Once upon a time, in a land called Materialism, an adolescent female was mortified to discover that she was the only rider in her barn, not to mention the entire universe, whose saddle had a pair of stirrup irons on it that retailed for under $100. She went home and cried, begged, campaigned, and pleaded with her dismayed parents to save her from this life-ruining state by providing her with “better and more sophisticated” stirrups. If she did not soon ride in pricier stirrups, she simply… would… DIE. Period. End of story.
Her concerned parents asked around and did some research, and reluctantly purchased a pair of pricey but highly-recommended Herm Sprenger System 4 safety stirrups, and presented them to their daughter as a gift on Christmas morning. Upon unwrapping the stirrups, her eyes widened and she squealed in delight, and thanked her mother and father profusely for saving her life and Barn Popularity Status, and sparing her any future association with “those basic, low-priced things.” She happily dissapeared to her room, taking her boxed Stirrups Of Enlightenment with her. Her parents turned to one another with tears in their eyes, and one said to the other, “Don’t we have a great daughter?” The other agreed, and they contentedly put the Great Stirrup Mini-Series to rest…
Flash forward 3 months: This same daughter announces she is “retiring” from riding (Oh, are you 65 now? her bemused mother thought to herself), in order to spend more time with her friends. Seeing this as an opportunity to sever the umbilical cord from checkbook to barn, her parents whole-heartedly supported their daughter’s decision. Her horse and all of it’s many accessories were soon sold off.
Flash forward one year: Their beloved daughter now away at college, Mom and Dad decide to make some much-needed changes around the house. Part of this plan is to reclaim their daughter’s room as a home office for themselves, and to relocate her belogings to a smaller guest-room. With her disinterested consent via telephone, they proceeded to pack up their daughter’s room. Saving the worst for last, they flipped a coin to decide who had the unpleasant task of emptying the Closet Of Dis-honor, a space where all things unwanted, unloved, unused, or all three were tossed into and forgotten by their daughter. The girl’s mother lost the coin toss, and she cautiously entered the closet while her father supervised from a safe distance. Only minutes later he heard a cry of disbelief from his wife, followed by many expletives and their daughter’s name. She emerged from the closet, holding something behind her back. The look on her face was the very definition of pure rage as she prompted her husband to guess what she had found. Fearing the worst, he asked if it was anything illegal, embarassing, or carcinogenic. No, but it is something that cost us a great deal of money, sleep, and sanity, she replied, and then revealed her found closet-treasure. Another round of curses exploded as her husband took in the Herm Sprenger stirrups from the previous Christmas..the ones they had proudly given to their poor, poor, under-stirruped- and- desperate daughter. The box had been excavated by his wife from beneath a mountain of forgotten sweaters and purses. It was still sealed and unopened, and the Stirrups of Enlightenment had obviously not been used once. Eyes narrowed, they stared at each other. “Punish!” one whispered. “No…humiliate!” spat the other. They thought and conspired, and then finally, through gritted teeth and in an icy tone, one broke the silence: “Don’t..we..have..a..great..daughter?”
That same evening, this ebay ad was composed by one while the other went to make a surprise phone call to their daughter..
“For sale by auction by two very angry parents is a pair of Herm Sprenger System 4 english stirrups, size 4 1/4. They are still brand-spanking new in their original, sealed box, and typically retail for around $230. They have sat safely enveloped and protected from the world and the elements under a pile of unappreciated sweaters in our daughter’s chamber-of-horrors closet, and will arrive to their highest-bidding new owner completely pristine and ready for work. These are high-quality stirrups that deserve a chance to prove their reputation for excellent performance. We hope they will go to someone who will use and love them. If you are buying them for a teenage female, we don’t want to know about it..”
Check out the original ad on Ebay.com (and yes, they sold!)