From Endurance to Dressage
I prefer to school and show in tall boots. I keep a pair of Ariat Maestros for showing; they're stored in my trailer. For the past two or three three years, I've been schooling in a pair of Ariat Volants. While I love the Volants, they haven't held up as well as I had hoped, especially for the price tag.
I am not going to blame the boots; I am hard on them. I wear them seven days a week, and while I try not to muck stalls or use the wash rack while wearing them, I do trudge around the barn and arena even when it's wet and muddy.
After looking at a few small tears in the seams of each Volant and a sole that's starting to separate, I decided to take advantage of Riding Warehouse's post Christmas sale and ordered a new pair of tall boots. After looking over the reviews and comparing them to the price of each boot, I settled on the TuffRiders.
They were cheap enough that I could buy a pair a year for three years running and still not pay what I did for the Volants. In fact, I have paddock boots that cost as much as the TuffRiders.
When I took them out of the box, I was a tiny bit disappointed, but then I reminded myself that these were $180 boots - not $500 boots. That made me look at them with a new appreciation.
Overall, the leather is very soft, but on the thinner side. It feels as though it might scratch fairly easily, but again, $180 is not very much for a pair of tall boots.
Unlike many boots, I think the TuffRiders actually run a bit on the big size. I wear a 7.5 shoe, so I normally order up for boots. I had plenty of room in the 8 and think I would have been fine with my actual shoe size. I filled in some of the extra room with inserts. Even so, thick socks won't be a problem.
On TuffRider's sizing chart, my calf (with socks and breeches) was exactly 14.5 inches, which was a "regular" calf measurement. Knowing that so many boots are actually narrower than advertised, I ordered the wide. There is nothing worse than a boot you can't zip up. As it turned out, the wide is really wide at the boot's opening, but very comfortable on the calf.
Not only is the boot sized generously in the calf, but it also has a narrow, elastic panel alongside the zipper.
I wore them for the first time yesterday, but not for riding. I actually wore them to work (from 5:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.). We had a special Giddy Up for Kindness event where the staff and students were encouraged to dress up in western clothes. I wore breeches and boots instead. These boots KICKED BUTT on the comfort scale. I never even once thought about taking them off. I even taught P.E. in them!
From the moment I slipped them on, they felt warm and broken in. The footbed (with inserts) was cushy, and the leather moved and flowed around my foot. The sloppiness that I worried about never entered my mind. No part of the boot pinched or rubbed. In fact, they were more comfortable than some of my everyday shoes and boots.
If you're on a tight budget, this boot is definitely budget friendly while being comfortable and attractive. For me, they will work great as an easily replaceable schooling boot. Even though they're a little "sloppy," especially when compared to my Volants, I loved the price and how comfortable they were right out of the box.
The verdict: comfortable tall boots at a great price!
About the Writer and Rider
I am a lifelong rider.
I began endurance riding in 1996 where I ultimately completed five, one-day 100 mile races, the 200-mile Death Valley Encounter, and numerous other 50, 65, and 75 mile races. I began showing dressage in 2010.
Welcome to my dressage journey.
About Speedy G
Speedy went from endurance horse to dressage horse. After helping me earn a USDF Bronze medal in the summer of 2020, he is now semi-retired. Speedy is a 2004, 15'1 hand, purebred Arabian gelding. His Arabian Horse Registry name is G Ima Starr FA.
Izzy was started as a four-year old and then spent the next 18 months in pasture growing up. I bought him as a six-year old, and together, we are showing at Second Level. He is a 2008, 16'3 hand warmblood gelding. His Rheinland Pfalz-saar International (RPSI) name is Imperioso.
National Rider Awards
State Rider Awards
State Horse Awards
CDS Sapphire Rider Award
Third Level: 63.514%
Third Level: 62.105%
2021 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
(Q) Must Qualify
2021 Pending …
2021 Completed …
10/24-25 SCEC (***)
11/7-11/8 SB (***)
2021 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
2nd Level Qualifying
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%:
Score 1: 60.610% Bhathal
2nd Level Qualifying
5 Scores/4 Judges/61%:
Stuff I Read