Yesterday I officially retired my first adult saddle by repurposing the latigos. To some, that might not be a big deal. To me it was. My dad bought me this saddle when I was just 14 years old; not really why I remember my age at the time so well. Maybe because it was a big deal back then too. Some people came to our place, undoubtedly looking at horses. I have no idea who they were, just that they were a show family and they had decided that this saddle wasn't fancy enough for their show needs. To me, it was SO fancy....it had SILVER and everything! As an aspiring horse enthusiast, it was SO exciting to have my very own, show-worthy saddle! 40 years later, the saddle hasn't seen many shows...a few, but not many. However, it has tacked SO MANY horses! Well over 100 I'm sure....I've kind of lost track. I really should try to figure that out sometime. I digress. The saddle. It helped me grow up and become responsible. It helped me find my balance and learn to rope. It helped me start a ton of colts. It got really beat up when I started laying them down using it (that was at like 30+ years of ownership in case anyone thinks I just didn't take care of it.) I've recently learned a different way that's probably better and will save on my tack. So I guess it's been with me through lots of learning curves....some of them being downright U-turns! It has served me so well. But mostly retiring it means losing a tangible visible reminder of my dad.....the amazing horseman that inspired my love of the magnificent animal, breeding and raising babies and my love of training. I miss you, Dad. Some people have said that you'd be proud of where I'm (we're) at with our horse operation. I hope they're right.