My husband told me the title of this post a few weeks ago, shortly after Yoshi went lame. It's not so much a knock on my spending; we split our shared costs proportional to our respective incomes and then keep our own separate accounts with no judgements. It is however an exclamation on the immense expense that comes with keeping horses sound. Yoshi's soundness challenges come close on the heels of euthanizing my mare. This whole mis-adventure over the past 1.5 honestly has me thinking about quitting altogether. Right after Zinger died I wasn't sure if I would own a horse again. I'd had him for 15 years, loving another horse as mine seemed so foreign. I gave away his blankets. I kept his bridle and his grooming supplies as well as my helmet, boots, half chaps etc. I eagerly sold his saddle. I had no attachment to that and bought it while I was poor and in school. I hated it, but he was picky and he loved it. I tearfully cleaned the brushes and his bridle and packed them up with my boots and other gear into my tack trunk. And when we moved a few months later, I packed it all into the moving van and then unloaded the whole trunk into our spare bedroom. And there it sat.
Right after Zinger's death I started running a lot more often. Since running competitively in high school I had become a very casual runner. I hadn't worn a watch since high school and usually ran 1-4 times a week, no more than 3-4 miles at a time. After he died I ran to cope. And I ran to fill my time. Turns out you have a lot of free time if you eliminate 3 hour barn trips 4-5 days a week. I was running almost every day, taking more day trips with my husband, and visiting family and friends much more often. But I still found myself searching for riding lessons with people with lesson horses. I didn't have a particularly easy time finding a place, most lesson barns in this area teach kids up-down lessons or teach people on their own horses. Because while I was ready to see a horse again, I was not anywhere near ready to own. Finally I found a trainer who had a couple of horses that could be used for lessons. I had a happy 6 months with weekly lessons with her. Then Leila fell into my lap. I hung all my hopes and dreams on her. I finally had money and time to take lessons consistently, to go to shows, to haul myself and friends to trail rides. That fell apart in the worst, catastrophic fashion I accepted pre-accident she wasn't going to be the forever horse who helped me accomplish my dressage goals, but I thought she would LOVE to be a kids pony club horse who did a beginner novice event one weekend and played mounted games pony the next. Instead she got to be none of those things. While she was trying to heal, I was lucky enough to ride a lovely warmblood mare who had been sitting for 3 years. She was absolutely phenomenal and looked like she could be the horse I could get serious about dressage on before searching for another horse of my own. Instead she damaged a rear medial oblique sesamoidean ligament in January. Exactly what the damage was is still unclear, but it didn't look like a good injury to come back from. She will hopefully heal enough to be sound for her owner who wants to occasionally walk or trot her around a field for 10 minutes, but she is unlikely to be sound enough to do any sort of serious work again. This pushed me to speed up my horse hunt. And the rest is basically detailed here already.
Yoshi makes horse number 3 in just about 6 months that is not sound. It's strange because unlike most of my years of owning Zinger, I actually have disposable income now. Zinger and I strung along while I was in school - I ate about $50/month of groceries so he could have his alfalfa hay. The barn owner let me work off most of my board and even was kind enough to let me increase the work when I could and when I needed to like when my car needed new tires. Yoshi can have whatever he needs that makes him sound. But he still isn't. I realize this is all premature, he may yet be sound when we get his feet straightened out. But there's still some effusion in his front left fetlock that has a little voice going in the back of my head. And I'm not really a voice in the back of my head kinda person, y'know? I'm one of those annoying "If anything can go well, it will" bumper sticker (no I don't actually have one) type of people. I don't tend to worry about things until they're actually a thing. I just have a gut feeling this is not going to turn out well. I'm sure that gut feeling has been shaped by the negative experiences since Zinger's death in 2018, but it still has me considering different... hobbies? lifestyles? life options? I'm not sure what to call horses. Riding is more than a hobby, more than a sport.
I feel like if I quit I'd get drawn back in eventually after the heartache ages a bit. But I'm not sure. The practical side of me says that if I sold the truck and trailer and quit dumping money into vets, farriers, board, and supplements, that we could do those renovations on our house much sooner. We could take more vacations. We could save for an early retirement. I'm not sure what I would do with myself though - start identifying as a "runner" instead of a "horse person"? Acquire more cats? Pick up a new sport or hobby? Knitting? There's surely no emotional roller coaster in knitting. And while yarns can certainly be pretty expensive, they don't hold a candle to the amount I've spent in the past two months on Yoshi.
|Pico princess says "F you, don't you dare get more cats. I am all you need."|