The most essential pieces of equipment an equestrian can own are a good pair of horse riding boots. Boots take a lot of battering in a barn or in the saddle. They not only protect the rider’s lower legs and feet from the weather and from chafing against the saddle and girth but also help prevent the feet from getting caught in the stirrups. If a horse should spook and go into a gallop when a rider has fallen but has a foot caught in the stirrup, the rider could be dragged to death. Choose the best pair of horse riding boots for you by following these tips.
What Do You Need The Boots To Do?
Take a good, long look at what you want the boots for. Are they for English riding or Western riding? Will you be riding just for pleasure or will you be showing? Do you wish to pursue a particular equestrian sport like jumping or dressage or will you just want to do a little of everything? By seeing what you want to do with your horse riding boots you can save money by choosing the right pair the first time.
Types of Horse Riding Boots
There are many different kinds of horse riding boots, but these are the general categories offered new and used for sale in stores and online:
- Western boots: suited for all Western riding disciplines, the more expensive types are made of exotic leathers, fancy trim and have different heel lengths.
- Tall English riding boots: These are what is commonly seen in the show ring. They are more expensive because of the amount of material needed to make a sturdy boot ending just below the knee.
- Half-boots: Also called Jodhpur boots or paddock boots, these are all-purpose boots that protect the foot but offer more flexibility when the rider is on the ground. Good for riders who need to do a lot of barn chores before and after riding or schooling.
- Mucker boots: Similar to half-boots, but much sturdier and often made of materials like rubber or vinyl rather than leather.
Qualities of a Good Pair of Horse Riding Boots
Safe, quality riding boots are not sold in fashion stores. Many pairs of boots listed as “riding boots” should NEVER be used for riding. Here is how to tell a genuine riding boot from a fashionable “riding boot.”
- It should have a heel of at least one inch. This is long enough to keep your foot from slipping through the stirrup but short enough to comfortably wear while riding. Six-inch heels are far too long to effectively ride.
- It should be in the color of the sport you want to compete in. Many horse shows will only allow boots in conservative colors like black and dark brown.
- It should not have any splits or cracks.
- It should fit comfortably. Avoid boots which end below the mid-thigh as these often pinch and cause blisters. Many riders like to wear a half-size or full size larger than their shoe size and just wear two pairs of socks while breaking the boots in. When riding outside in cold weather, two pairs of socks is advisable to avoid frostbite.
Suppliers of Horse Riding Boots
There have never been more shops than ever before to choose from, thanks to the Internet. Here are some of the most popular riding boot sellers in North America:
- Dover Saddlery: Offers the best and most popular apparel for you and your horse. Features a wide range of horse riding boots, spurs and chaps in both English and Western. Prices range from $50 to $1300.
- State Line Tack: Began as a small mail-order tack store in Pennsylvania and now has happy customers throughout the globe. Stocks a wide range of boots, half-boots, boot socks, footwear for just stable work (and not riding) and chaps in English and Western. Prices range from $25 to $1000.
- Shelpers: Claims to have over 11 million items for sale on its website, including over 400 kinds of tall boots, half-boots, Western boots and riding socks. Features a handy search tool that lets you find boots in particular toe shapes and gender of rider. Prices range from $50 to $1000.
- Ariat: Manufacturers of supreme quality riding clothes for women Western riders sells directly to customers on its website and also offers a search tool to find Ariat retailers close to you. Be sure to check out their Clearance section for added savings. Prices range from $100 to $600.
- SmartPak: Although primarily catering to English riders, it does offer dozens of Western horse riding boots for sale, including Ariat boots. They also sells boot socks, boot trees, boot liners and boot jacks for easy removal of boots from tired riders. Prices for boots range from $40 to $500.
- Equestrian Collections: Online mail-order company sells everything an English or Western rider needs to ride in comfort and style. Equestrian Collections also sells a wide range of horse tack and supplies. Horse riding boot prices range from $100 to $1000.
- Rider Tack: Sells tough and long-lasting apparel for horse race jockeys and horse supplies for race horse trainers. They also sell boot accessories such as pant clips, boot hooks, boot jacks and boot trees. Prices for boots range from $130 to $900.
Choosing the right boots for your horse is a pretty complicated task. You need to account for every aspect of your riding endeavors. We hope our short guide has provided you with some much needed info on comfortable and stylish horse riding gear. Let us know which types of boots you prefer in the comments below.
Images from depositphotos.com.