At what point is it too much?

So yesterday at the barn I got two surprises, one was a valentine card for Gen with carrots from his secret admirer (I am guessing the barn owner :P) and a letter for me. The letter was a reminder to please follow the rules and also a note that there was a possibility of barn improvements, which would mean an increase in board. It was up to a boarder vote. I, obviously, voted no. I cannot afford an increase in Gen’s board right now. I just can’t. How can I justify an extra $50 a month on my pasture pet? Even if it is only temporary, at what point do I have to face the reality that something has to give? I feel like horses have just become this big giant money pit to me and I can’t seem to dig my way out.

I am still living like a pauper to pay off my saddle and the bills just keep coming in. The boys just got their spring shots and Phoenix also got his teeth done. That does not happen for free. Plus I am feeling overwhelmed at just how much more I am going to be paying to show this year. The USEF really does have a trust going, you can pay to join them or pay a penalty because you are not a member. I don’t even know how much I have spent on dressage clubs and memberships so for this year.

I know that I am stating the obvious, but horses are EXPENSIVE and I am about ready to break! I average about $1,200 a month between board, shoes, vet care and lessons. Showing and tack store trips, well, I cannot even bare to add those amounts into that other number. The reality is that I spend way too much on horses. I can afford it right now, but at what price? I feel like I am giving up so much to be a part of a sport that rewards money over heart. I want to live my dreams and have the show year of a life time this year but everywhere I turn I am just pouring more and more money into the boys. I am so freaking sick of spaghetti. I am so upset that I cannot even afford to go to a movie. I am going into the city today and I literally almost cried when I went to take money out for the train ticket. I am so mad that…wait a second.

I just realized something. I have not ridden a horse in 3 weeks. For those of you who do not know me, I go crazy when I don’t ride for a while. Usually the crazy hits at about 3 weeks. I could laugh right now. This whiney, bitchy post is not so much about money. It is about riding. I miss riding. I almost went back to delete this whole post but I left it so you all can see the crazy. I lose myself, or at least my normal thought process, when I don’t ride for a while. When you are physically and mentally used to riding 4+ days a week for years it becomes a part of you. To not do it, well, clearly I go a little loco! So I apologize for this post, but I am using it as a PSA. If it has been a while since you got on a horse and you find that you are not acting like yourself, find a way to ride! I am going to call my trainer today to set up a lesson for next weekend. Clearly, I ride because I NEED to!


10 thoughts on “At what point is it too much?

  1. Yep, I have the same affliction. It’s saddleitis. If your butt doesn’t make contact with leather (or synthetic leather) it makes you emotionally unstable. And since horse lovers are usually “stable” people, it must mean the riding therapy works as the best cure!
    I feel you. I haven’t ridden in about 2 months with work and weather. Thank goodness just doing the groundwork with Panda Pony seems to help! Get going and ride a school horse or do some serious ground work with your horses and get out of that funk! 🙂

  2. Yes, we ride because we NEED to.
    Choosing to ride and pay for our equestrian sport must be in balance with the rest of our lives – but the appropriation of our money (and time) to each piece of the pie is an individual choice. Our pies consist of horse, family, work, friends, extra interests (ie, travel, movies, reading), etc. For some people, the horse is a hobby on the side that gets 10% of their resources, while for others it is a career that gets 90%. For most of us, it’s somewhere in the middle. No choice is wrong, per se, but you need to be content with your choices. You have to be happy giving up X to have Y (or a little bit of X to have a little more Y).
    In general, I’m happy with how I’ve divided my resources but there are times I wish I could give it all up to be a working student with some BNT. Ahh to dream.

  3. You are so right. When I sold my horse and left for college, I was so depressed. I thought I was home sick. I would go home and visit and ride at my old barn and would feel like myself again. It took me almost 6 months to figure out that it was the riding I was sick for, not necessarily my home.

    Now its a different story, I bought a baby horse and have been spending buckets of money and time on something I can’t ride. Its easy to be frustrated when you don’t see the benefit (mental, physical, et al) of the money you spend on your horses. But, my baby goes under saddle in 2 months, so I think I can hold out that long.

    Great call scheduling a lesson! I hope you are feeling better soon 🙂

  4. OMG, I totally understand!!!!!!!!!!!!
    It’s so hard, isn’t it! I’m in a place where my boy can’t be ridden for probably another year, IF all goes well…and I am being such a bitch to all the other boarders who NEVER (literally) NEVER come to see their beautiful, healthy horses and maybe ride them 1 or twice a MONTH!!!!!!!!!!
    How is it that I rode my boy 3-4 a week and would more if I could get there, and he’s lame! WHY?! So unfair!!!
    IT does help to get on the back of a horse, even if not your own…I guess…I’m at the point though where I’m SO SICK of the lazy boarder always asking me to ride their horse so they don’t have to, when all I want is TO RIDE MY OWN!!!!!!!! Anyway..good post. I hear you. I support the whinning! 🙂

  5. I know the feeling of trying to figure out what gets to give. Denali was treated for EPM and that was around 2,500 total (not including the vet appointments that were to try to figure out what was wrong with her.)

    At least you got a vote! I’ve been at barns where we just got notice that the board was going up. 🙂 Your “kids” are beautiful!!

  6. I guess before you say no to the $25 it might be good to know what kind of improvements they are talking about. It might end up being well worth the $25…maybe. When we moved barns recently and it was $80 more per month and 10 miles further, it took me a while to justify but in the end it was worth it. Or maybe if the vote ends up being yes, you can work something out with those nice people to work off the difference or trade for something you are good at that they need?

    Riding is good therapy. You’ve seen it and know how it affects certain kids, of course it can bring that same calm to adults!

  7. I can so relate! I go CRAZY if I haven’t been on a horse for a week, or haven’t gone running in a week. I get so depressed and crazy and wonder what is WRONG and everything in my life is going to HELL….and then I realize…..the world is not ending, I just haven’t gotten my fix lately!

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