So I actually had a whole different post written for this part 2. I was going to post it on the same day I ended my lease with Lucky. I looked it over again to post it today, and honestly, everything is different now so it just didn’t make sense anymore. I am going to start over with my new, down to one horse perspective and see if I can’t explain some of the financial stuff that played a part in my life with Lucky.
Unless you are very, very wealthy having a horse is a pretty noticeable part of your monthly expenses. Between board, supplements, lessons and showing it is easy to spend as much as a typical person’s mortgage payment on our hobby every month. I thankfully earned a scholarship to both college and grad school so I don’t have student loans hanging over my head. Hearing what people pay for those I feel like student loans and horse expenses are often similar in price, although we all know that horses are way less predictable, and hopefully a lot more fun than student loans.
I know this is going to sound horrible, but the truth is that in my long term budgeting I plan for only one horse, not one and a half. It is horrible because I wasn’t expecting Gen to live so long. Don’t get me wrong, I am so happy he has! It is more that financially I didn’t really think I would need to pay for more than one horse long term. I feel like a jerk for even writing that by the way. I don’t want to sound ungrateful that Gen is still around! Especially now that he is responsible for so much of my sanity at the moment 😛
Anyone that knows me will attest to the fact that I am a budgeter. My salary is a matter of public record so every once and a while I get a text from a friend that will say, “I just looked you up online…how do you not make more money” or my all-time favorite “Saw your salary, you can literally multiply your salary by 2 and still not make as much as me”. While I am by no means a financial guru, nor do I think my finances are perfect, I think I do a pretty good job most of the time.
I think a big part of my current frustration is that I have had a lot of unexpected expenses this year. 2013 has been a rough one for my wallet. From a major home expense this summer, to Gen getting sick and Lucky getting hurt I just couldn’t seem to catch up. Just this month alone my dishwasher broke (thank goodness my family rocks and came together to give me a new one as an early Christmas present), my garbage disposal broke (thankfully I am pretty handy so I was able to fix it for just the $110 cost of parts) and my car is having trouble (not sure yet how much that one is going to cost me). That is life though. Unexpected expenses happen all the time.
Owning a horse I have learned that I can live without a lot of things. I prioritize my expenses and do a lot of need versus want. Most of the time I am totally fine with my strict budget, but sometimes, like when I was paying to ride and couldn’t ride, I start to get frustrated. I give up a lot to own and lease a horse, from simple things like having to say no sometimes when my friends are going out to do something fun, to more complicated things like dealing with broken or not working appliances, etc at home because I just can’t afford to get them fixed right away. I know that most everyone out there reading this feels the same way.
I am lucky in that I really don’t have to go without “needs” very often, which I know is more than a lot of fellow horse owners, but I think we can all agree that there are a lot of “wants” that are just never going to happen. I am not to fussed about my appearance so I normally don’t mind super gluing a pair of shoes back together to get a few more weeks of wear out of them or having a lip gloss that is all wrong for my coloring because it was on sale for $1. That is what it takes for me to ride and normally that is fine by me.
I think that is one of the reasons I get so frustrated with people who make the horse thing look so easy. It really is a struggle sometimes for me to stay in the tack. I have given up living a “comfortable” life so that I can ride. It is not something I am complaining about. It is a choice that I made. I still get to do a lot, but how much things cost is always something on my mind. There are also a lot of things that I just can’t do because I can’t justify the expense. I get my hair cut every few years because I could never justify paying for a nice cut when I can get it for cheap, or almost free if I just do a locks of love donation. I never pay full price for clothes, I literally have a clothing budget of $200 a year for clothes, shoes, accessories, etc and that is with riding gear included. Does it make more sense now why I get so excited when I get new breeches?
I can afford to half lease, but sometimes it feels like just barely. I am the kind of person who would rather go without than to have more bills than I can handle. I don’t mind canceling my home internet for a few months or keeping my heat at 60 degrees in the winter because getting to ride makes up for that to me. I think what I am starting to think about is if it is worth it to me anymore. Maybe I am just so down about riding because I haven’t been doing it. Maybe I am starting to realize that counting every penny is just not something I want to do anymore. A few hundred for a half lease might not sound like much, but to me it is.
I guess that is pretty much the point of this post. If riding were free I would get another horse right now. It isn’t though. I know I am not the only who has to watch what I spend. What sort of stuff do you go without? If I could have any one luxury item in the world it would be to have a cleaning person come by every other week. Maybe in a life without horses I could afford that. As long as I have them though that is so never going to happen. Does anyone else feel frustrated with how expensive it is to own a horse?