A Big Score

The thrill of bargain hunting comes when you actually find that treasure.

My lucky boots were waiting at Goodwill.

Everyone knows I love shopping at Goodwill. I have a routine at our local outlet. Jackets first; you never know when some old dame might donate her fancy show clothes. Next I cruise the shirt section. I’m always on the prowl for discarded English show shirts. Breeches are another secret hope of mine, although I’ve come to realize jogging pants double nicely.
 
I never really get my hopes up as I cruise around. So it was that I almost didn’t see the pair of boots peeking out of a bin of dirty old shoes. The world is full of riding boot knock-offs so I spared them hardly a glance, but something about them made me turn back….
 
My cartoon character eyes popped out of my head.
 
Field boots. Not the fake, I-want-to-look-like-I-ride-when-I-really-don’t kind of boots, but bonafide, Spanish top, swag tag embellished field boots.
 
I heard angels sing.
 
There are things one can tell when you’ve been riding a long time. One of those things is the look and feel of quality riding boots. There’s a sheen to them. A brushed finish to the leather. A texture that is easy to spot if you know what you’re looking for, and I knew…. I checked the brand. My heart stopped. They were an expensive, never-in-my-wildest-dreams-could-I-ever-have-afforded-them brand of boots.
 
There comes a point in every bargain shopper’s life when they hit pay dirt. I had no idea if the boots would fit, but I knew they were going home with me. I would wedge my foot into them somehow. Duct tape. Zip ties. Hog wire. Whatever. Indeed, I felt like I'd rescued them from death-by-unappreciative-teen.
 
I posted a picture on Facebook. My feed lit up. I could have sold them right then and there, but the leprechaun in me kept saying, “Hooo heeee.”
 
I gleefully kept shopping. During my foray to the shoe department I spotted a young family outfitting their children with used shoes. It brought me up short. How many times in the past had I done the same thing – shopped for my child at Goodwill? I’m not too proud to admit there were moments in the past when our family couldn’t afford the basic necessities.  Yet there I was cruising around for horse show clothes.  Life was good.
 
Showing can be expensive. There are times when it’s out of reach for middle class families. We scrimp. We save. We hope for the best.  We never take horse showing for granted.
 
As I get ready to head to the Level 1 West Championships with optimism in my heart, I feel blessed by God’s black boots. Maybe it’s a sign. Last time I went to Vegas I wore an old back business suit, another Goodwill find. It was a great show. Maybe this time will be better.
 
Viva Las Vegas.

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