Sunday, February 19, 2012

Tack Locker Envy

The tack locker:  that humble container contemplated by but a select few, overlooked or underappreciated by most, and discounted by many who even stop consider it in the first place as a simple utilitarian cube of modest purpose and varying dimensions. 

But for the truly enlightened among us, those capable of embracing the full majesty of the free-standing tack locker, there is shared set of characteristics that make possible this higher level of appreciation:  at least one bruised thumbnail, a vehicle console littered with Home Depot receipts, and one or more children who are firm in their conviction that their world will contain a void bigger than the empty space in front of their stall unless and until you fill it with your woodworking wizardry – to their specs, if you please.

Today’s marketplace holds a vast array of beautiful tack trunks and lockers – works of art really – made by skilled craftsmen.  But I’m not referring here to those impressive masterworks of mahogany and maple.  No, I’m talking about the unassuming, homemade tack locker: a small forest of 2x4s and plywood, a rough paint job conforming to “my colors,” and an unwavering testament to function over form.  Our barn has seen a rapid expansion of this type of tack locker up and down its center aisle in recent years.  Horse dads with hammers … it is a beautiful thing to behold. 

The second tack locker of my limited career.
Of course in a setting such as this, the hobbling effect of tack locker envy is an ever-present consideration.  Though I have built three lockers (two for our daughters … I swore I’d never build another … and one for one of their adult friends at the barn), I will confess to wandering eyes each time a new box hits the ground.  I still recall the sense of inadequacy I felt when fellow horse dad Ray placed his grand handcrafted creation – the Tack Mahal – in the barn a few years ago.  At least its immense shadow shields one of my lockers from the punishing rays of the sun, I rationalized at the time.  More recently, another family at the stable installed the Twin Tack Towers at each end of the barn.  This resulted in many envious gazes skyward and palpable tremors at the thought of saddle racks reaching to the heavens.  Amazing stuff.

So, here’s a tip of the cap to the homemade tack locker and to those whose best horsemanship involves a sawhorse.  Nice job, gents.  Two (chronically bruised) thumbs up! 

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