Cleaning Your Boots: A Necessary Evil

Photo by Erica O’Neil

BY INTERN CARLY PHOON

Friday night: You get home, about to crash on your couch, watch TV, and dream about executing flawless rounds at the horse show tomorrow. Suddenly, a nasty thought jolts you back to reality. You need to clean and polish your boots.

After excessive groaning and delaying, you tell yourself that you need to get this hindrance over with. Yes, wiping down your boots with that damp towel physically pains you.

You use an old toothbrush to scrub the stubborn flecks of mud off. With every millimeter of leather scrubbed bubbles a thought of every single other activity you’d rather be doing right now.

Photo by Emily McNeill

You start dying your boots– forget your hopes of keeping the dye off your hands. You’re sure that the scent of the dye is killing your brain cells, or at least your olfactory receptors. Finally, you finish. Your fingers resemble a Jackson Pollock painting.

You start the most excruciating part of the whole process: Polishing. Each swipe of polish onto leather becomes increasingly tedious. To top it off, that polish-under-fingernails look is really appealing– not!

Finally, you channel your anger into buffing those darned boots until the end of time. The buffing gets a little vicious; you went through all this struggle, so those boots better end up shiny.  

Thank goodness! You’re done.

Photo courtesy of Carly Phoon

Next morning, you arrive to the show at an ungodly hour, with unbrushed hair, struggling to carry your show coat, saddle, and the source of all your hell, your gleaming boots.

You spot your barn’s tent and collapse on the couch. Your trainer hustles past the tent. “Wooow! Your boots are clean!” your trainer calls over her shoulder as she walk-runs to the announcer’s booth. You stare after her, dumbfounded. Your boots are clean?…That’s all you get? Does she even realize the pure agony you went through for those boots last night?