Welcome to my blog about horsey life in the North East - the good bits, bad bits, endless coffees and plenty of mud!

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

How to enjoy your horse when you're broke

No one with two horses is poor. I'll state that from the start because the last thing I want is to be beaten to death for gross insensitivity.
Poor is not having any money for food or shelter, whereas I would class myself as something separate and specific - F.D.D.T.H - which stands for Financially Deficient Due To Horses.
Rough translation - the buggers eat me out of house and home and I'm lucky if I've got enough change for a Mars Bar at the end of the month.
I see them as my responsibility and they get everything they need - food, bedding, injections, vet visits, teeth, foot trims etc...
But there's nothing left for new riding boots, a wagon, show entry fees or regular lessons. I could moan about this but actually, it has its plus points. Here's my guide to why a lack of moulah can actually be a good things when it comes to the horsey life.
1. You have to make do
Before I could afford my own I loaned horses, a far more sensible option financially. I was lucky enough to have some great loan horses who taught me loads and with whom I enjoyed an awful lot of happy hacking.
2. You have to put the work in
In richer times I used to rely on my lessons and instructors to sort out riding problems. Now I have to put the effort and thought in myself. I have lessons when I can and I make notes after each one which I look over - it's surprising what you forget and you often find you already have a technique or answer to deal with a schooling issue. All of this increases my skill set and makes me more determined - there's no one else to get on Cady when she's being a toad so I have to find a way to handle it.
3. You get more time for the little things
I try to make the most of the day to day things that are free, and pretty great too. Once I've turned them out I spend five minutes just watching them. They never disappoint. Seeing that first roll of the day or canter up the field reminds me how much horses themselves find ways to be joyful that are free (they have no pockets for credit cards)
4. You toughen up
I'm sure a lot of horse owners can relate to that unique feeling you get from waking up at 5am, months on end, to shovel poo, then heading to work and fighting the temptation to fall asleep at your desk. Not to mention the scorn you get from people when you mention that bedtime is 9pm. But I have to believe that all this is somehow beneficial. I think it makes me physically better off and it also reminds me that there are things in life more important than my urge to ignore the alarm and roll over. Horses don't care if you're tired, and they're rubbish with wheelbarrows and pitchforks so it's down to you.
5. You get creative
I've made improvised Pessoa's out of tail bandages, learned how to clip, how to repair and reproof rugs and how to go into a tack shop and ONLY BUY FEED while ignoring shiny, sparkly, tempting treats.
6. You can set the pace
If it's raining, I don't have to ride. If they're lame I can give them ample time to recuperate. If I'm tired I can tuck them in and go home. Cady and Harvey are a long-term going concern for me. I've figured out we're not going to qualify for Burghley so I can just let it go and accept all three of us as we are and hopefully enjoy our friendship for many years to come.

Cuddles are still free


  1. Good post. When people say I must be rich to have horses I feel like saying 'No, I might be rich if I didn't have them.' It's about how you chose to spend your money isn't it? Horses teach you that you can be rich in other ways anyway. And you can learn to love those 5am mornings, especially in summer. Being up before dawn and spending time with your horse when the rest of the world is still asleep can be magical.

  2. Thanks Julie, I agree. We're lucky to have them. It is magical - I think it's the combination of being out in the beautiful countryside with a different sunrise every day and having your friend with you to enjoy it x

  3. Horses gives us more than everything in this world. Because they know, how we feel. . : )