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Long or short riding boots?

Updated on October 2, 2009

I've loved horses and been riding for as long as I can remember, and over the years have ridden in short riding boots, long riding boots, trainers and mucking out boots.

It's all about personal choice but thought I would give you a little insight into the world that is, riding footwear.

Riders use their legs and feet to give signals to the horse so it is understandable that the footwear you choose will help or hinder these instructions. Your choice of shoe should fit comfortably inside the stirrup where it will sit lightly, if your boots are too wide they will wedge themselves into the stirrup and become a danger if you fall off.

It's important also to remember that in the winter you will need shoes to keep you feet warm and snug especially for those cold dark mornings. Also it's worth bearing in mind that horses can be massive and your toes are tiny, you can buy riding boots with steel toe caps for such a time that you horse decides to jump up and down on your feet.

Long Leather Boots

Short Jodphur Boots


Beginner riders will need to think about whether they want to invest in riding boots immediately. Some riding schools can provide boots for you first lessons, so you can try before you buy. Worth remembering that to be safe you must wear something comfortable with a heel and without a huge tread on the sole.

A heel on the boot is important to ensure that your foot does not slip all the way through the stirrup. If you happen have a fall and your foot is trapped you could be dragged behind the horse potentially causing serious illness or death.

You need a little tread on the bottom of the boot to ensure that it does not slip about on the stirrup (most stirrups have a little rubber platform that your foot sits on)

I wouldn't spend a lot of money of your first pair of riding boots, although it depends on your budget so if you have spare cash then, hey go for it and buy some beauties, if though you are like most of us normal people then get what you can afford.

At least if you've only spend a few quid on some rubber joddy boots and after your first walk round find you hate it, then what the heck you can give them away to your neighbour if you like. You will though be gutted if you've spend a fortune on some lovely boots and then never get up there again.


In addition to wearing short riding boots, you can add a half chap. This is a sleeve of sorts that fits around your calf area with a stirrup under the foot and a buckle or popper at the top. These give the impression of a long riding boot and also the added calf protection from saddle rub.

Half Chaps


There are many styles or riding boots and yard boots and all serve the same purpose, although personal choice plays a part. You can buy boots in all colours spanning the rainbow, to match your multi coloured jodhpurs and your two tone half chaps, so if you want to be a fashion diva you can set new trends in horse wear by mixing and matching your footwear with your clothing.

Boots are usually made from leather or PVC.

Jodhpur boots are short ankle boots with elasticated sides to assist when pulling them on and are designed to be worn with jodhpurs. Usually for riding a pair of half chaps are added for comfort and protection for your calves against the saddle.

Long boots are as the name suggests long, to just below the crease of the knee and fit snuggly over the top of riding trousers. Made in both rubber and leather, the fit must be perfect to ensure you are comfortable out on your rides. Too long and they will pinch you behind the knee, too tight and you trousers will bunch up when you put on the boots and too wide and they will move around when you walk.

A new pair of leather riding boots can set you back hundreds of pounds, whereas a rubber pair can be picked up new for as little as twenty pounds.

You will be wearing you boots for long periods of time so they must be comfortable and fit correctly.

If you are spending a lot of time with horses you will want to invest in a pair of yard boots for undertaking the daily duties of mucking out, bedding down, and filling water troughs in fields. You will want to look for a pair that are thick lined preferably with fleece. These will ensure that your feet will stay toasty warn during the winter months.

Yard Boots

Funky footwear

Lets vote!

Which do you riders out there prefer?

See results

Round up

I have always preferred a short sturdy boot like the yard boots pictured above for general yard duties such as mucking out, cleaning fields and filling water troughs.

For riding I would always choose short jodhpur boots and half chaps for comfort and convenience. Fitting and removal of the chap is simple and can be fitted just prior to riding and taken off immediately after leaving a short comfy boot to finish your chores.

Long boots are lovely and look smart and I would wear these for formal riding events including showjumping and dressage. I must admit they can feel restricting if they are not of good quality (soft leather preferably) but can be very expensive.

Long rubber boots can be cheap to buy initially and are a good starter for riding lessons to give yourself time to decide if you want to continue spending time on horse back.

Check out Ebay for some fantastic bargains on riding footwear, always having a large selection of styles and sizes for sale.

Also why not check out your local car boot sales / yard sales / markets, you might be luck and find a bargain waiting for you.


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    • profile image


      4 years ago

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    • profile image


      4 years ago

      I'll try to put this to good use imdleiatemy.

    • profile image

      Lorraine Hart 

      8 years ago

      Thanks this is really useful, not ridden for 20 years and getting back into it, use to have long boots but was a lot slimmer then due to the fit i think i will start with a jodhpur boot thanks for helping me to decide

    • skyepie profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Leicestershire, UK

      Thanks for your kind comments

    • Anne Coyle profile image

      Anne Coyle 

      9 years ago from Bronxville, NY

      I really appreciate your submission to hubpages on the subject of riding boots. You obviously speak from experience and you give valuable insight. You cover every important consideration when choosing riding boots – from the practical, to preferences in styles. Any horse rider would be well advised to read your article before shopping for riding boots. Thank you for your contribution.


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