The English word “stirrup” stems from Old English stirap, stigrap, Middle English stirop, styrope, i.e. a mounting or climbing-rope. From Old English stīgan “to ascend”
A stirrup is a light frame or ring that holds the foot of a rider, attached to the saddle by a strap, often called a stirrup leather. Stirrups are usually paired and are used to aid in mounting and as a support while using a riding animal (usually a horse or other equine, such as a mule). They greatly increase the rider’s ability to stay in the saddle and control the mount, increasing the animal’s usefulness to humans in areas such as communication, transportation and warfare.
In antiquity, the earliest foot supports consisted of riders placing their feet under a girth or using a simple toe loop. Later, a single stirrup was used as a mounting aid, and paired stirrups appeared after the invention of the treed saddle. The use of paired stirrups is credited to the Chinese Jin Dynasty and came to Europe during the Middle Ages. Some argue that the stirrup was one of the basic tools used to create and spread modern civilization, possibly as important as the wheel or printing press.*
The second week of the Cee’s Fun Foto Which Way challenge is all about steps or stairs of any type.