When Apollon died, I brought home his double bridle, hardly used, thinking that it would fit Saleem one day. Now, two years later, I cannot imagine what I was thinking. Or well, I may imagine…
Saleem is a great horse, and he sure could make it in the world of dressage, I guess that is what I was thinking. Also, head size, him and Apollon was about the same size. Perfect right? I grew up in a world where people who wore double bridles on their horses were worshiped much more than those who could actually ride their horses. As long as you can wear a double bridle and have two reins in your hands, you are totally awesome and know much better than anybody else, about everything.
I know, I remember the looks I got from others when I rode Apollon in the double bit. Seeing the double rein, people instantly smiled at me, and looked at my horse with recognition and admiration, clearly thinking that it had to be a good horse. Whereas, when I showed up with Apollon without a saddle and on an ordinary bridle, or with Poseidon (even worse) without a bridle at all, people would snicker behind my back, shake their heads to my face and disregard anything I may have to say. In the equestrian world, it is all about playing the game, dictated by the federations, or you are nothing.
And let’s face it, riding around with no bridle on, is not going to win you any ribbons, (because the federations won’t let you compete,) and without ribbons, you must be a lousy rider.
I have won my share of ribbons. Looking back, I can honestly say, I didn’t compromise my horses as much as others do, but there are a lot of things I would never do again. Like the double bridle.
When I brought it home, two years ago, I was sad that I didn’t really get to use it. I felt like Apollon had died, right as I was learning how to become one of the really good riders. Like I was left at the threshold of something, and I would have to wait for Saleem to grow up, before I got to pass that threshold now.
Yesterday, I found my double bridle, in the back of my closet, fully equipped with bits and chain and everything and I took pictures of it, and set it up for sale. Even doing that, felt wrong, but not for the reasons you might imagine.
I may have been left on a threshold two years ago, but since then, I have walked away from that door so much, I could never imagine myself crossing into that world, I even feel like a horrible human being for selling my double bridle.
I should burn it. No horse should ever have to wear such an instrument of torture. What the fuck was I thinking back then? I know for sure that NONE of my babies are ever going to wear anything like this. It is a heavy piece of equipment, designed to cause pain and nothing else. Why do we consider it skilled riders, who use those kinds of devices to control their horses? Why did I?
Because I was raised to think so, and clearly, my dressage superstar had to die, to prevent me from following that beaten path. (Pun intended.) So maybe, Apollon didn’t die for no reason at all. I still don’t know what killed him, (he was euthanized with internal bleedings, all his minor arteries ruptured for unexplained reasons,) but I do know that he might have saved my soul, once again. Shaken, heartbroken, and left behind, I did start to wonder about everything I did with my horses. Since Apollon died, I have learned so much about their movements, body strength, muscle building, you name it. I have studied like crazy, trying to become a better human for my babies.
I guess there is always more to learn. I just know that setting up my double bridle for sale, was another turning point for me, another way of no longer caring what anyone thought of me and my horses. Accepting that I will never win another ribbon and in all honesty, it doesn’t even twinge my heart anymore, saying it out loud. I am done, playing the game. I never want to subject my horses to the rules of the federations, ever again. And I truly, no longer think that it is skilled riders who wear double bridles. In fact, I pity those who do, because they are as misguided as I used to be.
Maybe someday, in the future, I’ll look at things differently, clearly I can never know how my state of mind seem to change over the years, but I sure hope I’ll never miss that double bridle again. Right now, I just want to get rid of it. In fact, if no one does buy it soon, I might just burn it after all…