Tack Room Gatherings

Today, Denny Emerson joins us, and shares some tack room memories that he has in this colorful post:

It might be a couple of nails driven into a barn wall, holding a couple of dry, cracked and ancient bridles. In the corner, a sawhorse, and on those splayed and splintered legs, the dusty ruin of what was once a cowhand’s treasured saddle.

In Europe, tack rooms that rival Park Avenue apartments. Gleaming marble floors, chandeliers, polished ledges of black granite, ornate antique desks and chairs.
My first tack room memories from 1950, the Stoneleigh Prospect Hill School barn, the first door on the right.

In the corner, an old coal stove for warming cold New England winters. Brown walls, red trim on the door frames and windows. Rows of iron saddle racks, on each a well oiled and polished English saddle. Ornate iron bridle racks, several rows, each with a snaffle, or a Pelham, and not a few double bridles.

A sink. Cans of saddle soap, the yellow kind in those old, flat jars, bottles of neatsfoot oil.
Boots, hunt caps, saddle pads, crops, piled, jammed helter skelter.

The pungent aroma, a commingling of soap, sweat, leather, linament, intermingled with the over-riding scent of the horses in the adjacent stalls.

A couple of high stools, by the sink. Four pronged bridle hooks, hanging on chains from the ceiling, each loaded with sweaty bridles, martingales, girths, stirrup leathers, halters, each awaiting its turn to be scrubbed, oiled or polished.

Chattering, laughing, boisterous riders, done for the day and cleaning up, or scooping up tack for the upcoming ride.

Horse people gravitate to tack rooms the same way that bees are drawn to apple trees in full blossom in Vermont in May.

It’s their natural habitat, the one refuge from the outside world and all its cares and pressures.

The barn draws the heart of the horseman, like bees are drawn to apple blossoms. The tack room is the heart of the barn.

From guest blogger Denny Emerson. Entry represents personal opinion of the blogger and is not formally edited.

DENNY EMERSON is “One of the 50 most influential horsemen of the Twentieth Century …”(The Chronicle of the Horse, 2000).He is the only rider to have ever won both a gold medal in eventing and a Tevis buckle in endurance. In 2006, Denny was inducted into the United States Eventing Association (USEA) Hall of Fame. Denny Emerson, eventer, trainer, coach, author, leader, activist, has been a significant, influential force in the equestrian community for a half-century.

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