Footwear. If there is a piece of equipment more important to equestrians, I’m not sure what it is. Our riding boots, paddock boots, rubber boots, clogs…whatever we choose, must be comfortable, strong, durable and able to take a beating. We are some of the most punishing consumers out there on footwear. Even our tall boots, the footwear that we cherish and adore, that we put on a pedestal because we save months, if not years, for a top brand, are not immune to punishment. Who has vowed, when you take your shiny new tall boots out of the box, that you will never, ever leave them on to hose your sweaty horse or go get a horse from a muddy field, so help you god and all the archangels? Of course you have, we all have. We’re usually pretty good for a while, but then inevitably one day we think, screw it, I don’t have time to keep changing out of these things. They are leather after all, surely they can take a little water.
If our precious tall boots have to take this kind of beating, a prayer must be said for our poor, regular everyday boots. I have tried a lot of brands and some survive for years, while others are cracked, worn and leaking before one season is over. One brand that definitely has come through the punishment with dignity is Blundstones. But now the time has come to say goodbye.
I think it was about 2004 when I bought this pair. I wore them almost every single day for more than two years. I loved them with all my heart. Then one dark day they disappeared. I looked everywhere, tore my entire house and car apart to look for them, with no luck. I never gave up hope, but abandoned the day-to-day search. Then one day, at a birthday party for my sister, I looked across the room and there they were. On my sister’s feet! I didn’t recognize them at first because they were all polished and shiny and mud-free but a mother knows her babies. Instead of making a scene like I did when we were kids, I waited until the next time I was at her house and stole them back. This set off a string of thefts, that at first were filled with anger and resentment but soon settled into a shared custody arrangement of the Blundstones. When I would take them back, they were put through all manner of horrible experiences. They trekked through water, mud, snow and horse urine and have been stepped on by thousand-pound animals multiple times. They got baked (and not in a good way) on hot sand and froze in the ice and snow. With my sister, they had an easier life. She didn’t do a lot, just scraped off the mud, conditioned them with a little mink oil before they would make an appearance at the grocery store, the bank, the dentist, even at funerals and weddings.
This went on for more than a decade, until one fateful day last week when it all came to an end. These faithful boots, that have been through so much, had finally had enough. And the only thing that did them in, was the rubber soul….oops I mean sole. The rubber sole cracked on one boot. Every other part of the boot has weathered the storm and come through it intact.
So Blundstones, it’s time to let you go. You’ve been a good boot. Nay, a great boot and I’m going to miss you very much. (Cue the bagpipes.)