Armed with gift certificates from Christmas, I was ready to shop. The biggest thing I wanted was a new pair of riding boots. My dad bought me my first pair of leather boots back in 1997 when I entered college. He wanted me to have new boots as I was riding in the college's riding program. It took forever to find a pair that fit, as I have small feet and wide calves. I do not even know what brand they are, but I do remember driving all the way to Wellsley, MA to the Dover store to get them (this was before Dover was in NH).
Anyway, my trusty boots have about had it. They were well worth the money spent 12 years ago, and I will still keep them of course. But it was time for a new pair, especially for showing. Dad asked me what I wanted for Christmas, and I said NEW BOOTS! Because he knew he would never find the right pair, he gave me a large gift certificate. :) Then my mom asked what I wanted so I told her a gift certificate to this same tack shop. :) I never have unlimited (well....not "unlimited", really....but it sure felt like it!) money in a tack shop. I have to save and budget for new horse stuff, so to have these gift certificates was very exciting.
I ended up with a pair of Ariats. I tried on the other brands they carry (Ovation and Saxon) but they just did not fit right. If the calf fit, then the ankle was too big, or vice versa. It was not good.
So they had two types of Ariats; basically it was a $200 pair and a $330 pair. I found that the size 6 with a wide calf and meduim height fit well. But in very general terms, the cheaper pair did not have as much support and was "floppy" around the ankle, whereas the more expensive pair had a stiff ankle, more support, and a steel shank (??). So of course, the $200 pair was more "floppy" in the ankle, so there was too much room. Eventually they would have become very scrunched up when the leather broke in and the boot "dropped".
This is so my life. Only the most expensive pair they carry actually fit me perfectly. Now $330 is MUCH cheaper than custom boots, so I suppose I should feel lucky. But MAN! I could have used that extra $100 on the gift certificate for other stuff! LOL! :) Dad's gift certificate covered the boots, which was nice. I am lucky that my dad is able to do this type of stuff for me. Because alone I could NEVER have bought these boots. And they will easily last me another 12 years. As the salesclerk said, I could have bought the cheaper brand (Saxon) and made them work. But I would have been back in a year or two for another pair. These Ariats will last for a long time.
The weird part? It has a zipper all the way down the back! I was told that all boot brands do this nowadays. I am not crazy about it, but have been told I will like the zipper. I guess my boot pulls can be put away for now! And of course, these boots fit perfectly, which means they are SUPER TIGHT in the calf. They are fine after a few minutes, but MAN they are tough to get on! So I am glad I decided to get them NOW and not a week before my first show. LOL! I can wear these around the house and break them in before they ever go out to the barn. I was even thinking of wearing them at school (under a long skirt of course) for a while.....bringing other shoes of course to change into. But even just spending one class period in them would help! I just don't want blisters if I can help it! :)
So here are my new boots! They are the Ariat Challenge Field Boots. I was going to get the dress boots and embrace my inner Dressage Queen, but this same boot that fit so well as a field boot did not fit the same in the dress boot! It was too loose in the ankle! This is exactly why my 12 year old boots are field boots....for some reason they fit better in the ankle. So since I am not planning on competing at Second Level anytime soon, and I still like to event, the field boots are just fine. :) I got this pic online...this is not me.
I also got a free Ariat fleece vest with my purchase! Yay! I am addicted to polar fleece and already have 3 vests. But my other choice was a blanket or a hat. Nah. :) It is a black vest with the Ariat logo on the chest in brown.
I checked out the consignment room, but there was nothing I couldn't live without. I have found excellent deals on breeches in the consignment room (like my brand new pair of Kerrit full seat breeches in a cool blue shade for only $15!!), but there was nothing in my size yesterday which was a bummer.
So I also bought:
- New pair of SSG black gloves for showing
- Blade wash
- Effervescent brush cleaner
- 2-pack of those purple horse shavers
- 18" Ovation Airform chafeless dressage girth for Ms. Dreamy
- JP Korsteel eggbutt french link snaffle bit for Ms. Dreamy
My show gloves are getting pretty ratty, so I figured I would get a new pair. I ran out of blade wash when I trace clipped Dreamy a few weeks ago, so I need this. The effervescent brush cleaner is something I have been wanting to try, but at $4 a pack, I usually talk myself out of it. I figured I ought to try it, as it looks like good stuff. And if not, then at least it was only my gift certificate and not my own money. And those purple horse shavers are so necessary to my life! I had to be sure I was stocked up....I go through about 6 of them a show season!
Now, this new saddle (which I completely adore!!!!!!!!!!!) has the longest billets ever. Dreamy and Sparky each wear a size 46" with the AP saddle, so I was fine with the 26" dressage girth on the old County I used to have. Then with the new Duett this past year, I had to get a smaller girth. I got a 22" and it was STILL too big! I was stupid and cut the sewn-in size tag off, so I could not return it. I made it work by punching more holes in my billets......but seriously I was on #7 hole in the off side and #6 on the near! HOLY CRAP! So I finally decided to just get a new girth. The 18" in the store looked SO TINY! The sales girl was like, "Wait, how big is your horse?" I reply..."Ummmm......15.1 hands?" She looked at me like I was crazy. I told her that I had VERY long billets and I had this exact girth at home in a 22" and it was so big it was up to the 6th and 7th hole. She still thought I was crazy......but I tried the girth today and it is PERFECT! Hole four on each side!!!!!!! :) It looks SO MUCH better.
Also I got a new bit. Now, it is not "new" to Dreamy since it is the exact same one she uses now. LOL! Why did I get another bit that is exactly the same? Well I have been thinking of getting another one for over a year, since it is such a pain in the butt to change bits from my dressage bridle to my AP/jumping bridle all the time. It is especially stressful at a show! So I was feeling rich having a gift certificate and splurged on the $33 bit! LOL!
So overall I had a very successful shopping trip! I could have just browsed around for hours, but it is kind of a weird store. It is HUGE so they always have salesclerks all over the place, asking if you need help. But it is almost too much. If you say you are just looking, they hover just a few feet away. I always get the feeling that they are watching me. As if I would EVER steal anything from anyone! But it makes me feel like a criminal! So I spent just over an hour there, much of which was spent trying on boots.
After such a great shopping trip, I had an equally great ride today. But that is for another post...