I did my first full set of barn chores this morning, something I haven’t done in…five years? Maybe a little bit longer? Whew. Turnout, stalls, water, sweeping, bringing back in, topping off water. A little over 4 hours, which puts some time in the bank for lessons when Tris is ready. I watched lessons while eating a granola bar, including a faaaaaaancy Andalusian gelding working on his trot, and then took Tris for a road hack that would’ve been longer had the bugs not discovered us halfway through.

Since I last swapped barn work for lessons, I’ve divested of some of my barn work gear. In particular, the rubber muck boots I used to use are long gone; they were $10 boots from Walmart to begin with and they leaked constantly, so I chucked them a few moves ago. I have no idea what happened to my work gloves. My raggedy jeans have too many holes even for the barn. I did chores this morning in my riding gloves (I use the leather palm/crochet back kind) and Ariat Terrains and a new pair of jeans that I’ve retired from daily wear to barn wear. Only the jeans worked out. The Terrains, much beloved as they are, are not built for chores and my feet were swampy and swollen and aching by the end of the day. The riding gloves did reasonably well but the way the stitching was done my fingernails kept bumping the tips of the fingers and now my fingertips hurt quite a bit. (*world’s smallest violin*)

That puts me in the market for some new stuff. I stopped by Tractor Supply on my way home, hoping to pick something up since I’ll be working again tomorrow morning and since I had a 10% off coupon. I tried on all the boots I could put my hands on and every.single.pair. was too big for me. I do not have small feet! I wear an 8 or 9! And yet, everything was women’s size 10 plus. WTF, people. Ditto again on the gloves: all the kinds I liked were floppy and too long on my hands. (Admittedly, I have short stubby fingers and small hands, so that is not unusual.)

I struck out again at Agway in the boot department – though they had some, none worked for my feet and if I am going to spend actual money on these and do hours of chores in them I want them to be comfortable, not barely adequate. I did much better with gloves, picking up a pair of sturdy but kind of cute teal/beige gloves that will suit nicely, for under $10.

So: any suggestions for good chore boots? I may go back by Tractor Supply and find a salesperson tomorrow afternoon – everyone was jumping around busy on this summer Sunday and I wanted to get home – or I may widen my radius a little bit and try a few other hardware stores; there must be a few more farm supply places around that I just haven’t found yet.