If you have a job working in an equestrian environment, footwear is of vital importance to protect your feet, while keeping them warm and providing adequate support. Check out these three different types of common equestrian work and what types of work boots might be appropriate for you.
Stall and Pasture Work
If you work as a ranch hand or barn maintenance person, your footwear needs to be versatile enough to cover several different needs. It should be comfortable for standing for long periods on your feet or for walking long distances on large properties. Arch supports and non-chafing material should be of prime importance when looking for work boots.
You also need to be able to clean your boots if the soles become caked with manure or mud, and they may get wet as well. Additionally, if you are mucking stalls with horses in them, you may feel the need to have protection for your toes in case you are accidentally stepped on.
For this type of job, ideally, you want two types of boots, perhaps even three. You need a rubber boot you can wear in the rain or when hosing something down, and you need sturdier boots for stall work around horses. If you live in a climate with cold winters, you may prefer a breathable fabric for summer and an insulated one for winter. Give serious consideration to reinforced toes to reduce injuries from those hooves.
There's a reason men's western boots evolved as they did. Their clean lines mean you can't get caught in the stirrups and dragged by the horse if you fall out of the saddle. The simple, thick heel keeps your foot from sliding forward too far in the stirrups.
While classic western boots are still popular today for riding, their use depends on your riding discipline. If you work as a trail guide, basic riding instructor, or trainer, you may find western boots work well for you. Also, western boots transition easily from work to errands or even social occasions.
If you work in other riding styles, like dressage or jumping, knee-length boots are encouraged for formal riding, but may not be needed every time you climb into the saddle. You may want a pair of shorter western boots or jodhpur boots for more casual settings. Just make sure there are no buttons, laces, or hooks that can get caught in the stirrups if you have an accident.
Heath Care and Grooming
Equine health workers and grooms face many of the same challenges that stall workers encounter. Hours of proximity to horses can increase your chances of a toe or foot injury.
Like stall and pasture staff, you may want to have several pairs of boots for on the job. Consider a pair of rubber boots that can be easily hosed down or disinfected if you assist with foaling or go from a barn with infectious horses to another barn. They will also come in handy on wet days, even just walking from the truck to the barn.
You may also want a pair of sturdier boots for long days on your feet or when dealing with more ornery equine patients who can take out their frustrations on your toes. The debate rages on about whether steel-toed boots actually create worse problems when a horse steps on your feet, because it's felt they can potentially lead to toe amputations in stepping or stomping injuries.
Use your judgment, and look at the temperaments and sizes of the horses you work with. You may want to consider the same type of protective boots EMTs wear when transporting human patients on an ambulance. These have sturdy, reinforced toes but not necessarily steel ones.
Working with and around horses can be wonderful, but you need to protect and care for your feet at the same time. Follow the tips above, and you will always be "one step ahead" when it comes to foot care and your work boots.
To learn more about work boots, contact a company like Cowpokes.