Thursday, August 9, 2012

a boot story

These boots were purchased at Whitman's Feed and Tack down in North Bennington, Vermont years ago. Before I ever took a riding lesson at Riding Right Farm I went to the store and asked if they had riding boots on sale. They did, but only western style. These Ariat men's paddock boots were on sale for sixty dollars. I wore them under a pair of jeans to my first English Riding Lesson and realized pretty quickly they weren't the right gear for the scene. People had on tall boots and shiny black paddocks with half chaps. I was told I didn't have to buy any gear for the lessons, but most people realized that knee-padded breeches and boots or half chaps made a big difference after an hour in an English saddle. My instructors were right, and so I set aside my cowboy boots in my mud room, to be worn another day when I felt I could pull them off.

So the western boots sat. I forgot about them. They stayed out of the way in the mudroom and my summer of riding lessons turned into fall, then winter, and then spring came and my mudroom was full of chickens. Well, if any of you keep or raise chickens indoors as chicks you learn about the dust that builds up everywhere around them. My barely-worn boots turned into chicken dust-piles.

Somewhere around last winter I stopped caring about what people at the office thought about my outfits and wanted to wear my cowboy boots. They were disgusting and neglected, crusty with fecal dust. I decided to throw them in the washing machine and let them dry in the cold sunlight and what was left was a patina of faded, softer leather. I started wearing them because I liked them. Just to the office, or out on weekend work chores. They broke into a perfect form of foot and ankle. I didn't wear them to ride, I stuck with my English garb, but I sure wore them and proudly.

Today after my lesson with Trainer Dave I realized how perfect they are for riding now. They soft ankles and pointed toes, the support and flexibility at the same time. I adore my old boots and I'm happy they grace the sides of a sunburned brown pony on a mountain rode. They might have been bought by inexperience as a mistake but they are now worn true to the cause. They make me feel authentic, and free, and just the sight of them makes my spirit lift. Those boots mean time on a horse, my horse, and the rest is

history. P.S. Unrelated, but true. Boots and Dutch are the best nicknames ever. Aint that right, boots?

6 Comments:

Blogger Rich With Life said...

I have an identical pair myself that have lasted for over 7 years now! I ride English and Western in them (with a pair of half chaps for English).

And Boots is a great name- for a variety of animals!

August 9, 2012 at 8:22 PM  
Blogger Jenny Glen said...

I love Ariat and Roper paddock boots! I live in mine.

August 10, 2012 at 12:02 AM  
Blogger Jen said...

When my grandfather was a kid, apparently he and his two brothers were all nicknamed Dutch. It wasn't until he started dating my grandmother when a friend pulled her aside and told her "He would really like it if you called him Tom" that things changed!

August 10, 2012 at 1:00 AM  
Blogger Mary Schroeder said...

I love ariats - I have a pair that I wear everyday.

August 10, 2012 at 5:20 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Love my Ariats,they just don't wear out! It has been years since I was in the saddle, but I still live in Wranglers and boots - just seems right. Boots and Dutch, two of the best dog I've known...

August 10, 2012 at 2:24 PM  
Blogger Kristy said...

I wear mine all the time! I ride in them and wear them when I go out too.

August 11, 2012 at 9:22 AM  

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