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Footwear and Boots

Correct footwear is vital for riding safely, with traditional riding boots or jodhpur boots being the best choice.

  • Last reviewed: 28th June 2022
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Some riding schools will lend appropriate footwear for lessons, meaning you may not have to buy new gear if you are just starting out. However, when you are ready to take the leap and buy your own, you will find a range of boots to suit all tastes and budgets in most tack shops.

What to consider when buying your boots

  • Boots should preferably have a smooth through sole and a small heel (no less than ½ inch high). This means there should be no break in the sole from heel to toe, so there is nothing to catch on the stirrup – otherwise, the rider could be dragged along in the event of a fall. 
  • Wellies and trainers are unsuitable for riding. 
  • Take care when wearing ‘yard boots’, as they may have a heavy tread that can become caught on the stirrup. This means the foot could become wedged or stuck in the stirrup – a serious implication if you are unseated. 
  • Always check that the pattern of the tread is offset, so the tread never goes all the way across the sole.
  • Remember, the stirrup needs to fit the size of the boot you’re using – you may need a larger stirrup for certain footwear. There should always be a ½ inch gap between the stirrup and the widest part of the foot.

Correct footwear is mandatory for all BHS Assessments and the BHS Ride Safe Award. Trainers and instructors will be able to advise candidates whether their individual footwear is acceptable or not.