Just the other day I had to admit to my husband that I might have a teeny tiny little problem with boots. He smirked at my deliberation on Facebook about what to do with my windfall SmartPak gift certificate (I won last month’s HJU Contributor Award). Should I be practical and buy essentials or splurge and buy another pair of boots?? Bet you can’t guess what I decided to buy. I had the full and loving support of my friends who also provided some additional boot choices for consideration. I still maintain that my riding boots really shouldn’t count when determining if I am just a lover of the boot or someone who requires an intervention.
My riding boot collection includes two pairs of Ariat tall boots – the really good pair that only make an appearance at licensed shows and the pair that have seen better days but are still serviceable, my Mountain Horse winter boots, my brand new and oh-so-pretty Dublin Pinnacle boots (thanks SmartPak!!), my rubber boots, and my paddock boots which I don’t think really qualify as real boots since they only cover my ankles. My “fashion” boot collection has a fair number of pairs (I dare not reveal the actual number to protect the guilty) with the crown jewel being my Frye boots that joined the family a year ago.
I will be the first one to admit that what boots I wear won’t make one hill of beans difference in how I ride. My feet might be warmer with my winter boots and I might look just as cute as I can be with my new Dublin boots, but I will still struggle with my half halt timing and Ike will still lean on my right leg with that strong right shoulder. Too bad that they aren’t magic boots like Cinderella’s glass slipper. Slip on your “glass boot” and magically be transformed into a Grand Prix rider who has their bronze, silver and gold medals and numerous national titles. If you believe that, I’ve also got some magic beans to sell you that will make your horse move like an Olympic mount.
My Olympic contender has been full of himself my past two rides. It could be youthful exuberance or more likely due to the charming children on their four-wheelers and the Wizard of Oz worthy winds that have returned to the mid-Atlantic. Dear charming children, must you rev your engines every time you ride by my horse? When your four-wheeler won’t start one day, I will claim to know NOTHING about why not. I do not know how that engine doodad ended up in the manure pile.
Half halts and sit trot have been my saving grace with these rides. Thank goodness Ike is really starting to understand what a half halt is even though I am still not fully understanding why I cannot perfect my timing. Being able to work in sit trot for longer periods of time has allowed me to keep a steadier feel of Ike’s mouth (read – better connection) which has helped my half halt efforts. Staying in the saddle also helps me better catch Ike’s efforts to bolt when the engine’s rev or the wind gusts…doesn’t help every time, but more often than not I can shut down the go before it happens. There is that split second before the explosion when there is the stiffening of the muscles as they prepare to spring into action. If I am paying attention and can feel that moment and half halt or even down transition, Ike will obey the request. He might not like it, but he will do it.
Although the winds will continue to blow over the next three days along with some snow flurries and the neighborhood children will be out terrorizing the horses, I will be in the saddle sporting one of my many pairs of boots and attempting to master the ever elusive half halt.
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