Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Making the 'right' stride

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.

1 comment:

  1. Don't be so hard on yourself! :) I think most of us are in a similar situation. I would love love love a new saddle (I've even thought about the Wintec Isabell Werth!) but it's just not a priority right now. I've gone through thoughts similar in the past. "OMG I will be a much better rider if I have this." "Or I will ride much more often if I have this." Most of the time that's not the case. The thing that has changed my riding for the good has been to move Grayson to a place where I'm comfortable working him. A place that I don't feel like I'm being glared at because I'm a clicker trainer or because I always have and probably always will ride bitless.

    I know all the horse bloggers love their horses but your love for Moon is like nothing else. You would give him the uh... Moon? ha ha! You want him to be comfortable, happy and healthy. I love that and your approach to owning a horse.

    Don't worry about all the "stuff" that you wont have at the new barn. You may not even need it. Just be the happy go lucky, horse obsessed person that you are and I bet people will envy you and your relationship with your pony :)