In the past, cowboy boots were made to keep cowboys protected when riding their horses and herding cattle. Because of western radio shows and cowboy movies, by the 1920s, western type boots became a fashion item. Cowboy boots are still popular today, and come in a variety of styles and colors. Understanding what to look for when selecting boots may help you find a pair that will bring your feet comfort rather than pinching your toes and producing blisters.
Step 1:Decide what you will be using your boots for. Western type boots fall in to 2 general categories – fashion and traditional.
Select fashion cowboy boots if you desire boots that make a personal statement. Fashion boots cannot be used to ride a horse or rope a calf, but these western type boots may be used for dancing or worn at office jobs.
Choose traditional western boots if you plan on using them to ride a horse or perform outside work, such as herding cattle or cutting trails.
Step 2:Shop for boots at a western store, farm supply outlet, shoe shop or online.
When selecting boots, try them on and walk around in them before you make a decision.
When shopping online, make sure the retailer has a refund policy, so that if the boots don’t fit, you can return them.
Step 3: Determine what type of material the boots are made from.
When choosing cowboy boots, you should look for boots made with real leather that is soft and supple. Genuine leather may cost more, but will last longer.
Cowboy boots made with crocodile skin, ostrich hide or snakeskin usually are high-end boots and may be expensive. These materials are soft and wear well, while adding style to the boot.
Step 4:Pick the length of the shaft. The shaft is the sleeve of the boot and may cover your ankle or extend to just below your kneecap. When selecting boots, shaft length is a personal choice. Traditionally, taller boots were worn so as to provide maximum protection from thorns, brush, etc., but shorter shafts are perfectly acceptable and are becoming more popular nowadays.
Step 5:Decide if you want a pointed, round or square toe.
Toe shape is usually a personal choice. People with a wider foot may want to select a boot with a square toe for comfort.
When choosing cowboy boots for riding, you need to find boots that will fit in the stirrup. Some stirrups have tapaderos, which protect the rider’s feet from brush, and you may require a pointy-toed boot when using tapaderos.
Step 6:Select the heel length. Western type boots come in a variety of heel lengths, including stilettos.
Keep in mind what you will be using the boots for. If you plan on dancing, you want a boot with a shorter heel. If you’re riding, you may find that a higher heel is better for keeping your boot secure in the stirrup.
When choosing cowboy boots for use with riding spurs, be sure to select boots that have the outer lip on the heel, which will prevent spurs from slipping off the boot.
3. Problem-Solving Riders must learn to problem solve and make quick decisions from the back of the horse. For instance, if a horse is set on going one way and the rider wants to go the other, he/she has to determine how to make a 1,000-pound animal go the direction that the rider has chosen in a humane and safe way. The unexpected can happen and riders must think quickly in the saddle to remain safe and in control.
Horses are social creatures just like humans. Being able to communicate and interact with an animal has already been shown to have a positive effect on people, as has been experienced by those involved with therapeutic riding programs. As a past volunteer for therapeutic riding programs, I have seen children who would not talk much with people. But when they were around horses, they opened up and communication was not a problem. The children saw the therapy horse as their companion and confidante. According to the BHS study, one of the biggest motivations for going horseback riding was “interaction with horses.” Horses make wonderful companion animals and many equestrians call horses their best friends.
Learn how to be friends with a horse with riding lessons. Haille Margarite is the riding instructor at Peachwood Horse Boarding and she is adding new students to her schedule. You can contact her at: 209-604-0523.