I think that Tack Hoarding is a pretty common affliction, and I feel like it is usually those of us who have to skrimp and save to buy everything who refuse to throw away anything.
Gen was retired in 2007. That is 10 years for those of you keeping count. I have not ridden regularly myself since the end of 2013.
How does someone who has a retired horse who has barely ridden in over three years have so much horse stuff still, I mean, I have four dressage bridles alone! Four!
I kept thinking that I needed to save everything, that I would use it all on the next horse. The longer that time has gone on without me riding though, the more I have started to re-think how I feel about all that horse stuff. When I first stopped riding Lucky, I figured I would take a little break and get back in to riding within a year. I would take some lessons, find some catch rides and just ride when I could, assuming that my next half lease was right around the corner. At some point, I realized that I was fine with taking a break from riding. I didn’t have the drive to fight for every ride anymore. I could see my bank account growing, had more time to sleep and of course found the love of my life and got married.
Even knowing that I wasn’t looking to ride again right away, I still couldn’t bring myself to think about getting rid of anything. What if another horse fell in to my lap? What if Gen suddenly was medically cleared to be ridden again? What if I suddenly needed my horse trailer?
Don’t get me wrong, sometimes having 3 of everything comes in handy, like when Gen broke the butt strap on his blanket, I could just go and grab another one and change it out, but even if Gen suddenly becomes healthy or I get a new horse, would I ever really need 4 dressage bridles? My tack hoarder side says yes, which is why I have them (and my two jumping bridles in addition to a friends bridle that I need to return). Just because I have the space for 7 bridles in the storage area in my basement doesn’t mean that I should have 7 bridles there right?
I got Gen the summer I graduated college. He is my first horse. I went right from college into graduate school so when I got Gen I had no money. I had wanted his colors to be black and red only, but since my budget was next to nothing, everything I got for him was literally the cheapest I could find of what I needed. That means not only do I have 7 of some things, I bet that at least 1 of everything was dirt cheap and potentially not good quality.
The more I have been thinking about it, the more I am realizing that I am just hanging on to stuff because I don’t want to let it go, not because I think I will actually need it.
That realization was a slow one to come, but was solidified when I went down to the storage area in my basement and realized that about half the stuff in there was horse stuff. My husband literally has one storage container down there and two pieces of luggage. I have 7 large plastic trunks of horse stuff, 3 saddles, 7 bridles, 5 halters (of which Gen will go through all 5 this year I am sure) and literally over 20 saddle pads. That isn’t even counting the standing closet rack with all of my show clothes and boots. I know some people are worse about tack hoarding than I am, but everyone I know who is a haorder like this is actually RIDING.
So I have set myself a goal. By April, I want to thin down my horse stuff so that my hoard is only half of what it is now. I need to be more realistic about what is actually useful and what is not. Do I really need 18 pairs of Sports Medicine Boots in case Gen gets hurt again? Why am I hanging on to a horse trailer that needs about $1,000 of repairs? I know it is not the most exciting thing in the world, but I will document my thinning of my horse stuff hoard. Wish me luck as I try and and become more rational with what I think my horse future would hold.