When I was small, this saddle looked like it was huge. My pony, Gram, was big, and I could scarcely manage to lift the saddle onto her back. It was too heavy.
So I stopped using it.
But I didn’t stop riding. I stopped riding with a saddle, and began to ride bareback.
This required a 5-gallon bucket for quite a while, til I grew tall enough to leap onto my pony’s back. If I was out in the woods and had to get off to open a gate, it took a little more imagination.
So I practiced and practiced, getting to the point where I could jump from the ground onto her back without assistance.
I got older, and she got older. My feet nearly drug the ground when I rode, but we both still enjoyed it. I got taller horses, horses that fit me better, but I still spent time on Gram, exploring the woods.
She got older, and ponies don’t live as long as humans. She impressively reached her mid-forties before age finally caught up with her. The last couple of years of her life, I didn’t ride at all. Instead, I spent time grooming her, reading to her, and just being with her.
I got out my tiny saddle recently.
It has been sitting in the shed without a lot of protection, but we built a new tack room. It’s time to clean it up and put it somewhere that it will be safe until it is needed again.
The saddle is so little. It makes me laugh that I ever thought it so huge. I can put it on any horse I want to put it on, but I could never fit in it.
I’d never get rid of it though. It’s part of who I am.
Gram is part of who I am.
I’m to the point now where I should soon have little nieces and nephews, who will fit into my tiny saddle.
So I’m cleaning it up and getting it ready for them. It’s like cleaning it for a show, using a toothbrush to get dust out of the tooling in the fenders, rubbing it with saddle soap, then getting all the saddle soap cleaned off, because saddle soap shines in the sun and will show up just as bad as dust will.
It’s a mix of nostalgia, and thoughts for the future, working on this saddle. A weird combination, but somehow fitting.