I have now owned Gracie for 2 whole weeks and have honestly felt quite euphoric most of the time. But there are times when I worry and I worry about EVERYTHING! I thought I would share the 7 worries I think we ALL share as new horse owners.
The Burden of Responsibility
I have owned horses before, but not for a long time and not since I was a teenager. I remember even as a 12 year old. The day I bought my first pony with money my gramps had saved for me. That feeling. The feeling of ‘whoa’ this massive animal is now completely my responsibility. I hope I know what I am doing. Yeah that feeling crept in again this time with Gracie. I think for me it only happens briefly and actually when you think about it the responsibility is a good thing. I get to decide what happens to Gracie now. What care she receives and I will make sure it will be the best life a horse can have!
The Financial Kick in The Gut
The last time around this really wasn’t a concern of mine. I was young and totally naive to how much things cost. My parents paid and now I look back I realise how very lucky I was.
This time I had a very small budget for actually buying a horse. I knew we could afford the monthly costs. But the big upfront sum to actually buy the horse was another story. Part of the reason I decided to buy Gracie was that she is lovely. But also as lightly back youngster who needed all of her training still she was cheap! So we bought her and all was well.
But then there is all the stuff. I didn’t even have my own grooming kit! I have been sharing other people’s horses for the last 15 years. No horse stuff other than riding gear. So Gracie needs brushes, tack, rugs, boots and obviously a Lemieux saddle pad. She also needed vetting, the dentist and the saddle fitter to see her before I started riding her to make sure she was ready to be ridden. All these things aren’t free! It started out fun buying all new lovely stuff but even I started panicking after every purchase! One good thing about being in lockdown is at least I am not going out spending my money anywhere else.
The Fear of Judgement
Urgh this is just the worst! I don’t really care what anyone thinks of me or so I thought. But when I bring Gracie in and everyone is watching us. I suddenly feel like everyone is scrutinising our every move. As a bit of background you should know, I bought Gracie from our yard owner. (The yard where Mya and Smartie are). Gracie was a foal that was born there 4 years ago when one of the liveries arrived unexpectedly pregnant. The owner didn’t want to keep the foal. So the yard owners did and Gracie has lived happily in the field there since.
So my point is everyone at the yard knows Gracie. They know her as the foal they drive past in the field every time they arrive at the stables. Not as the now mature horse who is ready to be ridden. So of course everyone is very keen to see what she is actually like. But I still feel like everyone is watching me to see what I am like with her, which is probably not the case at all.
Everyone Has An Opinion
Leading nicely on from the last point, I’ve found if you ask too many questions you receive very different answers! I am certain that everyone wants to help but it can be tough when each person you know gives their opinion on what you should do with your new young horse. This has taught me something very quickly. In fact it is MY decision what I do with Gracie now. I have a few good friends that I value the opinions of greatly. Because that I have real comfort in knowing I can ask them for advice at any time and they will give me good sensible sound advice. But ultimately it is ME who has to decide what to do. After many years of riding other people’s horses, I’ve had many years of just doing what the owner wants. Now I realise that the person that makes the decisions is me!
Am I Doing What is Best For My Horse?
Being the decision maker is liberating and frightening at the same time and I will always choose what is best for my horse. However when that isn’t clear it can be hard. As Gracie is on livery at the lovely yard I know already she is fed and watered each day regardless if I am there or not. I worry I don’t go down enough to see her, I worry that I should be sending her away to be backed properly like I had planned with my instructor, I worry someone else should have bought her that has experience with young horses. The list goes on and you get the idea.
But when I think calmly about this Gracie has a lovely life. She is happy in her field with Comete when I am not there and she enjoys the attention when I am there. My work is quite changeable as I work with children and old people, so my schedule changes regularly depending on who I look after. For example my summer months are very quiet, so I will be able to spend far more time at the stables then. Now I have lots of work that doesn’t allow me to finish work before dark most evenings. So I need to work now to have money for when there is less work. If you see where I am going with this!
But my point to this is Gracie is a horse and she doesn’t care about any of this. We can only do our best for our horses and her care is top knotch regardless of whether I am there everyday or not and that is the most important thing!
Plan and Change Those Plans!
I had plans for Gracie to go to my coaches yard for a month. But then after I realised how much her old owner had been riding her I thought I would delay that so I can assess actually what she needs to learn. As that is a lot of money for her to go to be ‘backed’ for a horse that actually has already been backed. However this is a long and continuous process which may change depending on how the next month or so goes with Gracie.
Also hello lockdown 2.0! This luckily hasn’t gummed up the works too much. But I need to be a bit more careful than I would be normally if I am to start riding Gracie. As our hospitals are saturated with people poorly from the pandemic, this probably isn’t the best time for me to start hacking my 4 year old! Again something that will be closely considered and of course when she is able my coach will come and see Gracie and give me her advice on what she thinks is best for her too.
As a rule of thumb I suppose we have to always be open for our plans to change with horses!
I Literally Have No Time to Do Anything Else Anymore.
This is a funny one. As I don’t want to do anything else other than go see Gracie. I also spend all my time thinking and organising what I need to do for Gracie! I am just finding I am exhausted and feel like I no longer have ‘spare’ time. It’s all work or Gracie time! But I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Welcome to the world of horse ownership it’s tiring, expensive and you have no time to do anything but we all bl**dy love it!!