Do you think you know who invented the stirrup, when, and where? It turns out there is some controversy, although it appears to have its origin in Asia. The About.com Guide to Asian History looks into this in The Invention of the Stirrup. One of the issues is what is meant by a stirrup. As Kallie Szczepanski writes:
In sculptures from ancient India, c. 200 BCE, bare-footed riders use big-toe stirrups. These early stirrups consisted simply of a small loop of leather, in which the rider could brace each big toe to provide a bit of stability. Suitable for riders in hot climates, however, the big-toe stirrup would have been no use for booted riders in the steppes of Central Asia or western China.
For a somewhat rambling discussion touching on the origins of stirrups, see Roman Bowyers?