‘Tis the season to have absolutely no idea what to get any of your friends or family, for the umpteenth year in a row. Every once in a while you find the perfect present, but especially for horsey friends, the pressure is on. Obviously you’ll be purchasing something horse-related, but does it have to be pink and have a fat pony on it? We here at Eventing Nation say NAY! That’s why this holiday season each one of our impressive staff writers is picking one unique, amazing, thoughtful and clever horsey gift to help you along during this time of stress. Happy holidays!
You’ve waited until the last minute to do all your Christmas shopping too? What a coincidence! We’ve had a lot of fun highlighting some of our favorite small businesses in our Holiday Gift Ideas series, and I also wanted to highlight two products from our awesome EN sponsors — one of which I own and one of which is currently on my Christmas wish list. Today I’m talking boots — both the human and horse varieties. When I finally admitted to myself last year that my more than decade-old field boots had never really fit me properly, I started scouring the internet for a new pair.
I quickly discovered that tall boot technology had changed drastically in the last decade. Not only could I not track down a single boot without zippers — I was still convinced at this point that my calf would explode out of a zipped boot the first time I put it on — but the price point for what I deemed to be a solid boot had risen significantly. As in I was probably going to need to sell a kidney in order to afford a boot that would not pop open in a violent fashion the first time I zipped it.
In steps Tredstep Ireland. I had absolutely zero experience with the brand at this point, but after seeing such positive reviews for the Donatello boots on SmartPak’s website, I decided to try them out. At a retail price of $298, the boots are about as affordable as you can find for this type of quality. The boots arrived and — cue the angels singing — they were gorgeous. They even looked custom! And the fantastic tread of the boots had everyone in my barn asking about them.
I’d read about some break-in challenges on SmartPak’s website, so I used strips of duct tape over my boot socks on the backs of my ankles and knees for the first week I rode in them. The duct tape prevented any pinching and rubs, and by the end of the first week, they were broken in beautifully. A year later, I still love my Tredstep Ireland Donatello boots just as much as that first day. I am pleased to report that my calf has not exploded out of them, and the zippers are still in fantastic shape.
One of my barnmates bought the Da Vinci boots — which retail at $489 and are one of the higher-end options offered by Tredstep Ireland — after falling in love with mine, and she adores hers as well. The Da Vinci and Raphael — which also retail at $489 — have an awesome wrap-around panel that snaps over the zipper on the back of the heel, making them look even more custom. It’s that type of attention to detail that really sets these boots apart.
I’m officially a Tredstep Ireland convert. And did I mention the Raphael boots are worn by Lauren Kieffer, Hannah Sue Burnett, Emily Beshear, Sharon White, Rick & Elisa Wallace and Diana Burnett? You too can be cool like them! If you’d like to get these boots for yourself or someone you love this Christmas, it’s not too late, as SmartPak is offering 2nd day air shipping. Click here to check out the full Renaissance Collection of Tredstep Ireland boots, and click here to shop them on the SmartPak website.
And now for boots for our equine counterparts. Here’s the part where I confess I am a total equine boot nut. I love researching all the newest technologies that offer better protection and performance for our horses, and I agonize over choosing the right options for my OTTB Mia. World Equestrian Brands takes the guess work out of boot purchasing with Equilibrium, which recently introduced the new Tri-zone Airlite Open Front II boots.
The Tri-zone brand is built on a core principle of zoned protection, providing protection where your horse needs it most. When concussion occurs, shock is transferred through three zones within the boot, so the impact never reaches the leg’s tendons and ligaments. Tri-zone technology absorbs up to 50 percent more concussion and is 50 percent more resistant to penetration in independent clinical trials when compared to leading market brands, which is mega impressive.
Buck Davidson uses the Tri-Zone Airlite boots — you’ve probably seen him rocking the Allsports II on cross country — and he gave them this glowing endorsement: “The Tri-zone Allsports boots have become an essential part of my equipment. They are super protective, yet unbelievably light weight, and keep my horse’s legs from overheating. They are great in water, as it drains out quickly and doesn’t add any weight. I highly recommend them.”
In short, if the boots are good enough for Buck, they’re certainly good enough for me. The Tri-zone Airlite Open Front II boots retail at $110, while the Allsports II retail at $112, putting them at a very competitive price point when you compare them to other leading boots on the market. Click here to shop the full Tri-zone line on World Equestrian Brand’s website.