Come Heel or High Water
Paddock boots aren’t for every horse rider. For a long time, they weren’t for me either. I thought tall boots were more comfortable, stabilized my leg better, and lasted longer. But I really wanted to like paddock boots, as so many of my fellow equestrians seemingly can’t live without them.
It was like how I love the smell of coffee, but struggled to find any I could actually stomach drinking. What was I missing?
As it turned out, I was missing the Telluride Zip Waterproof.
Quick Look: Ariat Telluride Boots
This is a great english/western crossover paddock boot, thanks to its clean styling, durable construction, and comfy sole.
What We Love:
- The design fits in any arena for any discipline
- Really comfortable to walk in
- Compatible with many different half chaps
- No laces to let sand into your shoes
- Runs true to size
What We Don’t:
- Good sturdy zipper, but the boot top takes some breaking in
- They’re not lightweight, but no worse than wearing muckers
Meet the Caramel Macchiato of Paddock Boots
When my friends over at Ariat asked what had been on my riding wish list, I had to admit a pair of truly swoon-worthy paddock boots was near the top.
While I liked wearing my older Heritage Lacer II boots during the summertime, they weren’t my go-to pick when heading to the barn. This was mostly because 1) the tongue isn’t attached along the sides, so arena sand gets into my shoes and 2) they aren’t waterproof.
Knowledge is Horsepower™, as we like to say here at Horse Rookie. So this time, I had a much better idea what I wanted in a paddock boot:
- Waterproof sole and upper
- Comfortable and cushioned
- Tough enough for long days at the barn
- Appropriate for english and western riding
- Zip vs. laced to keep sand out
Ariat’s Telluride Zip Waterproof seemed to tick all the boxes, so I decided to give them a try.
5 Reasons to Love Telluride
Do Your Darndest, Mud!
Here in Montana, our #mudstruggles are real. For about four months of the year, good luck catching your horse, walking from the barn to the arena, or riding any trail without getting slimed.
Thanks to Ariat’s Waterproof Pro™ membrane construction, you can work and ride in these boots — then wipe or hose them off when they get dirty.
If you’re into endurance or trail riding, or if you work in an equine facility, this news comes as a welcome relief. If you’re more of a casual rider or lesson student, at least you can make it from the field to the cross-ties without wet socks!
Ready to try them? Click to see the Telluride Boot at Ariat.com.
Beat Them Up All You Want
It often seems like you must choose between durability and comfort in boots. Either you can have a tough boot, but barely flex your ankles and move your toes — or a comfy boot that wears out in six months. That’s why I was initially interested in the Duratread™ outsole, which offers both wear resistance and flexibility.
I could tell right away that the Telluride had truly durable construction, which is why I was surprised to find it also provided a lot of cushion and give when I moved.
Sometimes I’m in the saddle for 8 hours during clinics, so I really don’t want my feet to fall asleep due to lack of circulation in rigid boots. In these, I have no issues sinking my heel down — and keeping it there. Plus, I can kick renegade manure onto my pitch fork, nudge open that sticky tack room door, and withstand a misplaced horse hoof in the cross-ties.
And forget about cheap plastic zippers that break one month in. I’m pretty sure these chunky metal teeth could withstand most natural and manmade disasters.
Cross That Barn Aisle
The majority of equestrians stick to a single discipline, but I’m not one of them. In any given week, you’ll find me practicing reining maneuvers, working cows, riding the roads, working on dressage, and jumping.
As a multi-discipline rider, I love finding gear that works for several activities — not just one.
The black and brown material and classic design means you can pair these boots with a wide variety of half chaps. (I like to wear vented Ariat chaps that I got second-hand a few years ago.) Breeches and skinny jeans work great, and you’ll be able to ride multiple horses in multiple disciplines without changing boots or looking out of place.
Sayonara, Sore Feet
I hate seeing riders hobbling around in expensive “designer” boots that clearly hurt their feet. The last things I want after a long day at the barn are throbbing toes and cramping ankles. No thanks.
See that wording on the footbed? “All day cushion,” it says — and Ariat means it!
These boots feature ATS technology for increased stability and lasting comfort, along with a shock-absorbing EVA midsole. The tongue is extra squishy, so you don’t have to worry about it cutting into your skin either.
Safety Heel Down
You might think all that talk about riding in boots with heels is a bit overdone. As someone who has been drug thanks to a foot caught in the stirrup, I’m a true believer in safety heels and quick-release stirrups.
I love the hefty heel on this boot, as well as the high-traction tread on the bottom.
Plus, the overall stability of the sole helps sink your heel down enough in the stirrup — without feeling like your ankle is about to snap in half.
No Boot is Perfect
Good luck finding a truly perfect boot, but you can get pretty close. There are a few things I don’t love about the Telluride, but none of them outweigh the benefits so far. For example:
- You will need to break in the leather around the zipper before it’s super soft and conforms to your foot. Leaving the zipper down about half an inch for a few weeks can also help make this process more comfortable.
- These aren’t wafer thin paddock boots, so don’t be surprised if it’s a bit of a squeeze to zip your half chaps all the way to the bottom — at least at first.
- If you consistently ride in thicker socks, you’ll probably want to go half a size up. Mine fit perfectly for summer and fall socks, but winter pairs get pretty snug.
Enough Talk, Let’s Ride!
With the right gear, horse riding is a lot more fun and enjoyable. The Ariat Telluride is just one example. I’m looking forward to working cows, changing leads, and clearing oxers in these boots for many years to come.
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