Hung Up My Bridle Today
By Kris Garrett
Yesterday, for the first time,
I was too tired to ride.
I was afraid I would be hurt if I was thrown.
I heard someone say my barn was too shabby.
I let someone tell me I was too pudgy to ride.
I realized I was old
I had to face that I could no longer keep up.
I had to let go of my dreams
I felt my heart break.
I turned my back on my friend.
I knew I was done.
Today, for the last time,
I felt warm, braided leather in my hands.
I ran my stirrups up so they wouldn't bang my mare's sides.
I released the buckles on the girth and watched my girl sigh.
I slowly dropped the bit so it wouldn't hit her teeth.
I gave my mare a cookie to thank her for the ride.
I buried my head in her soft, warm neck.
I inhaled the sun and the dust in her long winter coat.
I closed the gate and trudged to the muddy porch.
I tracked hay and horse hair into my house.
I pulled off my boots and felt the sting of warm blood returning to my cold toes.
Today, for the first time,
I cried after my ride.
I felt my hands shake as I set the saddle on its rack.
I hugged my young trainer a final goodbye.
I waited for the new owner's trailer to arrive.
I set my boots in a box to go to the Goodwill.
I sighed at the wear on my riding gloves.
I had no hay in my hair.
I did not hear nickering when I opened my back door.
I felt worse leaving the barn that I did when I entered.
I had no one to check on before going to bed.
Tomorrow, for the first time,
I won't have to buy hay.
I can stay in bed longer.
I won't see the poop pile grow.
I won't be able to fly on four legs.
I will be sorry I listened.
I will regret letting her go.
I will be angry at God.
I will be angry at myself.
I will cry the day away.
I will be glad to die.
Day after tomorrow, for the first time,
I will awaken in tears.
I will know I was wrong.
I will defy all the judgment.
I will ignore my old bones.
I will return the buyer's check.
I will bring my friend home.
I will take my boots out of the box.
I will be reborn.
For the rest of my life,
I will have a horse in my yard.
I will ignore the cruel judging.
I will watch the poop pile grow.
I will have hay in my hair.
I will track mud in my house.
I will bury my face in her soft neck.
I will let my soul fly.
I will never be alone.