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Discussion Starter #1
After decades out of the saddle I have recently started riding again. I am looking to find a pair of budget friendly tall dress boots. I am currently taking dressage lessons and the aim is to help stabilize my lower leg. Any recommendations for online vendors with good return policies and good customer service? Or any to avoid? I know ideally it would be best to try on in person, but COVID is really spiking in my area and going in-store just isn't an option for me right now.

Suggestions on specific brands or styles would be a plus! I am currently looking at the Tuffrider Belmont dress boot.

TIA
 

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Dover has excellent customer service in my experience, at least at the store level. Do you have a local one? You could call them and talk through some options. Maybe you could then go in person but stay outside and have them bring them to you to try? I know you said online, but speaking from personal experience I have such a hard time finding shoes that fit, and with tall boots it's just that much harder, that I'd want to be able to try them on. If you ordered something online and it didn't fit, you'd still have to go out to return them, right?

I have to say, however, that I personally am not a fan of using gadgets to bridge a gap in ability or strength. If it were me, I'd spend more time working on exercises and really trying to think about it when riding, rather than getting a thing to help me.
 
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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the suggestion! I did check and there is not a Dover Saddlery in my state, but perhaps their phone customer service might be helpful. The mention of returns is valid. However, I can be in and out of my local UPS or FedEx dropoff in just a minute or two. I agree with not relying on gadgets, however I am of an age that building muscle is not easily accomplished so I will take what help I can get LOL. I am not planning on competing, I ride simply for the joy of it. My instructor is the one who suggested I try them. The owner of the stable, who is very accomplished in saddleseat, just started dressage lessons with her and said they made a big difference for her.
 

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I got my Ariat tall boots from Dover, and chose the size over the phone, with a customer service representative. She guided me through the measurements and suggested which size would work best - and she was right.

I will say, however, stray away from the "cheaper" brands of tall boots - they have the tendency to lose their soles and burst at the zippers. I destroyed a pair of TuffRider's in under a year, but my Ariat's have held up for over four years now, in all seasons.
 

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I must say, that is the first time I've ever heard of a riding boot being considered a "gadget" LOL!

I have not used them for boot purchasing, but Smartpak is pretty well regarded for their excellent customer service and return policies. You may want to browse their selection (which looked pretty good to me!).

I think the boot you picked looks nice! It looks like the break-in time will not be long as the leather looks soft and more supple. I imagine that due to the Covid situation, vendors are going to be more flexible with difficult online purchases, because, well, they'll have to be! Good luck!

You'll have to come back and let us know what you chose!
 

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I must say, that is the first time I've ever heard of a riding boot being considered a "gadget" LOL!
Yeah... I'm writing during a work meeting, so I'm half here and half there, and I'm sure I could have come up with a better word. I just mean something that sort of artificially aids you. I'd describe riding tights with a sticky seat as the same thing. But again, it's just me. I was personally afraid that if I learned to ride with, say, sticky pants, then I wouldn't be able to learn to ride without them. Maybe "crutch" is a better word, but that's a bit pejorative, and I don't mean to be negative.

Oh, and yes I think Smartpak customer service is great. I trialed two saddles through them and it was a really smooth process. They also gave me an extension of time with the saddles since the weather was bad for several days and I couldn't ride.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I got my Ariat tall boots from Dover, and chose the size over the phone, with a customer service representative. She guided me through the measurements and suggested which size would work best - and she was right.

I will say, however, stray away from the "cheaper" brands of tall boots - they have the tendency to lose their soles and burst at the zippers. I destroyed a pair of TuffRider's in under a year, but my Ariat's have held up for over four years now, in all seasons.
Thanks for the recommendation! I have heard great things about Ariat.
 

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I must say, that is the first time I've ever heard of a riding boot being considered a "gadget" LOL!

I have not used them for boot purchasing, but Smartpak is pretty well regarded for their excellent customer service and return policies. You may want to browse their selection (which looked pretty good to me!).

I think the boot you picked looks nice! It looks like the break-in time will not be long as the leather looks soft and more supple. I imagine that due to the Covid situation, vendors are going to be more flexible with difficult online purchases, because, well, they'll have to be! Good luck!

You'll have to come back and let us know what you chose!
Thanks for the feedback on Smartpak! I remember reading about an "S" vendor that was not great with returns but can't remember the name, perhaps it was Stateline?
I'll be sure to report back with whatever I get (or return). Hopefully it will help someone else :)
 

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Thanks for the recommendation! I have heard great things about Ariat.
I have paddock boots by Ariat, and they were comfortable right out of the box, which is unusual for me. The quality was great, too. I love them and will keep buying them.

I believe I have a have slightly wider-than-average toe box, and slightly narrower-than-average heel. That might help you a bit.
 

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Yeah... I'm writing during a work meeting, so I'm half here and half there, and I'm sure I could have come up with a better word. I just mean something that sort of artificially aids you. I'd describe riding tights with a sticky seat as the same thing. But again, it's just me. I was personally afraid that if I learned to ride with, say, sticky pants, then I wouldn't be able to learn to ride without them. Maybe "crutch" is a better word, but that's a bit pejorative, and I don't mean to be negative.

Oh, and yes I think Smartpak customer service is great. I trialed two saddles through them and it was a really smooth process. They also gave me an extension of time with the saddles since the weather was bad for several days and I couldn't ride.
No offence taken :) Thanks for the second on Smartpak customer service!. I will be sure to check out their selection.
 

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Thanks for the recommendation! I have heard great things about Ariat.
I also should've mentioned that before calling Dover to have help with sizing, I had ordered two pairs of the same tall boots, just in differing heights/widths - both returns went very smoothly.
 

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Stability is based more on your core and muscle memory. Stirrup placement and strength. Plenty of two point in all gaits you can balance well in well go far to realizing that goal.

Double check return policy as many are not accepting returns due to COVID.
 

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I absolutely adore my Tredstep field boots from Dover!! They have a comprehensive size chart there, which makes it much easier to get the fit correct. I got a close out pair for $149, I think. The newer ones will probably come down a bit at Thanksgiving. That is when I got mine last year. My former boarder got hers the year before, wears them ALL the time for chores....and they still are serviceable. I only wear mine to ride.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Stability is based more on your core and muscle memory. Stirrup placement and strength. Plenty of two point in all gaits you can balance well in well go far to realizing that goal.

Double check return policy as many are not accepting returns due to COVID.
Thanks for the tip on returns! I have been checking those closely. I actually feel very stable in two point at walk and trot, I haven't tried at canter. Core strength and just plain time in the saddle is more of an issue. We worked today on my seat which actually helped a lot.
 

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I absolutely adore my Tredstep field boots from Dover!! They have a comprehensive size chart there, which makes it much easier to get the fit correct. I got a close out pair for $149, I think. The newer ones will probably come down a bit at Thanksgiving. That is when I got mine last year. My former boarder got hers the year before, wears them ALL the time for chores....and they still are serviceable. I only wear mine to ride.
Thanks for the recommendation! I will have to check around Black Friday. Looks like you got a great deal! Right now they are $319 which is more than I want to spend right now. If I get a less expensive pair and they last a year or two I am ok with that. By that time I'll know if it is worth the investment for me to upgrade.
 

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Boot update- I decided on the Tuffrider Belmont Dress boots after receiving them. I had my instructor take a look, and I think she was surprised how nice they were. She did say that if I was riding hours everyday they would not hold up. As I am taking lessons once a week, that isn't an issue for me. They look, fit, and feel great!

Bonus boot- I also ride at another stable weekly with a group that is mainly for exercise and time in the saddle. At this barn, it tends to be muddy at times and horses are sometimes in the paddocks. For the winter, and if it is rainy, I got the Dublin Universal Tall boot, which is rubber. At under $60 it was a great buy and surprisingly good looking and comfortable.
 
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