Boot-istry a.k.a. boot reading is the equestrian equivalent of palmistry (palm reading). Think about it. Have you ever looked at your riding boots? I mean really looked at them? What do the various wrinkles, dirt and rub marks say about us and our riding? Are your riding difficulties reflected in your boots? Come with me as I explore the art of boot-istry. (Disclaimer: This is an inexact science and to the best of my knowledge I’ve made it up.)

I’ll begin by reading my own boots.

Right boot: I’m right handed so that’s my dominant side and conscious mind.
Left boot:
My left side is my weaker side and subconscious mind.
Pink = Inner leg
Blue = Back of the leg

Field boots: That means I’m a lower level dressage rider because dress boots are required at the upper levels.
Dirt: I took these photos right after a lesson and I didn’t want to remove any…evidence. Yeah, that’s right. Evidence.
Wrinkles: I have short calves. (Hey, it’s the whole package here. I’m short. To be specific 5′ 1.5″. Notice the half inch?) These are off the shelf boots and to be honest I either need custom made or another brand. There are more wrinkles on the left boot. Perhaps that calf is shorter (God forbid!) then the right? Remember our bodies are not identical side-to-side.

Inside leg view of my riding boots

Inside leg view of my riding boots

Riding boots: view from the back

View from the back

Inside leg: I’m using my inside leg as indicated by the pink circles. That’s good! With my inside leg I can communicate more subtly with my horse. I’m also providing a corridor between my legs for the horse to travel through. Hopefully, I’m not clinging.
Back of the leg: There are two blue circles on each boot indicating that I’m still using the back of my leg. Not so good. Sigh. When I use the back of my leg I’m opening the door. Of course, the horse is going to step right through and out. Wouldn’t you?
View from the back: The view from the back confirms that I’m using my inside leg. It becomes more obvious on the left boot that I rely on the back of my leg more. A bad habit from my H/J days that I’ve been trying to break.
Subconscious mind: Maybe a little unsure of myself or the horse. The rubs are stronger on the left leg and a bit higher up. I may go fetal more frequently with that leg (think canter!).
Conscious mind: Feeling confident for the most part. Notice that the rub marks are lighter and lower on my right leg.

Feel free to add your observations. Better yet, post photos of your own riding boots and readings.