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Too early to invest in tall riding boots?

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Hi All. So I'm a male in my mid 20's who has been taking one hour private lessons at a hunter / jumper barn for a couple months now and have really enjoyed the experience. That said I have been experiencing some discomfort / chafing in my calves. I currently ride in cotton pants with tall riding socks and paddock boots (and helmet of course) and was thinking about the idea of investing in breeches and tall riding (field) boots. I know Ariat have a good selection for men and was considering skipping chaps and buying pair, however, I don't know whether it's too early to invest. I also don't want to seem like a "poser" for investing in a pair so early. I don't see myself stopping anytime at all (in-fact will be looking to ride more frequently) and would actually consider competing when I get to an appropriate level. What do you all think? Would love to get your thoughts.
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Do you wear half-chaps now? If not, that would be my next step. Adding them to your paddock boots is cheaper and more practical than buying tall boots, plus it will be easier to find something that fits by using the half chaps-paddock boots combo, rather than tall boots.
 

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Elle, 1997 Oldenburg mare
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I'd say go for it!

You could get half chaps, which would eliminate the chafing, are meant to pair with paddock boots, and cost less than tall boots. However, good quality half chaps seem to have gone up in price, while a lot of the tall boots on the market have come down in price from what they used to be. So really, it wouldn't hurt to just take the leap, and as long as you take good care of them, they should last a very long time. I would suggest though that you go in person to a store to buy them, as the fit is tricky to nail. Even if you have your own measurements correct, sometimes the measurements from the companies are misleading.
 

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I'd say skip over half-chaps and go straight to tall boots. A good pair of tall boots (such as Ariats) will last you years, and you won't have to worry about upgrading from half-chaps to tall boots if you decide to compete, if at all. I love my tall boots, and no matter if I'm riding English or Western, or just doing ground work or barn chores, I'm in my tall boots.

If you call Dover Saddlery (who carry Ariat boots and have wonderful customer support), they will walk you step by step through the measuring process to get the correct sized boots. I'm sure you could also call Ariat directly, I just preferred called Dover because they are known for being English-oriented, not 'all-around' sales-oriented for English, western, and work boots.

I bought my boyfriend paddock boots for his birthday, and I'm kicking myself in the butt for not spending a tad bit more and just getting him tall boots since I'm fairly certain he will continue riding and one day will need to upgrade to tall boots.

One thing to be wary of is how people think tall boots are supposed to fit - when I bought my first pair, I was told to fit them so that the tops of the boots rest right under my knee cap and up in the joint of my knee because they will shrink a couple of inches - I call bogus. I hated that first pair of tall boots, because they never felt good to wear, even after breaking in. The woman I talked to at Dover Saddlery set me on the straight path, and now my tall boots are my most comfortable pair of footwear.

Also, a good trick to breaking in new tall boots is to get them wet and then wear them until dry - it's a quick and dirty way to mold them to your legs and feet. Someone I competed with would stand in a water trough, soak them through, and ride as many horses as she could until they dried. She would compare them to custom-fit boots by the end of this process. It works, just make sure you care for the boots after the process, should they need any cleaning and conditioning.
 

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I'm the counter-argument -- I can't think of a reason to ride in tall boots. I mainly trail ride and my half chaps plus Ariat Terrains work 100% of the time for everything. No chafing. If I need to get off and clamber up rocks, I'm all set for it. If it's too hot, I ride with thin tights and and use sheepskin tubes on my leathers. If it's super cold, same thing, only thermal tights and insulated snow boots under a riding skirt. Four season versatility.

Only reason I can think of to get those one-purpose boots that cost a mint (mine would have to be custom as I am very short-legged) is to wear the regulation dress-up at a show, a show I will never enter as I've no interest. Terrains and half chaps are just fine for lessons too.
 

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Elle, 1997 Oldenburg mare
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I'm the counter-argument -- I can't think of a reason to ride in tall boots. I mainly trail ride and my half chaps plus Ariat Terrains work 100% of the time for everything. No chafing. If I need to get off and clamber up rocks, I'm all set for it. If it's too hot, I ride with thin tights and and use sheepskin tubes on my leathers. If it's super cold, same thing, only thermal tights and insulated snow boots under a riding skirt. Four season versatility.

Only reason I can think of to get those one-purpose boots that cost a mint (mine would have to be custom as I am very short-legged) is to wear the regulation dress-up at a show, a show I will never enter as I've no interest. Terrains and half chaps are just fine for lessons too.
I think it's different strokes for different folks. I never show, but I'm happier riding in my tall leather dress boots than I am in anything else. They fit really well, they're less bulky than having short boots and half chaps, and I love having leather against the flap because I can customize how much grip it gives me based on what products I use on it. Plus it's less fiddly than putting on boots + chaps. I just stick my foot in, zip one zipper, and I'm ready. Instead of unlacing my paddock boot, sticking it on, lacing it up, maneuvering the half chap into position, zipping that... I mean, I DO like that my boots look good, I won't lie, but that's not my main reason for enjoying them. :D
 

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I guess I have a really hard time imagining tall boots to be more comfortable than paddock boots + half chaps. Plus my paddock boots just zip. My routine is to put on the paddock boots when I get to the barn, do chores and whatever, and then just put on the half chaps right before I ride, if I ride. I can't imagine doing chores in tall boots. And right now, it's so darn hot that tall boots would just be brutal. I take off the half chaps pretty much the second my ride is over. I take of Pony's bridle, then take off the half chaps, then remove the rest of his tack. That's how hot they are. I couldn't do that in tall boots. Bleah.

Plus, if you think you're going to show but aren't going to do it now, then if you get the tall boots now you have to take really good care of them so they will still look good by the time you get to showing. Why not just get the half chaps now and then get tall boots when you need them? Most lower level shows will accept half chaps+paddock boots as long as they match.
 
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Elle, 1997 Oldenburg mare
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I guess I have a really hard time imagining tall boots to be more comfortable than paddock boots + half chaps. Plus my paddock boots just zip. My routine is to put on the paddock boots when I get to the barn, do chores and whatever, and then just put on the half chaps right before I ride, if I ride. I can't imagine doing chores in tall boots. And right now, it's so darn hot that tall boots would just be brutal. I take off the half chaps pretty much the second my ride is over. I take of Pony's bridle, then take off the half chaps, then remove the rest of his tack. That's how hot they are. I couldn't do that in tall boots. Bleah.
The way I treat the tall boots is similar to how you use your half chaps. :) I just have a pair of rubber muck boots I wear while I do everything but ride. I slip into the tall boots once I'm ready to bridle, then I slip out of them right after the ride and back into the rubber boots to untack, etc. Easy! Keeps them nice, and I don't have to worry about screwing them up doing anything but riding.
 

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I think it's different strokes for different folks. I never show, but I'm happier riding in my tall leather dress boots than I am in anything else. They fit really well, they're less bulky than having short boots and half chaps, and I love having leather against the flap because I can customize how much grip it gives me based on what products I use on it. Plus it's less fiddly than putting on boots + chaps. I just stick my foot in, zip one zipper, and I'm ready. Instead of unlacing my paddock boot, sticking it on, lacing it up, maneuvering the half chap into position, zipping that... I mean, I DO like that my boots look good, I won't lie, but that's not my main reason for enjoying them. :D
Imagine how you'd feel bushwhacking through an overgrown trail and having them get scratched and scraped. Or trying to lead your horse down a washed-out ravine and sliding in the gravel. Getting soaked in a summer rainstorm. Riding in heat and humidity. Riding in single digit temps -- impossible to keep your feet warm.

Maybe that's not the kind of riding you'll ever do, and maybe nothing like what the OP has in mind either. Those are issues for me though. I mean, I'd like to look spiffy myself ... but would rather be practical.
 

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I also vote for tall boots. I find them much more comfortable and less fiddly than half chaps. One thing I noticed is that my leg is much more stable in tall boots than paddock boots + half chaps - but that could just be my boots, not a general rule.

I also second not buying them too tall. I always buy them just right and never had a problem with them dropping to be too short. I think these new technologies have improved the fit right from the start (panels and stretchy inlays and such things).

I bought winter Ariat and I am amazed how warm they are. Summer boots I just bought from Horze and they are perfectly fine without braking bank.

I don’t show either but I still love them and spend a lot of time in them. I’ve been thinking of wearing them with my normal clothes - they are beautiful and not too many people ride in my part of the world so I won’t look like a crazy person.
 

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This is a fun conversation!


I am a casual rider, but will vouch for the fact that you NEED shin protection in an English type saddle. Nobody would think you were a poser for showing up in correct, sport specific footwear. I've ridden for many years in Ariat Terrains with half chaps, but I got boot envy this year. I wanted a pair of tall boots that I could "muck around" in. And I found them! Ovation Moorland Highriders. They are leather, come in brown and black, men's sizes, and are WATERPROOF. They're zippered and gusseted all the way down the leg. I can't say with absolute certainty, but I think they'd be okay for low level showing. AND, at just under $200, I think they're actually less expensive than a pair of Ariat Terrains and good half chaps.
 

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I'd go with half chaps. Your instructor will let you know when they are required for shows. It'll be awhile yet I suspect. My son much prefers the half and boots. He is saving the tall boots for recognized shows.
 

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Elle, 1997 Oldenburg mare
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Imagine how you'd feel bushwhacking through an overgrown trail and having them get scratched and scraped. Or trying to lead your horse down a washed-out ravine and sliding in the gravel. Getting soaked in a summer rainstorm. Riding in heat and humidity. Riding in single digit temps -- impossible to keep your feet warm.

Maybe that's not the kind of riding you'll ever do, and maybe nothing like what the OP has in mind either. Those are issues for me though. I mean, I'd like to look spiffy myself ... but would rather be practical.
Oh, I'd definitely wear my half chaps for that. :lol: :wink:
 

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Bad thing is men's boots aren't typically something that an instructor will have hanging around. You could find used but because of calf height and shape they really need to be tried on or new - ordered using a brand specific sizing guide.
 

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I'd say go for it!

You could get half chaps, which would eliminate the chafing, are meant to pair with paddock boots, and cost less than tall boots. However, good quality half chaps seem to have gone up in price, while a lot of the tall boots on the market have come down in price from what they used to be. So really, it wouldn't hurt to just take the leap, and as long as you take good care of them, they should last a very long time. I would suggest though that you go in person to a store to buy them, as the fit is tricky to nail. Even if you have your own measurements correct, sometimes the measurements from the companies are misleading.
Thank you all for your input, a lot of different opinions and perspectives. I think I might go ahead and invest in a pair tall boots and breeches especially considering my ambition to show down the line. I'll be waiting for the fall sales and hopefully snag a pair on discount then :smile:.
 
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