So the more I think about the less sure I am that I want a second horse. I love my Gen to bits and pieces, but I don’t think I can call horse ownership an easy experience. What would I do if my second horse was injured and had to be retired as well? There is just no possible way that I could ever afford 3 horses, I can do two, but that is with scrimping. To pay for two pasture pets and then still have money left over for lessons, showing, extra rides, etc…that is just not in my relm of possibility.
And speaking of scrimping I had a big ah-ha moment when I was out to breakfast with Boomerang and Marissa last week. There is a huge difference between being able to physically afford to keep a horse and being able to afford to keep a horse the way I want to keep a horse. If I get a riding horse I would like to be able to keep it at an indoor. In my area the average indoor with good care is about $800 a month, not counting any of the extras like holding for the vet, trailer parking, blanket changes, etc. I could afford two horses, but my riding horse would have to live outside (Gen is not a living outside kind of guy) for the much more affordable price of $300-400 a month. It is like buying a Lexus, but not having automatic locks (and no, I could never afford a Lexus, I am just trying to find a way to explain).
I would also need to be much more careful about my spending if I have two horses. Last summer was the first time in a long time that I could afford to go on a vacation. The only reason I could afford it was because I didn’t have the expenses of a second horse. It has been nice to not burst in to tears when I get an unexpected bill. I know that if I went back to two horses that would also mean I would be back to a life of very careful spending. I could manage with two, but life is easier with only one. I work full time and chose a job to make a difference, not to get rich. Unless I suddenly win $200 million in the lottery my life is going to be this way forever.
Time wise two horses seems to take up three times the amount of time on a normal day. I used to feel guilty on the days when I could only see one horse (Gen always won). There was also never a day with a quick run to the barn. If I pampered one I felt obligated to go and pamper the other. That would mean that even on just a grooming day I would be spending 2 plus hours getting to the barns, grooming and getting home. Now with Gen on a rush day I can keep things under an hour. To ride, groom and fuss over two would easily be five hours. That does not leave me a lot of time for any of the fun stuff.
Do I want another horse someday? Absolutely. I want to do this horse ownership thing right though. When I got Gen I was in grad school and money and time were huge issues. There was so muchI wanted to do with Gen that I couldn’t. I can still clearly remember trying to fit in a whole year of showing with all fees for under $500. I don’t want to do that again. If the right horse comes along I will have to reevaluate, but for now I think that I should just focus on having Gen. Sometimes I forget that I am still young. I can get into this way of thinking that makes me feel like my life is ruined if I have not done X,Y and Z by the time I am 30 (which is crazy because 30 is really young in the scheme of things!) I start thinking how want to show here and there, get these scores, clinic with this person, etc. and I should be much farther along by now. I had a plan in my head when I got Gen that we would be at 3rd level right now and I would be getting my USDF bronze this year. When I start thinking like that I need to take a deep breath and remember that I still have tons of time. Things never work out as planned in my world and even if Gen was in perfect health who knows if he could have ever done 3rd level movements? I need to relax and remind myself that life is a journey. As much as I want him to, Gen isn’t going to live forever. He will not be the only horse I ever own unless I want him to be. I can still have a horse if I ever get married or have kids. If I get a second horse I want the sky to be the limit, not my wallet.
Does that make any sense to anyone besides me? I just want my next horse to be all about joy, not stress. I have proved that with scrimping and planning I can have two horses, but that doesn’t mean that it is the best thing for me, at least not right now. I am still going to look at ads, rescue sites, etc, but I also think that deep down I am really just a one horse kind of girl.