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Top50 Ranches blogger Mel Rutherford confesses why actually, it really is necessary to have that shiny new pair of boots – and the rest...

I never plan to walk out of the western store with a new pair of cowgirl boots. But it does seem to happen quite a lot. Come on though, a girl needs a pair for every occasion... Right?

Every girl needs the not-so-attractive (but probably most favorite) pair of 'old faithfuls' - the well-worn, mud-encrusted boots which, although they've probably seen better days, are perfect for getting on with working ranch chores. Those are going to be a staple item for any girl heading off on a working ranch vacation, especially those encompassing Ranching First - such as US ranches Rowse's 1+1. Here, getting down and dirty with ranch chores means your boots are going to take a bit of a battering.

Then there's the pair you need to save just to ride in - probably stylish, colourful, completely moulded to your leg and totally comfortable for long trail rides or cattle drives like those you'd find on guest ranch vacations. You'll regret leaving without these on a western ranch vacation to somewhere like Bar W Guest Ranch in Montana, or Wyoming's Lazy L&B Ranch.

Dinner time at a luxury dude ranch often calls for the slightly more precious non-riding boots - for me, those are the green suede numbers which, although well-worn, I will never allow to set foot in a stirrup let alone a barn. Those are strictly limited to places like the restaurants at Montana hotspots Triple Creek Ranch and The Ranch at Rock Creek, or Vista Verde in Colorado.

But I've yet to mention my pride and joy: brand new, black, knee-high, white print, regularly polished... Those I tend to look at more than wear. And I haven't even mentioned the work boots, the 'understudy' riding boots, or the boots I've had my eye on for the last month but haven't plucked up the courage to tell my bank manager about... But if there's one thing (or six pairs of things) a cowgirl needs, it's boots - and believe me, if you look hard enough you can find an occasion for every pair in the store.

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