Divas – If you’re anything like me, there are few sights more satisfying than a impeccably turned out dressage horse, and no turnout is complete without the dressage signature – An impeccable snow white wrap/bell boot combo that looks like it could protect a horse from Valegro level over-reaching.
Everyone has their preference when it comes to bell boots – be it patent, sheepskin topped, traditional rubber, or one of the thousands of variations of neoprene. Personally, the more patent/rhinestone/fluffy sheepskin the better, but most importantly, I want my bell boots to have two things – great hoof coverage, and the blinding white color of freshly driven snow. Bonus points if they have “stage presence” – which to me means they are obnoxiously big and exaggerate the horse’s movement with their blinding fluffy whiteness.
For me, I’ve grown used to having to levels of bell boots – which means I’ve resigned myself to having several schooling pairs in various abused shades of yellowed white or dust-in-the-cracks black to wear at home, and then one or two fun patent/crystal/glitter pairs that only get brought out at shows. Unfortunately as we all know, horses touch the ground – kind of a lot. One early morning show warm up in a freshly watered arena and there go my “show” bell boots – never to be spotless again, no matter how many times I sneak them into the washing machine at my house in between loads of human laundry. As much as I love my pile of glittery silver and metallic grey bell boots – bright white is a staple that every rider should have in their equine wardrobe.
(Un)Fortunately Isley loves bell boots almost as much as loves peppermints – so I’m always happy to have a new pair to throw on the “home” pile, however I was never really able to justify the cost of buying new boots for each big event we would go to – until I found the very VERY reasonably priced Horze ProBell bell boots.
Purchasing & Fit – I was looking for a clean white boot that was very protective for schooling at home when I purchased these boots sight unseen online. They set me back a cool $14.99 directly from Horze.com (FINALLY a price I was willing to pay for a boot that I know will last my oversized piranha two months max), and I ordered them in a size XL. Isley probably could have taken a LG but I really like my bell boots to be long and a little bit oversized as long as they fit snug in the top of the boot which these did.
Quality – When they arrived I was pleasantly surprised! Now don’t get me wrong, they are very basic, but they are generously sized, thick neoprene with a great length that covers the whole hoof, and while they are unfinished on the edges, the material seems soft and rub-free. The Velcro seems reasonable sturdy and secure, and while the cloth type finish of the neoprene makes me think they will attract dust like a magnet and hold onto it – they also might wash up well, and are at a price point where I could honestly justify buying a clean set for every show this year while spending about as much as I’d spend on two pairs of fancy bell boots.
My biggest criticism would be that I’d love if the branding was all done in shades of white for a nice clean look – but beggars can’t be choosers and for $14.99, I’ll take what I can get!
They come in a royal blue (fun option for a championship honor round!), black, and white – so please excuse me while I go buy 5 more pairs!