Saturday, February 7, 2009

My Own Rant.........on Owning Horses


Recently my friend, Callie, at Midwest Horse was attacked for owning horses. The blog post that precipitated this attack, Serious Rant!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! was about being unable to get a student loan for her daughter because the family's income was too high to qualify. Yet, the commenter made the leap that Callie and Steve owning horses sucked up all their money and was the real reason they didn't have the money to pay for college tuition.

I cannot even begin to tell you how angry that makes me...........however, it does NOT surprise me. While this commenter is the one who stuck out her neck and said these hurtful things, she is not alone in thinking them. Many people seem to hold those prejudicial thoughts towards horse ownership. And quite frankly I, for one, am really tired of it.

This whole topic gets my mind going so many directions I'm not even sure where I should go first. My thoughts range from "what gives you the right to" ........ "they are not anymore expensive than many other hobbies" and of course, there's a lot more in between.

But first lets start off with this thought. This is America, after all and that means we all have the right to chose for ourselves. At least that is what I was taught. So whatever gave this person the right to decide "how" or on "what" Steve and Callie should spend their discretionary recreational funds is beyond me.

Obviously this person seems to think she not only has the right to make that decision, but she has the right to attack Callie because she doesn't agree with her. How come we cannot have tolerance for those who do not see it OUR way? That is the part that frustrates me the most. Why must we attack those we do not agree with?

I'm pretty sure that's not what our founding fathers had in mind when they created this great country of ours. It was about live and let live.........not live and jam your opinion down the throats of everyone else. Tolerance seems to be in really short supply around the US and the world. In my opinion this lack of tolerance is a weakness we can ill afford.

However, this isn't the only issue I see here. It may be the most important one but there are others. The fallacies of the thinking need to be addressed as well.

There is that thought that horses are a useless money pit that is particularly offensive to me. Usually that notion comes from people who do not understand anything about horses (except expense). Since they have no affinity for horses, they don't "get" the concept of willing putting money into a living, breathing animal that requires care and manufactures lots of poop. Since it doesn't make sense to them, it MUST be stupid! And there we go back to tolerance again.........but I digress.

Yet, there are many forms of recreation out there every bit as costly as owning horses. However, you rarely see someone criticized for owning a boat, snow skiing or sky diving to name a few, because they are too expensive.........or what about frequent trips to Vegas or Reno (like my MIL) not to mention those regular visits to play BINGO. There are many, many things people do for recreation where they spend just as much money as we do on our horses..........and don't kid yourself.

I know from first hand experience that all of these things I named (and many more) can be and usually are just as costly as what it takes to own a horse. I have friends who spend as much money on travel as I used to spend when I was a recreational horse owner. I know people who spend more money for season tickets than I would ever think of spending. If you add up line by line these costs, I assure you you can spend as much money on that boat or whatever you chose as any horse and it won't greet you with a warm nicker of affection.

Many will not understand the importance of that warm nicker to us horse people, but it alone can knock that "useless" word right out of any context having to do with horses. You get it or you don't. That doesn't make horses useless.

Non horse owners reading this post would be all over these statements defending their decision for spending their discretionary funds on their personal "pleasure" of choice, Yet, they probably won't see past that defensiveness to get the point.

We ALL need some form of recreation. Life is stressful and without some kind of break to help us unwind and relax we'd be in a world of hurt. We'd be a bunch of angry, defensive, depressed people and the world would be in even bigger trouble than it is in now.

We ALL have the right to chose what we want to put our time, energy, and money into. That doesn't make us wrong or stupid because the other doesn't agree..........and it sure doesn't make us less worthy of deserving something like a simple student loan for a college student.

It has to make one wonder though what goes through these people's minds. Certainly the attitude is closed off and ALL knowing like some how they are superior and "get" what the rest of us have overlooked. Yet it clearly shows their lack of understanding and caring for others to be unable to empathize with one's frustrations at the inequities in life instead attacking someone for it. Me, it makes me feel sad for this person since it clearly shows a rigidity that is a very difficult place to live.

Visit Blog Village and vote daily for this blog Here They are now measuring the rankings by votes out, so if you find my blog on the site, please click that link too to improve my rankings. TY


  1. Sigh! How many times I have met with this. "If you didn't own that horse you would have plenty of money to do......." But, I would rather eat Ramen noodles so that Boo can have his feed than to eat steak and not have him to greet me each morning!

  2. I'm right there with you on this one!
    I've met my share of narrow minded bitter people...and...hummm...not a one of them that I know have ever owned a horse.
    OOOOOhhhhh!!! My momma taught me better, so I'll just say, MiKael, you covered how frustrating this kind of behavior is.
    *deep breathing and counting to ten*

  3. Um...I've never been married so I've always lived on a single income.

    Therefore, in order to own a horse, there are a lot of things I don't do. I don't own a home, I don't make car payments (my parents helped keep me in vehicles, even as an adult -- and I currently have no car), I don't take vacations, I have no other hobbies other than reading (that is, no skiing, golf, etc.), I don't go to the mall, I don't eat out, I don't go out to concerts or clubs, etc.

    Nonhorse folks only have Hollywood to go by, so I'm sure they have an image of starlets wearing immactulate breeches and tweed hacking jackets, and a spotless groom holding a gleaming horse. Nonhorse folks have no idea that horse owners look more like the stall mucker instead of Hollywood's version of horsemanship.

    Owning a horse can be done at a variety of levels, from backyard pet to six-digit show horse. Horse ownership is NOT synonymous with lavish lifestyle.

    Currently, my monthly health insurance premiums are about double my monthly board bill for my horse. Maintaining health coverage does more to cramp my lifestyle than horse ownership.

    My horses and the friends I've made through equestiran pursuits have greatly enriched my life. Well worth the sacrifces.

  4. I get this errr ummm 'attitude'? all the time, from my own family. I will say that my Mother seems to be coming around a bit to understanding more, but the rest... forget it.

    It is very frustrating. If I didn't have the horses, I would still be spending just as much money (if not more) on other things like eating out, more books (like I need more of those lol), going to movies, etc. The point is, that I'd still be spending the funds, just on something else that doesn't last near as long as or give as much in return as my animals do.

    It's a choice where to spend your money and horses are my choice.

    Even if I didn't spend the money at all, there is no way there'd be enough to pay for college. Rough estimate for a 4 year college is $150,000 a year. Give or take of course depending on what classes you take because books and lab fees are different. I'd still need to take out student loans and well I would make too much money to do so. I just don't get where these people are coming from that think the horses take away... I just don't get it.

  5. good perspective! I'll take my ponies over a boat anyday.

  6. GREAT blog entry...very well said!! :)

  7. I think what many people don't understand is that horses aren't always option for us. Horses are a part of my identity. I am not OK or happy without them. It can make my week just to smell my horse and feel him soften under my touch. The nickers or greeting are something that fill me with joy. I need horses like my fiance needs running. He runs every day without fail. I do not question this just as he does not question my need for horses. Everyone needs something, ours is horses.

  8. Astaryth, I'm with you. That greeting first thing in the morning is such a great start to even the worst of days.

    Jeanette, unfortunately I have met some narrow minded and bitter people who own horses, but they haven't understood what the relationship with horses is all about. To them, horses are nothing but livestock........and boy is that a whole other post. For now I think I'll quit where I'm at. LOL

    Oregon Equestrian, well, I am married and have kids so I still have had to make all the typical sacrifices. I am you that it is well worth it.

    I think you are right about those different degrees of horse ownership. Wouldn't we all love to be in the position to be in that upper level with the starletts. Not that many of us would be happy with someone else cleaning our horse's stall but it sure would be nice to have that kind of money to play horses with. LOL

    Lady of Chaos, I got it from my family too and from my in-laws. I just ignore them. Their opinion doesn't mean much to me and my horses are much better company.

    And you're right, if we didn't have horses, we still wouldn't have that money. It would have been spent on something else not nearly as worthwhile.

    And those fees for higher education are really through the roof. I can't even imagine what it would take to pay off the loans for those kinds of debts.

    ranchette, I'm with you. I had the just didn't compare to my horse. As much as I loved water skiing, it doesn't even come close to how I feel about riding and birthing foals, etc......

  9. Small minded people are always bitter and have too much to say about other people's business. I try to avoid them.

    I was once told by an in-law concerning my riding and love for my horses "There's no fool like an old fool". Mind you I was in my 40's at the time. My reply was simply a smile and a nod.
    Because there is no use trying to convince people that don't understand what having a bond with a horse can give you.

  10. "I assure you you can spend as much money on that boat or whatever you chose as any horse and it won't greet you with a warm nicker of affection."

    I just LOVE that warm nicker of affection, that tells me he's glad to see me today. Just love it. That right there, puts me in a good mood, and makes it all worth it. And like heather said, "Horses are a part of my identity". Only us good horse people can concur with that!

    And I agree that yes, horses cost money, but doesn't everything? lol. And yes, horses require a lot of upkeep and care, but doesn't everything?

    And my question is, would Steve and Callie been attacked so harshly, had their hobby been something else that costs the same, but isn't living? like, model trains, or something else, or anything you mentioned.

    I have a feeling that the commenter was made by a city slicker, to a country person. We are country. Although that comment could have come from any bitter person.

    Anyways, gotta get to bed, have a lot to do tomorrow! including getting the hooves trimmed!


    I definitely live a double life. I do some work where people that don't agree with me would publicly tear me a new one if they found out that I owned a horse.

    I've spoken with reporters who inquire about my other "work" -- I explain, off-the-record, that:
    1) I work with horses,
    2) I have a horse,
    3) I work for very little money to pay for said horse's board and to develop my horsemanship,
    4) I drive a beater with 190K miles on the engine, don't go to the movies, get my hair done, buy new clothes, etc. so that I can pursue my dream,
    5) my horses (last year I was carrying two) are castaways who weren't cutting it with their previous owners,
    6) and that if they breathe a word of it, I'll probably get reamed.

    It's a shame, but some of the very same people who have tried to raise a cloud of suspision over my husband and me are driving new cars (thanks to some lucrative dealmaking on their part), getting the VIP treatment at public events, etc.

    Oh well... that's part of the reason I prefer horses to people.

  12. Preach It Sista!

    Excellent post MiKael, and well stated.

    Cant talk much now (literally- no voice yet,) must get ready to head out to work. However, just had to say that this was an excellent post. That person over at Callie's ticked me off a bit too, and then I felt sorry for her.

    Why the pity? Just think of all she misses out on:
    Nickers when they spot you coming
    Soft muzzles
    Big soft eyes that follow you around
    The freedom of a ride
    The joy in watching your horse play
    There is so much more, but... we all know the benefits, and that person apparently never will. Sucks to be her huh? ;)

  13. I agree with Oregon Equestrian's comment that "non-horse folks only have Hollywood to go by." I would add that if people recognized how much of their spending is truly spent on luxuries and recreation, they might see things differently. So many of us are set to "shop til we drop" in our society--do we really need the new, the latest, the best (fill in the blank)? It's all about choices as many of us know. I would argue that horsepeople are more prepared to deal with our current recession because we know how to control our spending in order to achieve the joy of having horses in our lives. Maybe now other people will stop buying crap since and learn to focus on the things that really make them happy too.

  14. I can see this is definitely a hot button for folks, myself I'm hard put to see the benefit in college anymore, my daughters math teacher admitted that her husband with multiple masters degrees makes more $$ landscaping than he ever will with his degrees. If a person put that college money towards a house, and had no mortgage payment it wouldn't take so much income to earn a decent living. Have no health insurance myself, would rather put the money into good nutrition. Prefer character over lifestyle and there's nothing like raising animals to produce character and a work ethic.
    What amazes me is the sense of calm and serenity that emanates from just watching a horse grazing in the pasture. I am sure it lowers the blood pressure.

  15. I live in in area where lots of top riders live...which means everything is expensive. I pay $450 in board alone for Gen (my retired horse) and take a lot of shit for it. The funny thing don't often hear me complain about how much my horse costs. My horse makes me smile EVERY SINGLE DAY. To me, that is priceless. I work a stressful job and it is over an hour away from where I live so my stress starts at 6am as I am pulling out of the driveway. My horse makes me happy and is there for is worth every penny.

  16. I think the people who are so judgemental about this are living a very sad life. Unfortunatly it doesn't matter how much we discuss it there will still be some too close-minded to accept that other people want to do things differently to them. i pity them for that. I'm not trying to say I'm better than those people, just that by being like that they are no doubt limiting themselves to broaden their minds.

  17. my heart goes out to Callie. I have 3 that will graduate from college this year and they are entering the workforce with incredible huge enormous gigantic loans. They owe more money in student loans than I paid for my house.

    Even if Callie did not have the horses, she would not have been able to cover tuition. The costs of higher education are just too high for most incomes.

  18. My husband have talked about what we would do if we couldn't afford things, like food, or gas, and we always agree that we would have to start selling horses. We own 6 and are having two foals come March. So, we have a lot. My father in law has 11!! It's crazy here. But we could save a load of money if we didn't have our horses. And then my kids wouldn't learn resposibilities of taking care of the animals, and feeding them, and riding them.

    My kids wouldn't be able to rodeo or show. So, I am so with you. I don't really get bad comments about how many we have or having them all together. But I do need to cut back on my herd. I just can't come to the choice of which one I would sell. I don't want to sell any of them...sigh.....

    But with money how it is going to be and going down the drain, it just might be better to have horses and ride them to work, instead of a car. Then who will be laughing then!! LOL!! :)

  19. Here's the only difference I see with horses as a hobby...horses have to eat every day. A boat doesn't. You can choose not to take a trip, if money is tight. Horses have to eat every day whether money is tight or not.

    I LOVE my horse and I am happy to feed him everyday, but I understand that I have monetary pressure that boaters don't have. I understand that most skiiers (for example) will not choose to give any of their last $100 to their hobby, but I will give some of that money to my horse.

    In this way, horses are more demanding on the wallet.

    Just my opinion.

  20. After reading miss Kaylee's comment, it makes me think she is an immature young person, and I also think she is a miss-know-nothing-at-all! and I'd guess that she is a teenager. And she acted like, Callie cant have a life. Or Callie cant spend money on anything else besides her daughter.

    Not only did she comment that Callie should spend less on horses, but she stated that Callie should spend less on dining out and cars. How the heck does she know she dines out, and she makes it sound like she has cars-a-plenty.. how would she know??? and how does she know if Callie's been saving for the last 18 years or not? and why does she make like, then it would of been doable. I don't think it would be doable unless your a millionaire, or a celebrity, lol.

    Miss Kaylee is just ignorant. I'd call her stupid, but that'd be rude. Even though miss Kaylee has been over the top rude. But all miss Kaylee has done, is make herself look ignorant. And truly, we shouldn't be bothered by such babies.

  21. My husband use to make comments about how expensive my horses are. Then, one day, he was able to realize that I wouldn't be ME without them. They shape who I am. Just like his hunting, golfing, and softball shape who HE is.

  22. Excellent post!!! I am right there with you on this one. I didn't want to write a HUGE comment on your blog, so I did my own post on this subject over on my blog.

    I think the number of replies you have on this topic alone are proof of the fact that those of us that are passionate about our horses are a truly misunderstood bunch ** sighs**.

    Once again...GREAT POST!

  23. Well you don't need anymore comments on this topic do you!

    But it is true, usually people who comment like that are a little unhappy and haven't shared in the connection made with a horse owner to their horse.

    I miss my first horse which started me on my equine crusade. I love them and I am working to be able to bless others with them.

    I searched for my wife around them and married a horse trainer.

    I am sure if you look at those that are making those remarks. You will find an void that horse owners no longer experience.

    Peace to you all..

    Internet horse sales

  24. um, that last post with my handle on it was not posted by myself but inadvertently by the daughter. I will ask her to fix that as I don't have a clue how to. Sorry for the mix up.

  25. AMEN sister preach on! I couldn't agree more!

    I don't know what I'd do if I didn't have our horses. They bring so much to my life, my daughters, our families. We spend quailty family time together, that includes the horses. Rodeos, play days, day working, etc. Our horses are a part of our family. And those people (like the one from Callie's blog) don't get it, nor will they ever. They are too one sided and opinionated. You can't buy the happeniess that my horses bring to me every day, every minute I'm with them.
    I would never get on to someone about what hobby they choose for themselves. Last time I checked that is called freedom. If we all were the same, this world would be very boring.
    Great post!

  26. I just came across the post and love it! I get so much flack from mycfather about my horses althou he spends a good deal of winter skiing, riding motorcycles in the summer, several vacatuins a year and $2500 season tickets. But i'm the urrisponsible one wasting money on my "hay burners" and of course there's no comparison wuth what he does because my hobby is living and that makes it irrational.
    writing on my phone is a pain!