “barred” refers to the base or platform of the stirrup, which is made up of two outer bars and a center twisted bar. The outer bars have filed ridges or teeth at the top, presumably to help the shoe grip the stirrup, and the open design allowed mud and other debris from the bottom of the rider’s shoe to fall free where it could not interfere with traction. Other 18th-century stirrups with flat, solid platforms were probably more prone to slippage., Print image showing various styles of stirrups, caption reads:This plate from Diderot and Alembert’s Encyclopedie (1751-1765) shows examples of the stirrups available in France in the mid-18th century, with descriptions as follows (roughly translated from the French): Fig. 1– Grill stirrup, model of the King’s house; Fig. 2– Grill stirrup, heart-shaped grill; Fig. 3– Turning stirrup (Swivel type); Fig. 4-  English stirrup; Fig. 5-  Plain Stirrup; Fig. 6– Violin-shaped postilion stirrup., Eperonnier, Plate XVI from Diderot and Alembert’s Encyclopedie (1751-1765). Courtesy of the Robert Charles Lawrence Ferguson Collection, the Society of the Cincinnati, Washington, DC. 
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