From Endurance to Dressage
I must be hard on boots. This is my third pair in less than five years. I do ride nearly every day, and our climate is very hot and dry, but still, you'd think they's make them last a little longer. Pair one were the Ariat Volants, loved them, but they fell apart much too fast for their $500 price tag. Pair two were the TuffRider Baroques, loved them as well, especially for under $200. In fact, I loved them so much that I decided to reorder them.
I had the TuffRider Baroques in my shopping cart, but then I decided to see what else Riding Warehouse had in tall boots. The Baroques were in stock, but I figured it couldn't hurt just to look a bit more.
I didn't expect to see anything that I was willing to take a chance on. I knew what I was going to get with the Baroques, and I knew how they'd fit, but then I saw the Belmonts. They were the same brand, so I suspected the fit and quality would be similar.
What really sold me on the Belmonts were the little extras that the Baroques don't have: the punched toe cap, the zipper guard at the heel, and the textured look of the leather. The difference in price between the two boots was less than $20. I figured that the snap keeper along the heel was worth twenty bucks. I tossed the Baroques to the curb and ordered the Belmonts instead.
Right out of the box I liked the looks of them. The leather is super soft, and the boots have a fancier look than the more utilitarian Baroques. Understand though that these are budget-friendly boots, so they're not going to impress as much as a $900 pair. For the price though, they're pretty nice.
I don't know how well the snap keeper will protect the zipper, but since that's where my last two pairs of boots have failed, I figure it can't hurt to have a bit more protection there.
The Spanish top on these boots is more "finished" than on the Baroques, but it comes with the brand's logo placed front and center. I am not offended by brand logos, but if you are, you probably won't like how TuffRiders use their logo; it's everywhere. Like I said, I am not bothered by it especially since they're small.
After checking out all of the bells and whistles on the Belmonts, I slipped them on. My first reaction was ... bummer. I didn't like the fit. Where the Baroques had a "sloppy" fit, the Belmonts were snug. Even though they're from the same company, the fit is not at all the same.
The foot of the Baroques is much wider. In fact, they were so big initially that I had to add gel inserts to make them more my size. The calf was also much more roomy than I needed. I always felt that the Baroques ran big. The Belmonts run true to size. I ordered an 8 with a wide calf. The fit is perfect without much wiggle room. I decided to send them back.
And then I tried them on again. Still no. And then I tried them on the next day. Nope again. After the third time, I realized that I could probably live with them, especially for the price, so I tossed them in my car hoping to scuff them up so that the decision would be made.
When I got to the barn, I slipped them on and completely forgot they were new. I've worn them several times for several hours and have not had a single issue. No rubs, no blisters, nothing.
The verdict? Budget-friendly boots that look good and feel great.
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 …
8/7-8 SCEC (***)
10/30-31 SCEC (***)
2021 Completed …
10/24-25 SCEC (***)
11/7-11/8 SB (***)
4/10-11 SCEC (***)
5/16-17 El Sueño (***)
6/26-27 SCEC (***)
7/17-18 El Sueño (***)
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