The past two to three years has seen an increase in sales of female western boots. The ladies are wearing cowgirl boots with everything from jeans to dresses covered in lace. Some brides are choosing to wear cowgirl boots on that big day with beautiful wedding dresses. However, the main reason to wear riding boots is for safety in the stables and around horses; boots provide a layer of protection to feet should the horse step on the rider. The following seven guidelines will assure a equestrian rider leaves the store with a proper pair of boots, for safety, function and fashion!
- There are three basic types of riding boots: western, English and field boots. Western boots may contain a slightly higher heel than English. Tall English riding boots are usually seen in the dressage ring and for most English riding events. Field boots are similar to English riding boots in appearance; however, field boots lace up. Field boots are generally seen in the hunter show ring.
- English riding boots are quite tall. If selecting English riding boots, look for a pair with a zipper up the back. This will make the boots easier to put on and take off.
- Solid leather boots are preferable. Less expensive boots are often constructed with leather on the lower half of the boot and vinyl on the upper half. Leather boots will generally last much longer and may be taken to a shoe shop for repairs if needed.
- Boots should contain a small tread to add traction. The stables and outlining area are sometimes quite muddy. The added traction may prevent a fall. A heavy tread may make it difficult to slide the foot out of the stirrup.
- Riding boots should contain a 1 to 1½ inch heel. The heel will prevent the foot from slipping through the stirrup. A larger heel could cause the wearer to lose his or her balance.
- Rubber boots are needed for mucking out stalls. The rubber boots may easily be hosed off to remove grime. Leather boots should not be worn for this chore.
- Children often wear jodhpur or paddock boots in the show ring. These are ankle boots and are available in lace-up, pull-on or zip style. Some adults will wear them around the barn or with half-chaps for everyday riding.
Video is courtesy of Ariat Presents: How to Fit Cowboy Boots narrated by Austin as uploaded to Youtube.com. Photo is courtesy of Lineup of Cowboy Boots as uploaded by Echo Valley Ranch on Flickr’s Creative Commons.