Product Review: Hunter Original Tall Rain Boots

About two years ago, everyone I knew gave me a Dover Saddlery gift certificate for Christmas. I pooled the gift cards and purchased a pair of Hunter Original Tall Rain Boots. I’d read on various blogs about how great the boots were- durable, comfortable, even a little stylish! I was excited to have a good pair of mud boots to wear out to the barn; my poor cowboy boots were taking a lot of abuse and my last pair of cheap rain boots had finally sprung a leak.

Imagine my crushing disappointment, then, when my lovely boots arrived and were too narrow for my calves! I have fairly wide calves; all of my riding boots are wide or extra wide. However, I wasn’t expecting a pair of rubber rain boots to be narrow enough that my boyfriend’s arm could barely fit in them. Rain boots are meant to be worn, presumably, outside pants like jeans. With socks. Unlike breeches, which are form fitting, jeans can add some extra bulk to a leg. I was absolutely crushed. I didn’t return the boots; instead, I shoved them under my bed (like an adult), brought them out periodically, and whimpered in sadness when they still didn’t fit onto my bare legs.

Now, let me deter the review for a moment to gripe about Dover’s website. I can’t find the Hunter boots on their website at the moment, but I assure you that two years ago, they were there. Dover also lacked a size chart for the boots, or any notation that the men’s and women’s boots weren’t sized differently in the calf. (My boots actually have “Men’s Size 8/Women’s Size 9” printed on the inside.) So when I ordered the boots, I ordered a men’s size 8 in hopes the calf would be more generous. I never returned the boots because I didn’t want to order an alternative boot and was still somewhat miffed over the glove incident. Hunter’s website at the time didn’t list calf sizes; happily, it currently does.

Anyway. Fast forward to about a month ago. Rainy season is upon us in Oklahoma; the barn where my horses live has terrible drainage, as does my workplace. I am dreading another winter of muddy, wet cowboy boots. I dream of grossly expensive Dubarrys. I notice my jeans are a little looser than they used to be, so because I am a glutton for punishment, I drag the Hunters from under my bed and attempt to shove my oversized calves inside. They fit. They fit. Not in that glamorous loose way that pretty people in style blogs wear them, but in a kind of tight but functional way. A victorious way. (How’d I lose weight, you ask? No idea; I eat a lot of vegetables and tofu and walk approximately 20,000 steps a day.)

Now that my Hunters fit (only under skinny jeans, mind you), I wear them any time the weather is wet. And that’s been pretty frequently over the last month or so.

Genuine Hunters, aren’t I cool?

They are very comfortable; I am regularly on my feet and moving in my boots from about 7:00 AM until 7:00 PM. I teach riding lessons in them, muck stalls in them, and walk horses to and from pastures in them.

Side view from the manure pile.

The buckles on the outside of the boots are solely decorative. They do not adjust the fit of the boot. The buckle on the left boot tore off while I was tugging the boot on one day; it has not affected me whatsoever. 

Good in manure.

The rubber is pliable and flexible, which is nice. I can sit at my desk and drive my car without the ankle area of the boot irritating me.

Good in mud.

While the shaft of the boot is fairly narrow, the foot of the boot is very roomy. I have plenty of room to wiggle my toes and can wear my thickest wool socks without a problem.

Good underwater.
The boots have no lining, so when my feet get cold, they stay cold. I recommend wearing thick socks if you’re going to be slogging through a significant amount of water or snow. 
Dirty boots.

Hunter Original Tall Rain Boots
Sizing: Foot roomy; shaft narrow.
Comfort: 5/5
Durability: 4/5; I feel like the buckle that popped off shouldn’t have popped off.
Value: 3/5; while these are a good, solid pair of rain boots, they also cost around $100. My last pair of cheap rainboots was $25 and lasted for about three years. By that standard, these boots need to last me more than 12 years!
Cool Factor: 5/5; I’ve gotten compliments on them from random strangers at my favorite sandwich place, so that makes them pretty cool in my book.

What do y’all do for rain boots? Hunters? Another brand? Has anyone tried the wider-calf Hunter boot, the Huntress?

Summertime

I’m officially putting the blog challenge on hiatus, and will be writing posts about things I want to write about. When I’m stuck in a rut, I’ll use the blog challenge topics as writing prompts. (Hey, I know y’all were worried about it.)

It’s summertime in Oklahoma, which means it’s officially hot. By 7 AM, it’s already 80 degrees; by 3 PM, the thermometer has risen to 90+. I can’t complain too much- after all, we had a very mild spring with lots of rain.

But still. I’m rocking running shorts and cowboy boots to do barn chores in the evening. After this weekend, I’ll be up before dawn, driving to the barn to ride while it’s cool. The work horses stand in their pastures, sweating in the sticky heat, because it’s too hot to stand under metal sheds. Flies move lethargically, as if they’re weighed down by humidity. Everyone considers taking a nap after lunch.

However, despite the weather, I’ve managed to work Princess Pony a few times. I’ve been longeing her a few times a week, for about 20 minutes at a time. I rode her last weekend; she was delightfully forward and supple for a horse that’s been out of consistent work for a year. I daresay Gina’s attitude is marginally better, too.

The side reins I purchased from Lauren at She Moved To Texas are getting some use- it’s always nice when you feel happy with your tack purchases! 
Colt and Moe have been doing nothing. I’m planning to schedule a rotation of riding Gina and Colt in the mornings and on weekends; I’d love to sell Gina by the end of the year, and I want to keep Colt progressing smoothly. We’ll see if I can stay motivated when my alarm is ringing at 5 AM. 

Hot Hot Heat

I spent last week on a blissfully cool vacation in Ouray, Colorado and Santa Fe, New Mexico. Unfortunately, this meant I wasn’t riding Moe. As I’m toying with the idea of taking him to a schooling horse trial later this month, I should probably ride him or something.

The lowest temperature predicted this week is 99. The highest is 111. I have yet to fully commit myself to getting up at 5 AM and riding when it’s a chilly 90 degrees, so my options are ride after work (when it’s 111), or limit riding to weekend mornings. Ugh.

New plan is to force myself out of bed and out of the house by 5 AM. While I’m not worried about Moe’s ability to scoot around a beginner novice XC course, I am a little worried about how he’ll cope with the heat if he isn’t properly conditioned. So, so long sleeping in until 5:45 AM. See you in the fall.

Heat and a Horse Camp

I haven’t ridden at all this week. In fact, I’ve barely managed to drag myself out to the barn to feed the horses, let alone actually saddle one up and ride it. The reason for this is twofold: one, it’s been 100+ degrees every day this week, and two, I’ve been busy managing a horse camp at work.

The heat isn’t going anywhere, so it’s finally time to really, truly dedicate myself to getting up at 5 AM and riding before work. This time of year is also perfect for taking Moe swimming in the pond in the front pasture.

Horse camp is finally over, which is a huge relief. I was tasked with planning and organizing it, something I was initially very excited about! I attended several horse camps over the years- everything from a two-week sleep-away Girl Scout camp where we spent every minute practicing a drill team routine to my Pony Club’s two annual summer camps (Rally Training Camp, the hardcore week-long prep camp for the Midsouth Regional Pony Club Rally, and All Kids Camp, a less intense, more fun week of games and water bucket fights). I was really excited for the chance to teach some non-special needs kids about horses and riding.

In the years since I have attended camp, I forgot something very, very important: children do not care about heat; they only care about the horses. While I was sweating bullets every day and working on my now-awesome sunglasses tan, the seven campers were riding their horses under the blazing noon sun, mucking stalls in a stuffy barn in mid-afternoon, and begging to ride again during the hottest part of the day. We kept them well-hydrated between water and snocones, and cool with frozen bandannas and trips to the pool. I am honestly surprised the elderly therapy horses we used didn’t keel over in the torturous heat. In the end, everyone ended up happy, gained some horsemanship skills, and zealous promised to come back and attend next year. One kid’s mom even asked if he could take lessons from me on the weekends (yes)!

I plan on riding tomorrow morning, or at least going to visit my darlings and hose them off. After all, how could I say ‘no’ to this face?