* Prices may differ from that shown
When riding in the winter you can feel the cold so easily especially on those really cold, bitter days where all you want to do is wrap in your duvet and sit by the fire. However, having horses does not always bring that kind of luxury so it's important to keep yourself thoroughly layered with clothes to help keep warm. This winter I did a lot of riding on the local bridle paths to keep my horses amused but when out 'hacking' (the technical term!) you don't tend to do much so you can get rather cold rather quickly and for me the worst part is my feet become numb with cold so I needed to find some boots which would actually keep my feet warm whilst out.
Of course there are plenty of brands out there that will say there boots will keep your feet nice and warm but having tried quite a few they don't seem to live up to their promises. After speaking to various friends a few suggested the Mountain Horse Stella Polaris High Rider as a pair of long riding boots which do offer warmth in the cold months. I already have a few pairs of various Mountain Horse boots and I know they are well made and good quality so I had no real hesitation about whether they would be a good investment. Mountain Horse are a reputable brand who have a wide collection of rider wear and yes their price tag is a little higher than some brands but I have found that they are well worth the money.
The Stella Polaris boots have been specifically made for the cold months so ideal to wear from Autumn through to the colder spring months. To look at they are long riding boots and are made from 'Extensia' which is an imitation leather - Mountain Horse has trialled this imitation leather to withstand flex tests in temperatures up to -10 degrees centigrade making them a truly great pair of boots for the winter! Despite being made from imitation leather as they are incredibly soft, flexible but also very durable. Not to mention that the boots are also waterproof making them ideal for general yard work too.
Unlike a lot of regular long boots these are channel quilted panels giving them a great design feature and making them look a bit more special than your average plain boot. Within the channel quilted panels are elastic inserts which help ensure a good fit. The upper is made from PU and therefore gives a nice contrast against the Extensia leather. To complete the fashionable quilting there is a removable fur trim from top to toe which apart from adding a bit of girly glamour to the boots it also keeps your feet and legs lovely and cosy. The fur trim can be removed if you don't want it but I have never removed it as it really does keep my feet warm and snug! To help get these boots on and off there is a full length zip at the rear of the boots which when on and done up you can hardly see the zip at all.
Mountain Horse are always up to date with their footwear technology and these boots are no different. To help keep the rider comfortable the boots feature a forged steel shank which offers comfort and impact protection - helping to protect the joints and muscles which as a rider you need to be protected as much as you possibly can. These boots have Mountain Horse's IPS Technology and this basically means that these boots offer impact protection. They have a built in cushion of double layer EVA in the heel which helps with the shock absorption. This EVA cushion helps to distribute the downward impact of force. Basically in a nut shell when wearing these boots you don't get aching feet when wearing them for a long time! Not only do the boots feature IPS but they also have 'Hydrotx' this is a breathable and waterproof membrane which has been fitted between the imitation leather and the lining of the boots. This helps keep your feet warm and dry without over heating.
Like a lot of the Mountain Horse boots they are a little on the chunky side so not particularly suitable for showing or dressage but for everyday riding they are perfect. The soles are quite chunky but they do feature dirt repelling outsoles which when wearing them in the winter months this is great as the EVA soles keep firmly in place in the stirrup tread meaning you are far more stable and secure in the saddle. Despite looking a little heavier than other long boots you can buy they are perfectly comfortable and are incredibly lightweight to wear despite their size so this really shouldn't put people off. They are incredibly comfortable to wear and my feet are lovely and snug!
As great as these boots are did they actually keep my feet warm during the bitter winter months? Amazing to say yes they did! The fur trim certainly does keep your feet toasty and I do think that the waterproof membrane also helps keeping your feet warm too. On some rides I am in the saddle for around 3 hours and normally my feet go numb with the cold but I found that my feet were kept incredibly warm throughout the ride which is obviously great as you do start to feel uncomfortable when riding with cold feet. I have even managed to reduce the amount of socks I have to wear as I find I don't need to wear so many which again is another plus. I bought the regular calf width and they are nice and snug especially with the fur trim.
As you would expect in winter horses and mud are a classic combination and of course these boots have had to endure their fair share of muddy puddles and have come home looking a tad dirty! However, these boots are incredibly easy to clean, you just simply need to use a damp cloth to wipe over. If your wanting to make them looking pristine then you can certainly touch them up with black polish but I never have as my pair are still looking pretty good considering they were worn quite a lot this winter. The only thing you probably need to keep on top of is the PU channel quilting just so it doesn't become too worn but PU is incredibly durable so should be fine.
Without a doubt I would definitely recommend these to all riders who need warm feet in the winter! They actually live up to their promises which is great. They are lightweight, comfortable and incredibly durable. As always they are very well made and will no doubt last for quite some considerable time. I have noticed though that it is worth shopping around for them as prices really do vary as I paid £120.00 for my pair last August and on the Mountain Horse website they are still for sale for £169.99 so definitely look around! However, they are well worth the money and are a definite must for winter riders! 5 stars from me :)
~ Useful Info ~
Brand: Mountain Horse
Availability: Online and Mountain Horse Stockists
Sizes: 36 to 43
Calf Widths: Regular, Short, Wide
Price: From £120.00 per pair