It’s been raining a lot lately. Everything is damp. The ground is wet, my pasture is muddying up. It doesn’t feel like winter at all.
A few days ago, I realized that Apollon’s dressage bridle was covered in mould. I had not expected that. We hardly used it. I think he wore it a round total of five times.
I bought it for him, because I wanted to learn how to use it, and because he was just about ready to compete in the levels where we would need to wear it. What I quickly learned was that even with a double bit, the magic of Apollon was making it look like you were using the reins, when really you weren’t.
Apollon was a very easy horse, and the contact to his reins was always minimal, except when he tried to buck me off once in a while. Other than that, I found myself able to ride him without a bit at most times. But you can’t compete like that. In fact that is one of the comments I get the most from the dressage judges. “Tighter rein…”
Heaven forbid that you can ride your horse through an entire dressage show and not touch the rein… So I learned to make it look like I did. With the double bit too. I never had any intentions of actually using that on him. I just wanted him to wear it, to make us look like we belonged in that world.
He did. Apollon was an amazing horse. I never did. I got a peek inside the world of dressage with him, a chance to grow and be challenged and I took it. There will never be another horse like him for me. He was one of a kind.
Now, his bridle is moldy and I have to choose what to do about it. The sane thing would be to sell it. It’s not a cheap piece of equipment to have lying around and at the moment it is utterly useless for me. If Saleem ever gets to that level of dressage it will be at least five years until he is there. Apocalipse and Marble longer, and to be honest, I don’t hope any of them do, because I want to jump them. The one of my horses that shows the most dressage potential at the moment, is Tardis, and she is too small to ever fit into that bridle. So why keep it?
It’s very simple really. Because it is Apollon’s. It represents all the dreams I had for this magnificent horse, all the shows I wanted to ride on him, all the skills I wanted to learn with him. In a way, it represents us, and all that we could have been. Because that is what it is. What we could have been. This bridle is in no way what we were. We were so much more, in many ways.
So I took it home. It’s hanging on my bedroom door now, looking accusingly at me, waiting for me to wash off the mold and find a permanent, dry place for it, where it can lie dormant until such a day may come where one of the “kids” will be strong, skilled and extraordinary enough to wear it.
And maybe, just maybe, I will find it again, 40 years from now, and realize that it was never used again. Maybe then I will sit down and smile, looking at it and remember the one horse I used to have that managed to turn me into something I never thought I would be. The one horse that actually made me buy a double bit and made me want to learn how to use it. The one horse that left me way too soon, before we really got that far.