Spring is around the corner. Photo by Holly

I’ve worked hard all winter and still have not achieved near what I wanted. I laid out my winter goals back in September. I did work out challenges, changed my diet and pushed my riding.  

My ritual is, to post in my horse journal, every Sunday, a list of goals for the week. Each day, I write what actually happened towards those goals. On Friday, I make an honest evaluation of where I stand. If I look at my journal, I se many “I suck” entries.  

I have no goals to make it to the Olympics or anything spectacular. I’ll never be able to afford a horse of that caliber.  

My goals are simpler. 

1. Buy a second, more experienced horse…

2. Get in better shape…

3. Nail the right lead canter with the mare

4. Buy new paddock boots…

Winter is almost over and I do not have a new school master. I am in better shape. Our canter still sucks.  

My paddock boots

That brings me to my boots. 15 years ago I bought a pair of paddock boots for $5.00 at a resale tack store. They were a tad more “western” than me when I bought them, but come on, five bucks! They were the perfect boots to just leave at the barn for those “just in case” moments.  

I don’t know when, where, how or why it happened but somewhere over the past 15 years, these $5.00 boots became my EVERY day boots.  

They’ve become the security blanket of my life. I’ve worn them to ride in and muck stalls. Over the past two-year others at the barn have taken to making fun of them. My trainer wants to burn them and has tried to hide them several times in hopes I would forget them. I’ve worn them to school in at shows with half chaps, to clinics, for lessons with new trainers, and even to the grocery store on more occasions than I care to confess. 

Ok, yes…last year, I sprinted from the barn to church for Ash Wednesday. I had every intention to change footwear in the parking lot, but got caught by the neighbor. Yep my boots and I went to church. As I stood there talking to the elderly ladies, I notice a few wrinkled noises, my heart sank as I realized the smell of my boots could be the cause. I whispered loudly adding a head nod to the left…”Pig Farmers”  some poor banker got a look like you would not believe as I slipped out the side door.  

I’ve dragged these “smelly” “ratty” nasty old boots with me to test ride countless horses; some safe, some so crazy a rodeo bronc’s wouldn’t ride.  The comfort of these boots got me through it. I know the feel of the stirrup in these boots and I know just how fast my foot can exit that stirrup.  I can run like a bat out of h*&% in these boots.

It’s not like I feel pretty, sexy or nice in these boots, they are old and ugly. There is no support left and my feet hurt every night from them.

For Christmas this year, my husband gave me a gift card to buy new boots, he even made a pact with my tack store that I could not use the card for anything but new boots.   

It might be spite but… Spring is around the corner and I have a lot to do.  New set of goals; buy new boots when the mare has a constant, balanced canter, get the new horse or if I find another pair for $5.00.

Cheryl