Unlike this little guy who knows what boots to wear, choosing the right riding boots can be a difficult task.
When show season arrives, you need to be ready. What sort of boots do you need? Do your old ones need replacing? Are you new to this and finding it tricky to choose? Here's a quick guide to help you on your way.
Firstly, if you're planning to show, you must check the rules regarding boots for the discipline you intend to participate in. As although traditionally a long black boot made from either leather or rubber is required, they vary in style according to discipline, falling into three main categories: field, hunt and dress.
Long riding boots are available in leather and rubber. Whether you opt for a leather or rubber boot is largely dictated by budget, as leather boots are considerably more expensive. A good quality leather boot will be made of thin soft leather that will mould to your foot and leg, offering optimum comfort. The thin leather will allow contact to be maintained with the side of your horse. In addition, leather is both waterproof and breathable, making them perfect for use in both warmer and colder weather.
However, rubber riding boots have other plus points other that just price. They require less maintenance as they won't dry out or crack if they get wet, requiring just a wipe down to keep them clean. Getting the right fit is really important with rubber boots as they won't mould to their rider in the same way as leather, and ill fitting boots can cause great discomfort. Another thing to consider is that rubber is not breathable and can be very hot in the summer, so you may need some with thinner lining for warmer weather, and a more thickly lined boot for the winter months.
The discipline you intend to participate in will dictate the style of boots you'll need. (Again, make sure you check your particular events before you buy!). They fall into three main categories. Firstly, Dress boots, unsurprisingly are generally required for dressage events, but additionally they can be worn for show jumping. They don't have laces, come up to the knee and are often fitted with a zip ensuring a close fit. Conventionally found in black, they are also available in a range of brown leather tones.
Field boots look a lot like a dress boot. The key difference is that they are adjustable either by laces or a strap at the top of the ankle. This offers greater flexibility making them perfect for jumping. And finally hunt boots, also known as top boots, are again similar to dress boots, but the difference here is that they are likely to have a contrasting cuff at the top of the boot.
So as show season approaches, is it time for you to invest in some new riding boots?
To improve page loading speed, we have put the photo gallery for this article on the next page: view photo gallery.