Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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Saturday, June 6, 2015

Ranch Shoes

Blair and his first pair of shoes . . .
I bought myself a pair of shoes the other day. Very practical with a heavy sole and a solid leather upper.
Every once in a while I think I should consider a lighter pair – especially considering I live where it is very hot.  But this thought does not linger long. I have to have a solid pair of shoes.
Why?
Growing up on the ranch.
Maybe I should explain . . .
When I was a wee lad, my mother provided me with a vast array of foot wear.  I had a pair of flip flops, running shoes, rubber boots (gum boots to us but which some people call 'Irrigator Tony Lamas'), and cowboy boots.
First I tried my flip flops.  But I soon discovered that one could easily bruise one’s toe when walking across the graveled drive to the barn.  Plus the entire foot was exposed, inviting close contact with animal digestion products.
Ewww.
Flip flops were not desirable.
Next I tried my rubber boots. Hmm. Easy and quick to put on, plus they protected my toes from unwanted bruises and my feet from the aforementioned products of animal digestion abundantly scattered around the barn [even though we actively collected them and put them in the animal digestion products (manure) pile].  And rubber boots were great when it rained and I could walk across/through mud puddles.
An aside here: I did have to be careful in mud puddles because sometimes my boots stuck in the mud causing me to step out of said boot and into said mud with my foot.  Not a desirable plan.
However, I discovered that the most undesirable feature of gum boots was they offered little protection for my feet when I was around horses, who just happen to be very adept at picking up their feet and placing them on my foot with amazing and lightning-fast precision.
A thought: Missile guidance design engineers will never be able to craft a system that achieves the precise accuracy of a horse when they place their hoof on your foot, then, having nailed your foot, shift their weight from all their other hooves to the one that pinned your ……ahhhhhhhh ……..….. FOOT!
Also: I’m fairly certain the horse then says in horse talk to his friends, “Hey I nailed this poor little sucker this time!  Hey look at me, I can place all of my weight on the one hoof!  Bet you guys can’t do that.  Oh, hey look!  I think that his foot hurts so much he’s going to pass out!”
Moving on . . .
So gum boots were out. 
I finally determined that ultra-sturdy cowboy boots offered the best fortification.  My toes didn’t hurt near as much when the horse stepped on a foot that had been thus adorned.
Later I discovered work boots and that was even better.
But that is another story.
So please know that when I shop for shoes, I may look at the lighter, cooler one, but my toes tell me that they would rather be safe in something solid and sturdy.
Habits, unlike toes, are hard to break.


6 comments:

  1. Clearly you ranchers think far more about your footwear than I've ever had to.
    Although your story had me laughing, I have to admit that I'm still chuckling over "animal digestion products" and "animal digestion products pile". I've never heard "shit" so delicately referred to!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I don't blame you! I've had my foot stepped on while wearing sandals! Ouch!

    ReplyDelete
  3. When I shop for shoes, I look at everything I want, then buy the one pair of sneakers that fit. I have very wide feet and all the pretty shoes just don't fit.

    ReplyDelete
  4. We survive in flip flops here in the south Florida coast but yes, I've had my share of bruised toes from being stepped on!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'm pretty much in River's shoes (hah!) in this arena ... I look at all the nice shoes I'd like, then buy the single pair that fits :(

    And they are never boots! I can only wish for boots that fit.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Oooh -that feeling of a horses hoof coming down on your foot! My toes curled a little just reading about it!

    ReplyDelete

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