But I bought a horse anyway, and here’s why.
Winter north of the 49th parallel: that’s the top reason to not own a horse. Have you ever seen a barn at winter (and I’m not talking about those of you who are lucky enough to ride at places like the Hong Kong jockey club). If it isn’t a skating rink (slid my car almost into another car/tractor twice), it’s a mudbath (and not in a skin-cleansing way – remember what the horses left on top of the ice).
Winter north of the 49th parallel: is not a bad reason to own a horse. Owning a horse gets you out of the house. With animals, you can’t tell them to take a raincheck, you don’t feel like it today. They have to be exercised, cleaned, medicated, fed, and all around tended to. Plus, once you put on 7 layers of clothing and start riding, you warm up pretty quick. (in modern times, I have managed to reduce that to 5 layers of clothing using thermal undies.)
Injuries and vet bills: are definitely on the reasons to not own a horse. OMG, have you SEEN what animal medical costs? And this is CHEAPER than for a dog/cat? HOW much was that ONE steroid shot?
Injuries and vet bills: does have some benefits like allowing you to meet a wide range of really nice people. Let’s face it, anyone who chooses to work with animals probably is pretty nice and pretty mellow. You can’t be excited when dealing with a half a ton animal who is still trying to decide if he likes you or not AND has steel shoes. Plus there is the horse’s eye doctor, massage therapist, blacksmith (aka shoe salesman) and x-ray technician for you to meet and pay. And if your horse regularly loses his shoes or pulls muscles or has an undiagnosable illness, you get to know all these people really well.
A horse can think for himself: which is a great thing when you have issues steering a car or bike or judging distance. I have never ridden a horse that crashes into a wall. Nor one that falls over or stops running in the middle of a gallop (yes, my car decided to test my driving skills while I was on a highway).
A horse can think for himself: but you may not always agree with the decision. Like when I ended up behind the saddle (on the horse’s butt) and she decided I really didn’t belong there. The people watching said I flew at least a meter over her in the air. Or when a horse decided at the VERY LAST MINUTE to skid to a dead stop in front of a jump….and I went over anyway. ouch. (look out for good sales on painkillers and muscle relaxants)
Spring, Summer and Fall anywhere: good reason to own a horse. Riding in shortsleeves with the wind in your hair (under a safety helmet, of course) is amazing. It’s the ultimate stress reliever and relaxation and just plain fun! I love riding in the field with Monarch butterflies fluttering around and swallows swooping and diving.
Spring, Summer and Fall anywhere: can test you and your horse. In spring, your horse will go crazy after being cooped up all winter. He starts thinking: “OMG WHAT IS THAT SOUND!? oh, it’s a bird. OMG, WHAT WAS THAT?! It was the tree moving in the wind. I’M SO OUTTA HERE! because I’ve never seen an umbrella before”. Your horse will calm down just in time for the bugs and flies to come out in the Summer and for him to spook and run away from that.
Cuteness: top reason to own any animal. Yes, my horse is cute. Totally and utterly cute. When he grows in his winter hair and his main grows long, he looks like a big furry llama (in a good way). Everyone loves him and when he begs for treats, you hear “awwww” all around. I love seeing him at the end of a long day. Just being there gives my spirit a lift.
Cuteness: only goes so far. My horse decided to shed all his winter hair….in December, then re-grow it, then shed it again. Last year, he decided to keep the last batch he grew until he was sweating just standing there (it was May/June already). When you de-shed your horse (see other post here), you need special implements (a Furminator is flipping $70+!!!! and isn’t even available in this country!) and still the fur goes everywhere. Hint: keep your mouth closed during this process. However, when you clip (shave) your horse, it’s even worse. I didn’t know hair could get in my underwear through 3 layers of clothing.
He loves you: best, best, best reason to be owned by a horse. I’m pretty sure my horse has some feelings resembling affection for me. He does look up when I call his name. He does tentatively take a step in my direction. He certainly has loads of patience when I ride him. Once or twice, I’ve even heard him nicker at me. And he puts up with all my photography attempts.