Two of the most often questions asked!
Most still have tabs of leather on the outside of the boots at the top. Purely decorative now, they were formally used to help pull the boots on.
The major difference between Field and Dress boots is that Field boots have laces at the front, Dress boots do not. Also, most Field boots have a toe cap and Dress boots do not.
DO I NEED FIELD OR DRESS BOOTS – WHICH?The answer if mostly driven by the kind of riding you do, and at what level you are riding.
Field and Dress boots can be used for schooling or just for general riding. When used for these kinds of activities, there is no “Wrong” or “Right”, even though even these can have a tradition of use attached to choice you might make. Here are some general rules:
Field Boots are traditionally used for schooling and competition by the Hunter/Jumper rider.
Field or Standard Dress boots are seen at the lower levels, and the European-style Dress or Dressage boots with a stiffened back are seen at higher levels.
The formal requirement is usually for “high black boots”. You will probably see a fairly equal split between Field and Dress boots.
What is generally seen:DRESSAGE TEST
a. Tests and Horse Trials (Introductory through Pre-Novice)Boots—black, brown, field, Jodhpur or a black or brown full grain smooth leather leg piece and matching leather boots. Chaps and/or half-chaps are not allowed.Dress boots are seen at the higher levels and Field at lower levels.b. Horse Trials —Two Day & Three Day Events. Boots—preferably black dress or a black full grain leather leg piece and matching leather boot. Chaps and half-chaps are not allowed.
Black Dress boots are the most commonly seen and at the Advanced levels, the more formal European-style dress boots with stiffened back stays will be seen.CROSS-COUNTRY TEST
Boots—black, brown, field, Jodhpur or a black or brown full grain smooth leather leg piece and matching leather boots. Chaps or half-chaps are not allowed.
You will predominantly see black Field boots out on the Cross-Country course.JUMPING TEST
Boots—black, brown, field, jodhpur or a black or brown full grain smooth leather leg piece and matching leather boots. Chaps or half-chaps are not allowed.
You will predominantly see black Field boots in the jumping ring.