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New life for my old Dehners

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  • New life for my old Dehners

    I have a pair of 26 year old Dehners that have sat in storage for the last 18 years or so. They are in fairly great shape (though they need a good conditioning), but there is just no way that I can get my calves squeezed into them. I may see if I drop some weight whether they might fit, but I am not sure it is realistic for me to get back to what I weighed as a junior, so I am weighing my options.

    I have read through a lot of old threads but am still a bit stumped on the best way forward. Does anyone have experience adding width (1”-1.5”) to pull-ons? Is elastic down the back the best option? I am also interested in adding height (Spanish top), maybe in croc. Would that render them schooling-only if I do the jumpers? I have been out of riding and showing for ages so I don’t know what is acceptable these days!

    I was in Philly last week and swung by Byrum’s for a quote (Pisano and Sons was closed), but I live in NYC, so Vogel may be the better choice. Has anyone here had Vogel do work on non-Vogel boots? Any other stellar options for alterations? Dehner won’t do work on boots this old, sadly.

    Finally, about the conditioning. I know that is a contentious topic... but I have some Lexol, Effax Leder-Balsam, and Leather CPR (and some Higher Standards is on the way). Which would be your best choice for tall boots? And would you apply inside (how do you do that for pull-ons?) or outside? I don’t plan on conditioning often (or ever, really)... but they need treatment after years of neglect.

    Thanks in advance, and sorry for so many questions!

  • #2
    Croc is fine for showing jumpers, and you see some subtle customization on boots even in the hunters these days. Things are far bolder than they used to be.

    That said, I'd be skeptical as to what kind of value you'd get in bringing these boots back. Meaning, you may spend a lot of money getting them updated/altered versus buying a new pair. There are some very affordable semi-custom options (DeNiro) if you're looking for something fun without spending absurds amount of money.

    If you are dedicated to bringing these back, adding elastic may be your best bet. You can see about adding zippers and elastic, but depending who you go to, they may not be willing to do that depending on the boots. Their current condition may also prevent that kind of work. That said, I had an OLD pair of Ariats years ago that I couldn't let go of, even after some time away from riding. I didn't want zippers at the time either. A rather extreme alteration was made where part of the top of the boot was cut out and replaced with heavy duty elastic...it looked awful, but you couldn't tell from the ground, and it was actually very durable and extremely comfortable. The rest of the boots finally fell apart a few years later before the elastic ever did. If you just want the boots to use because they mean a lot to you and other options won't work, this might be ok. Kind of a last option, though.

    Find a good cobbler or work with whatever boot company will entertain you, and see what they can do. Also ask them about re-conditioning because I generally don't use any conditioners on boots if I want to be able to polish them. I love Hydrophane oil for reconditioning tack leather, but I would be very hesitant to put that on riding boots. I know Dehner won't work on them, but it might be worth a call to see if there's a specific product they recommend based on the type of leather they used.
    War Horse Blog
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    • Original Poster

      #3
      Thank you, this is excellent information!

      While I *am* attached to these boots for sentimental reasons, my main motivation in looking to revive them is that I have had my eye on some beautiful brown DeNiros, but was thinking I probably will also want black boots as well and the idea of buying two new pairs is ridiculously extravagant to me as I am only just getting back into riding. I was hoping I could get my old customs up to snuff for less than the cost of new customs, and then save up for a pair of brown DeNiros because I think their Nuvolato coffee WRAT (S9601) looks dreamy!

      So, for the Dehners, I could probably leave the tops as is and be less fashionable... so long as I can get them on and they look halfway decent to save money if necessary.

      And thank you especially for pics of your repair - it’s good to know that there is a “Hail Mary” option!

      Comment


      • #4
        OP, is there a reason you absolutely need custom boots? The off the shelf boot companies now have a range of shaft width and height, and some even do brown boots. Why not buy a pair of new black off the shelf boots (like Ariats), preferably on a year end closeout , wear them, and then buy the fancy brown boots when you reach a milestone (like riding for one year, or two years, or jumping 3 foot, or buying your first horse, whatever milestone makes you feel like "OK, I am in this for good again and I can splurge a little.")? Paddock boots and half chaps are also an attractive option for returning riders, and some of the current combinations look very sleek and very much like tall boots.

        I'm a little superstitious about getting too much nice stuff at the start of a new activity. I try to go with minimal gear until I know I am committed.

        I get wanting to use the old gear! After I was fully back into riding, I rescued all my old tack from my mother's basement, and get a lot of fun from using the old bridles. The saddles however don't fit any horse in my world!

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          Originally posted by Scribbler View Post
          OP, is there a reason you absolutely need custom boots? The off the shelf boot companies now have a range of shaft width and height, and some even do brown boots. Why not buy a pair of new black off the shelf boots (like Ariats), preferably on a year end closeout , wear them, and then buy the fancy brown boots when you reach a milestone (like riding for one year, or two years, or jumping 3 foot, or buying your first horse, whatever milestone makes you feel like "OK, I am in this for good again and I can splurge a little.")? Paddock boots and half chaps are also an attractive option for returning riders, and some of the current combinations look very sleek and very much like tall boots.

          I'm a little superstitious about getting too much nice stuff at the start of a new activity. I try to go with minimal gear until I know I am committed.

          I get wanting to use the old gear! After I was fully back into riding, I rescued all my old tack from my mother's basement, and get a lot of fun from using the old bridles. The saddles however don't fit any horse in my world!
          Thank you, good points!

          I do have half chaps and paddock boots for now... but I was thinking forward and trying to plan ahead. You're right, I don't need boots right away at all. My biggest concern about off the rack boots is that I am tall with long legs, so even the tall sizes off the rack might be pushing it after they drop. That said, I have heard that boots don't really drop as much these days with zippers so they might work.

          Your point about milestones is a good one. The De Niros I'm dreaming of will DEFINITELY be a milestone purchase that I want to start saving for now.

          If I can't make the old boots work in an economical way, then I can always get off the shelf or semi customs or something more affordable. I'm just completely unfamiliar with updating old boots, so I am trying to get an idea of what can and cannot be done and thought it would be nice if I could make my old customs work for me again.

          Thanks again!

          Comment


          • #6
            You’ll find many many more options off the rack then you ever could imagine 20 years ago. I’d bet you will be pleasantly surprised both by fit and price point. I’m a convert from needing customs to being able to purchase really good fitting boots of the rack (with multiple manufacturers)

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              Originally posted by fourfillies View Post
              You’ll find many many more options off the rack then you ever could imagine 20 years ago. I’d bet you will be pleasantly surprised both by fit and price point. I’m a convert from needing customs to being able to purchase really good fitting boots of the rack (with multiple manufacturers)
              That's great to hear! Thanks!!

              Comment


              • #8
                No need for custom boots these days. I have a great pair of basic Ariat boots extra tall extra slim (heritage) and were about 250 They stay up - the zipper stays put - they shine up great and have worn beautifully. I was not a fan of the brass rivet so I painted it with black nail polish..

                On the other hand, my kid has gone though about 3 pair of 1k show boots since 2014 and I've had Pisano repair the insides and replace the zippers several times

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by erinmeri View Post
                  I have a pair of 26 year old Dehners that have sat in storage for the last 18 years or so. They are in fairly great shape (though they need a good conditioning), but there is just no way that I can get my calves squeezed into them. I may see if I drop some weight whether they might fit, but I am not sure it is realistic for me to get back to what I weighed as a junior, so I am weighing my options.

                  I have read through a lot of old threads but am still a bit stumped on the best way forward. Does anyone have experience adding width (1”-1.5”) to pull-ons? Is elastic down the back the best option? I am also interested in adding height (Spanish top), maybe in croc. Would that render them schooling-only if I do the jumpers? I have been out of riding and showing for ages so I don’t know what is acceptable these days!

                  I was in Philly last week and swung by Byrum’s for a quote (Pisano and Sons was closed), but I live in NYC, so Vogel may be the better choice. Has anyone here had Vogel do work on non-Vogel boots? Any other stellar options for alterations? Dehner won’t do work on boots this old, sadly.

                  Finally, about the conditioning. I know that is a contentious topic... but I have some Lexol, Effax Leder-Balsam, and Leather CPR (and some Higher Standards is on the way). Which would be your best choice for tall boots? And would you apply inside (how do you do that for pull-ons?) or outside? I don’t plan on conditioning often (or ever, really)... but they need treatment after years of neglect.

                  Thanks in advance, and sorry for so many questions!
                  I have had Vogel rework a pair of La Mundials where the soft buttery leather had stretched to the point they were a little baggy plus they needed new zippers. Vogel used my measurements from the pair of Vogels I'd ordered custom from them the year prior. Amazingly, my Vogels had to be resized 4 times before they were perfect but the rework of my La Mundials was absolutely perfect on the first shot. They did a great job.

                  FWIW on the croc to add height, when I ordered my Vogels, I ordered them with about an inch of alligator at the top for decoration. I only do the hunters and have a fairly traditional/old school trainer. She's never once balked at that adornment on my boots. Also, there was a pro in last weekend's Hunter Derby Finals that wore a pair of boots with a large contrasting color cuff at the top of his boots. Think black w/brown tops but these had more of a tan color cuff. None of the commentators commented and I don't believe his scores suffered.
                  Last edited by PoochPaddock; Aug. 20, 2019, 12:48 PM. Reason: grammar
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                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I know a great and very reasonably priced cobbler that will work on anything. He is down in Florida so you will have to ship them but for what he charges it’s worth it. PM me if you want the info

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Can you get away with just stretching them? I had my custom Dehners stretched after a 20 year absence from riding, they were about 34 years old at the time and were in beautiful condition (they still are too and they are now more than 50 years old!). They did tell me that it was only because they were in such good condition, especially the lining, that they were able to stretch them, otherwise they are liable to split or crack when being stretched. Stretching them doesn't cost much at all though.

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