After today's lesson, I was left feeling a little...contemplative.
Yesterday I was writing a new post about being more dedicated to the sport and to riding. Specifically, to dressage on a competitive level.
I asked W today what she thought was a good price for a used Isabell. She responded that for the clearout prices, why not just get new?
I must say at that moment, I was a little embarrassed. I felt like the poor kid. The kid who can't afford a fancy new saddle, even if it WAS on sale. Thankfully, my embarrassment was forgotten during the lesson, and returned to my thoughts as I was driving home.
I was thinking about how I'll be the kid in the tie-stall, where all the other horses are in lavish box stalls. The kid with only one turnout blanket, so Moon goes naked if it needs a wash. The person who can't afford to go to the fancy clinics, and who's horse has brown stirrups on a black saddle. Who has an old pair of paddock boots and no fancy winter riding gloves.
Then I asked myself why the heck it mattered? Was I trying to impress anyone? Did I need a fancy brand or new gear? Was that my purpose here?
Realistically, I want something that's more comfortable for Moon and I. That assists our progression. Whether that's a brand new saddle or a used one, as long as it's in good condition, it doesn't make a difference. Truth is, 6 months from now, the new saddle will look just like anything I could buy used.
Some people would say it's just a few hundred dollars. It should be true. I have a great permanent job and make a decent living. Unfortunately, I realised I can't dedicate myself financially to dressage.
Because the very reason I am where I am with Moon, is because I've never, and likely can never, make horse's my number 1 priority financially speaking.
And THAT may be what's gotten away from me lately.
The truth is, more then anything I want to build in the country, and have a space for my horses on my own land. That inhales a whopping $1200 a month at the moment, without even adding in the costs of actually DOING something to the land.
I've always dreamed of getting my Master's degree, and have finally found a field that I have a passion for. This year is the start of that experiment, and required $1200 for this term, and about $2000 for next term.
Add in the day to day expenses, and there's not a whole lot left to spare. What there is, I've decided it's best put towards our riding education, NOT a lot of fancy tack. Which means that I have my lesson fees and the cost of Moon's board. And then there's just pennies left over.
Could I give up some of my other priorities to focus on buying a pretty new saddle? Sure. But is it worth giving up a higher education, a beautiful country home and acreage? No. Gear will, gear must, always come second. Yes, someday's it will leave me feeling like the poor kid. Care to notice that I wear the same pair of breeches to every lesson? Guess what. I only own one pair, and haven't had the spare cash to buy a second pair.
Today, I've realised that I'm dedicating myself to the sport, but I'm not making funding it my priority. Besides a new saddle, I'll get a girth that makes it useable. Everything else will just have to be. I have everything I need to get by, and the RIDING is more important then all the fancy gear in the world.
Yes, I am a financially restricted rider. But you know what? It doesn't make me any less of a horse person.