At this stage of my life the responsibility of horse ownership- both the time, money, stress and attention is too great of a commitment to take on given that I need to focus on advancing my education, career and other interests.
Which leaves me with leasons or leasing...
Lessons do not afford me enough time on a horse for the cost.
Free leasing isnt much less of a commitment than ownerships.
Semi-Leasing (shared riding) often leads to schedule/overuse issues.
Which leaves me with my own idea of leasing. It's simple. Straight forward. And hopelessly unobtainable.
To find some person who keeps their horse in above average condition, at an excellent facility with an indoor and close to trails, who never has times to ride, is opinionated about training methods/handling, and reasonable to deal and who just happens to own a nice, broke, sound, no-nonsense horse that they'd like to have ridden by a complete stranger (where, when and how she prefers and on her schedule.) Oh, and within a half hour drive of my house...
I want to ...
Drive to barn, groom, tack, ride, put away and drive home. End of story. I'll pay a flat monthly rate- consistent, predictable, and non-obligatory for the privilege and leave the for the owner to worry about the rest. Like a gym membership.
*hangs head in defeat*
To make matters worse...
I feel so selfish for admitting that as I've never owned a horse for the sole objective of riding- ever. In fact, I've looked down on people who seem to care nothing of their horses but of the use and enjoyment that can be derived from them... those who don't even know how to saddle their own horse, let alone care, feed or train one.
And yet still, I want to use a horse!
The choices all suck!
To own a horse is to be consumed- with the constant worry over their health and safety, of farrier appointments, worming, vetting,and the inevitable and unexpected financial costs... For me it is to stress over the where/who/what/when dynamics of boarding, of where to buy hay, or find a decent farrier. It is spending $180 on iron shoes instead of those Jessica Simpson silver pumps, buying Big D blankets instead of a fabulous purple Guess pea coat, and covering the cost of a vet bill that would have paid for a trip to New York city. It is sacrificing and reaping the reward... it is living a way of life I miss every. single. day but one that comes at a price I'm no longer willing to pay- not until I can afford both the school, the pea coat, the pumps and the hay, blankets and board.
To lease is to have to bite your tongue, to refrain from training, to mind your own business- just shut up and ride. To lease is to always remember that the horse you are riding is not your own and to respect the owners wishes. To doing things their way and having to always stress over just what their way is. Leasing is not being able to discipline, to not ride as long or as often as you see fit...
Leasing is like driving your mother-in-laws car... you have to remember just how the seat was petitioned, to park at the back of the lot, to wash it before you drive it back, to not drink or eat for fear of dropping a crumb and to expect that, no matter how consciencious you were, if there is even the smallest scratch to paint that she didnt notice before you left, you will be held to blame! And there will be hell to pay!
That is leasing a horse.I just want to ride.
I dont want to lease. Or to buy. But I want horses in my life.
And to make things worse, I feel guilty for it. Maybe because for me having horses has always been about the my emotional attachment to an individual, my deep rooted commitment to providing for their mental and physical well being and to the process of developing a better animal. Riding has always been, for me, a byproduct of horse ownership- a reward for having succeeded in meeting my horses needs.
I do not ride my horse if he has not been fed. If he is sore. If he is wet or cold. If he is in need of shoeing. I do not ride my horse if his condition or the condition of his environment is poor. I do not ride if his stall needs cleaned, if hay needs hauled out or a fence needs fixing. I do not ride if I do not have time to put him away dry, cool,and clean. The responsibility of providing for my horse has always has come before the ride. The ride has always been the reward.
More on this next post....