We went to Devon Horse Show yesterday. It reignited a lifelong dream of mine – a dream to be one of the riders there. I want a horse. I want lessons. But most of all, I want the boots.
Have you seen those riding boots up close? They’re gorgeous. Most are custom-made! And naturally, they cost several car payments per pair.
Years ago, I actually did take riding lessons. I had just learned to trot “at the post” and was about to move on to cantering when my riding-lesson fund dried up. (Something pesky like a busted transmission interfered, as I recall.) I didn’t get “real” riding boots, of course. But I did get paddock boots – their ankle-high, non-custom-but-still-made-for-the-stable cheaper cousins.
I still have them, and they still have 18-year-old manure stains on them. I refuse to clean them. (Call me nostalgic.) You see, in my head, even though I now have other financial priorities like a mortgage and the water heater and such, I secretly believe I’ll take up those riding lessons again.
My closet really does tell a story when it comes to shoes. Enthusiasms that have come and gone, phases, memories…
There are the Irish dancing shoes (aka “gillies”) from lessons I took with my niece. I didn’t have time to finish the lessons, alas – my work schedule was heinous, as I served corporate overlords in a large advertising agency back then. But they were fun while they lasted. And talk about cardio! Have you noticed how much those Irish dancers jump around? I guess it’s some sort of demonic compensation for not using your arms.
Dancing has factored into many of my footwear experiments, as I studied dance between the ages of 6 and 17. I was in my 30s when I signed up for a tap class. Nowadays, I preface “in my 30s” with “only,” but to the salesgirl at the store where I bought the tap shoes, I was something of a relic even then. She asked me if I wanted the “old-fashioned” kind, and I replied that yes, I was looking for high-button tap shoes, thanks. She didn’t get it. I had my revenge, though, when I did great in the class. My long-ago lessons came flooding back and I felt like Ann Miller (look her up, youngsters!)
The tap experiment went better than the ballet one, I have to admit. About 8 years ago, I joined an “adult beginner” ballet class at my niece’s dance school, and I realized that I could no longer raise my leg above knee-level. I figured the skills and movements required for ballet would come back as easily as the tap ones had. Wrong!
Thus endeth my “adult beginner” ballet lessons. I was so embarrassed, I skulked away in shame muttering something about “yoga… maybe yoga…”
My closet also holds (or held) a few pairs of shoes that speak to my occasional forays into the world of high glam. I’m thinking particularly of a pair of multicolored gladiator sandals with 4-inch heels that I purchased in an effort to be a fashionista a few years back. I was trying to emulate my ultra-chic best friend and my equally-fabulous cousin. I wore them once (at said friend’s birthday celebration) and recently donated them to Goodwill. I’m sure someone will be pleased, if startled, to find them being sold at a thrift store for $5.
I guess I’m just a loafers-and-flats kind of girl at heart.
But those riding boots… someday…