Scroll through Facebook or Instagram and it is on many ‘inspiring’ quote or hastag #livingmybestlife but you’re not, your horse is. Horse ownership should come with a disclaimer that explains its most about being covered in hair / mud / poo and paying vet bills or replacing expensive broken things. If you don’t agree let’s look at just a few reasons why your horse is living a better life than you right now
- New shoes! Your horse gets a shiny new pair of custom made shoes every 6-8 weeks. There is no ‘thanks Penneys’ for Bob the cob is there? Your own boots worn every day in the yard and on the horse will be worn to death or at least until they are letting in water or fall off your feet.
- Clothing – Your horses Winter wardrobe does not consist of a Winter coat bought in the sale and a waterproof jacket that’s questionably waterproof at the seams. Let’s be honest your horse has at the very least a plush travelling blanket, a summer sheet, a lightweight rug, a middle weight rug (worn for about thirty seconds between Irish Summer and Irish Winter just in case he might be too hot or too cold), two plus heavyweight rugs and an assortment of coolers plus a rain sheet. Each of these has been carefully selected to fit perfectly and will be repaired or replaced immediately after the horse shows its gratitude by sticking a hoof through it or ripping it to shreds. Your horse does not just suck it up if something does not fit perfectly – oh no – a new more expensive version must be acquired to keep the peace.
- Diet – Your horse does not forget to eat. Your horse does not forgo dinner and shove whatever was closest to the petrol station counter down its neck in order to keep going on a 14 hour day. Your horse does not stress eat a takeaway and say it doesn’t matter because you are not at home or are in a different area code. Your horse does not substitute eating empty carbs by mainlining Berocca. Your horse does not even eat ten minutes later than routine because if dinner is late that stable door is coming off the hinges and someone is going to die. Your horse eats a balanced diet supplemented with every expensive substance known to Man that might help his performance or help him to feel even a fraction more good in himself. Your horses weight and energy levels are carefully monitored and diet adjusted immediately to counter act any undesirable fluctuations.
- Healthcare – We live in Ireland. There is no NHS. A doctor costs at least €60 and you might as well sell your soul to go to hospital. If an Irish rider goes to a doctor it is safe to say we might be dying. It means we have already tried our two traditional medical remedies (Sudocreme and dry seven up) and are still in a heap. We do use physios and osteos but only at the point where we cannot walk properly or something moves when it shouldn’t, feels squishy or hasn’t rectified itself after weeks of ignoring it and hoping it goes away. Being honest it also physically hurts us a little bit to pay for treatment as we could have gotten two saddle pads in the Le Meiux sale for the price of spinal realignment and that blingy black number was definitely going to improve our dressage scores. Our horses by contrast see the physio at the slightest sign of discomfort and enjoy a day off afterwards to recover at leisure. The vet is on speed dial and owns one of our kidneys.
- Dentistry – Now I don’t know about you but if I actually visit a dentist and pay to be tortured it’s because even difene can’t make a dent in the agonising pain in my jaw. My horse sees the dentist annually. I paid for wolf teeth to be extracted without even questioning the price. Personally I have been walking about with a tooth that needs a root canal for the last six month as I am terrified of the pain and even more terrified of the price.
- Haircare – You horse will be clipped as soon as it’s coat looks fluffy, extra care and time will be taken to ensure that the lines are perfectly straight and the clip is even and makes them look like a freshly washed shiny seal. The horse will then wear one of a selection of rugs which have been dry cleaned after the last use. Your own hair gets chopped once a year when you can’t handle the straggly ends anymore and your go to colour is balyage as it looks like your roots were on purpose. You have on at least one occasion in life trimmed your own hair with a scissors or clippers.
- Work Life Balance – Your horse works on average for one hour a day. Let that sink in!! The rest of the day is spent eating, drinking, socialising and sleeping. Is it any wonder they look fantastic? You on the other hand are working 12-14 hours a day to fund it!
- Alcohol – Your horse does it’s own version of self harming which creates the vets bills and necessitates the long days at work. However your horse doesn’t work long hours and then go out ‘for one’ ending up going ‘out out’ and doing shots at 3am and waking up with one shoe and half a clue what happened. Your horse doesn’t get the fear or get up after four hours sleep and play pretend at being an amateur athlete. There is a lesson in here somewhere but to be honest if you can own horses and not need a drink sometimes I salute you.
- Home care – our horse’s palace is cleaned out at least once a day, fresh bedding put down and everything tidied and checked. Your horse’s equipment is cleaned, oiled and well maintained. Your house is crying. There is some order to it in the form of various piles – things that need to be washed, stuff from competition not yet put away, stuff the horse broke needing repair, paperwork being ignored but not going away.
- General Appearance – now – I know there are a few humans out there that manage to have their shit together and look perfectly put together every day. If you can get past finding matching shoes on a Monday morning you are a higher functioning adult than me and I find it hard to relate. My horses look brilliant – their hair even gets brushed every day?! I genuinely cannot get a brush through mine (the joys of living in the bog with hard water). The only time I look polished or put together is at a show when I have removed the layer of dust / mud / horse hair and covered myself in diamonte. Most clothing I buy is black as black goes with black!
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