Over the years I have grown a lot less sentimental over things - perhaps time's endless telescope has shown them to be temporary, perhaps I have stopped believing in any kind of magic that endures in objects. I think that part of it is that after moving from a house to a flat, we threw away so many things that I once thought precious and ultimately not only did I not mind, I actually felt lighter for it. The other part is that being sentimental over objects is really being sentimental over the time that they remind you of and although I still treasure memories and photographs of the days when I was younger than I felt, the truth is that since Sari and I have been together I have never been happier. The past is less precious to me than the present right now, and that is something of great and appreciated value in its own right.
However this bridle is the one I bought eight years ago at the Worlds Greatest Horseman event in San Angelo, Texas. The bridle I took with me had fallen to pieces the second time I got bucked off ( on my first day riding colts ) and I needed something better. It was the simplest design they had and I picked up the bridle and a thin snaffle bit ( I am quite a believer in thin bits, because most horses don't have much space in their mouths, I also believe in not using both reins at the same time for the first few years of your horse's education. ) and then spent an entire evening trying to put them together because of a stupid little loop of latigo leather that holds the bit in place. It took me so freaking long to sort out and I swore I would never remove the bit as long as the bridle lasted.
Talking to Steve about it later that year I said I preferred the chicago screws it uses in other parts, but he observed he's not a fan of those as they tend to fail when you least want them to.
Well, in the long run he was right. You can probably see the red bit of latigo leather I have holding the bridle together where two screws fell out during the last clinic with Steve. They work but they're far from beautiful and I had to acknowledge that it might just be time to retire the bridle. I have a replacement, which is similarly utilitarian, but has neither annoying bits of fine leather nor chicago screws, but the truth is I will miss this bridle. I have used it with almost every horse I have ridden in the time I could even approximately call myself a horseman. It has been a lot of places with me and it also marks something else, a moment when I stepped out on my own in to buying riding gear without advice or consultation from anyone else, the first bridle I ever got because I thought it was the right tool for the job.
So I'll go and cut the bit free now, and tomorrow if we ride out I will be using my new bridle, and Iris will be quite as good as she ever is, and I shall be quite as good as I ever am and the reins will be a familiar weight in my hands and really, things will be much the same.
Also that magazine in the picture is a very good magazine. You should subscribe to that magazine.