The Vader Ranger: Boots

The

Vader Ranger

Rhinegold Dust

The boots I bought are Rhinegold Olympics, full leather and semi-dressage. They make very good Vader boots. They go up to size 11, with a wide-calf, though this may not be big enough for some. I'm naturally a size nine, but bought them in size 11 - firstly, to accomodate the in-sole elevation, but also because it just wouldn't be right if Vader wore size nines!

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Rhinegold Olympics, before the elevation.

I visited a few riding shops up to twenty miles away (I live nearby rural areas), some of which were situated alongside fields of horses, much to the delight of my ten year old sister. These visits helped because I could physically hold several boots and examine their catalogues. These Rhinegolds looked good - featureless, apart from a small 'R' on one side (covered by the Shin Guards), round-toed, with a zip up the back. A back zip is useful because it won't affect the shin guards, they're easy to pull on and off, and it helped the cobbler fit the in-sole. They were also available in size 11 (not all are), but none of the shops had them that big. My size 11s came from the now retired Equus Direct Ltd. Amazingly enough, their Rhinegold Olympics were on sale at the time, snapped up for a mere 56!

It was meant to be.

I'll detail the modifications to these boots in the section "Under the Suit", but as a part of the modification process I needed to make them far more comfortable. I had to change where the leather was folding to stop it attacking the back of my heels. I discovered the following excellent information from a post made in 1996 in a Google Group named rec.equestrian. This technique may be of use, whether or not boot mods are required.

The 'Cavalry Method'

Not only makes the boots more comfortable sooner but prevents wrinkles in the wrong places, which often happens with custom made boots that are too tall to start with.
    1. Clean off the surfaces, removing the light, shiny material necessary for merchandising.
    2. Having cleaned the boots, establish a single fold line on the front face of the boot. The line is just above the stitch mark in a dress boot where the foot is attached to the shaft. For these boots, I established this line above where my ankle rests inside. To make this fold line, first work a softner into the leather along the desired line (The author used Horseman's One Step), and carefully start the fold - being sure not to force the leather and develop a tight V-shaped crease at any point.
    3. After the initial indented fold is established, we work more softener into the leather and flex the boot along the fold, very mildly. We leave the boot flexed for several hours - bent over the fold - and repeat the from (2). Soon the preliminary main fold will have become part of the boot; and whenever the boot is flexed, this fold will act almost like a hinge.
    4. In addition to the main fold, we work in an antithetic fold on the back of the boot (ordinarily, about 1 inch above the back seam of the foot of the boot, but for these boots I made this 1 inch above where my heel sits inside). The procedure for establishing this fold is the same as for the main fold. Finally, we work in two lateral folds. The lateral folds are on the inside and outside of the boot, in the middle and at about level with the stitching where you started the main fold. When these folds bend freely without tending the leather to fold or strain in any unwanted place, it is time to put the boots on for the first time.
    5. Wear them a few minutes only. Then clean them and resoften the folds. When the boots are thoroughly dry, finish with a good polish. Do not use boot trees for the first week or so. After the boots have been worn four or five times, it is wise to use boot trees.

Thank you Robin!

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