Ariat v Badminton

Ariat v Badminton

As the best horse and rider combinations in the world were preparing for the toughest eventing challenge in the world, Badminton Horse Trials, Your Horse & Country Magazine sent our affiliate photographer Hannah Freeland out on a mission to putthe every popular Ariat Grasmere boots to test on her grueling five days coverage of the event.

With a combination of course walks, rider coverage and interviews Hannah was also set the task of covering the dressage, cross country and show jumping. Toting up in excess of 45 miles over the five day period.

First things first – we needed to find Hannah a pair of boots! As we ventured through Badminton’s extensive shopping village we were faced with Ariat signs and banners along almost every row of trade stands. We made our way through the sea of spectators and shoppers alike and found ourselves within the locally based Colne Saddlery of Cheltenham, Gloucestershire’s stand, where we were greeted by Ariat representative Sam.

We explained to Sam what we were looking for and their purpose, and she proceeded to fit Hannah into a pair of Grasmere’s giving exact instructions how to, not only, fit the boot but also how to lace them up, and the importance of this!

With Hannah happily branding her new boots she set off on her mission with a beaming smile, the question is – will she be smiling 45 miles later?

As I am sure our readers will know, it is often the case that brand new boots can take some walking and stretching in, not for the Grasmere! I kid you not, off she walked for the first of her course walks. At just over four miles this is not the normal ‘walk in’ for new boots, but Hannah reported back from her initial course walk with unfazed feet!

“The boots were totally comfortable for the enitr duration of the course walk, I also jog ahead of the group to capture them walking towards me and some boots can be hard to run in, but the Grasmere’s were supple enough to not effect my running.”

Anther issue with some boots and photographers is that they can become uncomfortable when constantly kneeling and crouching for lower shots as they can catch behind the knee, however because of the perfect fitting of these boots back at the trade stand tops of the boot didn’t sit directly under Hannah’s knee, giving ample space to bend without intrusion from them.

After having heard Hannah’s first thoughts we packed her up and sent her on her way for five frantic days at Badminton, through the rain, wind and sunshine this is what Hannah had to say upon reporting back. “Normally after an event like Badminton where you start at 5am and finish after midnight most days my feet and ankles are suffering badly! However, I can honestly say that this year, wearing the Ariat Grasmere boots my feet and ankles had no suffering what so ever. I didn’t have any thoughts of despair and needing to slow down due to blisters and aches, plus the boots look super smart and got a few comments from fellow photographers!

As a full time equestrian photographer my Ariats are now a staple part of my kit. They will be travelling all over Europe with me and I know I will be warm, dry and comfortable wherever I am shooting, thank you Ariat”

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