2015-12-15: Hi! You're probably here because you did a Google search for 'plus sized horseback riders' or you saw my content quoted elsewhere. There are a couple of things I'd like you to know.

I am still here! But I am living away from my horses and not riding often. I could tell you a lie and say that I am, but I have always endeavored to give you the truth here. As a result, I'm not feeling terribly motivated to write blog posts and I feel out of touch with the community.

I'd love for you to stay a while and look back through the archives. Visit the links listed below. We still have an active forum community and I post on the Facebook page from time to time.

I have tentative plans to try to get more involved in the horse world in 2016, and I will absolutely share whatever that adventure becomes with you, so keep checking back!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The True Cost of Loving a Horse

I have been spending the weekend home at the farm and this morning, my dad was reading some statistics from a magazine about the expense of keeping a horse. Depending on your locale, I believe the article he was reading quoted something like $2500-3500 annually. I can't even begin to calculate the financial costs of my small herd, because if I do, it might make me a bit sick - and I do things "cheap", to boot.

Owning horses or riding them costs more than financially, too. I have learned over the years that owning a horse could cost you your heart, parts of your family or circle of friends. Horses, though they will never do it for a selfish or malicious purpose like a human might, can break your heart unequivocally - with death, with lameness, with one of the myriad of illnesses or infirmities that can strike horses for absolutely no reason at all, with an unwilling sale forced by the economy or loss of a job... You get kicked, you get dumped, you get hurt - some partners have a hard time sharing their time with a horse or appreciating when you come home with your hair full of hay and smelling a bit like manure.

But at the end of the day, we may spend money and emotion and physical wellness on the love of a horse (or a few horses!) - and when you sell, you never actually MAKE money - but we get paid back, too. We profit substantially from loving a horse, and I like to think that makes the slaving at a day job to make the money, which seems to spend mere microseconds in our wallet, to keep our horses worthwhile. I like to think that it makes your heart breaking worthwhile because someday, you can look back fondly and with love and recognize the lessons that you have learned and how much richer you were for the experience. At the end of the day, I think I profit more than I spend.

The profits from loving a horse --

- the confidence you earn from working with a 1200lb animal that could kill you, but instead allows you to climb up on its back in the same way that a predator might, and carries you with pride.

- the rewarding ache in your muscles from putting up hay or mucking stalls, or giving a really good grooming - or simply just spending most of a crisp fall day in the barn bumming around.

- owning or riding horses seems to be an instant conversation starter - because whether they love them or fear them, the general public seems to have a fascination with horses - either the day to day or your mental sanity regarding the amount of money that you spend on them.

- you have an ever present sounding board - someone who is never going to tell you that you need to be less invested, that your hurt feelings are silly or that they doubt your ability to meet the challenge you are facing.

- the network of friends and professionals, either in person or online that turn out to understand your needs and desires better than some people who have been in your life since the beginning.

- the peaceful stillness in your heart when you've put in a day's work and can just recline on a bale of hay and listen to the eating of horses, or watching your equine friends grazing in a field, or just being with a horse.

- the surprising joy when you find something in the Dollarstore or at Walmart that you can use for your horse that will cost you a fraction of the money of buying it from a tack store (I also count this as financial profit!).

- the laughter when your horse proves itself to be more clever (in a NON-mischevious way!) than you expected.

- the satisfaction of introducing a child to a horse.

Yes, at the end of the day, I believe that even if we can't line our wallets in it, we profit incredibly from the love of a horse - and for each person, there is so much more that is personal and private and makes their life with horses that much more worthwhile.