Silver Lining

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At a certain point in life, you have to decide what to do with the trophies and ribbons that have been piling up over years of showing, just like you have to periodically clean out closets and the garage.? I have a friend who's consolidating space now, just like I am.? I advised her to get a dumpster, like we have sitting in our driveway.? it's liberating just to toss stuff after you figure out what to sell, give away and donate. My friend, a top-level competitor for decades, emailed me for some thoughts on what she could do with all the silver stuff that has gathered in her basement over the years, various plates and cups and bowls.? She has some beautiful trophies in the form of sculptures that are upstairs in her living and dining rooms, but there are stacks of old silver in the basement.? I didn't have any great ideas, except to maybe sell anything sterling by weight. Silver has fallen out of favor for trophies, except still in the case of major challenge trophies, but even there we see it a lot less than we used to.? But, back when I started showing in the late ?60s, you might get a small silver plate for winning any class at your local schooling show.? There was a time in my life when I desperately coveted one of those small engraved plates, and then there was another period when I struggled to find uses for them and to keep them clean. Schooling shows eventually stopped giving prizes, and so do most recognized shows now.? Those that give prizes are likely to give some interesting and useful object, like a grooming bag.? I recall one recognized show a few years ago that skipped ribbons altogether and gave out embroidered hand towels in the appropriate colors.? The competitors loved them and kept coming back to swap out the colors they won for something closer to their own barn colors, such as handing back a blue towel and taking a green one. Part of my own purge a couple weeks ago was to toss out all my ribbons.? I was sad for just a brief moment but, really, the memories mean more to me than the ribbons.? When I get back in the ring next year I'll start a new collection.? it's also hard to keep around a lot of ribbons and trophies, including wall plaques, when you board and don't have your own tack room.? A photo of you and your horse wearing the ribbon is a lot more meaningful and takes up a lot less space.