You might think that saddles are much the same. Girth, stirrups, a place to put the old fundament, some padding for the trusty steed’s back–not too complicated.
You would be in error. The wrong saddle can back-lame a horse, blister a rider in the worst places, and ruin a riding relationship. You might ride your horse for years, thinking he’s stiff when going to the right–many horses are. Then you change saddles, and all of a sudden, Thunderbolt moves like he’s trotting on clouds. The saddle was the right size, you paid good money for it, the trainer said it fit… but Thunderbolt begged to differ.
After a few years on the same horse, I had a saddle specifically made to fit his back, my butt, my weight, the way he moved, and the work we set out to do. Then we added a few more years to the saddle–different seasons, different exercises–and it became ours in a way only another equestrian can understand.
Somewhere along the way (probably in a therapist’s office), I came across the idea that when you’re on the path you’re supposed to pursue, your regalia–your symbols of office–will come to you. I did not buy Delray the Wonder Pony for myself. I bought him for my daughter at something of a fire sale. Darling Child moved on, and Del was left without a job at the same time I was without a horse.
I know that a marriage of convenience can turn into something wonderful, because Delray proved it to me. My daughter sent him my way, and then–then, my friends–I began to ride.
I’ve since kept an eye out for regalia. For items that cross my path that bring me something special. My late mom’s purse, a silk scarf my niece bought for me in India, the ball cap from my former riding instructor’s barn.
I don’t like having a lot of stuff. My car is eight years old, I didn’t buy a bed until I was facing motherhood (sleeping bag = more money for books), and when I travel, it’s one suitcase or do without. But some of what I own is precious to me. The Scotland With Grace book my 2016 tour members put together for me. A pretty bookmark my sister Gail gave me. An outfit my mom bought for me about twenty years ago (that still fits!).
These objects help anchor me to who I am and who I want to be. They are symbols of strength and goodness, and I try to keep them close at hand. If anything embodies the love in my life tangibly, it’s these icons of other people’s generosity and respect.
Do you have regalia? Have you bestowed regalia on loved ones? If you were to grab one object of sentimental value to take with you on a big adventure, what would it be? To one commenter, I’ll give the first ever spotted-in-the-wild copy of Too Scot To Handle.