Gennyral’s Bridle

Gennyral's BridleLet me start this post off with saying that I feel lucky to have this problem right now. One of my favorite bloggers SolitareMare just lost her horse Monty yesterday. Reading the post broke my heart. It was so unexpected. Reading horse blogs you feel like you get to know the horse so finding out that he had passed upset me a lot. In some horse blogs the horse seems like a side part to the owners stories, SolitareMare always made Monty the main part that other things went around. You could just tell she loved her horse and that he was more of a great horse then “A Good Horse”. Her loss has helped me put my dilemma into perspective. I am just so very lucky that Genny is alive.

Since you guys said more tack posts were okay, and so I am taking you up on that because I need advice about tack. For you new readers I am going to do a quick background, for you old ones bear with me for a moment here.

In March of 2007 my horse, Gennyral, bowed his tendon. No big deal right? Well…it kept swelling. After many vet calls we realized Genny’s tendon was disintegrating. It is a rare problem so there is not a lot of research about it out there. One thing that was known though was that the mortality rate for this injury is 100% after 1 year. That meant my horse was going to die according to statistics. I LOVE my horse so much and refused to accept that. I was able to take out a loan in order to pay for an experimental stem cell treatment. When he went in for the first round of stem cells 18 cm of his tendon was gone (its only 23 cm long total) at that point (it was May). After the procedure we could see in the ultra sounds massive amounts of improvement. And then all of a sudden it stopped getting better just a few cm from being healed…and started to disintegrate again. My vet knows how much I LOVE my horse so he was able to talk the vet hospital into using Gen as a demo for a medical conference they were hosting so I got to bring him in free of charge for round number 2. Luckily the 2nd procedure did the trick and his tendon healed…YAY! It has been almost 2 years and my horse is alive and well. His tendon is not a normal tendon though, he has to be careful because his tendon is much more likely then a normal tendon to snap. And if his tendon snapped he would have to be euthanized…and then I would have to kill myself because I wouldn’t know what to do with myself without my horse (I am joking…sort of). So part of the precautions was the fact that Genny had to be retired. At 15 years old he became a very expensive pet. Now as many of you know, I got medical clearance from my vet to ride him again at the walk a few months ago, but I am a little scared of riding him without being able to work him so I don’t know if that is ever going to happen, and if it does it wont be until this summer when my horse gets nice and tired from the heat.

So that is the background on this story. As I mentioned before that Texas’s owner is a little bit weird about tack. She cleans the bridle everyday, but she uses a tack cleaner that leaves a sticky residue. It is SOOOOO nasty! So I am dreading not only to have to clean the bridle everyday, but having to touch the bridle everyday. Yuck!

So now that we are using my saddle (mind you it is going to be about 10 degrees by me this weekend so I am talking about the future when I talk about riding) I was thinking I will just bring one of my bridles and tell her not to clean it. So I have 2 bridles, a spare that is not very nice, and Gennyral’s bridle, which is a really nice bridle. So my first thought was that I would bring my spare bridle over. It was cheap, and it shows, so I don’t really care if it gets messed up. Taking it out and looking at it again though I don’t know if it is comfy enough for Texas’s owner so I don’t think I will be allowed to use it. But then I started to think…what about Genny’s bridle?

It is just sitting on my saddle rack being crushed by the bridle bag containing it. The picture at the top of the post is the nice bridle. This bridle has a great story with it too…I got it CHEAP at the USDF Festival of Champions not long after I got Gen. It has a lot of meaning to me because it was the first step I took towards making my pony a dressage pony. And it was a great memory because the woman who was selling it had 2 bridles, one with reins, one without. I was standing in her booth for a while admiring and wanting the bridles. And the booth was right next to a woman Gen and I used to board with and that woman told the tack lady all about how my horse used to be crazy and how great he was when I had moved out a year later and how much progress we made in that short time, etc. So then the woman asked how much cash I had left…I had $55. She told me if I wanted the bridle without reins I could have it for my last $55. It was a $200+ bridle! I took it. And have loved it ever since. The cool metal brow band is my favorite part. It is different without being flashy.

It is such a nice bridle it is a shame to just be sitting around not being used. And I got nice leather reins for it for cheap also and I love it. Can you tell? But as soon as I start to think about giving it to Texas I get upset. It is one thing to give up Genny’s saddle, but it is a whole other thing to give up his bridle. That leather has touched my horses face so many times. It is adjusted to fit him just right and I was able to afford it because of Genny’s story. So it is special. The saddle I only used on Gen for a month, the bridle I used for years so it has a huge sentimental attachment.

If I thought the owner would let me use the spare bridle on Texas I wouldn’t have an issue. The spare bridle is cheap though and I worry it is going to give rubs. And the reins are not very nice either. So I think my options are to use Gennyral’s bridle, use sticky tack, or to spend lots of money on a new one (which I can’t afford right this second). At what point does Gen’s tack no longer becomes Gen’s tack. I feel like giving his bridle away is giving away…something more then that. It is like giving up on my horse ever getting 100% better or something.

Logically, it is just a bridle. Emotionally though, it seems like something more. I just don’t know. Like I am taking a step away from my horse or something. Am I making too much of this? I had zero issue with getting my saddle done. I was happy to use it on Texas. The bridle though it something different all together. What do you all think I should do? Should I buy a new one? A synthetic bridle was mentioned also since the owners tack is so icky so what do you all think about that? Should I see if I can use the crappy one? Or get over it and use Gennyral’s Bridle? Any and all Advice is appreciated!


12 thoughts on “Gennyral’s Bridle

  1. If this were his halter, i would say absolutely keep it for him and dont put it on anyone else. but I think his bridle would be ok to use on other horses. If you are having a hard-time with it, maybe just take his brow band off and get a new one for Texas.

    I would certainly use that beautiful bridle on him.

    Its funny that my bridle for Roo was more than the first cheap saddle I bought for him. I had a friend holding him by his bridle and he spooked, I said “dont let go! That bridle costs more than you do!” haha.

  2. I’d take the old bridle over first and see if she says anything. Clean it up good and maybe she won’t even notice. If she does, then you can decide if you want to use the good one or not but I liked Beth’s idea of replacing the brow band…

  3. I can certainly understand your reluctance to ride Genny again after such a long “vacation” without working him. However, why not consider having him massaged just before you ride him. It will do several things: get the blood circulating, warm up his muscles, get rid of any “knots”, and above all… release those wonderful endorphins which is natures novocaine. My guess is that he will be more relaxed than you. Perhaps you should consider having a massage, too.

  4. This is a hard question, to use Gen’s bridle or not. You’ve attached a lot of importance to it so it has almost taken on a life of its own.
    First clean up the cheap one and see if Texas’ owner approves. If she does and it winds up giving him rubs, then you’ll have to figure out something else.
    As for her sticky tack, maybe you could clean it your way after your ride and unstick it.
    Lastly, using Gen’s bridle in no way means that you are giving up on riding your horse ever again. Or in any way are you betraying him, I like the suggestion of changing the browband, for now and maybe even the reins.
    Our horses sometimes share bridles when they can, but I know what you mean about the bridle being special. After I lost my guy Erik it took a while for me to let his bridle go to someone else. Nate wound up with it because he’s the same size. After all it was practically new and was just going to waste, I thought it was kind of silly to just let it hang there unused . I’ve also got some new saddle pads (still in the bag) that I bought for him right before he passed and we never got to try them out. They will also be going to the barn for someone else to use. It doesn’t mean that I will ever forget him, but since he can’t use his gear anymore it would be foolish to not let someone else get use out of it.
    I hope this can help you come to a decision that you feel comfortable with.

  5. First off, many thanks OTB for your caring and concern. I appreciate every kindness extended to me at this time. I’m doing okay, Monty and I had been dealing with his condition for a long time and the result was what I had been slowly preparing myself for. It doesn’t make it any easier but at least I wasn’t blindsided by it.

    Now, since your current topic is a favorite of mine and I sure need the diversion, let’s have a tack chat!

    I also agree with greyhorsematters about cleaning up your “cheap” bridle and attempting to use it. But please don’t call it a “cheap” bridle, I like to refer to those as a “schooling” bridle. Maybe if you present it as asking to use your schooling bridle, so you can save the finer equipment for shows, it will be accepted as such and there will be no problem. Monty had a very high quality Beval hunter bridle for shows but you could see from the recent photos the fun/funky stuff we schooled in!

    As for using Genny’s fancy bridle, I know how you feel. I hated using my old mare’s show bridle when I first got Monty. It was like, disrespectful to her achievements to use it on the greenie. My trainer was even funny about it for a different reason, he used to really dislike that mare. He begged me to hurry up and buy Monty his own bridle because he was afraid the mare’s “evil mojo” would wear off on him! ;0

    The woman who owned the farm where I boarded my old mare years ago used to retire the bridle when the horse was gone. In the years I was there, I think about 5 horses had passed and she had a brass rack set up on the wall in the den where each horses’ bridle was hung as a sort of memorial. Her husband’s field hunter, the family pony, her daughter’s Grand Prix dressage horse, it was kind of bittersweet seeing the bridles there, like they were waiting to go for one more ride.

    Okay, I’m getting to be a downer, sorry. But I know how you feel. First see how it goes with the schooling bridle. Keep Genny’s bridle sacred awhile longer. Try using gloves when you have to tack up with Texas’ usual tack so you don’t have to deal with the sticky-ickys. If you want to try a synthetic bridle, I have a nice, horse sized, black Wintec bridle with flash nose and really nice TDT reins. I’m not going to be needing it and I’m willing to sell, if you want to email me about it, please do.

  6. I’d use Genny’s bridle, but I don’t generally assign any tack to one certain horse, especially not bridles. Now buckets, however…:D

    You do what feels right to you. Try using your schooling bridle first and see what happens.

  7. I would clean up the schooling bridle and give it a whirl, maybe even get a fancy browband for it. Keep G’s bridle till you are ready to use it.
    I for one would not get a synthetic bridle for safety reasons, in an accident leather will give, synthetic not so much.

  8. I’m not sure I’m understanding. Does his owner use your same tack (ie: your saddle) or are you just asking that she approve the tack YOU use on her horse?
    I think often the answer you get from people in life is based much on your “marketing” or presentation of your request. KWIM? So you just need to put your “cheap” bridle in the best light possible. As poster above mentioned, why not present that bridle as your “schooling bridle” and how it would be so nice to use in the inclement weather, thereby saving your “show” bridle for Texas’ shows. I don’t see how/why his owner would have an issue with you if you state it that way. And what’s the worst thing she can say? No?? Not a big deal. AT least give it a shot, since you have a bridle just sitting idle that will fit Texas.
    If worse comes to worse, try some cheapo riding gloves if you have to use her sticky bridle. They should help you not notice the icky sticky factor. :o)

  9. I’m not going to get into the to use or not to use the bridle discussion, because I don’t have a good recommendation either way. If it were me, I would use it. I tend to equate tack I buy as mine, though, instead of belonging to a specific horse. Of course, I’ve yet to buy tack just for Ace.

    I will say that I do have a very strong tack cleaning recommendation! First, I don’t think you need to use a cleaner on tack if you clean it after every single use. I actually do that in the warmer months and have never had trouble with sticky tack. I have one trick … warm water and the conditioner Tatersall. Tatersall is the best stuff in the world for conditioning tack and is gentle enough for every day use. It keeps your leather in good condition without making it sticky or slippery or any of that stuff. I use a damp rag to wipe off the dirt and then apply a thin layer of Tatersall with a natural sponge. It’s quick, it’s easy, and it leaves the tack in great condition.

  10. That was a very nice tack post!! I like the tack posts 🙂 I like the history of Genny’s bridle. I have some sentimental tack too. I have a trunk full of halters at home that were given to me the first year I had Griffin (as presents). I’m guessing I have about 4 or 5 halters that were gifts. I know at least one of them does not fit Grif (too small), but yet I keep it anyway because it was given to me by a good friend. I keep thinking I should sell them at a used tack sale, but then I think of the people who gave them to me and how excited they were for me when I got Grif and I just find it very difficult to part with them.

    As for the bridle question, I think I agree with most of what several people said already. I would take the “schooling bridle” and see if you can use that. If that doesn’t work out, then maybe use Genny’s good bridle.

    Genny is not deceased. You should tell yourself that the good bridle is still “his” regardless of who you are using it on. My guess is that if you choose to ride him again, you will want to use his bridle, correct???

    So, try to think of Texas as just borrowing it. The bridle is adjustable, so you can always adjust it back to Genny’s head at any time. Changing the browband, reins, and bit are also good ideas because it keeps those things unique to Genny only. They are easy to interchange, so you can always put them back on if you want to use the bridle for Genny again.

    If you don’t want to swap anything out — another idea is to take Genny’s bridle to the barn from time to time and just take him for a walk in it (re-adjusting it as necissary). You don’t necissarily have to ride him — just walk him with it, that way it still get’s his “vibe” put back in it from time to time and it will still feel like his — even if you are “borrowing” it for another horse.

    If Genny were no longer here, then I would completely understand not wanting to use it on another horse….but that is not the case. From your posts, it sounds as though Genny is alive, well, and doing great. You see him a lot and I think at some point you have to convince yourself that he is going to continue to be healthy and happy. He is alive because of your special love and devotion for him. He would WANT you to use his bridle. By using his bridle, he is with you on every ride — even if you are not riding him.

    One thing I WOULD NOT want to do would be to let someone else ride Texas using your bridle. If the owner has her own bridle for him, there’s no need for her to use yours. Your good bridle is sentimental to you and Genny and is a very special piece of tack. If it were me, I wouldn’t want someone else using it. I wouldn’t even leave it at the barn were Texas is, but keep it with me and bring it out when I want to ride. Keeping the bridle in your possession at all times I think would be just one more way to reassure yourself that no harm will come to it and to sort of (not sure if this is the right word) “honor” the fact that it is indeed very special. If the owner asks about it — just be honest and tell her it has sentimental value to you (I wouldn’t think you would have to explain why) and you just feel better keeping it with you.

  11. i have special tack too. my jumper had a really nice pair of leather open front boots, and now that he’s retired, so are the boots. i couldn’t put them on anyone else… with my eq horse it was his special bit… of course, someday if a horse comes a long who deserves them, well, i might make an exception…

    i don’t see anything wrong with letting the new horse ‘borrow’ the bridle, but i think it’s perfectly normal if you want to keep it just for genny. i know dressage people are obsessed about padded bridles, but i have never seen a bridle, cheap or otherwise, give a horse rubs of it is conditioned and fitted properly. so try the cheap one for schooling, oil it well and it shouldn’t be a problem, and then you can use the owner’s nice bridle for showing if you don’t think it’s fancy enough. or maybe use genny’s good bridle for showing for a good luck vibe!

    you’d hate my tack – i like it sticky! the saddle especially, but the reins too 😉 i wipe it down with a damp rag and give it a coat of glycerine soap every time i use it…

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