The Bloody History Of The Riding Boot

The Riding Boot's History

Over the history of footwear there has been a different boot for a different job. From the world of high fashion to the practical purposes of the military, boots have always been a part of civilisation.

The world of riding is one area that has seen the epitome of elegance and sophistication, married with practicality. In fact, the history of the boot began with the necessity to wear suitable footwear for horse riding in military campaigns and defending borders.

Originally, shoes and sandles were worn with other sections skins and leathers for ankle and lower leg protection. Over time these evolved to incorporate the extra sections, and the long boot was developed. However, it took a couple of thousand years until the first recognisable knee high riding boots started to appear.

It was the Hessian soldiers of Germany who were among the first to wear these high riding boots. They were worn in the during the American Revolutionary War, bringing their own innovations for battle. The Hessians were a hired force, and used by the leaders and monarchs of countries such as Italy, the Netherlands and the British.

The Legacy Of The Hessian Boot

The original Hessian boot style, with its front high ridged cuff and tassel, would evolve into two distinct styles of boot. The Duke of Wellington, took inspiration from the clean lines of the footwear to form the Wellington boot. Because the Hessians fought in North America, there was legacy from those days. It is because of the ornate touches of the Hessian boot that cowboy boots took shape.

The legacy of the Hessian boots can still be felt today, not only from the aforementioned wellies and cowboy boots, but on into the field of professional equestrianism. Of course, as the Hessian boots were designed primarily for horse riding, this isn’t all that surprising.

Now the equestrian boot has developed into several other styles and designs. The tall riding boots are now specifically designed for field, dress attire and hunting boots. These long boot styles are made for competition. There are also the paddock boots, which are much shorter and stop at the ankle. There are many other variations on these items of equestrian footwear, but they all owe a debt to the practical finery of the Hessian forces.

The Hessians were brutal fighters, and there are many stories of their cruelty on and off the field of battle. Their legacy lives on in fashion and equestrian sports, thanks to the quality and design of their timeless riding boots. offer a large range of riding boots including the ever popular Ariat Grasmere tall boot

Click here to read about the greatest military tacticians ever to have lived.

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  1. Just read up about the Hessians and found out that they were hired in the American Revolutionary War and also hired to quell a rebellion in Ireland. Apparently they were hired in units by the British. Fierce mercenaries.

  2. The British still hire people from other countries to fight their battles, on the football field now. As you can see from European Cup and World Cup results where the new football mercenaries are not present lol
    Just a tongue in cheek comment there as I’m British myself 😉

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