Winter Riding Boots Buying Guide

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Winter Riding Boots Buying Guide

A quality pair of riding boots is an important part of basic equestrian gear. While it is very true that they provide the perfect finishing touch to any horseback riding outfit, there is much more to consider than just appearances when choosing a pair. In fact, the construction of a good pair of riding boots incorporate many features intended to protect the rider and provide a secure footing. Those made for winter wear often incorporate even more specialised features. The available styles are designed for different situations a wise horseback rider will not regret putting forth effort in choosing the right pair.

The Importance of Wearing Riding Boots

The novice equestrian risks neglecting to clearly understand how important it is to take the job of choosing the right riding boot seriously. Many inexperienced people may see wearing a boot specifically designed for riding as only an option. The riding boot, however, provides protection from both injury and the elements. It also keeps the rider's boot securely in place while riding. Understanding the important way that the riding boot affects the experience can help any horseback rider to better choose the right boot.

Riding Boots Provide Security

While riding, remaining secure in the mount is an important part of keeping control of the horse and of feeling confident in that control. Well-fitting long boots help to steady the rider's calves and can alleviate some of the strain the rider may feel. The secure heel of the riding boot provides a solid stop on the rider's foot that keeps it held consistently in the same position in the stirrup. Ensuring that the rider's foot remains secure is very important. Other types of footwear can easily allow the foot to move around inside stirrups and even slip through it, causing injury to the rider and likely upsetting the horse.

Riding Boots Offer Protection From Injury

The many activities involved in horseback riding provide many opportunities for the rider to become injured. It is important to take every measure that can be taken to avoid injury. The riding boot guards against chafing on the lower part of the leg and the foot. It also provides stability for the rider's ankle while on the horse and in the event of a fall. This type of protection alone is important, but many boots provide extra protection in places that are commonly susceptible to injury. While this extra protection may not be necessary for everyone, many riders find it very valuable.

Riding Boots Offer Protection Against the Elements

The nature of horseback riding has the rider constantly exposed to the elements; the rider is left open to wind, rain, hail, sleet, snow, and any combination. Riding during winter weather conditions increases the risk of exposure. The horseback rider should take as many precautions as possible to protect against the elements. The proper boots can keep the feet and legs dry and warm. This keeps the rider comfortable and able to enjoy riding longer.

Riding Boots Provide a Barrier

In the stable and on the trail, the ground condition can often be less than desirable. From mud puddles to horse faeces, there are number of things the rider would like to avoid stepping in. While riding boots may not be appropriate if these situations are extreme, they do provide an effective barrier in the event of the unavoidable misstep.

Features to Look for in Winter Riding Boots

All riding boots provide the type of protection described. Winter boots, however, are specifically designed to not only protect the rider and provide a secure foothold, they also include further measures to ensure that the rider stays warm and dry. Unlike other boots that have uppers constructed purely from genuine leather, winter riding boots may be leather or may be constructed from another sturdy, weatherproof material. Winter riding boots often include more than one layer, generally an outer layer, and an inner insulating layer.

Insulation

Providing extra warmth is an important feature of the winter riding boot. Many quality equestrian boot manufacturers have developed specialised ways to insulate the rider's foot from the harsh elements during the winter months. Some forms of extra insulation include wool, microfibre, Thinsulate, and other natural and synthetic materials. For the optimal winter riding experience, choose a boot that features one of these forms of insulation.

Weatherproofing

The winter months are often damp, with the weather conditions during most riding opportunities being prone to rain, sleet, snow, and often a combination of all of these. Even if the weather is prime for riding, during the winter months, the ground is often wet. A quality winter riding boot is constructed from materials and in a way that protects the foot from moisture. Some protective measures include weather shield treatment added to the surface of the boot. Other winter boots use different materials such as synthetic weatherproof fabrics and may even incorporate an all rubber upper.

Types of Winter Riding Boots

There are two main types of riding boots available, the English riding boot and the Western riding boot, commonly known as a cowboy boot. Western boots often display a variety of different colours and details. English riding boots, on the other hand, are generally either black or brown, and the details, such as boot height, the cuff, and lacing, differentiate the styles one from another. Unlike the Western boot, which may be any number of colours, English riding boots are commonly either a formal black or a brown.

English Riding Boots

English riding boots are available in a number of different styles, the main ones being dress, field, hunt and paddock. Of the four, all except the paddock are considered tall boots, extending up the leg to the knee. The following chart describes how each style differs from the others:

Style

Description

Dress Boots

The formal English riding boot; generally tall, covering at least the calve and usually extending up to the knee; commonly made of high quality leather, well polished, and without laces or other details.

Field Boots

May be shorter than most tall boots; commonly characterised by lacing at the front of the ankle which allows the rider to adjust the snugness of the boot around the ankle, an important feature for jumping events and similar situations.

Hunt Boots

Typically worn during a hunt; more casual than the dress boot and generally more flexible, allowing the rider to dismount easily and move about; characterised by a cuff at the top that is often brown on the black boot.

Paddock Boots

Short boots, ending just above the ankle; may be a pull-on boot but may also be available with laces or a zip; generally worn by children who may quickly outgrow the tall boot style, or adults for casual daily activities; often worn with half chaps to offer extra protection while riding and to compensate for the visual difference between the paddock and a tall boot; also known as Jodhpurs.

While English riding boots are traditionally constructed from smooth leather, typically cowhide or pigskin, winter riding boots may use other durable materials to help insulate and protect against the elements.

Western Riding Boots

Western riding boots are often called "cowboy boots." The uppers are typically constructed of leather, either cowhide or that of other exotic animals, even reptilian skin. The stitching on the boot is often finely detailed, and the boots are available in a much broader selection of colours than English riding boots typically are. In general, however, Western riding boots are not specifically manufactured with the winter season in mind, and Western riders typically wear the same boot year-round.

Where to Buy Winter Riding Boots

Most equestrian stores the specialised in outfitting the horseback rider will have a large selection of riding boots, including several specifically constructed for winter riding. All quality equestrian gear can be expensive, so it is great to find a bargain. eBay sellers regularly list a large variety of winter riding boots, and bargains abound.

Buying Winter Riding Boots on eBay

When buying winter riding boots on eBay, be sure to choose a pair with the necessary features for the type of riding that will be done most often. Find the right ones by doing a keyword search from eBay's main page. For instance, find all the listings for tall riding boots that are specifically designed for winter riding conditions by entering "tall winter riding boots" into the eBay search engine.

Look closely at the boots' features, and pay special attention to how the seller lists the size. Some sellers understand that finding the right size can be difficult, so they offer extra information that is generally very helpful. Most sellers are open to receiving questions about sizes or anything else, so never hesitate to contact them. Before bidding, take a look at the seller's rating and reviews in order. Seeing that other buyers have had good experiences with the particular seller can help boost your confidence in the purchase.

Conclusion

For many everyday situations, the choice in footwear does not require much forethought. Horseback riding, however, is not an average situation. In order to be safe and to enjoy the experience to its fullest, a wise rider will consider their choice in footwear very carefully. The different styles of riding boots are intended to be worn by riders who engage in certain riding activities. Winter riding boots include additional features meant to enhance comfort by keeping the rider's foot and leg warm and dry. Choosing the right winter riding boot is easiest when the horseback rider understands which boots are best for what activities and the way the boots protect the horseback rider's foot and leg, as well as how they help the rider to keep the feet securely in the stirrups.

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