Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Equus Keepus Brokus

It’s a common misconception that if you own a horse, you’re rich. This probably couldn’t be further from the truth! Now – of course, the extremely wealthy do own horses sometimes…and they play polo or have a racing stable. But your average horse owner isn’t rich. In fact, she’s poor.

There’s a saying that I like – “If you want to have a million dollars AND a horse, then you have to start with two million dollars.” This is dead on! Horses are really expensive – so much so that I sometimes take a step back and think, why couldn’t I have chosen a different hobby? A cheaper hobby? A less dangerous hobby? One that is not such an emotional roller coaster? But it’s too late – I am afflicted with the must-always-have-horses disease and I’m okay with it!

It’s no secret that James and I are saving our butts off so we can buy a farm. I grew up with property and had my horses right in my backyard…and it’s only natural that I want to get back to that (this is how I justify it to James!!. I love where I board my horse…but I can’t get up and check on them in the middle of the night just to make sure they’re sleeping soundly. I can’t take a book and sit in the middle of their pasture and read for hours and watch them graze. I can’t do anything too permanent to the barn because it’s not mine…and I’m ready for permanent.

My darling husband enjoys pointing out that if we didn’t have the horse, we’d probably already have enough money saved to buy our farm. This – I don’t deny. But if we didn’t have Misty, I wouldn’t want property!

Once I asked a co-worker, who does not own any pets, on what she spends her money. I can’t imagine not having all my extra money already accounted for! (My co-worker’s answer: clothes…my response: Misty is so much cooler than a new shirt or dress!).

But anyway – back to Misty costing as much as my mortgage some months…

I pay board for Misty…so every month, that’s an automatic check. Then every six to eight weeks, Misty’s hooves need trimmed and she needs her front shoes replaced…and she needs to be de-wormed…then there’s grain, hay, vitamin supplements (the horse takes more vitamins than I do), lessons, tack, riding gear/clothing, horse show entry fees…and of course, the dreaded vet bills. Last year Misty had some eye issues (I promise I’ll do a posting specifically about it one day)…and before I knew it, I had spent $3,700 in vet bills in three months!

And then there’s the emotional toll having a horse takes on you…and any rider will agree with this! When Misty is bad and acts up when I’m riding her…my whole day is shot. I’ll come home in tears because my horse hates me/I’m a terrible rider/I’m a failure as a horse mom, you name it…I’ve said it. Poor James has much to contend with! But when she’s good (which, quite honestly, is most of the time), then weeeeeeee – life is great!!! It’s truly amazing how an animal can dictate whether I laugh or cry!

But at the end of the day, I honestly don’t know what I’d do without horses, Misty especially, in my life. She’s worth all the time, money, blood, sweat, and tears ten times over. When we have those days where everything just comes together and we work as a team…and I can see all of our hard efforts paying off, it makes it all worth it. And even when we have bad days, it’s worth it then too.

I love Misty...annnnd Misty loves to sleep.