Mirror Finish...give your boots a dazzling shine!


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In days gone by, a technique called ‘boning’ was used to give leather boots a mirror finish. This was done by taking the rib bone from a lamb (hence the term), boiling off the flesh and using that to work the polish into the leather.

It did the trick but we don’t need to go to that extreme because modern technology has produced both a better quality polish and boot leather.

What you will need:

• Kiwi Parade Gloss, black for top boots and brown for jodhpur boots. The Kiwi Parade Gloss ($5.50) is best, other polishes don't work as well for this technique.

• A bowl of hot water

• An old, soft towel (one that has gone through fabric softener and a tumble drier is ideal)

• Hair dryer

• Methylated spirits

• Elbow grease!

The true secret to a great shine is to fill the pores in the leather which creates a smooth ‘mirror’ surface.

Step 1

Get plenty of Kiwi Parade Gloss on your old towel, dip in the hot water and work into your boots.

Step 2

Take the first boot and using the rest of the old towel, polish both boots until your arms ache....this is where the elbow grease comes in!

Step 3

Repeat step one but DON’T polish the boots.

The Queen The Queen's Guards have boot polishing down to a fine art!

Step 4

Take your hair dryer and using the highest heat setting on the lowest speed, apply heat to the boot so the polish melts into the pores of the leather. If you watch closely you’ll see that the polish where the heat is applied becomes becomes very shiny. You can even repair scuffs or scratches by adding a little extra Parade Gloss and being careful how you melt it.

Step 5

Polish both boots again as much as your arms can stand it...the more the better!

Step 6

Time to ride in your shiny boots!. Some polish may flake off where the leather creases, but just buff with a soft cloth.

The next time you go to polish your boots, clean them with methylated spirits first. This will make the leather appear milky and foggy looking but this is normal. Then repeat the above steps and you'll be amazed at how much better the boots will look after the second go.

Ready made boot shines are okay, but the Parade Gloss method is more satisfying and is also low maintenance.

Of course, this will only work with leather top boots, don’t try it on your rubber ones! You can shine them up with the help of furniture polish such as Mr Sheen.

If anyone compliments you on your beautifully shiny riding boots, tell them you learned how to do it at Top Horse!

(Please note: This technique is not advised for children to attempt.)

By Claire Uren.

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