My steadfast, ever-ready “shit-kickers” have failed me. Time has gotten the best of the once-supple leather that took years to form right to my foot.  The usual warmth and security I had come to love has been has been replaced with a gaping tear between the sole and the body, as well as deep puncture near the toes. Now all I have to show for it is wet socks.

This is pretty devastating news. My Blunnies, as they’ve been dearly coined, have carried me through countless days of stall mucking, city street walking, foreign exploration, backyard adventuring and even stood up to their fair share of stirrup irons. While it’s been a good run, it is still heartbreaking to see them deteriorate in front of my eyes; fall apart beneath my feet.

I began to notice the decline on dewy fall mornings when the grassy pathways to the paddocks were still wet. My right foot would often get damp, making for uncomfortable long days with one semi-soggy sock. I tried to ignore the early warning signs, hoping they ould somehow right themselves. Maybe the moisture had dripped into my boots from my jeans, I would tell myself. Maybe I was just imagining how cold my toes were. The last thing I wanted to do was admit that my sweet ol’ Blunnies were done.

And here we are.

While I can tolerate a bit of a breeze on dry days, the cold and damp fall mornings have made it too unbearable to weather broken shoes on a regular basis. I am now stuck between a rock and a hard place; wet socks or awful blisters from the spare pair of rubber boots I keep nearby.

As I peel off a sock that leaves behind wet spots on the floor, I think the blisters might not be so bad. But what happens to my shit-kickers, my lovely Blunnies? Do they retire? Do they go into rest until next summer? Maybe they could get fixed! Could I ever replace them? I don’t know. So many unanswered questions in the steps ahead.