My boots are absolutely the best.
I got them at least 13-15 years ago, when John and I caught the horseback riding bug while on a vacation in Mexico. We started taking lessons, rode friends' horses whenever possible, and started planning for having horses our own. Part of this plan was getting cowboy hats and riding boots.
We went to a western-themed chain store that sold all sorts of cowboy type clothing -- I cannot remember the name of that store to save my soul. But it was there that I bought these boots. I believe the salesperson called them "Ropers." I am not sure of the brand anymore, either. Any sign of it that was either embossed someplace on the leather or stamped on the sole or inside material has long since faded away. I do not remember what I paid for them, but I do remember at the time thinking they were expensive.
We have had our own horses; "The Girls," Zora and Divna, for eleven years now. These are the only riding boots I have ever owned, the only boots I have worn riding.
They have been on horses in Tennessee, Michigan, North Carolina, and all over Indiana in this country. They have been on foreign horses in Mexico, Italy and Germany.
From the saddle I have watched them disappear under water when trails have been flooded, and one time when Divna decided to lay down in a trail that went through a pond's edge. They are caked with mud each spring with the thaw, and in autumn when rain turns our pasture into a mucky pit. In the heat and dryness of summer they are covered in a film of dust where not protected by blue jeans. Only the laces have been replaced in all this time -- even after all the miles of trails, who-counts-how-many falls from the saddle, and how much distance covered chasing a loose horse....
They have been better to me than I to them. After riding, I come in, unlace them and toss them under the staircase, leaving them in whatever condition they happen to be in until the next ride.
But when cleaning tack recently, I decided to show them a little care as well. Once the dried mud was scraped off, polish applied, then mink oil, and a good buffing to finish the job I realized that these are boots to be appreciated. I thought about how they have been with me, literally, every step of the way on my journey to horseownership.
And I realize they are really cool boots.
And I realize I got my money's worth.
I love them.