BY CHRISTALEE FROESE
I’ve always wanted my very own horse.
But now that I have one, I’m not so sure?
In fact, when I put it all down on paper (especially on an accounting spreadsheet), having a horse is definitely NOT a sound decision for so many reasons.
First of all, I bought a three-year-old, untrained horse because I liked her blue eyes and her four white socks. The horse-people in the crowd are now laughing hysterically. For they know what I could not have known one year ago when I bought my ‘green’ horse (FYI—I used to think they called horses ‘green’ because they were untrained, but now I know it’s because of the exorbitant amount of money they require).
The horsepoeple know that you NEVER buy a horse for its coat colour.
They also know that you NEVER buy a young horse if you are not an experienced rider.
They also know that you NEVER will have a nice quiet horse to ride unless you spend endless amounts of time and money to train it.
They also know that horses need stuff–lots of stuff. Expensive stuff!
First of all, there’s the hay, and then the shelter, which I fully realized.
What I hadn’t counted on was the saddle, which I already had. However, you need a saddle that fits your horse (I did not know that). Mine didn’t work, and nor did the next one I bought…or the next one I bought (seriously). That left me with three saddles and one sour horse.
And then there’s the horse dentist. Yes, the horse dentist—the dentist who checks for ‘wolf teeth’ (which apparently are bad and need pulling) and the dentist who leaves you with a rather large bill and not even a toothbrush or toothpaste to show for it.
Then there are the horseshoes—the ones the trainer says the horse needs to go along with her hoof pedicures (required every six to eight weeks). Don’t forget the de-wormer, the fly spray, the saddle pad, the riding helmet, the cowgirl boots and the riding gloves.
What you get for all of your time and money, in the end, is … sheer exasperation because it can take many years to turn a ‘green’ horse into a regular old brown one.
But then one day (about a year after you’ve bought your horse and she’s undergone intensive training by one of the country’s best, Cain Quam), something magical happens.
Your teenage cousin comes to visit—he has autism and is not very verbal and is shy around your horse. But miraculously, within a short time he gets the ‘green’ horse to move her feet, walk in the round pen and hold still while he hugs and kisses her. Then, he sings you a song he practiced for his graduation, ‘You’ve got a friend in me.’ He sings it right there in the middle of the round pen and your horse comes over to you, puts her head in your hand and the two of you watch the glorious outdoor performance by your amazing cousin as if the world is standing completely still.
A few days later, your daughter asks to ride the ‘green’ horse. You say, ‘maybe in a year honey, when you are seven and the horse is better trained.’ That same girl insists on seeing that horse nightly so she’s ready to ride her when she’s seven.
One day it happens. The horse is quiet. You are inspired. The little girl looks lovingly at that great big horse, and before you know it, you’ve thrown her on the horse’s back. This continues for days because the horse is so quiet around your little girl. You even bring your daughter’s friends out for a ride.
And within the span of two weeks, you realize with clarity that this ‘green’ horse was worth every red cent!