Editor’s Note: We welcome guest columnist Jim Thomas to our pages. The Best Horse Practices Summit presenter runs Bar T Horsemanship in Pittsboro, North Carolina. He has started scores of BLM wild horses, competed in multiple Extreme Mustang Makeovers and travels and conducts clinics year round.
Jim Thomas reviewed a buckaroo boot by Olathe Boots of Mercedes, Texas.
Here at the Bar T Ranch, we’re known for our Sunday Mini-Clinics. It’s a time to meet and greet potential clients in a setting of fellowship, horsemanship and good food.
This is our chance to “put on the shine!” For the small price of a covered dish, we welcome anyone to this teaching and sharing experience. For our first Mini Clinic of the year, we had 22 horses and riders signed up, plus an additional 20 or so auditors. I’d need to be on my best behavior and ran through my host-with-the-most list:
- The facility was looking great
- The horses were in top shape
- The homemade ice cream was prepared
It was just me that needed the spit-and-polish look. I considered my new pair of Olathe boots.
But first, let me explain my boot-wearing program:
Upon purchase, all new boots are designated as Sunday boots. Sunday boots are only for church, nighttime dinners, and sterile environments.
Saturday boots are for the sale barn, trips to town, and clinic presentations.
Weekday boots are work horses that have earned the right to be worn every day in dry, dusty, wet, muddy, slimy, manure-y, and snowy conditions. Yet they still have to clean up well.
To earn a spot in the weekday rotation, the boot must fit well, look fantastic before and after a hard day’s work, and hold up under all the stresses. It must be easy on-and-off, easy in-and-out of the stirrup, and comfortable to boot (pun intended).
That’s a tall order. These boots must also fit sized-14, narrow feet. It’s not an easy task, so my weekday boot roster is short.
My current weekday boots are Anderson Bean, which like Olathe is a brand under the umbrella of Rios of Mercedes out of Mercedes, Texas. I know that right out of the box, I have a quality boot with true fit, good looks, durability, and long wear.
That’s what I was looking for in the Olathe, along with the option of a custom design. I’ve been looking for boots that rise above the rest of the boot world, without going the totally unaffordable, custom-made, $1000 route. The Olathe fit the bill and looked to be a contender.
So, here’s where Olathe and the Mini Clinic meet:
- I wanted to make the best impression for my first mini-clinic of the year.
- I was going to bring out my newest boot – my Sunday boot, my church boot, my nighttime boot.
Was I ready?
- Had this boot passed the comfort test?
- The “What a Great Looking Boot” test?
- The “Cleans Up Good” test?
The Mini Clinic was not my first wearing, but I promise you, the boots had not seen anything beyond carpet, wood floors, cement, and asphalt. The chance had to be taken. On they went.
The boots were a hit. Compliments flowed faster than a spring run-off.
Here’s what I liked:
- Good Comfort for a boot not sized by a mold
- Summertime has me in light socks. The boot fit well with a little room for thicker socks in the winter.
- Easy on/off without a bootjack.
- Spur shelf works well. I just drop my spurs over the top without unbuckling and the ledge is prominent enough to hold a loose spur.
- Buckaroo heel is not my favorite for walking but it’s very stylish and holds the stirrup well.
- Oil-tanned finish with its deep distressed appearance really gives it a bold look and repels water better than a duck’s back.
- Made almost entirely of leather except for a rubber heel cap and a thin layer of rubber above the sole for shock absorption.
- Leather sole for easy slip in-out of the stirrup and smooth gliding on the dance floor.
- Uppers are a bright Tennessee Orange that peeks just below the cut of my jeans while riding. That’s statement in itself.
I spent the eight hours on my feet and another four in the saddle with no discomfort.
These new Olathes will be my Sunday boots until my old Anderson Bean’s fall off my feet. But rest assured, I have no reservations about these boots making the cut.