Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Riding Boots

I own a pair of genuine riding boots, the kind where you need metal pulls to get them on and a bootjack (or a helpful human) to get them off. I only wore them for riding, although they looked damned impressive over a pair of breeches around town before or after my lesson. Especially if I had my little whip. Those boots must be 30 years old now; I wonder if they still fit.... They are custom field boots, expensively and beautifully made — except that they'd been made for another woman, who never picked them up. They fit me perfectly, and I got them for a song, $118 if I remember correctly. That was a ton of money for me at the time but still next to nothing for handmade boots.

I remember napping in them to break them in, a painful process that took a long time. I also wore them around my tiny first apartment, which annoyed my new neighbor downstairs. We met when she came knocking on my door to see what the stomping was about. When I pointed to my boots, she asked me where I rode. I mentioned a stable up in Ipswich. She asked which one. It turns out we were both taking lessons from the same instructor at that stable. We were riding some of the same school horses, in fact, on different days. We became instant friends. When I was done breaking in the boots, we would play the guitar together and sing silly songs. Then she received an inheritance and stopped working, which left her at loose ends. She spent her days lunching in elegant bars and smoking far too much. I moved away; we stopped being so close. She died very young, a long time ago. And I miss her.

I miss riding, too. In fact, I think it would be a good idea if my husband and I started taking lessons. It's great exercise and getting to know a horse is a humbling, exhilarating experience. As is falling off one when you start jumping. Boy, I miss being scared to death for 60 minutes a week, I really do. I miss riding.

But anyway.... I love riding boots. And any boots that look like them, but with side zippers that would kill your legs on a horse but allow you to get them on and off without equipment.

So I just bought these Børn Crown equestrian boots, which I'd been coveting for a couple of years:

They're currently $200 on the Garnet Hill website, which added their first fall merchandise today. (I already have my eye on a dark gray wide-wale corduroy blazer.)

But I scored my shiny boots for $99.99 on eBay. They're gorgeous. When I was in Florence and Milan a couple of years ago, I looked all over for very simple, elegant boots like these — and found them, but they were always either very uncomfortable or a small fortune. So, finally!

I wonder if I'm going to have to stomp around in these to break them in, and if my neighbors will knock on my door, and we'll get around to talking about horses and proceed to drinking tea and singing silly songs on the front stoop. Nope, we're all grown up now.

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