In which I remember some good old times at an unexpected place

I've written before about the HUGE used tack sale in Monroe.

Some people compare it to Filene's basement sales.  To me it seems more like a feeding frenzy.

The sale is a huge wintertime social occasion for horse people in our area.  It doesn't matter if I stand in line with a large group, or wander in late with just one friend, I'm guaranteed to meet up with people I know.

Plus, of course, there's All. That. Tack!

Duana had to choose.  It was not easy.

There are always the weird/laughable items.

I hardly know what to say about these, other than, "they aren't MY size."

Sometimes you could find the same item, brand new, for a better price, online.  But sometimes it's possible to find something amazing.

Like this:

It's a map pocket with velcro straps on the back to attach to a saddle

The little purple map pocket (above) might not seem amazing to most people, even at the super-cheap price of $1.

For me, however, a dollar purchased more than just a ditty bag.  You can't really read the logo on the front anymore, but it says "Bully Wully I & II"...

...and it was the finisher's prize at the very first endurance event I ever attended.  My ride partner and I did the 14-mile novice distance and figured that we had Gone Far.

I wrote a story about that day HERE.

Dory was the ride manager, and she made the bags.  I used mine for years to carry my hand-clippers (for stray blackberry vines on the trail) and it eventually ripped through and fell apart.

Apparently, my ride partner that day wasn't nearly so hard on hers.  She recently sold her farm, and I saw a lot of her gear at the sale.  Including the little bag.  A dollar is cheap for that memory!

And then, while standing in line for the cashier, I saw this:

I recognized this saddle in the same way a sea lion recognizes her own pup among a thousand others

This isn't just a souvenir like the souvenir I owned for many years.  

This saddle isn't just the same make and model as my very first very own real saddle.

This is Story's saddle.

lytha recently posted this picture of me with Story (photo left) and Cabbie (right) at a ride in Florence Oregon
Story is wearing the saddle in the picture.

I was a newly-minted librarian in 2001, still paying off some bills from grad school and got a big (for me) tax refund check.  I immediately wrote to Marilyn Horstmyer at DeSoto Saddles and said "build me a saddle before I do something sensible with this money!"

And she did.

It was a beautiful saddle, with butter-soft black leather and a knife-thin twist just the way I like it.  It was custom made for Story and for me.  It fit better than my favorite sneakers.  We put thousands of miles on it together, mostly in training.  When Story retired, I sent it back to Marilyn and got it rebuilt to fit the Toad, and together he and I put a bunch more miles on it.

Then I got Fiddle.

And my beautiful saddle would not, no way, no how, fit Fiddle.

So I sold it to the woman who owned Toad.  After all, it FIT him!  I bought my Specialized, and I've put thousands of miles on that, even though it was never as beautiful or perfect as the DeSoto.

It fits, so we use it.

But when I saw Story's saddle on the rack, I cried a little.  It was the first really nice thing I'd ever bought for myself.

There were several other DeSoto saddles at the sale,
but Story's saddle still has the little indentations from my seat bones.

That saddle was a long time ago.

Since then, I've bought other nice things--including Haiku Farm!

I've learned a lot, and I don't miss the "olden days" much.

But it was nice to sit in Story's saddle, just one more time.


  1. Isn't it amazing how objects can trigger all these memories, like Pandora's Box? My mare broke her leg in the paddock and it took me so long to sell her hoof boots. The brand new ones were easy to sell, but the well-worn ones (included as spares) had travelled miles on her hooves, worn and shaped by the road we travelled together. They were my little Pandora's Box of memories of good times for a while:

  2. That's pretty incredible. (:


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