The Tall Boots of My Dreams

Have you ever consistently ogled the same thing, not realizing at first that you’ve seen and loved it before?

The Mountain Horse Sovereign boots are that thing for me.

I’m not the first to fall for them, especially the two-toned brown boots. The construction is lovely. An elegant taper at the ankle and the long lines of the calf and footbed create a gorgeous picture. Each time I saw them on another rider or across my feed, it was a pleasant surprise to see the same brand pop up.

Prior to my infatuation, I was an Ariat girl. However, I feel like the Sovereign boot is a culminating point of my experience.

My first pair of Ariat Boots were the ever popular Heritage boots. Possibly my most favorite Christmas present in my life, I treasured them. Unfortunately, a friend pointed out to me they didn’t fit me correctly. I’d gotten a calf size too large, so they gaped a bit at the knee, Up to that point, I was completely naive to the laborious process of breaking in tall boots. The knee-pinching and ankle-splitting came with my next pair. Like every hunter/jumper girl, I fell in love with the audacious, trend-setting color of…


Yes, my next pair were the Ariat Contour II Heritage boots in cognac, a rich, red-toned brown. I learned my correct calf measurement, but I apparently forgot my shoe size I’ve had my whole life. Going down a half size made the ankle impossible to break in and forced me to wear silicone bands over my socks to spare my arteries.

In all their beauty, these brown boots collected scuffs more than a normal black pair. I didn’t even have the possibility to oil the boots and try to hide the discoloration, because the different shades would have been too noticeable compared to the rest of the boot.

So, I learned a couple things before finding the Sovereign boots.

1) The calf has to walk the line of too tight and just right.

2) Brown wears down.

Even though I always prefer to shop secondhand, I usually try to go into a store to find my best size. Where I live though, the nearest tack store is about an hour away and doesn’t stock the boots of my dreams. Based on my research, I surmised my 8.5 foot would best suit a MH 8. Mountain Horse doesn’t carry half sizes, but is notorious for having larger footbeds. I have always been a regular calf height, but the width was a different story. I felt like I right on the edge of Slim and Regular. My first pair of Ariats were a full calf, while my better-fitting Ariats were a regular width.

In hindsight, I unabashedly confess I slipped into the unhealthy tendency of sizing down for vanity.

After a few weeks of perusing my favorite resale sites, I found a pair of secondhand tall boots on a Facebook group from a lady in Alabama. I was ecstatic. Finding something based off 3 specific measurements is a pain, but it definitely adds to the thrill of the hunt. Better yet, they were new with tags.

Stunning. Gorgeous. Dreamy.

One misconception I often hear about buying secondhand is that you’re buying hand-me-down quality. In fact, it’s often quite the opposite. There’s so much overproduction of just about everything, you can find brand new items often. You get all the benefit of an item without wear, but peace of mind that your dollar is not voting for more production.

I arranged the buy and eagerly awaited my new secondhand tall boots. When they arrived, I tore into the box with abandon. Sadly, I chalked my third pair of tall boots up to another learning experience.

I’m not a slim calf.

I went through all the phases of grief. I denied my measuring skills were worthless. I was angry at myself for my $300 mistake. I bargained with the boots, alternating between cooing and cursing. Depressed, I browsed forums offering advice on how to stretch tall boots. Finally, I accepted that this just wasn’t right. I knew what the break-in process involved and breaking the zipper was not included.

I chalked it up to a loss and promptly re-listed the brand new boots to try and find them a new home. Incredibly relieved that I’d left the tags on, I could attempt to just break even on them. Good news, though; I sold them on Ebay about a week after.

In the meantime, I returned to the drawing board. It was a miracle that as soon as I changed “slim” to “regular” in my search, I found another NWT pair for 32% off MSRP! Happy birthday to me!

Shiny boots!

Thus begins the breaking in process of my brand new secondhand tall boots. I hope to keep record of how they break in and hold up over time!

Cross your fingers and stay tuned!

Featured image credit to Hannah Fitch

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