Friday, March 30, 2012

R.I.P Field Boots

Ok, so the pair of boots I'm talking about have actually been "dead" for a good two years or so. But over Spring Break, I finally threw them out:
Sad thing is, even with the cobwebs, they're much cleaner than my current boots.
I don't remember what brand they were, but I so remember they were the cheapest all-leather pull-on field boots available the day my mom brought me to Bits and Bridles (a now-defunct tack store) a few weeks before my first show at age 14. My instructor had forbidden me from buying boots with a zipper, because they were "not professional, and no one who rides with me will ever wear zippers." I was just excited to finally be a part of the club at my very competitive hunter-jumper barn where many of the girls had been riding practically since they could walk, and who showed every weekend on their $30,000-100,000 horses (no, that's not an extra zero).

The saleswoman told me, "these are the most uncomfortable boots you will ever spend this much money on." My bruised, chafed, and blistered ankles confirmed this the first several times I rode in them. And as a fairly inexperienced rider, my legs swung all over the place with the slippery new leather. But I loved my field boots. I felt so traditional each time I slipped them on with my boot pulls, so proper when I paired them with my mustard-colored breeches. Perhaps grabbing the front seat with one hand and the back seat with the other, hovering in midair due to the force my mom needed to yank my boots off was less traditional and proper, but it took us a while to figure out that boot jacks existed.
via Belltent Camping Boot Jacks
The boots molded to my leg once I started riding in them nearly every day after school on my free lease horse Spur. I cleaned them with glycerin soap each time I cleaned my saddle.

So why would I abandon such trusty companions--and ones that didn't mind how much my legs sweat in the summer, at that?
This is why.
It was the winter break of my sophomore year. I yanked off my boots as usual one day, and the entire heel ripped off. I tried to have them fixed, but the cobbler said that even if he did glue it together, it would eventually rip again. I retired them to the garage and thanked my lucky stars that Dover was having its post-Christmas sale.

Of course, now even Olympians wear zippers and it's hard to even find pull-ons. But I still have a prejudice against zippers that's hard to shake, so now that zipper boots dominate the market, my options were limited. I was excited to find some $300 Ariats that were half price with the sale. I was excited to have such quality boots.

Except...even after they dropped, they don't fit right. The Spanish tops on the outside are nice, but the elastic gusset on the inside means that they stretch to fit right under my knee, rather than dropping to slightly below that. They pinch me behind my knee, and the upper strangles, rather than hugs, the inside of my calf when I put them on. They're just plain uncomfortable and nowhere near as beloved as my first pair.
 Mud? Poop? Who knows! 
It's one of those mildly annoying things that I'm not motivated to fix (except for the five minutes after I put them on). But maybe when I'm home next, I'll clean them up and take a road trip to Maryland Saddlery to see what I could get for them at the consignment shop...stay tuned, because I'll probably turn it into a blog post! Or maybe I'll see if I can trade with someone on COTH. They are a size 9 regular if there are any takers? I think what I probably need is a size 9 short (the inside of my leg from knee to floor is 15 inches).

Moral of the story: If you are a pair of size 9 regular Ariat field boots belonging to me, you'll get what's coming to you.

1 comment:

  1. OH wow! I am super excited because you wrote that you are a size 9 regular and so am I! My first pair of field boots were zippered and it was right when they started coming in vogue (I didn't get field boots until my late teens..). The only reason why I got zippered field boots was because my mother got tired of pulling boots on and off my feet when we were visiting all the tack stores, and she proclaimed, "THAT'S IT YOU ARE GETTING ZIPPERS!"