Horses expenses are good expenses.
To set the scene, I need to preface this with the statement that my UPS man probably thinks I’m some kind of insane horse-crazy shut-in, as I meet him at the door happily during business hours so I can eagerly shuttle my packages from SmartPak inside. Thank goodness for online shopping, and thank goodness for online jobs to support my horse addiction and the steeds that now depend on my income. I take a lot of personal pride in the fact that I work hard so my horses have a good life, and I don’t mind investing my money for the improvement of their health, comfort and happiness.
On the other hand, spend that hard-earned money on myself? Yeah, right. I’m sure I’m not the only equestrian that feels that way: here’s a list of some likely common ground.
Love: new blankets. My woolly, non-riding pets do just fine without blankets, but my working horses that I want to stay dry over the winter do wear sheets or medium weights. Disclaimer aside, I love seeing my horses all cute and cuddly in a new sheet for the half-hour or so that the sheet remains bright and relatively clean. If that doesn’t get your heart racing, imagine my joy (despite the obvious expense) of outfitting my new draft team in MATCHING BLANKETS. Ohmygod. So cute.
Hate: new clothing. I will use a piece of clothing until I really can’t any more — I have an old hand-me-down coat that hangs on by a single button. Will I retire it finally and invest in a new coat? You’re kidding, right?
Love: a trim or a new set of shoes. Okay, I know some people have expensive corrective shoeing or specialty jobs that are a kick in the crotch of the bank account each month, but I know I have it relatively easy with a few trims, a few new shoes and just front shoes and studs on my drafts. I really appreciate my farrier who does an incredible job at a great price, and I don’t mind paying him for his time and hard work in keeping my horses happy and sound.
Hate: new shoes … that aren’t for riding. I had to buy “booties” the other day for a formal occasion. They have heels, but not the kind of heel you can go riding in. They’re black, but black faux suede so they’re useless for nipping into the barn “real quick” to take care of something. Basically, they exist so I can toddle very slowly around reception rooms and even though they were on sale I was gritting my teeth the entire time I performed the transaction.
Love: going to the feed store. Even if I know exactly what I’m going for and exactly where it is, I can’t help but look at pretty much everything else in the shop, from new items to the old standbys that have been there forever. I don’t actually have an insulin-resistant elderly hard keeper, but thanks to my laps around the feed store I know exactly where I’d find the right food for him.
Hate: going grocery shopping. Because not only do I have to make a list, have a plan and go and gather all of this stuff (and then pay for it) but then I have to unpack it all when I get home and then cook something with it. I do like to cook, but I like to ride more, and when I’m finally home from the barn at 8:00 at night it’s hard to be inspired.
Love: boarding. If you do happen to board your horse, I hope you cherish the experience — I’ve been quoted on numerous occasions bemoaning that after college, there’s never a place or time where it’s that easy to make friends again, but that’s not true because boarding barns exist and it’s where you’ll find other like-minded individuals that you enjoy spending time with. It’s well worth than monthly check to find a place where you and horse are accepted into a community.
Hate: renting with roommates. As much as I want to pretend it’s like an episode of New Girl, the reality is that I’ve never looked back fonder on a period I hated more in my life than when I think of my first few rental places and the people I lived with. AND I got to pay for the experience. I suppose it was character building…
Love: making improvements to your own horse property. I recently invested some hard-earned cash into a brand-new run-in shed, and few things have given me more pride recently than driving up on the farm and seeing that cute little red-painted white-metal-roofed little shed standing all proud in the paddock. Even better, I strolled over this morning and the horses were actually standing in it. It’s like having your very own living Breyer set.
Hate: making improvements to your own home. You know what else I recently invested my hard-earned cash into? CURTAINS. And they were the most ridiculously expensive single thing I’ve purchased since we bought the house itself. Seriously, it’s just fabric. Why does it cost an arm and a leg??
What would you add to the list? Shout out in the comments section!