DIY: Salvaging the Bell Boots

By: Joanne Scott


It seems like the expression “the struggle is real” was written for horse people in general, and
for me in particular. The struggle between my Hunter Princess roots with my wanna-be
Dressage Queen present, the struggle between wanting to ride constantly but being a weather
wimp, the struggle between good and evil (I have mares!)… But mostly, the struggle between
being a total cheapskate and a total tack hoarder.
It’s true. The struggle is real.

This most recently came into play when my newly-acquired PURPLE GLITTER (caps required,
because hello! PURPLE GLITTER!) Davis bell boots rubbed nasty holes on my mare. Now,
Miss Precious has been super special needs this past year and lives in bell boots religiously.
Her paranoid momma won’t let her step foot outside of the barn aisle without them.
The Davis boots were a step out of our comfort zone. The stiff rubber spells rubs to me. But
my dressage trainer and barn mate both sung their praises, and I switched over, screaming into
the Davis brand with the PURPLE GLITTER set.


Sadly, our love was not meant to last and I trudged back to our local tack shop to pick up my old
friends, the Professional’s Choice Quick Wrap bell boot. These are NOT the Ballistic version,
but instead a nice floppy neoprene-esque wrap. These are extremely customizable in size, with
an overlap, and tall enough that they nicely cover mare’s tootsies. And most importantly, they
never have rubbed.

Once again, my tack hoarder heart was shattered when they were out of all sizes except ones
that looked suitable only for my 80 lb. dog…

Long story longer, I had my old pair of these locked away in the DIY-refurbished tack trunk.
Because hoarding means never having to say goodbye! Plus, with their $45 price tag, they
aren’t anything I’d chalk up to a fun, breezy purchase. Cheapskate vs. hoarder… Order online?

Before I go any further, I should mention that this particular pair of Pro Choice boots have been
beaten to hell and back. They are, like our favorite school horses, serviceably sound. Mare is
NOT EASY on her gear. My barn manager and I have tried any number of remedies to keep
these bad boys on, including and not limited to, supplemental Velcro recycled from saddle pads’
billet straps (hoarder alert!) and Elasticon, which failed miserably and put a sad dent in this
cheapskate’s wallet.

Bound and determine to avoid the $45 replacement purchase, I headed to Home Depot to see
what they offered by way of replacement Velcro. Oh – Professional’s Choice, if you happen to
stumble on this blog, PLEASE for the love of George Morris, make your Velcro LONGER and
STRONGER. This is my only peeve about this product.

Home Depot, aka my second home, offered a variety of solutions by way of sticky-backed
Velcro, meant for securing things around your home or office. Having sewn with sticky-backed
items before, I know this is a deal-breaker. The “sticky” gunks up your needle and makes the
project nearly impossible.

I then headed to Joann Fabric (holla, namesake!) and was pleased to find a variety of Velcro
options, including an intriguing iron-on version. Unsure of how that would work with the
neoprene-type material, I grabbed a yard of thick sew-on Velcro. (Dare I mention that my
cheapskate heart went pitter-patter with a 40% off purchase coupon?)

I settled into my recliner and set to work destroying all of the prior attempts at prolonging the life
of these beauties. Ever the lady, I discarded soiled Elasticon and torn up Velcro into a cereal
bowl I had sitting on the side table.

(Pictured below: Elasticon, billet strap Velcro, and sticky-backed Velcro sewn to sad excuse for
Pro Choice Velcro.)



I cut the wide Velcro into four long strips approximately 6” long, and lengthwise so the stripes

were 2 ” wide. I wanted to be sure there was a long enough strip to make a good anchor on one

side while still leaving a significant piece for wrap around, and two straps per boot since that was

the existing design.

Using a needle I had in my sewing kit, I went to work with dental floss and a thimble. Say what?
Dental floss? Yes, my friends, this is the ideal item for your barn toolkit. It’s perfect to fixing
everything from a torn blanket to a treasured pair of bell boots. The thimble – well, that’s a new
addition. Usually, my barn repairs are made huddled on a trunk, using a quarter with vet wrap
wrapped around it as a thimble.




Sadly, the thimble was not the solution to all my world’s problems. I bent needle after needle
pushing through the Velcro and neoprene. My fingers grew sore from trying to pull the needle
through the other side.

The $45 purchase wasn’t seeming so bad after all. I like online shopping. I like new horse stuff!
I love surprise packages in the mail, because I always forget I’ve ordered something. But…
$45 is a good chunk of a lesson fee. Or, like, 6 Starbucks coffees!

Eureka struck – and I grabbed a pair of needle-nose pliers. I was then able to grab the small
piece of needle that would come through the “off” side and I was soon making stitches faster
than Meredith Grey can say “head lac.”



TL DR: keep a needle, a thimble, dental floss, and my new BFF needle-nosed pliers in
your repair kit at the barn!

The bell boots are now sporting their way through our winter pastures, while I sit at home and
contemplate my next online purchase… What say you, loyal readers? Are you more of the
“DIY Repair” type, or the kind of person who jumps with glee at a new tack purchase?

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Last Hurrah

Rio and I had our last jump lesson for a bit on Sunday. MM is headed to a 2 week show, so we will be taking it easy in her absence. I know 2 weeks may not sound long for some, just feels like forever to me since I am used to 2-3 lessons a week these days.



We rode in the “big” jump ring for the first time in ages. It has a full course, and jumps with more filler. I don’t really prefer the ride in it though because the footing isn’t usually worked as well, since not very many people use it. It was passable on Sunday though so we went ahead and took advantage.

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Death of the Local A Circuit?


Today I wanted to talk about something that has been on my mind lately.


What is happening to the local A circuit? Is it’s death on the horizon? Will those that scrimp and save to attend a hand full of A shows year (raises hand) be priced out completely? I am really concerned.



In Texas, we are lucky to have some great venues. There is the Great Southwest Equestrian Center, outside of Houston. The Texas Rose Horse Park, near Tyler. The Heart of Texas/Extraco Event Center, in Waco. We also have the Will Rogers Coliseum in Ft. Worth, which is hosting it’s inaugural hunter/jumper show in late May. We also have a great venue right across the border in Oklahoma. We also have an amazing state association that has a yearly banquet and great year-end prizes (THJA). So… what is the problem?


Low entries.

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Purple Breeches for the win


I had another jump lesson on Sunday. As I rolled up, I texted MM and said, “Wait until you see my breeches.” I am sure that she was filled with trepidation once she read it. I saw she was sitting on the porch, taking some photos on her new camera, so I casually sashayed up to her showing off my model walk. Her face. #Priceless.


But really, I FINALLY took the plunge and decided to try some Pipers. I didn’t buy a SINGLE pair of Tailoreds during the sale (because I promised my husband I wouldn’t since we still need to pay for the other half of my Voltaire). So, to cheer myself up, I got these purple Pipers. There were only $29, so who can say no to that??? I actually really like them! They are super super soft, and have the silicone knee patches. Unclear how long they will hold up, but at $29 I don’t really care. They are a much wilder color then I normally wear, so I doubt I will use them that often anyway. Very pleased with my purchase though!


The weather stayed nice for my lesson, even though rain was in the forecast. We continued the theme from Saturday and worked on gymnastics. MM switched things up by adding bounces (we only did one strides the day before) and making it an oxer to an airy vertical (super rude of her) instead of a vertical to an oxer. Hello, I do the hunters. I like filler. Thankfully, Rio didn’t seem to care, and I think he only knocked the vertical once before giving it more respect.


Asmar long sleeved shirt, SmartPak Pipers


We started out on the smaller side to warm-up, and then MM increased the height as we went. Rio wanted to swerve a bit, so it took some “lane poles” and focus on my part to keep  him straight. This shit is hard for him, especially since I am focusing on NOT helping him so much, and being more of a passive passenger when possible. That may sound mean on my part, but he is really learning how to think for himself and becoming the best possible ammy horse ever. It is actually really nice to be able to sit-up, semi drop the reins, and enjoy the ride. Yes, I am cliche.



Rio had yesterday off, and then we plan to have a pretty intense training week this week, as MM leaves next week for a 2 week show in Waco. I REALLY WISH I was going back to Waco as well but… adulting is hard. I already have some big non-horsey vacations planned this year, so between those and a few other horse shows already on the schedule, I really don’t have any PTO left. I could send Rio with MM and just come on the weekend (like a lot of adult ammys do), but I have only have so much show budget, and I’d really rather be there in person if I’m shelling out a ridiculous amount of money. So, the plan is to train hard this week, and then take it easy the next 2 weeks and relax a bit while she is gone. Rio is also going to get his hocks done next week, so he’ll be getting some good quality time off soon.


3’6 ish




Rio1.7.18 from Kelly on Vimeo.


What about y’all? Are my bl0gger friends in the NE surviving the cold? I’d send some of the Texas weather your way but I hear it might be getting cold again by this weekend. Wahhhhh!

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Jump Lesson Fun & Photos

Rio and I haven’t had very many  serious jump lessons since our show in early December. The holidays and weather always seem to slow things down a bit this time of year, so I was excited to really stretch our legs some on Saturday. Rio has been consistently awesome in all of our rides, and he continued the streak on Saturday.



This post (and hopefully many more posts in the future!) will be media heavy due to the fact that trainer MM got an AWESOME Nikon camera!! Hip hip hooray!!! All photos this post are courtesy of MM, which is extra impressive when you realize she was also teaching a jump lesson with 2 riders.


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Rio Gets A Spa Day

It’s been a cold and hectic holiday season. Going and getting an hour long massage would be lovely, wouldn’t it? Having a masseuse get into those tight muscles, really putting some pressure into it, and working deep into the tissue. Sigh. I wouldn’t know how good that feels, but now a certain hunky hanoverian does.


Looks relaxing, doesn’t it?


That’s right, Rio got a visit yesterday from Christy, an amazing equine bodywork therapist. Christy has been coming to our barn about once a month for awhile now, doing all MM’s other client’s horses, but I admit to declining to have Rio done. When it comes to “extras” (aka something not essential to his basic well-being) I have to be a bit choosy about where to put my money, seeing as I still haven’t figured out how to grow a money tree. Last time she was here it was about a week before the Waco show, and although I was tempted to have her work on Rio then, I didn’t really have the cash with a huge impending show bill on the horizon. Now that we are in the off season and I don’t have a pricey A show scheduled in the near future, I decided to take the equine massage plunge.


Bad move on my part.

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It’s 2018 Betches!

This gif never gets old. Ever.


First off, CHEERS to 2018!!! Who’s excited?!? Time to make those resolutions! Set goals!! Makes plans!!!




I can’t lie. This is just not my game. Thinking about new years resolutions drives me to drink.

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2017: a year in photos

Early January- Rio arrives at his new barn in Argyle.


January- Rio is on stall rest for his non-healing and infected left hind pastern wound. Trainer Lauren let me have a super fun lesson on Cascai.
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Winter has finally come to Texas

BURRR it’s finally cold in Texas! The high the last few days in the Dallas area has been hovering around mid 30’s. That’s pretty dang cold for us. Last week it rained on and off, so horses have been stuck in their stalls and we have been confined to riding in the indoor ring (snooze fest).


On Christmas Eve I went out in the morning to turn Rio out for a bit since it was finally dry enough, and the guys get a break for the holiday so there is no turnout unless you do it yourself. Rio was soooooo excited! I love love love watching him run and play, but I also simultaneously stress while thinking, “PLEASE don’t hurt yourself” on repeat. Sigh. It’s hard being a helicopter parent.


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Holiday Photos

Guess what guys! I’m 30 today!!! I had a fun filled weekend ushering in my 3rd decade of life with a 1920’s party, and a holiday party at the barn. Celebrating with family and friends all weekend was absolute perfection. When MM walked into my party I almost didn’t recognize her- so fun to see “horse friends” all done up with hair, make-up, and fancy clothes!


Me, MM, and Bridget (another trainer at my barn) all decked out in our 1920’s apparel


Before the barn holiday party I had a lesson on Rio. We kept it simple since we were in the small indoor, but Rio still totally rocked the cavelettis.



#werkwerkwerk with Rio and @hunky_hanoverian 💙🖤

A post shared by Megan (@mmrose14) on

That’s MM’s insta btw if you want to follow her (mmrose14)!


The barn manager had set up a cute photo taking station for the party, so Rio and I had to jump in there. Of course, he is so big you can barely even see the cute background. Oh well!




I’ve never really done horse holiday photos, I don’t really know why! These turned out so cute that it definitely makes me want to do more in the photo. Maybe get the hubby and the chihuahua heard in there too. Anyone else do a horsey holiday photo shoot this year?

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