WEF – Boots in the Equitation Ring

WEF – Boots in the Equitation Ring

If you’re like me, you grew up thinking there was one kind of boot that belonged in the equitation (and often jumper) ring.  You know what I’m talking about… the “boots with the fur” otherwise known as leather sheepskin line open front boots.  Bonus points for a matching fetlock set.

I still like those boots, I really do!  They have their downsides though – they are hard to maintain, super expensive, and they tend to warp and not always fit great.  Plus, let’s face it… they’re really out of style.

big-eq-lineup

Just because these boots are no longer “in”, that doesn’t mean you need to run out and buy black expensive Equifits either.  When I watched the Big Eq at WEF, I paid close attention to what kind of footwear their horses were wearing and per always… shot some pictures for you.

I was pretty surprised to see more than one horse in what looked like plain black polo wraps.  Cheap, clean, neat.  I like it!

pinto-horse-jump

horse-polish

Some wraps were more technical.

horse-hooves4

Of course, there were Equifits to be found…

horse-hooves2

But most of these skewed way more traditional than the black & white elastic version.  Brown leather with neoprene was very popular.

horse-hooves6

horse-hooves3

horse-hooves1

I really like the way these were buckled.  No flapping extra leather!

horse-open-front-boots

Many had something on their hind feet, but equally represented were front boots only horses.

big-eq-canter

Basically after watching this class and paying attention to the tack, I have the same advice I always try to share.  Don’t go out and buy unnecessary stuff.  Having the “perfect” eq boots is not going to win the class for you… good equitation will!  If you want to play dressup some for an important equitation class but don’t have boots… consider some clean black polo wraps!

Do you put any special footwear on your horse for equitation classes?  Which of these options is your favorite?

28 thoughts on “WEF – Boots in the Equitation Ring

  1. I love boots. So much. Probably too much. I’m a big fan of plain leather and stud closures. Although I’m just glad that the trend went away from the sheepskin lining, god how annoying those things were. On an unrelated note, every time I read your blog I get this insatiable desire to start one for Henry called “the $900 facebook pony” or “OMG tongue” but then I never actually do it… because… too much lazy…

  2. Can’t… help it…. Equifit photo boots are too small…. feeling…. itchy…..
    Fancy material wraps…. poorly wrapped…. can’t…. handle…. it….. feeling…. ill……

    On the plus side, those plan black polos are wrapped like a 10. It’s weird to me that that is a thing now though, I was always taught that it was dangerous to jump in polos in case they came unraveled.

  3. I was also told that jumping in polos is a no-no. I believe I read an article a few weeks ago where Jim Wofford was doing a review on some jumper pics and made a comment about how he dislikes jumping in polos as well. Still, they look sharp!

    I really don’t like the look of leather/buckle boots, but that is just me. I’m also not a hunter, so those might be all the rage there. I’m a fan of boots along the Equifit kind. I also prefer both front and back boots, but that might just be because I have a horse that interferes behind 🙂

  4. I’ve always been a fan of polos… Whenever I’ve felt the need to wrap/boot my horse’s legs it’s almost always for support over protection, so I may have a skewed opinion here but I just cannot see how a neoprene boot would support as well as a perfectly wrapped polo.

  5. I don’t know how I feel about showing at a major show in polos… I’ve always thought of them as more of a casual look for schooling, and boots were “fancier” for showing. I’m a fan of velcro or stud closures on boots, the buckles always look too busy in my opinion!

  6. Man, I have a set of black polos for schooling. Who knew I was so stylish? (I didn’t.) I am surprised to see them at a big show (or any show), though, as I definitely thought they were a casual/schooling kind of thing.

    I am in love with the leather buckled boots- I think the elastic Equifits look kind of weird.

    More fashion posts plz!

  7. I love my leather boots, no sheepskin lining. Sadly they don’t fit the dinosaur that well. I thought I preferred the buckles but I think the stud closures are better, 🙂

  8. Back in my day, white polos for eq classes were accepted. Usually just front. Hello late 90s! Black makes so much more sense!

  9. I’m not a huge fan of the sheepskin boots- so challenging to keep clean! Admittedly I am in LOVE with the Equifit T-Boot LUXE (with CWD leather) but Ellie won’t be sporting those until we’re in the Big Eq ;). Love to polo look- hadn’t seen it before!

  10. I definitely have been having boot-envy the last few months. Right now we are doing all jumping in our XC Wuff Boots… but I am dying to replace my Open Front Eskadrons that finally bit the dust last year. Good to know what’s fashionable these days!

  11. I love sheepskin for many purposes, but non-fuzzy lining makes SO MUCH MORE SENSE for boots that are going to see use in sandy and sometimes-wet arenas…!

  12. Oh how I love leather boots!!! I am a traditionalist with the sheep skin BUT it’s not easy to manage so the plain leather is always a better option.

    Team leather all the way tho! 🙂

  13. I showed a dapple grey in the Big Eq a few (ok 7 now…. wow I’m old) years ago and I showed him in black polos up front. Let me just tell you, it looked so nice in pictures to see a clean grey horse with sharp black polos. I will always love it.

  14. To be super tack-ho level picky, the leather boots in the picture are the equifits with the cwd leather and it’s lined with t-foam instead of neoprene.

    And yes, LOVE, wish I could have, but they are so expensive. 🙁

  15. So I don’t show EQ but I did get some open front leather boots with neoprene for stadium. I’m glad to see/hear that it is acceptable to only put boots in the front because I don’t have any hinds.

  16. I really want a pair of Equifits but unfortunately when I tried the all purpose TBoots on Houston they didn’t fit at all. I am not sure how the OF translate though.

    Currently I have a set of Eskadron ankle boots that I despise and a pair of the Veredus Olympus Open Fronts. I think that I am going to get some of the Veredus Xpro boots for his hinds as they go down further and would offer more protection where he interferes.

    I also have a set of Beval sheepskin lined but I hate the buckles. Need to sell those so that I can try to acquire a nicer pair of boots for showing.

  17. Ok, I have to ask, because I’m interested in hearing your take on it, since you are a hard-core hunter lover. (don’t take that in a bad way — I rode eq in college, lucked out and had a GREAT classic trainer who taught me a lot, and started in hunters w/ Solo)

    Preface: Even though I am now “evil” (hee) eventer, I’ve spent my life watching all levels of horses and riders in all types of sports/disciplines. I’ve been learning since I was about 5, it’s definitely a lifelong pursuit! So, no, I couldn’t ride in the Olympics, but I consider myself to have a pretty good eye and to be well-educated on a correct and balanced ride. And the latter is essentially the same no matter what kind of saddle you have under your butt and whether you are jumping, chasing a white ball, turning a cow, or prancing really fast.

    So — the second photo shows rather spectacularly bad equitation. No personal insult to the rider intended, I’d be happy to share my own shining examples of my occasional failure to resist hurling myself at my horse’s ears! ;P

    While her horse is absolutely adorable, she demonstrates that puzzling trend of current ‘eq’ riders of jumping up her horse’s neck with her chest on his crest, well ahead of the saddle and the horse’s center of balance, with her leg, in a too-long stirrup, lost so far behind her that she could just about click her spurs together behind the saddle.

    So, what is your take on this — and yes, I look at pics and read a LOT (too poor to actually compete or take lessons or…eat). And hopefully you won’t take any tone from my question — all sports have their issues, but I firmly believe we should all be able to discuss them rationally and “but XXXX is worse” is irrelevant (this is more for future readers, LOL, sorry). After all, don’t all of us have the same goal (well, the good people) — of having fun safely and doing our best by our horses by being the best riders and horsemen we can?

    End treatise 1. 😀

  18. PS To be relevant, my personal boot opinions which are only important in my little bubble, hahaha:
    Hate leather boots, annoying to clean. Simple, classy ones look nice, but only if you have a tack bitch to care for them. HATE the sheepskin — it always looks like a parasitic sheep attacked the horse’s legs and I can’t help but giggle every time the odd set surface in the stadium ring.

    On my horses, I’m a boot minimalist. If they don’t interfere, they are naked except for on XC. We have good science showing that tendon cells start to die at 40 degrees C (about 104) which is not hard to do in NC! So I want things as cool as possible at all times. Like my horses need another excuse to be injured! I used to use polos & don’t have a problem jumping in them if wrapped properly & they have strong, grippy velcro. I will also tape the velcro for security.

    However, I now use velcro & synthetic for all boots — easier to clean!!! I’m also a marketing hater, so refuse to fall prey to the ads claiming pricier is better. I want sturdy, simple, durable, safe. As I said, I don’t “do” hunters anymore, primarily because I got bored and omg, I am busy, I require ride times!! 😉 But both horses get simple ankle boots behind for jumping, I have a lovely little pair of breathables from Moxie that are lightweight, simple, and you can get a very nice shaped one as well. Affordable and last forever!!

    For open-fronts, I have simple Romas that are going on 9 years now and are good as new! I like them because the horse can feel when he hits a rail, so he doesn’t want to do that again, but protect the tendon from grabs behind, esp on short-backed horse. Plain black — I get most of my boots in black, they go with everything, then I accent with my blue tape over the velcro for XC. 😀 Both Roma and Moxie both make breathable versions of these two which look quite classy. Of course, I canNOT buy Eskadrons or Equifits because they are trendy and I am anti-trendy, hee.

    That’s it for arena jumping.

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