I have had a whole wall dedicated to all of my ribbons, ever since I won my first one, with my first horse, Pikant, way, way back in 1994. They have been hanging above my bed, with pictures of the horses who won them, next to them.
Lately they have seemed a lot like a shrine to me, much more than anything else. Most of those horses, on that wall are dead by now. Pikant, Silver, Flicka, Amalia, Poseidon, Apollon, Legacy… All gone. As well as my friend Janis, who I used to ride with and compete with. Gone. Long gone.
Alongside my passion for competition. These ribbons used to be a part of me that displayed accomplishment and easily showed people who visited how awesome and talented my horses were and I am always one to brag about my horses. Still am. But for different reasons. I don’t care anymore, how high we can jump, or how many times we can change lead in canter without missing a beat. I don’t care about the approval of others, for my horses, anymore.
So why would I still have those ribbons on my wall? Because I haven’t gotten around to taking them down? Or could it be, that part of me is still holding on to that one thing that made them special to me? The memories.
Each of these ribbons comes with a story. A day spent with my horses and my friends, mostly with Janis, but also with my boyfriend and some of my other friends as well. Each of these stupid ribbons represent a little part of my life. A happy part of my life. I have no bad stories from any of these ribbons.
I mean, there is the silver one I won with Amalia, even though my girth broke and we rode the entire jumping track with only one strap. I was terrified that it would snap any second, as were my friends, but it held up.
There is the red one I won with Apollon, the first time he relaxed and didn’t kick at the judges’ car, like he used to do…
There is the green one I won with Silver, jumping much higher than I had first thought we would have to, or we had trained for, but she didn’t hesitate at all.
There is the red one I won with Pikant, beating his previous owner, the guy that had severely abused him for years…
There are the ones I won with Flicka right after I had got her, and everybody wondered how on earth I got that horse to cooperate…
And there are all the ones I won with Silver, that comes with a story of Janis and me, riding across the open fields, through the woods, across small bridges that really didn’t carry horses, to get to the show. And later, when her parents started driving us, there are the ones where we would sit inside the trailer, with the horses, keeping her pony from falling when the car turned, which it would, if left unattended. We spent hours at the back of a trailer, in the dark with our ponies…
I took the ribbons down today. Packed them all up in a box.
We are having the windows changed in a few days, and as much as I have wanted to take them down for a long time, because the constant reminder of how I used to be part of the equestrian world was bugging me, I had to have my hand forced to actually do it.
Now that they are gone, I know that they will stay in that box forever. I won’t be winning any new ones, since I am done competing, and I won’t be putting them back up on that wall once the windows have been changed.
They will be my little box of memories, of horses and friendship, long gone. I will have it safely stowed away somewhere, on the top of my closet, and while I do smile to remember each of these events by now, I do believe that this was something I had to do. I don’t know if I will ever accept that Janis is gone, but I do know that piece by piece, I am packing her up and hiding her memory away, alongside that of my departed horses, and my own past.
This is not a box of ribbons. It is a chapter of my life, I have finally finished writing, and I wish it could have had a happier ending.