Since I'm currently without access to my horse, I figured I'd take the time to finally sort through all of my tack. All of the tack that I left at home, anyway.
Because I have no access to my parents' garage when I'm in geographical proximity to my horse, the vast majority of what I left behind were the dregs of my collection. Some of it is junk, and some of it just doesn't have any reasonable use for me or Heyleigh.
My parents have always been incredibly generous when it comes to paying Heyleigh's bills. Our deal goes something like this:
If it's something Heyleigh needs to live, my parent will pay for it. (i.e. board at a reasonable barn, vet, and farrier bills. )
If it's something that I need for riding or competing, it's generally my responsibility. (i.e. upgrade to fancy barn, tack, riding clothing)
Of course, there have been some deviations from this agreement, most of them in my favor. I have occasionally chipped in on vet bills, and I often get a birthday, Christmas, or occasional surprise gift from my parents of something that I would normally be responsible for buying. That being said, the majority of the tack that I own was bought by me.
That's where the problem started.
As a younger teen, I didn't have much money for tack. In middle school, I spent the $800 that I had been saving for years on my first saddle, a used Pessoa in good condition. I know now that Pessoas aren't top of the line saddles, but considering I was riding in extra-cheap school horse saddles at the time, I thought that my Pessoa was quite the hotshot. (Considering we had to downgrade to an adjustable Bates when Heyleigh outgrew it, I still fantasize about them in tack shops.)
Besides that, I didn't buy nice things. I blame most of this on my obsession with getting every piece of horse tack out there, regardless of whether or not it actually fit my horse or was for my discipline. Crazy, I know, but I was still intoxicated by the fact that I had a horse to buy tack for. Western headstalls? Sure. Saddle bags for trails I didn't have access to? Why not. Open-fronted jumping boots way too big for Heyleigh? Well, they're only $5 at the tack swap... You get the picture. Besides my Pessoa, a Mattes half pad off ebay, a beautiful padded leather halter, and a $100 bridle that probably didn't quite justify its price tag, almost every thing I owned was pretty much junk.
Then, I got a part time job at Dover Saddlery. I still have mixed feelings about my time spent there. In a lot of ways it was an amazing job, but there were some communication issues that were exacerbated by a change in management halfway though my time there. I did, however get some pretty cool opportunities to upgrade my tack by taking advantage of their employee discount. I ended up with three new bridles, including the one I currently show in, a nice new blanket complete with blanket liner (Unused so far, Indiana winters are so warm), her Myler bit, a few pair of nice-ish breeches, and a ridiculous number of saddle pads along with many other knick knacks. Unfortunately, I also got a taste of what really nice stuff was like. Despite the money I made and the employee discount combined, I couldn't afford a Vespucci bridle, a pair of Tailored Sportsman's breeches, name-brand tall boots, or Eskadron jumping boots. But I understood what a difference quality could make.
Now I'm in the awkward purgatory of having some fairly nice stuff, some junk, a little in between, and a taste for the expensive stuff I'll be lucky if I can ever afford.
Until then, I'll clean up the few nice things I left here (general idea was that if I left my show bridle in Minnesota, I wouldn't be tempted to show in Indiana) and work on selling some of the junk. Maybe then I'll at least be able to upgrade from the $15 stirrup leathers that I bought for my Pessoa 6 years ago.