Horses through out the years have been a symbol of status and wealth, with the professional breeders, racers, jumpers, and what not rolling in the big bucks with the fancy stables and high quality tack. It seems the image that come to mind for most people when they hear someone say, "I have a horse" is that fake country girl with the designer boots, booty shorts and an American Flag print bikini top, wearing a stetson and posing by her pure bred fed by Daddy's money.
Obviously one or both of these categories is what every horse owner fits into.
I am so sick of this notion.
I'm pretty certain that the past few times I've gotten into a conversation with someone at school or so over the past few years, and for what ever reason, it comes up that I have three horses on my property, I'm met with something along the lines of, (or word-for-word) "Oh, you must be rich."
Yes, horses can be a bit of an expensive hobby. They need to be fed grain and hay in the winter, some all year round, they need tack that fits them just right so it doesn't hurt them, they need their hooves trimmed, they get vaccinations, sometimes they need their teeth floated, older horses will choke and you have to call the vet to pump it out of them, they like to find ways to hurt themselves, they break your fences, and you can't just have one of them either, because they're herd animals and need a buddy or two to hang out with and sleep by at night.
So you've shoved just about every cent of your income at them, and the majority of us, contrary to popular belief, don't have much left over for anything else.
Having horses is a huge sacrifice and a lot of us average people have to give up a lot for their upkeep. We may live on a plot of land big enough to house three horses, but their stalls have been built with excess, bug-eaten plywood and my father's genius, and we've probably put more money and time into fixing the barns than we have our own house which always has something wrong or leaking, or broken or whatever!
Also, contrary to what seems to be the notion most people are under, a good horse is not always the $1000+ animal from a professional breeder. My first horse, Whiskers, was bought from our neighbors at $500 and was the most well behaved, bomb-proof, healthy horse we've ever had. Aside from the night we had to call the vet out when he choked, he didn't cost us a ridiculously lot more until he died a few years later after choking again.
Our three current monsters are all from the rescue organization called Rainbow Meadows in which they simply ask for a donation of whatever you can afford and then volunteer work when possible. My current baby, Memphis is 6 year old registered Medicine hat Paint with one blue eye. She's incredibly intelligent, lovable and has stunning colors and markings. We got that horse for less than one of our dogs. And altogether, she hasn't cost us that much more than that dog has, given that the dog is conveniently white and allergic to fleas and grass and gets sick if fed the cheap dog food with the chemicals and other nasties.
I'm not saying horses are cheap, and a total breeze to own. As I said, it's a huge sacrifice to have horses. Memphis is white (pink skin) and has a pale blue eye. There is no doubt that she will develop cancer in that eye. In the future, this will come with it's own expenses, and eventually, when she's old, she will probably lose the eye, similar to our aged gelding, Kody, who is missing one of his, can't see well out the other, and has repeated vet visits due to the fact he also has cancer on his you-know-where.
Our third horse, KoKo is currently giving us a lot of grief. She's lost weight dramatically during the past few months and has been extremely lethargic. We've been giving her medication as our vet directed, and she's stopped losing weight, but she's not gaining any either. The vet wants to run tests to check for some diseases he thinks are a possibility, and that will be extremely expensive. It's incredibly hard to have to make a decision as to what to do in a situation like this, because we're not super rich, and we can't afford to be bleeding out the family savings account on this horse, but since we adopted her, we have a responsibility to keep her as healthy as possible for as long as we can. Same with Kody. The tumor is only going to get worse, and eventually it will come to the choice of an pricy surgery or putting him down, and when you have a horse as old as he is, the choices get very narrow.
So yes, having horses is expensive, but no, not everyone who has a horse is a rich snob who pays for feed with pocket cash. Granted there are a few horse owners out there who give the rest of us a bad name, please don't assume all horse owners are like that, because a lot of us are average but stable income people who gave up a lot to have a few big cuddly dogs to form a remarkable relationship with.
~~ Kyra "PJ"
- Listening to: buzzing mosquitoes in MY HOUSE!! >8U
- Watching: Soul Eater