For hunter/jumper and dressage riders, a pair of quality, comfortable, and well-fitting tall boots is paramount. Proper care and maintenance will not only extend the life of your tall riding boots, and it will also keep them looking as good as new.
Whether you wear your boots daily for schooling or only wear them for competition, keep reading for tips on properly cleaning and storing your field boots or dress boots.
The easiest and most effective way to care for your boots is to clean them each time that you ride. Use a damp cloth and take a few moments to wipe away the horse hair, sweat, and dander that has accumulated on the inside of your leg. These substances can eat away at the leather and over time may even cause the stitching to rot. A microfiber cloth will collect and remove the dirt which can scratch the leather, leaving your boots dust-free and ready for your next turn in the saddle.
Remove the manure and dirt from the sole of your boot using a brush. Boot mats, such as the Fiebing’s Boot Scrubber, make it easy to clean the sole and the area where the sole meets the leather. We recommend keeping a brush in the tack room to make it convenient to clean your boots on a regular basis.
In addition to wiping your boots off after each ride, they will occasionally need to be cleaned more thoroughly as well. Many equestrians choose to clean and polish their boots before each competition; however, if you use your boots for schooling you may need to clean them more frequently. Use a gentle leather cleaner and conditioner that is specifically formulated for boots in order to prevent cracking. Conditioners that are designed for tack and other leather may soften your boots and cause the calves to drop, which affects the fit and the smooth line of your leg. We offer a complete line of boot care products to help you protect your investment.
Use a polish and a buffing rag to restore the show ring shine to your boots. Many boot polishes contain mild waxes which protect the leather from moisture damage. Simply apply a thin layer of polish, allow it to dry slightly, then briskly buff the boots until they shine. The Kiwi Select Travel Shoe Care Kit has everything that you need to polish your boots, and it fits easily into a garment bag or a tack trunk.
If your boots have zippers, there is one more step to the cleaning process. Pharmaka Hypofekt for Zippers cleans and lubricates the zippers, which helps to safeguard against blowouts and broken zippers. Simply spray a small amount along the zipper, and then work the zipper pull up and down several times to evenly distribute the product.
After you have wiped your boots clean (and polished if necessary), the next step is to properly store your boots. The best location to keep your boots is in a cool, dry place where they will not come in contact with the harsh rays of the sun. Humid areas may cause the leather and stitching to mold, while extreme heat or cold will dry out the leather. Rodents and bugs are often drawn to leather, so keep them safe in a pest-free location.
Utilize boot trees, also known as boot shapers, to help your boots hold their shape and prevent the ankles from creasing. If your boots have zippers, the trees will also keep the zippers from bending and potentially breaking. If the boots are damp from rain or sweat, we recommend that you lay them flat to dry before storing them in an upright position with the boot trees. This ensures that the boot trees do not stretch or reshape the damp leather.
The best place to keep your boots is inside a padded boot bag, such as the Noble Equestrian Just for Kicks Tall Boot Bag. The soft interior cushions your boots, while the durable exterior is perfectly equipped for packing into the trailer or your tack trunk. Utilizing a tall boot bag makes safely storing and transporting your tall boots a breeze.
Whatever the Weather
In cases of inclement weather, we know that you still want to ride. When your boots are wet, it is extremely important that you care for them properly. Excess moisture can degrade the leather, and it may also cause the calf of your boot to stretch or shrink as it dries. Use a towel to remove as much of the water as possible, then lay them flat to dry. Make sure that your boots are not subjected to extreme temperatures during this time.
After your boots are dry, insert your boot trees, then clean and condition them to keep the leather healthy and supple.
Consistency is key when it comes to caring for your tall boots. If you have any questions about the process or the necessary products, we invite you to reach out to a member of our friendly sales staff who have years of hands-on horse experience. We are happy to walk you through the process and ensure that you have many rides ahead of you with your tall boots.