Every English style equestrian needs good English riding boots. However, when picking out a pair of boots it is essential to know which pair to choose. There are several styles of riding boots which are designed for a specific riding activity. With a little knowledge about English style horse riding and the various boots available it can become easy to know which boot to choose.
Before discussing English riding boots it is important to know about the English riding style in general. The English style of horse riding is used all over the world and gets its roots from centuries of European riding traditions. The English horse riding style is observed in different disciplines of horse ridership and each requires the horse to perform different acts and requires the rider to use different equipment. English style riding is used in the equestrian events that appear in the Olympics, it is used by police officers mounted on horses, and it is used in fox hunting events. Each of these events require the use of a specific boot.
Types of English Riding Boots
Most popular of the English riding boots is the field boot. This is considered a tall boot and is cut to stop just below the knee. It is designed with lacing at the vamp of the boot to allow some give at the ankle making it a more comfortable fit for riders using using a saddle with a shorter stirrup. This boot is ideal to most riding disciplines including show jumping, fox hunting, and horse mounted police. The name “field boot” arises from the tradition of “field grade” police officers wearing a boot of this design. These boots are usually black but brown colored boots are also available.
Another type of boot is the dress boot. Considered to be a stiffer boot, the dress boot is another tall boot but has no lacing on it. It is worn by dressage riders and riders participating in formal fox hunts. These boots are usually black in color and are sometimes cut so that they are tall enough to rise slightly above the knee. A boot similar in style to the dress boot is the top or hunt boot. It too is a long laceless boot but it is designed with a cuff on the top of it. This cuff is traditionally tan and it is an appropriate boot for fox hunting.
A fourth type of the English riding boots is the paddock or Jodhpur boot. This is a short boot crafted to stop right above the ankles. This boot is normally used for riders who are riding casually for pleasure. They are also used a lot for children because they are less expensive to replace once the child outgrows them. They come in a laced form or in an elastic sided Chelsea boot form. Often, they are worn with half chaps which provide extra protection and create the long lean appearance of the dress and field boots.
English horse riding boots are typically made of smooth leather. The leather is usually cowhide but sometimes pig skin is used. In recent years boot made of synthetic materials such as vinyl or synthetic have become popular but the smooth leather boots are still preferred by some due to tradition. For casual riding or riding practice some riders take advantage of a new breed of boots that take their cues from tennis shoes and hiking boots. The new boots have the dual benefit of looking like a riding boot but feeling as comfortable as a tennis shoe.
When deciding on a riding boot it is always important to consider what type of boot will be best for which situation. Each riding discipline requires a specific boot that is designed to suit the rider best. Being educated in the different types of English riding boots available is the best way to know which boot to choose.