What Does a Dream Cost?
By April Ray-Peterson
There is a tweet doing the rounds again in regards to what it costs to own a horse. And the answer to that question: It’s everything. Horses cost everything.
There are all sorts of comics out there including the photo of a horse eating dollar bills, which would be a more efficient transaction than what horse owners typically do. Recently I have joined the ranks of horse owners again, and in some sick and twisted experiment, I have started to keep a spreadsheet of all of her costs. Vet, farrier, board, feed, tack, supplements, and everything in between with a running total at the bottom. For the sake of my sanity, I have had to hide that total. But I have a strange curiosity to know where all of my money is going. I also really like spreadsheets. I think that I, like many others, tend to underestimate the costs when it comes to my equine family member. Maybe part of that is self-preservation, or just being afraid to admit exactly how much that four-legged beast is costing me.
When the total quickly amounted to enough to equal a down payment on a home or a new car, I took a deep breath and realized that at the end of the day, to me it’s worth every penny. I have a horse in the barn and she is mine. I don’t have to be at the whim of someone else’s wishes and desires for their horse. Every decision made in regards to her is mine, and no one is going to take her away from me after I put hours of work into making her a contributing member of the equine society.
In the past, I have always ridden other people’s horses and subsequently never actually been the one ultimately holding the reins, pun completely intended. Now I get to do it my way. Sure it costs me an arm and a leg, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Luckily, I have a husband who is supportive of the time and money involved in making this dream of mine come true. It likely helps that our horse lives downstairs from us, so he does get to see me even if I do spend all night in the barn.
Some people might have a hard time understanding why horse people do this. The commitment to an animal, whether it’s financial, emotional, time, or everything else it takes, is not a small one. But I can’t think of anything else I would rather be spending my time and money on. What horses give us in return is truly priceless.