I had decided to treat myself to a few things that I didn’t actually need, but things that I wanted. Not things Drifter needed or wanted, things I wanted. This doesn’t usually happen!
So I went to the local tack shop, looking for some jodhs/breeches for everyday, some medium quality every-day gloves (black), some medium quality white gloves for dressage competitions, a pair of long leather boots and maybe a brush or two.
I came out with one brush, one plain white saddle pad and some pony treats. How disappointing. They were very short on stock and the only jodhs in my size were not in my shape. They don’t stock leather long-boots, the only white gloves they had were the super-cheap ones I already have and none of the black gloves fitted me. They apologised for the lack of stock, but it was not the “treating myself” event I’d planned.
So Mr S volunteered to take me somewhere further afield.* I got on the internet and located a bigger and better saddlery with lots of lovely pictures on its website so I knew they had lots of stock. It was about 40 min. drive away and on Saturday we headed over there.
I was a bit overwhelmed, to be honest! It was amazing. They had a good range of brands to accommodate budget shoppers or premium choices and they had everything I could think of on display.
I dallied by a black saddle pad with silver trim and embroidery, rejecting it reluctantly on the grounds that it was too much for everyday use and when else would I use it? I flirted with the diamante brow bands and the patent nose-bands of the blingy keep-it-for-best bridles, thinking I might come back to them later. I scanned the shining bits and tugged on the array of reins.
I reached the gloves, and ended up choosing the same synthetic Mark Todd gloves in black and in white, thinking that although leather would be more comfortable, washing leather gloves does not seem to be something I’m good at, and it is most important that I have ones I am able to wash without destroying! Then it was on to the array of jodhs and breeches. Taking an armful to the fitting room, I found two pairs of every-day jodhs I was pleased with – one teal and navy, the other grey check. There was a canary pair I liked but they were a bit snug – I needed the size above, which they didn’t have.
And so to the boots! The wall of long boots was beautiful and alluring, but I decided the best way was to put myself in the hands of the assistant and see what she thought would fit me best. I tried Ariat, Mountain Horse and Sarm Hippique, the last of which were both the most beautiful and the best fit. It was apparent that there was no way to wear these boots over a jodhpur, so I also ended up buying my first pair of breeches and also my first white leg-wear. Yes, now I have some Mark Todd white breeches, which cost more than I think they should, but they were the only plain white breeches they had, and to do these boots justice it was time to dare to wear white. I was given some heel raises to put into the boots until the leather relaxes and the boots “drop.” In the mirror the white breeches and long black boots were one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen on my legs. The price tags meant I wouldn’t be buying a blingy bridle, but I didn’t care because these are the boots I want to treasure for years.
Boots and breeches off and on the counter waiting for me in the growing heap of my purchases (and Mr S’s new yard-boots), I headed back to the reins. My existing thin-bobbly-rubber-over-webbing reins have a small tear in the rubber from when Drifter managed to tread on them a few months ago, and also I’ve never felt they were the best reins for me, despite many riders I know raving about them. I have trouble stopping them slipping through my fingers, so I fancied something grippier or chunkier. The reins I chose are leather with a moderately chunky rubber grippy section on the side facing the horse – both grippier and chunkier than the reins I had before and they look better too, to my eye, because the rubber doesn’t show.
One final circuit around the shop, gazing at all the wonders, and it was time to pay and leave. Mr S had been very patient and it was time to let him take me home again.
The next day when I thought it would be nice to show you pictures of my purchases. I carefully took my boots out of the box and realised that there was a little part of the zip near the ankle where the stitching had broken and the zip was coming away from the leather, which I had not noticed in the shop. So I didn’t take pictures of everything because it took the gloss off it to know that my beautiful boots were going to have to go back, and I was no longer in the mood. For that price they needed to be perfect. I still love them though, so I want to exchange them for another pair exactly the same but intact!
Mr S happens to be working in that direction today so he’s going to take them back to the shop tonight on his way home. I don’t have much hope that he’ll be able to get the exchange instantly – I would be very surprised if they carry identical sizes in stock, and imagine they’ll have to order a replacement. I suppose it’s lucky that I wasn’t buying them to wear on any specific date. Hopefully the customer service will be good and I can get a replacement without too much hassle or too long a wait. It’s obvious from the condition of the soles that they’ve not been worn yet, and to be honest, even if they had been worn they ought not to quibble about it. Anyway, I’m sure I’ll keep you posted, and one day you’ll see a picture of them, once I have my replacement pair.
*Because he knows driving to places I’ve never been before intimidates me.