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  1. #1

    Default When you just can't do it anymore...UPDATE POST #24

    Sorry...this is going to be a bit of a depressing post. I am a young adult and have been paying for my one horse for the last few years since taking the expenses over from my parents. I'm able to make the payments on my current income, but that's about it. I have no money left over to save for a house, rent, or any other grown up expenses outside of owning a horse. It's starting to wear on me, and I'm beginning to wonder at one point does keeping my horse through my young adulthood become a foolish decision for my future?

    I have a college degree and a good career path ahead of me, but currently am "paying my dues" in my entry level position with a good company. SO is finishing up his post-secondary and will probably also make good money...but not for a few years.

    My frustration with constantly having all of my income going towards my horse is really getting to me, but at the same time, I have a very nice horse that I've had lots of success with and replacing him would be very very hard, if not impossible. But then the rational, frugal me chimes in again and says, hey. This horse will never be worth more than it is worth right now...this is your window of opportunity. He's 12 next year, so it's kind of do or die time if I want to think about selling vs. keeping.

    So essentially, to put an end to my rambling, this is how I see my life panning out based on my decisions.

    1) I sell said horse, make decent money on the sale, live a normal non-horsey life for a while, become completely miserable and want to get back into it, but now have no nice horse and hate myself for selling him.

    2) I sell said horse, make decent money, live a normal non-horsey life and never look back (okay, maybe I'd still catch ride a bit and ride some horses for fun).

    3) I keep said horse, struggle through the financial strain, and in a few years and a few raises later am back enjoying life with my nice horse and am financially comfortable.

    4) I keep said horse, finances don't improve, have 15 year old horse that I still have to sell and that sells for nothing, kick myself for not just following through earlier.

    Note: I am not in any sort of giant financial trouble or anything - I have no major debt or student loans or anything like that to pay off. I am just tired of never being able to have a savings and feel like the responsible thing to do at this point in my life is to give up the horsey thing and establish myself as an adult.

    I love riding and I love my horse, but every so often I think about how nice it would be to not have such a big time and financial commitment on my plate. Any advice is appreciated...I'm maybe not looking for an ultimatum as much as just a chance to vent...
    Last edited by Hello, I'm An Alter!; Dec. 4, 2012 at 07:46 PM.



  2. #2
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    Have you ever though about half leasing? Other wise I would probably side with selling. There are a lot of nice horses out there and when you have the finances to afford one you just have to go looking.



  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Forthright Farm View Post
    Have you ever though about half leasing? Other wise I would probably side with selling. There are a lot of nice horses out there and when you have the finances to afford one you just have to go looking.
    I had a half leaser previously, but haven't been able to find a suitable one in barn for the last year or so.



  4. #4
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    Sell the horse; or find a full-lease. You need to think beyond the horse now, and be a grown up. I'm not trying to be rude, but you need a "dope slap". Horses will come and go in your life. You need to worry about the human aspect of your life now. Work, home, SO, savings--you know, the things everyone should concern themselves with. Horses are for your expendable income. Sounds like you really can't afford a horse, at this point in your life. Sucks, don't it!?
    Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!


    3 members found this post helpful.

  5. #5
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    I think there are other alternatives too...

    5) Keep horse, move him to a less fancy barn, don't show and spend money on superflous horse expenses for a couple of years but keep enjoying your horse.

    6) Lease horse, make some money off leasing him for a few years, taking him back and hopefully be in a better situation to ride/enjoy/show him.
    ~Veronica
    "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Calvincrowe View Post
    Sell the horse; or find a full-lease. You need to think beyond the horse now, and be a grown up. I'm not trying to be rude, but you need a "dope slap". Horses will come and go in your life. You need to worry about the human aspect of your life now. Work, home, SO, savings--you know, the things everyone should concern themselves with. Horses are for your expendable income. Sounds like you really can't afford a horse, at this point in your life. Sucks, don't it!?
    It does suck, but I'm coming to terms with it. I realize that I need to be focusing on other aspects of my life, which is what prompted this post. I'm just trying to minimize regret and get some input from others rather than just going back and forth in my own mind.


    2 members found this post helpful.

  7. #7
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    Without personally knowing you or the horse it's hard to give you the perfect answer. But from what you have said, I would sell. You don't know how long it will take to sell your horse, so just because you make that decision tonight doesn't mean you will be without a horse tomorrow. Also, because you sell doesn't mean you will have to live a "non-horsey" life. The difference between owning a nice horse and half-leasing something is large enough that I think you would see a significant financial relief without completely giving up riding until you are ready for another horse. Of course, this all comes assuming there would be a half-lease available for you.
    There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the
    inside of a man.

    -Sir Winston Churchill



  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by vxf111 View Post
    I think there are other alternatives too...

    5) Keep horse, move him to a less fancy barn, don't show and spend money on superflous horse expenses for a couple of years but keep enjoying your horse.


    6) Lease horse, make some money off leasing him for a few years, taking him back and hopefully be in a better situation to ride/enjoy/show him.
    Thanks for the suggestions. Options to keep in mind for sure. He's done all the equitation, so an out of barn lease might be a viable option.



  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by woodhillsmanhattan View Post
    Without personally knowing you or the horse it's hard to give you the perfect answer. But from what you have said, I would sell. You don't know how long it will take to sell your horse, so just because you make that decision tonight doesn't mean you will be without a horse tomorrow. Also, because you sell doesn't mean you will have to live a "non-horsey" life. The difference between owning a nice horse and half-leasing something is large enough that I think you would see a significant financial relief without completely giving up riding until you are ready for another horse. Of course, this all comes assuming there would be a half-lease available for you.
    Thanks for the advice. I think if I was to sell this horse, I would rather just take a break than "down-grade" and half lease. It sounds spoiled and ungrateful, but my current horse is so nice, that I don't think I'd enjoy riding as much if I was just plodding around for fun on a half-lease. Of course there are really nice horses out there that come along to be half leased, but the majority of the time, what you find is a solid 3' campaigner that will let you have fun, but will never really be competitive.

    I think right now, knowing the person that I am, it's going to have to be an all or nothing type thing. Keep nice horse and find a way to make it work, or sell nice horse, take a break and wait until I can afford the level of riding that I am used to and want to do.



  10. #10
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    I pretty much ditto Vxf111,
    and would add -option 3: sell horse, but continue to take lessons, ride a friend's or boarder's horse so you can continue to ride.

    My feeling is this - how important is your horse and riding to you right now? Do you enjoy going to ride or are you interested in doing other things more than a trip to the barn. When I was your age I leased a horse and rode about 3-4 times a week - I loved it! I also had a ridiculous lease deal which helped.

    I think it's wonderful that you are thinking of your financial future; but the experience I have with friends who've decided to sell their horses for similar reasons - they've either never gone back to riding or it's been a long long time for them to get back in the saddle (usually marriage and kids) - the thing is once you have that budget for the horse it just continues, but once you have that extra money in your wallet it's much harder to put it back towards the expense of owning a horse. Best of luck to you.


    2 members found this post helpful.

  11. #11
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    Sell your horse to bring along another rider and enjoy a break from the stress. You can find rides that will at least satisfy some horse cravings. Having been there and done that and gone without anything to ride b/c the geriatrics were taking all the income standing in the pasture (yes I loved them but it was so hard to pay tons of money to keep up horses and have nothing to ride). I think it was George who once said something like horses are like street cars - another will come along. It's difficult but if I could go back and re-do it... Best of luck to you as you figure this out.



  12. #12
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    Dec. 4, 2012
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    Thanks everyone for the awesome advice. It doesn't bother me too much that sometimes it takes a long time to get back into horses. My parents were able to support my horse habit at a very high level, and because of that, I really only want to get back into it if and when I can enjoy it to the fullest extent that I, well, enjoy.

    Of course I would love to hack some horses for friends, which I'm sure they will let me do if I make myself available, but if I'm going to be paying for it out of my pocket on a regular basis, I want it to be on terms that I like, not just what I can afford at the time. Riding twice a week on a schoolie that I'm paying for would probably make me pretty miserable vs. just not riding on a regular basis, taking time away to live a normal life and coming back if and when I can afford to be competitive and own a nice horse again without mega financial stress.



  13. #13
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    OP-- you certainly sound like you are getting information to help with a tough decision. Lots of good options posted here--you don't have to own a horse to enjoy them. They are a money suck, aren't they!?! I board one to keep my old guy with me at home, and pay $$$ that I should probably be chucking into investments to retire on, but my SO says horses are cheaper than therapy for me...and for him! I put aside horses for a while when I was getting my own career going, and have been able to enjoy ownership of a good packer and a bit of showing, now that I'm in my 40's. I hope you find a good solution. You seem pretty smart for your young age
    Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!



  14. #14
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    Been there, done that.

    I bred my horse the year after I finished college with a master's degree. I was in my 20s, working and broke, then in more grad school and broke and busy.

    And then there was my only "son." I dug him at the time, but 20 years later and semi-retired, teaching little kids to ride? I'd like out, but too bad.

    The way I see it, this horse made my financial life into what it would have been had I had children. But it was easier: I could more easily drag this horse to grad school with me... I paid into him less time than I would have a kid. I probably put in the same money I would have, had I been saving to send a human child to college.

    Look, if you aren't going to have kids until you have a partner and second income....you have a nice horse now that you won't get again, I say hang on and enjoy the time you have with him. If you aren't being a complete douchebag with frivolous consumer debt, driving too much car, living in too much house or apartment, then spend your money this way for now if it gives you supreme joy.

    After all, people having kids they can't afford at your age are doing the same thing. Six of one, half a dozen of another, IMO. But also, I think it's a very good idea for grown-up type people to have a phase of their life where 1) They are poor and learn how to be ok with that; and 2) Get to make their own somewhat risky decisions about how to spend their money. After all, the stakes are relatively low right now. Try going nuts and wishing you could throw caution to the wind later when you are more encumbered with family, a mortgage and school-district considerations. Or try imagining the boring obituary that only reads, "Hello, I'm an Alter never made a mistake."
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat


    6 members found this post helpful.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hello, I'm An Alter! View Post
    Thanks for the advice. I think if I was to sell this horse, I would rather just take a break than "down-grade" and half lease. It sounds spoiled and ungrateful, but my current horse is so nice, that I don't think I'd enjoy riding as much if I was just plodding around for fun on a half-lease. Of course there are really nice horses out there that come along to be half leased, but the majority of the time, what you find is a solid 3' campaigner that will let you have fun, but will never really be competitive.

    I think right now, knowing the person that I am, it's going to have to be an all or nothing type thing. Keep nice horse and find a way to make it work, or sell nice horse, take a break and wait until I can afford the level of riding that I am used to and want to do.
    You sound like you're a good rider. How bout the compromise solution of half leasing a greenie or otherwise helping someone to bring one along? Although you won't be as competitive, it will provide you with a challenge and can be very fun and rewarding...



  16. #16
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    If you trained your horse up through the grades, you will always have the skill to start another youngster, either now or later. Your current horse is 12 - so from now on its value is far more likely to fall than rise. And, being a horse, it could be in wreck tomorrow ... Selling seems like the sensible, if tough option and might provide a useful financial boost at a time in your life when it would be useful. Remember, out there are thousands of horses just waiting for you to ride them and another great horse might come into your life in the future.

    A way to stay in touch without a horse is to become involved in the volunteer side of showing, or even train to become a judge... Horses are one of lifes great pleasures and really should not be a burden.



  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hello, I'm An Alter! View Post
    Thanks everyone for the awesome advice. It doesn't bother me too much that sometimes it takes a long time to get back into horses. My parents were able to support my horse habit at a very high level, and because of that, I really only want to get back into it if and when I can enjoy it to the fullest extent that I, well, enjoy.
    OP, it sounds like you've made your decision and I do think the right thing is to sell your horse. Spend some time making some good investments with money that you wouldn't have if you kept him. Maybe in a few years you'll get back into riding with your own horse again, or maybe you'll have married and started a family which will require you to make a whole new set of priorities. Horses are a luxury and they should take a back seat in favor of mature financial decisions.
    "Can you imagine what I would do if I could do all I can?" Sun Tzu, The Art of War
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Calvincrowe View Post
    Sell the horse; or find a full-lease. You need to think beyond the horse now, and be a grown up. I'm not trying to be rude, but you need a "dope slap". Horses will come and go in your life. You need to worry about the human aspect of your life now. Work, home, SO, savings--you know, the things everyone should concern themselves with. Horses are for your expendable income. Sounds like you really can't afford a horse, at this point in your life. Sucks, don't it!?
    Actually, I think the OP has already demonstrated that she's a "grown up" by even starting this thread. No "dope slap" needed. Geesh - now that WAS rude.

    And frankly, your post reeks of thinking of the horse simply as a commodity. Has it occurred to anyone that the OP might actually - gasp - be attached to this horse as a companion & not just as a show machine? Perhaps this horse is part of the "human aspect" of her life. I know my horses are part of mine. And she specifically states that she's not in dire financial need at the moment - just looking towards the future.

    I agree with the poster (2bayboys?) who said to hang on for now & enjoy the horse. With all due respect to the posters who say "there's always another great horse right around the corner" - you can't guarantee that, & frequently there's not. At least not like the one you got rid of when you didn't have to.

    Look for a full or half lease if you must, but I wouldn't be so quick to sell this horse down the pike asap unless you find that you really don't have a serious attachment to it after all.


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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2bayboys View Post
    OP, it sounds like you've made your decision and I do think the right thing is to sell your horse. Spend some time making some good investments with money that you wouldn't have if you kept him. Maybe in a few years you'll get back into riding with your own horse again, or maybe you'll have married and started a family which will require you to make a whole new set of priorities. Horses are a luxury and they should take a back seat in favor of mature financial decisions.
    I went through this same internal debate a few years ago, as I was getting into my early thirties and was spending quite a bit on the riding hobby, and I did (unlike you) and still do have SL debt from law school. I chose to downgrade by riding by half-leasing a horse, and not showing. It worked very nicely for me for several years. Then the economy sunk, I took a pay cut at work and I also was realizing how much of my personal life/social life I was spending at the barn.

    I still love to ride, but now lessons once a week and the occasional hack are what I can fit into my life. And I am OK with that. Horses can be a life long hobby, so I can always intensify riding again one day.
    "Horses give us the wings we lack"



  20. #20
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    You have another 50-ish years of riding life left in you. Getting your feet firmly planted in the adult world with a stable financial future will advance your horse life more than scraping along now. There is also benefit to beig without a horse for awhile to help give you perspective on their place in your life. Good luck!


    2 members found this post helpful.

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