How do you keep your show boots broken in?
I have had a HORRIBLE time with show boots. My calves are 16 inches which mean, I am borderline between wide calf regular boots, or going with something like "fuller fillies" where the calf is too big.
I have found that the Mountain Horse Firenze in wide calf (15 3/4inch) works great because of the full length elastic, hurrah!. However I do net to break them in. The only way I found to get them to zip and be comfy is to immerse the top 7 inches in warm water before putting them on, then wearing them all day. I did that and they were great for my shows. But then I had a few months between shows, Cin got injured so my boots sat unused because I wanted to keep them "nice" for shows. When I did put them on a week before a show to work them in a little they were tight again and then POOF, a tooth broke on one of the zippers.
Luckily Dover sent me another pair. They are a slightly different design (I guess newer model) and once again, after immersing in water they fit fine.
So now, how do I keep this happening again? What do you guys suggest?
I ride in my show boots almost every day. Then again I don't really have the money for two pairs of nice dress boots!! A good polish and they are show ring ready.
The only time I don't wear my good boots is on anything that doesn't steer too good, or if I'm on a trail with lots of branches. Then I wear my crappy, painful old Petries. The only thing that will really wreck a pair of dress boots is running into walls/branches and otherwise scratching them, and also walking around in them excessively - you want them broken in for riding, not walking!
It is so hot and dry right now, would it ruin them to leave them in my tack locker which lately has been exceeding 100F?
It's more humidity that will wreck leather.
Just make sure you do not use soap or any products on the "shiny" or visible parts. Some conditioner where you're touching the horse with them, and wiping them every day is OK. Just use a good quality boot polish on the visible bits and only ever wipe with a soft damp cloth (unless they are really dirty). I like Kiwi boot polish.
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Take them to a professional shoe shiner before your next show. They will make them look nice and keep the leather moist and healthy.
Have you tried using boot trees? Those seem to work with mine. They're about $20, you can find them on Dover or any major tack shop.
Why not put them on every week or so just at home
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What I do to break in my nice show and dress boots:
Wear them around the house. When walking up the stairs, stick your heels down at the end of the stair, like 'heels down' on horseback
Ride in them as much as possible. They will eventually get less stiff and more flexable to your legs. I ride in mine everyday, and after every ride, wipe them off with a little water or leather cleaner from your local tack store. that way, if you ride in them everyday, they will look good before a show.
I hope this helps
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