Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Gift

My daughter recently asked me if I'd chosen a topic for my next blog entry.  Since I hadn't yet decided, I suggested she give me a few good ideas.  Her little face brightened up and then, wrapping her slight arms around my shoulders, she whispered, "I'd really like it if you wrote about me."

And so I will.

My daughter received her first saddle last week as a gift on her eighth birthday.  Those of you who ride know, your first saddle is a big deal.  You remember it with the same sense of nostalgia that you give your first bicycle.

Hartley Galaxie Close Contact Saddle
Hartley Galaxy
I was fifteen when my mom and dad bought me my first saddle.  It was a well-broken in (some would say worn out) Hartley Galaxy.  I loved that saddle and had such a sense of pride when I would bring it to my once a week lessons at the local pony mill.

To this day, that dinged up saddle holds special meaning to me.  It signified to me that, while my parents couldn't afford to buy me a horse or send me to a lot of horse shows, they supported my love for riding.  That saddle allowed me to ride many different horses and ponies that, without my own saddle, I wouldn't necessarily have had access to.  When I outgrew my Hartley, I needed to get a job (doing what else but mucking stalls) to earn money for a new saddle.  My measly paychecks combined with the trade in value of the Hartley got me to my next saddle and so it went for years.

Decades later, I am able to give the gift of a saddle to my daughter hoping that she, like her mother, will come down with an incurable case of the horse-bug.  The saddle is nowhere near the top of the line, nor did I want it to be, and the gift of a pony is not going to happen anytime soon.  As a parent, I want my daughter to appreciate that riding is a privilege and, like most things in life, she will need to work hard and sometimes sacrifice to succeed.  In the meantime, I hope she enjoys the view from atop her very own saddle.

1 comment:

  1. One of my favorite saddles of ALL TIME was a Hartley just like that one. I found it in a feed store, covered with cobwebs, for $75. What a great saddle. You can't do better than a nice, plain saddle with a wooden tree. I'm sorry, I'm just a total traditionalist when it comes to tack. What a great story!