Choosing the right pair of horse show boots is actually more important
than most may think.
It may be tempting to find a "close enough"
color with the thought that no one will notice your feet.
This is actually not the best way to go about shopping for a pair of
boots. Below we will be discussing a few differences between both
english and western disciplines. We will also be discussing what is
acceptable to show in and how to find the right pair of boots for you.
English horse show boots tend to be very
uniform in appearance and function. At a typical horse show you will
likely see exhibitors riding in a taller type of english boot that ends
just below the rider's knee.
The purpose of the "tallness" of the boot is to prevent any pinching of
the rider's leg from the leathers on the saddle. English horse show
boots have a lower heel to prevent the rider's foot from slipping
through the stirrup.
English boots traditionally are black in color, though there are
nontraditional colors available such as brown. They are also usually
made from a smooth leather material such as cow hide.
Leather quality does also vary and may be reflected in the price. A
softer quality of leather will likely increase the value of the boot.
There are other types of english horse show boots available. However,
the style and type we just reviewed is the most accepted type for
showing. If you are showing at a more casual type show, different
styles of boots may be more acceptable.
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Western horse show boots vary much more
in acceptable styles and
colors. Western styles change year after year and trend-setting or
variation from the norm may be much more accepted in a western class
than in the traditional english class.
Most commonly you see the typical "cowboy" boot used in the show ring.
Though this type of boot is very common in the in-hand classes such as
halter or showmanship, it is less seen during the riding classes.
Instead they are replaced with a lace-up
type of boot. When placed under chaps during western classes, it is
more difficult to see the entire boot. For this reason, boots that
exhibitor where in a showmanship class may be different than those worn
in the western discipline riding classes.
The typical western boot has a height that reaches to the mid-calf.
This height prevents uncomfortable rubbing on the calf from the fender
of the western saddle.
When showing in a halter or showmanship class you should pay more
attention to the boots you wear. You are showing your horse on the
ground and DO count as a part of the equation the judges use when
If you have a showmanship outfit that is a different color than the
common black, you should also try to color match the color of your
horse show boots to the color of your outfit.
If you have a common color, you may luck out and be able to find
something off the shelf. If you had your outfit custom made, you may
have to seek the services of someone to help get a matching color
through either dying or painting.
When searching for the right boots to
show in, keep in mind a few key
concepts before dishing out the money.
Make sure you find your boots
(both english and western) in
the correct size to minimize discomfort when showing
Try shopping offline before
searching online ads. For
quality used boots try shopping at a tack sale.
If answering a classified ad
for boots it may be a good
idea to try on a pair of boots at the tack shop to ensure the
particular boots online will fit properly
You get what you pay for both
online and offline. Higher
quality boots may cost more up front, but they may last more years than
a lower quality boot
The right boots will be a little more difficult to find when searching
to compliment a western outfit in comparison to an english outfit.
English boots are uniform in style and color than are western horse
When searching for western boots you want to make sure they are
comfortable as you will likely be walking quite a few miles though the
course of a horse show in them.
Style can vary among western boots as they tend to be hidden under
pants or chaps. Color matching is important, but you can likely wear
either traditional "cowboy" boots or a lace up variety of boot.
No matter what type of boots you end up with, just make sure you
exercise some common sense when shopping. Hot pink boots won't fly
under black chaps even if you like the color combo.
Remember you don't want to draw the eye
the judge to one portion of your body when showing. You want them to
take in the whole beautiful picture of you and your horse.