When I was living in Germany, I had to take the obligatory German riding test n order to be allowed to compete in horse shows. This Reiterabzeichen test comprises three parts: dressage, jumping and the theory of horse management.
Even though I was only interested in jumping, I had to be proficient in both riding disciplines before the Germans would let me loose at their jumping competitions.
The idea was for me to demonstrate sufficient control over my horse so as not to be a safety hazard to the general public at shows.
Eventually I found a location where I could take an intensive week’s course culminating in the test, and duly signed up. You can well imagine the frame of mind of the poor horses at that barn, having to endure endless iffy riders bashing their way through this exam in the space of seven days, week after week.
I felt truly sorry for them, and especially for one particular mare was used for jumping. She showed no enthusiasm for the sport and would either dive out at the last minute or skid into the fence. No one wanted to ride her, but we couldn’t all climb aboard the two more obliging horses. Some of us would have to grit our teeth and ride this angry mare.
I watched her antics with the other riders, anxious to figure out her problem. Observing her pin back her ears and swerve or stop at the last moment, despite much flailing of her riders’ legs, I thought I might have the clue to her psyche.
My turn came to take her round the course. As soon as I mounted, and largely for my own benefit, I gave her a reassuring pat and told her everything would be O.K. Her ears pricked forwards and I took this as a good sign.
I walked her for a while before trotting then cantered in a circle to get the right tempo before approaching the first fence. Rather than trust her to go over, I closed my legs on her sides and tried hard not to interfere with her mouth. I’d seen how much this (understandably) upset her with the previous riders.
She jumped everything for me, and I gave her a ton of pats, saying “Thank you! Thank you!” over and over again. Somehow I had clicked with that horse.
Rather than hate me for being so successful with her, my group members were thrilled that I’d got her going. I was unanimously volunteered to ride her first on the day of the exam.
She jumped clean for me and the next girl, but dumped the third lady after the last fence. The judges kindly deemed this to have happened after she crossed the finish line, and thus we all passed the jumping phase of our Reiterabzeichen.
Hurray for me! I’d saved the day for the three of us. It felt wonderful, and I have kept the field boots I wore during that round of jumps as a happy memento.
Review of the Mountain Horse Richmond Ladies Field Boot
Here is a field boot which scores very high marks in all areas.
First of all, enormous care has been taken to ensure foot comfort. Shock absorbing pads in the removable EVA insole are ergonomically designed to minimize stress on the feet, and blood circulation in the whole foot is stimulated by the ACE system.
Flexibility at the ankle is important when jumping, because the angle at the front of the foot has to close easily when the heels are pressed down in short stirrups. This ease of motion is increased in the boot by the fixed elastic lacing, with seven sets of eyelets covering a long area at the vamp (the upper front part of the boot). An added bonus is that this allows the rider to determine the exact fit in the ankle area.
Built into the outer soles is a unique cleating system ─ the SCS3 (Stirrup Control System 3) with a patent pending ─ which affords exceptional control and stability for the foot when in the stirrup. Riders love the soles on these boots because they ‘stick’ to regular stirrup pads.
You can also purchase the Mountain Horse SCS3 Lite Stirrup pads, which are compatible with the Mountain Horse Ladies Field Boots, to keep your foot locked even better in place and prevent them from sliding in the stirrups. These fit most stirrup irons and are available at Amazon.com for $11.20.
Another benefit of the SCS3 soles is that they stay clean and don’t track dirt.
The boot shaft is made of fully grained leather, with a Spanish top (the high rise of leather on the outside) adding length and elegance to the rider’s legs. At a time when many manufacturers are phasing out lining, Mountain Horse has lined the inside of the leg with suede, adding greatly to the overall comfort of the boot as well as helping it to last longer.
The individual calf fit is improved by the durable elastic running along the back of the shaft. It helps greatly in assessing your calf size that the Mountain Horse Richmond Field Boot comes in four calf widths for sizes 7 through 10. There are three calf widths in size 6 and no size 11 boot. It is the perfect boot for those with shorter legs and wider calves, who have difficulty finding the right riding wear without paying high prices for expensive custom boots. Riders with hard-to-fit tall legs and wide calves will also find what they’re looking for in this boot.
The sturdy YKK© Vision rear zipper aids easy foot entry and exit. It is much stronger it is than a coil zipper, and handles well any dirt that gets stuck in the teeth.
These boots break in fast, with very little drop in height, and are enormously comfortable right from the beginning. Their high leather quality combines stunning looks with extreme durability. They can be worn at home for daily training of multiple horses, and be cleaned up afterwards to look beautiful for show day.
This boot runs large, so it doesn’t matter that there is no size 11 as the 10 should probably fit just fine.