I always take a little while when I’m choosing myself a new pair of paddock boots. I think it’s because I stress out about the decision – boots aren’t cheap, and I wanted to make sure I get it right. But picking the best paddock boots for riding doesn’t have to be difficult!
If you get the right ones, they can last you ages so you only have to spend the money once! I’ve had my Ariat Heritage Zip Boots for almost 10 years and I do NOT take good care of them.
Tall riding boots are the perfect finishing touch for a rider’s show ring outfit. Tall boots, however, can be super uncomfortable to wear on a daily basis around the barn or while schooling your horse.
That is why many riders prefer to wear short riding boots when they’re not showing their horses.
Paddock boots are durable and have the appropriate heel to keep your foot from slipping through the stirrup, but are short so that you don’t feel like your leg is encased in leather, which can get uncomfortable on hot days or while mucking out stalls.
Another reason why many riders own and wear short riding boots? To protect their show boots from daily wear and tear.
A good pair of tall riding boots can be expensive, and you want to keep them looking beautiful and polished for the show ring.
Paddock Boots vs. Short English Riding Boots?
While paddock boots and short riding boots — also known as jodhpur boots — do look similar, there are a few minor differences. The jodhpur boot tends to have a more polished look and is meant for riding and schooling your horse.
Paddock boots, on the other hand, were originally designed to be worn around while performing barn work, such as mucking or feeding your horse.
These types of boots do have drawbacks for some riders. Because they are short, they can cause the stirrup leathers on an English saddle to chafe your legs while riding.
To combat this problem, some riders will pair their boots with half chaps or gaiters.
These slip on over your boots and zip into place to protect your calves. Then when you’ve finished riding, you can simply unzip the half chaps and take them off.
Short chaps, which are typically made from a rough suede and zip on the outside of the leg, tend to be very workmanlike and are not meant to be worn in the show ring.
Gaiters, on the other hand, are close fitting chaps that are crafted from a fine-grain leather and zip up the back to give the appearance of a traditional riding boot. Like a half chap, they can be slipped easily on and off of a paddock boot.
I’m super casual with my terminology to be honest so I use paddock boots and short boots/jodhpurs interchangeably and half chaps and gaiters interchangeably.
Honestly, it really doesn’t matter for training purposes which ones you get. It just matters for competition.
Most often for competition, you’ll need proper tall English riding boots anyways but some lower level competitions will let you compete in short boots and gaiters so that’s when you would need to know the difference and make sure that you have the right ones.
At lower level competitions, the combination of gaiters and jodhpurs is an acceptable alternative to traditional riding boots.
The Best Paddock Boots on the Market
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The following are some of the best boots on the market:
#1: Ariat Ladies Heritage Breeze Zip Boots
This paddock boot has a padded collar for comfort and a zipper, which makes it easier to get on and off of your foot.
Ariat — one of the equestrian world’s best-known brands — has also crafted this boot from a washable, soft leather so that you can keep it looking clean and fresh.
Most people will pair these with the Heritage Breeze half chaps as well:
#2: Mountain Horse Snowy River Boots
On those bitter winter days when you still need to go to the barn, it helps to have a paddock boot designed to take on the weather.
These boots have a 200G Thinsulate lining and are waterproof.
Mountain Horse is a trusted brand that has been in business since 1988.
If you prefer a sleeker design that you could use in some lower level competitions, they also make jodhpurs (black and brown available):
#3: Saxon Ladies’ Syntovia Zip Boots
Saxon specializes in producing inexpensive but durable boots.
This boot is crafted from a leather-like material and features a zipper for easy on and off.
It is perfect for a rider on a budget or who just wants an inexpensive boot to wear around the barn.
The Most Popular Brand
The #1 best paddock boot out there is the Ariat Heritage Breeze Zip Boot. It’s the one I’ve had for almost 10 years now.
I don’t take care of them at all pretty much. I’ve never cleaned the leather properly and I usually don’t wipe them down after riding in the mud or working around the barn in the Spring or Fall. I know that’s especially bad, because it’s basically just mud and water everywhere in Canada!
They still have kept their shape, they haven’t cracked and they’re super comfortable.
You can pair them with the Breeze Half Chaps as well.
I’ve also written a thorough comparison of all the Ariat Paddock Boots here if you want to check it out before making your decision:
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Anyway, I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this post, and that it’s helped you to find your next pair of paddock boots! Which ones were your favourites? Let me know in the comments.
Happy riding 🙂
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