Part of saddle fit is the saddle fitting the rider. If the seat is too small or in some cases too large, you can't get into position where you need to. If the stirrups are too long or too short, your overall position can easily go right out the window as you try to keep you feet in the stirrups at all costs. Sometimes it is easier and better to just drop them and ride without. Your muscles may tell you otherwise later on, but other muscles will rant and ache from trying to keep them. The choice is yours.
When I was getting started in team roping, I rode without stirrups. Why? The horse I was riding belonged to a guy with long legs. The first time he let me ride he asked me how high to put them? I told him without even checking first, "All the way up." So we raised them as high as they would go and they were still too long. My first few runs, just hazing the cows- I was trying like hell to keep the stirrups and not paying attention to much else.
If I was going to even try throwing a rope, I had to find my balance and forget about the stirrups. Which I did and I soon began swinging the rope at least. I felt bad for Ron for having raised the stirrups and me not use them. A few nights we raised them and dropped them when swapping out on the horse and before long when he would hand over the horse to me, we just left them where they were.
As a lot of people know, team roping seems to be a guys sport. Believe me, there were plenty of guys around and soon they all started hassling poor Ron for not raising the stirrups. They gave him a lot of what for and were poking fun, but questioned him being a gentleman and not at least trying... When I proved not to need the stirrups, they left him alone.
I had ridden quite a bit at that point. Every and any horse I could throw a leg over, saddled or not, in fact. I had found my balance through bareback riding and stirrups or not, I could stay on. And coming out of the box is a hell of a rush! Doesn't matter which end of the cow you are on. Just like diving into the turns around barrels and shooting up out of the pocket as you leave them.
I eventually did start throwing the rope. I had hazed cattle out of the headers and heelers box. My first throw- I caught the cow. Wasn't pretty, wasn't fancy and certainly wouldn't have put me in the money if there was any that night, but I had caught him. In doing so, it pissed off one of the other guys who rode Ron's other horse. See this guy had been coming out 3 times a week to rope. He had grown up in feed lot ranching, he just hadn't ever thrown a rope. He kept trying to head a cow and for about four months had tried to catch one with no luck. Me, first time I throw the rope I caught the steer. Not exactly talent, sure wasn't skill- more like dumb luck really, but he was ticked.
He didn't like me much and told Ron not to let me ride his horses anymore... Thankfully Ron didn't listen. I got to ride his horses, was able to catch several more cows, roped myself a couple times, hazed the slow pokes, tried heeling and had a great time all the way around. All without stirrups.
I also learned that a saddle too big for you can sometimes be a blessing. You can move forward more, back a bit and position yourself where you are out of the horses way and make things easier for them. One of the best things about riding in someone else's saddle? You find out what you like and don't before you spend the money.
**Edited to add photo's. Yes that is me riding hubby's mare Johnie. The stirrups are a bit too long and my leg has come out of position in my efforts to jam my foot in the stirrup and keep them from banging her sides. We may have only been walking around, cooling her out after a workout, but still. You can see what a difference only a few holes up or down makes in your leg position. Worrying about the stirrups can distract you from a lot of other things you may need to be fixing instead. Not only are my lower legs too far forward, they are also sticking out- another bad habit of mine, left over from the Arabian horse world days.**
Below are two pictures of me on Psyndi in her first few rides. From back in March of 2007. Notice the difference inmy leg position in my saddle as compared to hubbys.
And how is breeches and ropers for the fashion statement? lol