Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Passing On

Last week I sold the last of my huntseat show clothes on ebay. I saved my navy blue huntcoat until the very end, because I had a great deal of sentimental attachment to it. I loved that coat. I had saved up money just to buy it: a top-0f-the-line brand made of fine wool herringbone, complete with special lining. I was fortunate to get a good price from the winning bidder, but honestly, I wasn't selling it for the money. It was time to face reality and move on. And that was a bittersweet moment.

You see, my navy blue huntcoat has been hanging in my closet, tucked away in its garment bag with a pair of breeches and a couple of show shirts, since my last horse show. And what was special about my last show? You guessed it. That was the one where I was badly injured and carted off by the paramedics to the trauma unit. Also in that garment bag, cloistered in the zippered compartment, was an envelope of hairnets, my black leather gloves, my favorite "lucky" belt with my one and only trophy buckle, a number string and my pair of show spurs. It was as if my show clothes were waiting-- patiently yet hopelessly-- for me to saddle up and compete. It was a time capsule of my past life. All I had to do was unzip the garment bag and I could literally smell the faint aroma of about a hundred horse shows: the hay, the saddle soap, the boot polish.

Letting go of the contents of that garment bag was finally fully admitting that my life in the show ring was over. But it was time. When I sent the huntcoat to the winning bidder, a gal who lives in Oregon, I included a short note. I didn't go into any details, but I told her that I hoped she'd win lots of blue ribbons in the coat. She seemed to sense my melancholy, because she emailed me that the coat had arrived safely and that it was indeed lovely. She also added, "I promise you it'll have a good home."

I know it sounds odd to say this about an inanimate object, but I do hope that my huntcoat has a good home. And that it serves its new owner well.

To leave your thoughts, just click on "comments" below or email me at


Anonymous said...

I don't think its silly to care about things like that.Like my first show shirt I care so much about that shirt people think i'm crazy.

Anonymous said...

I have a similar attachment, but towards my first car. I bought it when I was 14 and worked on it for almost a year to get it looking nice. His name was Hank and had a custom paint job so that everyone could point me out in town. 8 years, new house, 3 horses, and new husband later, there wasn't much use for a 22 year old camaro! I sold Hank and it was one of the saddest moments in my life. It helped though to know that the woman who bought Hank loved every little unique and non-working parts of my car as much as I did. And she lives 4 counties over so I will not have to see Hank (he sticks out like a sore thumb with the paint job). I have never cried so hard in my life as I did when Hank pulled out of my driveway for the last time. Certain things will stay with you forever.

Anonymous said...

I can also understand how hard it can be to let some sentimental things go. There's just some things that I wish I had back, although my husband would argue that they're now useless, and just take up room. I still have my Shadow's bridle hanging in the tackroom, and I commented to Chris that I would love to have a nice bridle rack to hang by my computer, (under shadows picture of course), so I can keep it nice and see it everyday. He says no. That all the horses' pictures will have to do.

But I do understand.

Anonymous said...

I understand. Completely.

I'm so attached to my old Lancer CC. I've outgrown that saddle and moved on to a Nice brand CC AND a Wintec dressage saddle. But the Lancer was my first saddle - it fit my old Thoroughbred, Teddy, perfectly. He had sharkfin withers, a very narrow back. Riding him bareback was like riding a really narrow bike - very bumpy and painful in places... ouch! The Lancer is about ten or fifteen years old - maybe older. I bought it from my friend for $100 as I was in need for a comfortable saddle. That saddle has been through thick and thin with me - I used it at Teddy's last show, it was the last saddle on Teddy's back. When I got Seeker, that saddle fit her as well. With Seeker's sale, I tried it on my new (at the time) horse, Bucky. It didn't fit. Nope, nada. Bucky wears a wide. Teddy was an extra-narrow. Now, that saddle sits all alone in the basement - my parents won't let me bring it up anywhere else in the house. I also have an attachment to Teddy's bridle. His owner gave it to me when I started riding Teddy, and it has the perfect bit. A copper-mouth full cheek that I also used on a horse I lightly rode (lightly as in only 10-minute hacks in the pasture) right up to his death at age 43. That bit still hangs on that bridle, which has NOT been on any horse's head except Teddy's.

I don't think I could ever sell them.

Anonymous said...

I know how it's not silly to feel that way. Inanimate things are very valuable.

Anonymous said...

Cindy, thanks for sharing your sentimental journey with us. Best of luck on your new equestrian trails!

Nancy said...

As long as you still had the coat, there was still a possibility that you would still show. I think your coat represented hope. It's hard to come to the end of an era.

Anonymous said...

What happened to Barbie? Isn't that the horse you were riding when you got hurt? I've always wondered what happened to her.

Anonymous said...

Barbie was sold to a teenager and they're doing very well together. At least, as far as I've read in one of Cindy's HI columns.

Cindy Hale said...

Wow, I loved reading all of these comments and discovering that I'm not the only one who gets all sappy and melancholy over "things."

I really do think that Nancy expressed what I was feeling: that the navy blue hunt coat represented some slim hope that someday I might show again... maybe even in a flat class on Wally (?)

Oh. And Barbie-- the horse I got hurt on-- is living a life of grand luxury. She is well-loved by a teenaged girl (well, she's probably a young adult now) who is a very talented dressage and event rider. Barbie LOVED eventing! It's much more "gallop and go" than the sometimes nitpicky world of hunters. When I saw the photos of Barbie boldy jumping through the water hazards, and galloping up the banks, I thought, "Barbie has found her niche in life!"

Anonymous said...

I totally understand having trouble letting go of items that you have so many memories with and used to use often. They almost feel like they're a part of you, so I've wondered if maybe we subconsciously worry that if we get rid of the item, we'll lose the memories too.

I had to move my mare to live with my aunt across the state (TX) a couple years ago because the new housing division needed a water main- and the city told everyone at the place I boarded her at that we had a month to get off the land because they were going to put the water main through our main barn. I had just graduated high school and worked off my mares board so I wasn't able to find a place I could keep her locally that I could afford. She was about 25 then and starting to be lame periodically so I thought I was going to be ok driving up to see her every few months and basically retiring her.

The night before I loaded her up into the trailer to send her out to Lubbock (it's in the panhandle), I went through my tack trunk and sorted the things I needed and wouldn't. All her basic grooming items, first aid, and her blanket went with her, and I kept everything else with me here in Dallas. I sold her glitter bell boots, my second bridle, and my saddle horn bag shortly after, but I've clung to everything else. She's about 28 years old now and having alot of trouble holding onto her weight- the subject of many arguments between me and my aunt- but she's still the one that gets the herd started running across the pasture when the mood hits :).

I have good reason to cling to my saddle and tack, as I'll probably get another horse eventually, but I have 2 or 3 Mayatex blankets I can't bring myself to sell yet. I've gained alot of weight since moving her up there (we'll just say 30lbs, since thats what it looks like...) and I've stubbornly refused to get rid of most of my skinnier clothes. I'm at a new phase in my life now though so even if I manage to fit in them again, I'm probably a little old to be wearing "LALALA I can't heeeear you!!" T-shirts heh.

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