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A Decade in Der Daus

So thanks to Der Dau, I’m having an awesome day.

You see, I have had two pairs of their boots throughout my showing days and I have loved them so much. So much so that they really take a horrible beating. I grew out of my original pair and purchased my second custom pair about ten years ago (yikes, starting to really show my age!). In my opinion, Der Dau tops all – the boots are super easy to break in and become so soft that I can wear them all day long at the horse shows…Maybe that’s my problem!

It might not apply to my everyday life, but when it comes to horse showing, my friends know that I’m super traditional. I’m always in a dark coat, white show shirts and pull on boots. I get made fun of endlessly for still having my pull ons. When asked why I haven’t graduated to the zipper club, I just remark, “Why would I? These fit perfectly!”

My poor boots have endured quite the ups and downs throughout our long term relationship. They’ve been beaten, kicked around and unfortunately left covered in dirt more times than not. They’ve seen rain, snow, sand, mud and lots of wet grass – you name it, they’ve seen it all. This year I was really on the fence about ordering new ones but just couldn’t quite part with my current pair. I wore them throughout the summer, purchasing rubbers to keep the rain and dirt out of the gaping holes that now graced the treadless soles.

Finally, I wound up at HITS in Saugerties, NY and realized that Der Dau was a vendor at the show! After arguing with myself about getting re-measured for new boots, I quietly walked into their shop with my old pair in tow. I figured at the very least, they’d be happy to see how long these boots lasted! I got re-measured (and begrudgingly agreed that I would get zippers on my next pair). I then pulled out my old boots – I kind of laughed but threw it out there, “Would it be possible to re-sole these things?” To my surprise, the answer was “Yes, of course!” I couldn’t believe it – I thought they were done for! I must have had the biggest, silliest grin on my face but I didn’t care, I was keeping my boots!

Just one week later, my boots arrived here at SmartPak and they look absolutely unbelievable! The quick turn around and craftsmanship has to be unparalleled. My boots really do look new. No more holes, brand new soles, they even stitched up the back and re-dyed and polished them to an incredible shine! I don’t know if they’ll last another ten years but I’ll get to wear them this weekend when showing and I’ll see how far they take me!

Thanks Der Dau, for making my day.


Annie Connolly

Annie as a rider: I guess my parents should have known I was destined to ride when I used to make them pull the car over so I could pet any horse we happened to be driving by. I started off with My Little Ponies, moved on to Breyer horses and finally graduated to the real deal of taking riding lessons. As a junior, you'd find me working and showing most weekends and as I entered my amateur years I even pulled off a win at the New England Equitation Finals. These days, things are a little less serious, spending weekends with my horse, Erik, and show lightly throughout the summer. Annie as a SmartPaker: At SmartPak, I handle our English sponsorships. This encompasses everything from the daily requests that come through, to our major association partnerships to our relationships with each Team SmartPak rider. Having grown up in the horse show world, I really feel my job couldn't be a better fit! I might not be at shows every weekend anymore but I still get to enjoy them from my desk :-) All about Unlisted ("Erik"): Oh Erik. Where do I begin? Erik came to me as a practice horse with the intention we'd keep him for a year while I learned the ropes of the 3'6" divisions. Well, 12 years later, we're still practicing! Erik wears many hats these days as my best bud, partner in crime, and psychiatrist all rolled into one! For a "practice horse" he's certainly outdone himself and exceeded every expectation anyone ever had. I just can't imagine life without him.

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