Saturday, February 4, 2012

Goodbye to my Trusty GPA Helmet


It is time.

I have prolonged this as long as I could but the time has come to let you go.

I bought your replacement well over a year ago because the tag inside you was marked "March 2005". I know all safety headgear should be replaced after 5 years or impact to the helmet such as from a fall.

But I've had a really hard time letting you go.

I've known you were coming to your end for awhile now. You have never been in a serious fall but have the many nicks and dings from a well lived life in the sun and rain, wind and cold. Your insides were no longer well padded and even starting to peel. Alas, there's no delicate way to say this but awhile ago you also began to develop a noticeable, embarrassing stink, especially in the summer. No amount of Charles Owen helmet cleaner and deodorizer or even Lysol could remedy it for long. It required that you be left in the hot sun to dry out completely to stop the smell but I knew that was also just speeding up your demise.

But we soldiered on, you and I, we were comrades with a past to bind us.

I remember when we first met. I shopped around online and found you for the amazing price of $375.00 with free shipping, a sweet string pack that had "GPA" screened on the side and as a special bonus - I got a free helmet storage/carrying case too! You had it all; Class, Style, your own Accessories and Safety. I was one of the "cool kids" with my new Titium GPA helmet!

Right from the box you fit my head like you were custom made. You never gave me a headache or complaint. The ventilation feature under your futuristic titanium strip was such a welcome change from all those hot stuffy helmets that came before you.

I am sorry we didn't go to more horse shows together. You would have fit right in in the Adult Amateur Hunters and I just know you'd have seen many blue ribbons if you had.

But we sure had fun doing everything else together - all the schooling, the jumping lessons, the dressage lessons, the trail rides, a mock fox hunt and the hunter paces. Oh man, did we ROCK those hunter paces!

I hoped there was a way to have you re purposed at the end of your usefulness and I even blogged about it and learned that there really isn't any other life for a well-used equestrian helmet. There isn't even any way to recycle any of your parts. And a helmet that has been well-used and worn must never be sold to another rider as it cannot guarantee safety to its new owner, who really doesn't know just how MUCH use that you were given!

So today I took your replacement to the barn. As I rode Joey around, I realized that this was the first time I'd used this helmet while working with him. I decided that as I set out to meet my goals with Joey this new year, we would do it with the nice, new helmet. It was time to let the memories of the past rest with you and move on with my newer, safer model helmet.

You will be joined in your retirement to refuse by two friends who you've worked with on several occasions: a much-loved pair of Mountain Horse boots with a broken back zipper and a pair of stirrup leathers that must have given me 10 years of service and have more self-punched holes than can be deemed safe. Still, throwing you away bothers me the most and I think I know why. Besides the fact that you were expensive, you were with me through everything - EVERY RIDE, EVERY TIME. The horses may have changed, maybe I used different tack or rode in different boots or clothes but you were the one piece of equipment that was ALWAYS with me. You saw it all - my joy with Monty, my frustration with Rugby, the return to happiness with Ruby, all the horses I tried as I searched for my next equine partner and you were with me on that first ride with Joey and every happy ride since.

So, I will miss you, my fabulous GPA helmet but I do have many treasured photos of us together doing what we did best and I thank you for your years of stylishly flawless protection.

3 comments:

English Rider said...

Ride on...

Jean said...

May you and your new helmet have even happier moments together.

Lauren said...

I just had to retire my older helmet too - at least you have photos and memories!