On Christmas morning while my brother demolished the living room with his various Star Wars characters, I lovingly applied coat after coat of Hydrophane to my new saddle, watching in awe as the leather drank in each drop of oil, darkening from the moisture. The smell of the leather was more beautiful than gingerbread men or sugar plums or pine trees that year. I ran the stirrups up and down, I sat in the saddle over the arm of the couch. And finally, we took the saddle out to the barn to put it on my horse, Chico. No longer would I have to borrow the beat up, ancient and cracked-leathered schooling saddles. Finally, I had my Collegiate to place in my tack locker.
When the sojourn in Texas came to an end, the Collegiate returned to its roots in Virginia, a little more scratched (a certain wayward horse tried to take a bite out of it), the threading a little more worn. But still it was loved and cherished. And still, it came out of the tack shed for rides - sometimes through the mountains, sometimes for lessons, but mostly just for rambles about the arena.
The Collegiate is still in use today. Although I have a dressage saddle, and a Western saddle (from my Texas days - they made me!), the Collegiate All Purpose is still my saddle of choice. I can't think of any other gift I've received that was so dearly loved and still holding strong, some 23 years later.
What was your most memorable gift?
This post is linked with Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop