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Re: RC: keeping feet warm & dry in rain?

My vote goes to Sorels.  I bought mine in Alaska about 15 years ago, they 
were guaranteed down to 40 below.  It DID get that cold in Fairbanks 
sometimes, but I wasn't riding up there, just walking, which keeps your feet 
warmer than riding, with your feet suspended in the stirrups, sometimes with 
a lot of pressure across the middle of your foot, which tends to slow 
circulation in your toes and make them colder.  

My sorels are about a size too big, which means I can put on extra socks if I 
need to, without making the boots tight.  If they feel tight, your feet will 
get cold faster.  I look real clunky in them, as I already have size 11 feet, 
but my feet stay warm.  I have had no problem using these with my easy ride 
stirrups, have even used them with standard English or Western stirrups, but 
if you put your toe in too far, they will get stuck.  Luckily, I don't lace 
mine very tight, and they would pull off if there was a problem.

The most important thing is to buy the boots at least a half size to a size 
bigger than your regular boot.  For me, the Ariat Extremes did not keep my 
feet warm, just like gloves with Thinsulate don't really do it.  

As far as socks, most Alaskans know you start with a pair of thinner socks 
that have a wicking material, like Thorlo's, then put a pair of wool socks 
over them, as wool keeps it's insulating power even when wet.  And my sorels 
are rubber lowers with leather uppers.  I use Mink oil on all my boots to 
keep them water proof.  I have to put it on every month or so, as we have 
abrasive soil that kind of wears it off.  There may be better treatments, 
like a silicone spray, but the mink oil also conditions the leather.  

If your out riding and your feet start to get cold, get off and walk or jog 
for a little bit BEFORE they get too cold, the added circulation will keep 
them warmer.  

We ride til the ground freezes, then it's too hard on the horses' feet.  If 
you have softer footing, no reason you couldn't ride most of the winter.  
Have fun,  jeri

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