All of a sudden one of my life long dreams has been fulfilled.
Well… “all of a sudden”. That’s most definitely how it felt. But not how it happened. I’ve been actively planning to buy a horse for the last year. Passively, I’ve been planning for this for a decade.
I was finally emotionally in a place where I was ready to commit to a horse. It’s not a small thing to commit to. A horse, like other pets, needs attention, care, time and emotional support. But unlike most other pets, a horse is large. And they hurt themselves often. And they (sadly) can’t live in your living room, I also think my cat, Nox, wouldn’t fully appreciate that. I deal with slight depression and panic attacks so I had to truly weigh how ready I was to take on a horse.
My darling cat was also not added to my life without having been weighed carefully. I hope she will live to be 30, and I hope Quincy will live to be 35, so these are *long term* commitments. They need to be cared for to the best of my ability for their entire lives.
Once upon a time was in sight…
Things aligned with the rest of my life. I met a friend, Bieke, who has horses of her own. She gave me some groundwork lessons and trusted me to work with one of her horses. And we started spending more time together, playing with her horses, chatting. And one day I just asked. “Would you be open to adding my hypothetical horse to the herd?”. And wouldn’t you know, she said “Yes.” That single, tiny word.
And all of a sudden my dream could actually become reality. She opened the door that allowed for me to run with it. It could go from far away in the future, into “Oh wow, this could actually happen”.
Mommy, Daddy, I want a pony!!– Aiko, aged 4, 5, 6, 7, 8… 18, 19, 20… 26!
I’ve been dreaming of this since I was 6 years old. For two decades I’ve been planning having him, planning how I would live with him and what we would do.
But those are the easy parts of having a dream. The flip side is planning how you will pay for him, how you will care for him (horses always have an issue or other… inevitable), how you will juggle your life pre-horse with your life post-horse. And these aren’t easy things.
The big O:
Organising myself and my life to accommodate a horse also took some thinking. It’s not like buying a new pair of shoes. It takes some planning. I mean, I also do research when I buy new shoes (yes, I’m that person…) but this takes MUCH MORE planning.
How did I go about finding him you wonder? Well, I’ll make an entire post retelling our whole Spanish adventure.
But in short, I looked online, spoke to others who owned PREs that corresponded to what I was looking for, looked online some more, sent emails, looked at hundreds of horses, and then planned a trip.
Those two months leading up to the weekend of November 1st were just plain HELL. Patience is *NOT* my strong suit, and I was truly tested. More on all this later.
BUT IT COULDN’T HAVE ENDED BETTER, CAUSE NOW I HAVE MY DREAM HORSE. No, more than that, I honestly couldn’t have dreamed this guy up.
We also stumbled upon him by chance… Serendipity, kismet (which I considered naming him for a while), call it what you may. A happy happenstance.
The F word
I was finally in a place that I had saved enough money to pay for a horse’s living expenses for a year, have a decent emergency fund (plan for way more than you’d expect lol) and buy myself all the things I need to have and ride, and care for a horse.
Then the big expense. The horse itself. Not to be forgotten in the financial planning. Luckily I have an amazing mother that stands behind me and supports me wholeheartedly and we’d agreed on a loan which I would pay back over the course of a couple years as buying capital.
The finances aren’t simple. And this is me saying this after having him in my life for three weeks. When I think of people who’ve had a horse since they were teenagers, who grew up with that responsibility they must be like “Yeah duh, genius over there stating the obvious.”… Yes it is obvious, but it’s still a realisation when it becomes your reality.
Horses eat money. They literally do. Caring for a horse is not simple, and there are always surprise costs. Or costs you hadn’t figured would add up. But they do.
There are different ways of keeping a horse, and different ways of buying and providing all you need for them. It is a costly hobby (lol hobby, let’s face it, it’s a way of life), there’s no denying that. But there are ways to be more thrifty.
Buy second hand, by on clearances, know that name brands aren’t all that. However in love I am with medieval and custom tack (and yes I’ve indulged in them), I also bought very classical dressage tack. Shoutout to my black Weymouth bridle hanging in my tack locker. But I bought it on Black Friday, and I did not buy the most expensive one they had, I also bought non fancy brand bits. Metal is metal, leather is leather. Quincy doesn’t care what name is on his bridle and bit. Neither do I. Functionality trumps fancy pants logo, in my humble opinion. Don’t misunderstand me, I love me a nice match set. But it doesn’t have to be Scapa, or PS of Sweden (they do make gorgeous things!!!). I’d rather be able to provide him with osteopathic treatments, attend really good clinics or educate myself more on horse-care and save on tack.
You can chose to have board include everything, or you can muck out yourself, feed yourself. Volunteer to work at the barn in exchange for a small cost-cut. Whatever you can find/do to help.
What even is balance?!
No, seriously, help a girl out.
And then comes the balancing work. How do you balance your non-horse life with your horse life?
The first two weeks Quincy was here I went to the stable twice a day for at least an hour each time. I just couldn’t stay away. I mean can you blame me? I finally had my very own horse!!
But I’m also a student, I have evening classes every day from 5:30-8:30PM. And I work as a part-time dog walker/sitter. And I have to look for internships for my studies. And this, and that. And all in all, even though I’m not *super* busy the stable is a 25minute drive away (if all goes perfectly). So walking dogs for 2-3 hours a day, longing Quincy for 1 hour a day (in two sets), going to class, reading for class… All of a sudden I was EXHAUSTED.
So I had to reevaluate. Do I have to go twice a day to see Quincy? In all honesty, no. I *WANT* to see him twice a day because I just can’t get enough of him. But he can. He definitely can get enough of me. So I took a step back, and now I go every day, once. And for him, that’s enough. He used to only work once every three days in Spain, so he definitely is getting more movement and exercise now.
I was overwhelming him. Poor guy had to deal with so many changes and new things, and then along came little old me wanting to do all the training and apply all the methods I’d been researching for a decade.
But this I will expand on in another post.
For today, you have been a delightful audience (*click* have a cookie guys!), and I will now round up this first blog post.
Comments are open and welcome, just remember, let’s keep all criticism constructive and let’s keep an open mind!