Long or short

Kayfs

New Member
May 6, 2021
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Hi all. I'm new to horseriding only my 3rd lesson and never been around horses or riding before. Bit daunting to start at 52 😊

So ... Ive been wearing normal DM type boots but yesterday lost my stirrup because my foot slipped. I've got the bug so it's time to buy my first pair of boots. I've read all the forums and sites and the opinion is divided.

So my question is?? Older inexperienced beginner rider Long or short boots?

I also need to buy a hat so again ... one with a peak (don't know the correct name) or a skull.

TIA Kay
 

Skib

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Dec 21, 2003
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Riding wear is culturally determined. Western riders wear different from English.
I dont know what a DM boot is. But if it is Doc Martin I see they do make smooth soled boots but those might be too rigid at the ankle.

I will give you here my RI's opinion. When learning to ride one's ankles must be flexible so short boots and half chaps are best, unless you can afford very expensvie long boots made of fine soft leather. Some people find long boots too warm in hot summer and too cold in winter. Soft long boots also give no protection for stable work. I now posess lovely long boots but long boots need to fit the calf so I dont wear mine when my weight goes up. I wear short boots and half chaps instead as most half chaps are elasticated.

For me the benefit of soft long boots is that one can feel the horse better than through most half chaps and in dressage in the school you will later find this an advantage.
Whatever the boot, the sole should be smooth for riding and there should be a heel. The heel prevents your foot slipping forward through the stirrup and the smooth sole means your foot wont get caught in the stirrup if you fall off. The stirrup should have 1 cm or half an inch space to spare at the ball of your foot.

You may think you need your foot glued to the stirrup but this is not the case. While learning most people ride a lot with no stirrups and once one is balanced on the horse, one's legs stay pretty still and one rarely loses a stirrup. After 20 years riding I have only once lost a stirrup. Mostly I fell off in any major spook and as everyone falls sooner or later, I recommend you buy and wear a body protector.

The peaked hat is a matter of choice. All peaks these days are flexible and many of us wear a helmet with a cover on. The cover is called a silk and has a peak just to keep the sun out of one's eyes. The strength of hat you choose will depend on what sort of riding you are doing. I hack and for hacking one needs a higher spec hat as one may fall onto hard ground or a sharp object.

I too started in middle age. I was 61 and bought very cheap clothes in case I did not continue. But a year or two later all that stuff had to be replaced. I wish you well with your riding and hope that horses will bring you the joy they bring me. They will certainly be good for your health.
 

carthorse

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I'd say go for short boots and chaps, you can get ones that give a very similar look to long boots if that's what you want. My preference is for laced boots as I find they give a better fit, but the best thing to do is to go to a large tack shop and try on different boots and chaps to see which you find most comfortable. The same goes for hats, different makes fit differently so you need to try a few on, but also make sure they are of a suitable safety standard - they should be marked PAS015 and have a BSI kitemark inside. I wear a skull with a silk as I think these are safer than fixed peaks (and while I would never want to race or ride a BE cross country course they are the only style of hat allowed for these disciplines).

Whatever you choose do try different ones on before spending what is a fair amount of money, and good luck with your riding :)
 

chunky monkey

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May 2, 2007
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Yes i wear a skull and have a hat silk. These are generally cheaper. As said this helps to keep the sun out of your eyes. Fixed peaks are not permitted it certain disciplines. Wear it for a little bit in the shop if they permit you. If its too tight your head will start hurting. It needs to be a firm fit but too tight and your forehead will ache in no time. The inner lining does compress with use too. So make sure it is a firm fit. It will loosen with use.

Depending on the shape of your leg some people struggle with long boots to be comfortable.

I ride in long countrystyle boots. They are warmer in winter. Have a bit of grip should one need to dismount from the horse on a hack to do gates. I only ride in them and take them off once dismounted and back into wellies for yard work. The only problem i have is that the leather has collapsed at the ankles. Disappointing considering i store mine hanging upside down. Had them a couple of years now though and i ride regularly.

Never had a pair of proper long riding boots, but people complain there feet are cold in winter. You cant use them really for yard work.

For lessons short boots and half chaps. Also in summer they can be cooler.

For some time i use a pair of lace up walking boots. Comfy, warm and practical for doing some yard chores or turning back out.

My choice for allround would be short boots and chaps. If your going for show because everyone else rides in them then long boots.
 

Skib

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the leather has collapsed at the ankles.
I think that the leather on long boots has to fold at the ankle to provide for suppleness. I keep mine the right way up but with long boot trees in them. If they are falling because your legs have got thinner, one can wear long boot socks. But there is no remedy for me except to lose my Covid weight. When one sees top dressage riders, they are in boots not used for hacking or jumping while most of us have one pair of boots we use for everything.
 

Kite_Rider

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May 18, 2009
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Horses for courses re boots, I have always ridden in long boots because I find them more comfortable, I’ve never owned a pair of short boots just because I don’t like them, mine are fleece lined because I have rubbish circulation and my feet are always cold, even in 30degrees plus temps!
Hats, all I can say is you absolutely must try them on and wear them in the shop for a while, good tack shops will be happy to let you do this, hats come in different shapes as do heads and if it’s going to be on your head for more than five minutes it needs to fit well, I’ve even found hats from the same maker come in different shapes, so definitely go try some on first.
 

Jessey

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Dec 20, 2004
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I’d agree, pick a big tack shop with plenty of choice and go and try both boots and hats, internet shopping really is no use until you know what suits you.

I prefer short boots and chaps, I’m short at 5’4” and find most long boots dig in at the back of my knee once in riding position but it’s probably more habit now as many brands make short options but didn’t back when I was getting started.

I have a fixed peak hat, but would have happily had a skull if that shape had suited me better. It might be worth checking in with your RS to see if they have any rules that could affect what you can do down the line, eg jumping etc.
 

Kayfs

New Member
May 6, 2021
6
4
3
Riding wear is culturally determined. Western riders wear different from English.
I dont know what a DM boot is. But if it is Doc Martin I see they do make smooth soled boots but those might be too rigid at the ankle.

I will give you here my RI's opinion. When learning to ride one's ankles must be flexible so short boots and half chaps are best, unless you can afford very expensvie long boots made of fine soft leather. Some people find long boots too warm in hot summer and too cold in winter. Soft long boots also give no protection for stable work. I now posess lovely long boots but long boots need to fit the calf so I dont wear mine when my weight goes up. I wear short boots and half chaps instead as most half chaps are elasticated.

For me the benefit of soft long boots is that one can feel the horse better than through most half chaps and in dressage in the school you will later find this an advantage.
Whatever the boot, the sole should be smooth for riding and there should be a heel. The heel prevents your foot slipping forward through the stirrup and the smooth sole means your foot wont get caught in the stirrup if you fall off. The stirrup should have 1 cm or half an inch space to spare at the ball of your foot.

You may think you need your foot glued to the stirrup but this is not the case. While learning most people ride a lot with no stirrups and once one is balanced on the horse, one's legs stay pretty still and one rarely loses a stirrup. After 20 years riding I have only once lost a stirrup. Mostly I fell off in any major spook and as everyone falls sooner or later, I recommend you buy and wear a body protector.

The peaked hat is a matter of choice. All peaks these days are flexible and many of us wear a helmet with a cover on. The cover is called a silk and has a peak just to keep the sun out of one's eyes. The strength of hat you choose will depend on what sort of riding you are doing. I hack and for hacking one needs a higher spec hat as one may fall onto hard ground or a sharp object.

I too started in middle age. I was 61 and bought very cheap clothes in case I did not continue. But a year or two later all that stuff had to be replaced. I wish you well with your riding and hope that horses will bring you the joy they bring me. They will certainly be good for your health.
Thank you for such a detailed and informative response. That has certainly given me something to think about. I'm already thinking Kelly my training horse brings me so much joy. The health benefits are an added bonus. Thank you Kay
 
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Kayfs

New Member
May 6, 2021
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I'd say go for short boots and chaps, you can get ones that give a very similar look to long boots if that's what you want. My preference is for laced boots as I find they give a better fit, but the best thing to do is to go to a large tack shop and try on different boots and chaps to see which you find most comfortable. The same goes for hats, different makes fit differently so you need to try a few on, but also make sure they are of a suitable safety standard - they should be marked PAS015 and have a BSI kitemark inside. I wear a skull with a silk as I think these are safer than fixed peaks (and while I would never want to race or ride a BE cross country course they are the only style of hat allowed for these disciplines).

Whatever you choose do try different ones on before spending what is a fair amount of money, and good luck with your riding :)
 

Doodle92

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Apr 6, 2021
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I also ride in short boots and chaps. Usually known as jodhpur boots. I did have a pair of long boots for competitions but I have fat calves and easier to find short boots and chaps. These long boots broke at the zip and Now for shows I use short boots and gaiters, which are just leather chaps. They are also a lot cheeper! You can get a whole host of different types of chaps. Including some neoprene ones in hi viz colours which are useful if you do a lot of hacking. I just use bog standard suede type black ones.

one thing with chaps tho. Make sure they have a popper fastening at the top. Without this I found they slipped down within 2 mins and spent all my time trying to pull them up again!

My normal riding short boots are big enough that I can wear thick socks in the winter. They are also much more comfy to walk in rather than the long boots which were too painful!

I also like skull caps with a silk. Some disciplines I did rules say you can’t have a fixed peak and again money issues meant better to have one hat for everything.
 
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Doodle92

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And of course if you want to be a cool teenager then short boots and long colourful socks are the way to go! Preferably switching to trainers for yard stuff 😂
 
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carthorse

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And of course if you want to be a cool teenager then short boots and long colourful socks are the way to go! Preferably switching to trainers for yard stuff 😂

Good point here, if you start doing yard stuff then try to change boots because leather ones will get wrecked and they aren't cheap.
 
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Doodle92

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Not safe to wear trainers. One should have better protection for one's feet on the yard as you might get stepped on by a horse. I know one silly girl whose foot was broken.

im sorry it was meant as a tongue in cheek joke. Following on from the teenagers with long socks. I though the fact it was the next sentence and a laughing face.m might have given that away.
 

carthorse

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To be honest if half a ton of horse lands on your foot in the wrong place no boot is going to stop an injury. Steel toecaps may protect your toes but there's a lot of debate about how safe they actually are when you aren't on a level concrete floor and anyway they only protect toes, possibly at the expense of shifting the horse towards the arch of your foot where damage can be even worse. I think the best bet is footwear that allows you to move out the way promptly and paying attention.
 
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Doodle92

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Or like me. Crouched down beside horse, lost my balance slightly and put foot back to save myself. Only my big toe bend under and smashed into far too many pieces and disrupted the joint. As I was only out for a couple of hours from hospital, the nurses when I went back did not believe me as I was attention seeking. I got 2 paracetamol. So I walked round like that for 2weeks till I got xrayed. By that time it was too late so now I have a fused joint and very odd shaped toe!
 

carthorse

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Or like me. Crouched down beside horse, lost my balance slightly and put foot back to save myself. Only my big toe bend under and smashed into far too many pieces and disrupted the joint. As I was only out for a couple of hours from hospital, the nurses when I went back did not believe me as I was attention seeking. I got 2 paracetamol. So I walked round like that for 2weeks till I got xrayed. By that time it was too late so now I have a fused joint and very odd shaped toe!

Ouch! And I thought I was clumsy 🤣
 

Huggy

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No boot would have saved my worst one - heavy cob on foot, I fell backwards and my foot stayed under his hoof. Couldn't believe I hadn't done real damage - I heard something give, but apart from a huge foot and ankle for a couple of weeks, I was ok. Back on topic, I've always preferred long - just personal taste.
 
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Kayfs

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May 6, 2021
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Or like me. Crouched down beside horse, lost my balance slightly and put foot back to save myself. Only my big toe bend under and smashed into far too many pieces and disrupted the joint. As I was only out for a couple of hours from hospital, the nurses when I went back did not believe me as I was attention seeking. I got 2 paracetamol. So I walked round like that for 2weeks till I got xrayed. By that time it was too late so now I have a fused joint and very odd shaped toe!
Ouch and the love of the riding makes you keep going 🙂
 
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