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Totally re-figuring the horse thing out due to finances...

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  • #41
    I bought my first horse while in college and have been supporting her independently ever since. I went to a high end engineering school full time and worked full time waitressing. It was hard but worth it. I took out a 5k student loan to pay for a emergency vet bill even. That animal is the only thing that kept me sane. I understand where you are coming from and wanted to let you know you can do it. Leasing your horse out your first term may be a good idea, however. Also wanted to drop in this advice: engineering, math or computer programming are the way to go. Lots of jobs out there and good pay, really the only ones IMO worth taking a loan out for. You could also do ROTC and join the service as an officer after you graduate. I know many air force and army bases have stables. Just a thought...

    Comment


    • #42
      I WISH my parents/grandparents bought me a horse and paid my board until I was 17. Step back and look at the bigger picture, maybe you don't appreciate anything they do for you versus nothing you do is good enough for them.

      Life is not over. Sell the horse, for the sake of the horse if you cannot afford it. Or move it somewhere cheap. Stop showing. And you mentioned somewhere that you may have to take care of your grandmother? I don't see why you can't AND go to school (full time student spends about 15 hours a week in class). She's paid $7200/year for you and your horse for who knows how long.

      Oh, and how bad would you feel if your mare got hurt and you couldn't come up with the money to help her? Something you need the money for THAT DAY, not tomorrow? I don't think it's wise to own horses on a thin budget.

      Comment


      • #43
        You are in a tough situation, no doubt. I have one overriding thought: you must not drop out of college, whatever you do. Whatever short term sacrifices you make now will pay off in the end. But graduating from a good college with a degree is paramount. That should be your primary focus and goal.

        A college degree will set you up to earn the kind of living that will:

        1) let you make choices about where and how you live
        2) let you afford a horse
        3) let you live independently from negative family members
        4) let you afford quality medical/emotional care and medication as necessary

        I am so glad you're going to university. Please don't think of quitting.

        All my best and good, good thoughts to you!

        Comment


        • #44
          Being an adult stinks. It was hard to be responsible for myself and everything in the beginning (still is!), but as was said above, you really develop confidence and self-esteem for being resourceful. You are clearly a smart cookie if you were valedictorian. It will be a puzzle you need to develop in order to take care of your priorities (horse, school), and trim all of the fringe (dinners out, fancy cell phones, shows, etc.). If you really want it, you will find a way to make it work.

          Could you go to a community college? I work at one, and the financial aid and scholarships available to students is amazing. The education is equivalent or better than a 4-year because the faculty truly care about your success as a student.

          Comment


          • #45
            I'd say:
            1) Sell the horse- keep the money in a bank account for emergencies only.
            2) Live at home, get a job and save as much of your paycheck as you can.
            3) Go to college, go to class, graduate and get a well-paying job.
            4) Once you're on your feet, go lease/buy a new horse when you can afford it!

            One thing to think about: One 'credit' at my school equalled out to ~ $1000. Most classes are 3 credits, so thats ~ $15,000 a SEMESTER.
            The community colleges near me (which are VERY nice) one class is ~$90. So one semester is $450.
            My parents were kind enough to pay for half of my education (the other half was a mix of athletic and academic scholarships), but had I known how much they could have saved, it would've been off to Commuinty College for me!

            You don't need a horse to be your therapist, and when you're in college- they're FREE! And usually much less of a time commitment!

            Comment


            • #46
              Originally posted by englishcowgirl View Post
              I went to a high end engineering school full time
              Same here.

              It was hard but worth it.
              Yes!

              That animal is the only thing that kept me sane.
              My experience as well.

              Also wanted to drop in this advice: engineering, math or computer programming are the way to go. Lots of jobs out there and good pay, really the only ones IMO worth taking a loan out for.
              SO TRUE! I also wanted to add that the outlook for engineering jobs in the next 5-10 years is VERY good. The babyboomers are retiring and there are just simply not enough engineers graduating to fill the gaps, so the ones that are, will have a lot of jobs to choose from here in a bit. Some people will say not really because companies will outsource and that is true to a point. The military and defense programs can't really be outsourced to those will stay in the US.
              "Be the change you want to see in the world."
              ~Mahatma Gandhi

              Comment


              • #47
                Originally posted by DancingArabian View Post
                To even try keeping the horse you have to cut things out. Lessons and shows are out. You have to find a cheaper place to board.

                You need a job. Or at least income to pay for the horse and whatever else.

                Is the mare well schooled? You might be able to part lease her.
                Where there is a will, there is a way.
                I struggled and managed to keep my ponies in my life despite my family really not approving. Horses are my therapy and I have given up much in life to have them.
                I lived at home, self-care boarded, had a full-time job with benefits.
                I worked overtime and weekends when possible.
                I never had steady lessons and rarely showed.
                I gave up anything fancy, a social life (too tired for that!!) and had little free time.
                I won't tell you to give up because I didn't.
                Proud to have two Takaupa Gold line POAs!
                Takaupas Top Gold
                Gifts Black Gold Knight

                Comment


                • #48
                  I'm sorry that you're having to struggle with all of this. I definitely leaned on my mare while dealing with my cancer diagnosis so I understand the comfort you can find at the barn. The honest truth is that your situation stinks. I wish every kid growing up could have great, supportive parents but that's not how it works.

                  I think you'll probably have to lease or sell your mare. It's hard but it sounds like you have a solid relationship with your trainer and they'll help you to find the right place for her, maybe even keep her in the barn. I know how tough it will be but I'd worry about the stress of supporting her while trying to get through school. That's an incredible burden to bear on your own.

                  You won't lose your barn family if you have to sell your horse. Engage them and ask them to help you brain storm ideas to deal with your situation. People will step up for you if you reach out and let them. The adults at your barn likely have business trips and commitments outside the barn. They might love to have you ride their horse while they are busy elsewhere. I have a recent college grad who rides my guys once a week and more often when I travel. She can ride our trainer's fancy sale horses in lessons but has mine to love on, trail ride & putter around with. That might be a good solution for you too.

                  See if you can keep working at the barn. Can you find people you can housesit/petsit for? That's a great way to pick up extra $ in between a traditional job & school schedule. Ask the adults at your barn if they have any other ideas about how you can get earning & keep doing it in school. There are some things like babysitting to cover gaps between parents work schedule and kids bus schedule or picking up & dropping off from kids after school activities that could fit into your school schedule.

                  Reach out to your university. They have all sorts of resources for students who are funding their own college education and can help you navigate those. Some of those resources may require proof of financial independence so you need to get on that right away to get any documents, etc. in place. Equally important, they have a lot of counseling resources available to help students deal with all the stress of starting a new chapter in their lives. A lot of your peers will be facing similar challenges. Finding them may help you.

                  Health insurance? Are you still on mom's and can you stay on it? If not, what do you need to do to get some level of coverage through your university. Make sure that you don't do anything that will leave you uncovered.

                  Find out from your university how many credits you can transfer in from another institution. Shop around for low cost credits at a community college, online program etc, that your university will accept. Even a semester worth of savings will be huge! If you're enrolled full time, I think you pay the same amount no matter how many credits you're taking. Don't kill yourself but maybe try to take 16 or 17 credits per semester instead of 12-15. Even a phys ed class that counts toward your degree can get you to graduation a bit faster. If you could get your degree 3 years at your university plus transfer credits , that's a huge savings!

                  I'd stay open to the possibility of student loans but understand what you're getting into. Calculate the payments you'll be carrying after graduation. Look into AmeriCorps, Peace Corps or Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA). All of them have student loan forgiveness programs if you're willing to work for them for a couple of years after school.

                  Good luck & stay strong!

                  Comment


                  • #49
                    I have two kids in college. My advice, get someone else to pay for the horse for the next 4 years.

                    As for paying for school, sometimes private schools will give you sweeter financial aid packages than the public ones. It is too late for this fall, but you might consider transferring to a private college with a good financial aid package. Some schools will even package you without loans. Contact your school financial aid office and tell them that your situation has changed. They may be able to re-package your aid for this year. Do it ASAP. Ask them how to get yourself declared financially independent if necessary.

                    Good luck! It is doable.

                    Comment


                    • #50
                      I chose an alternate route. Days after graduation, my horse and I moved several hours from my family's home so that I could be a working student, and for the first time, be in a regular lesson regime and ride fantastic horses every day. I simply wasn't ready to put my equestrian aspirations on hold indefinitely, and without the financial support of my family, I couldn't envision another way to keep my mare, and that was and still is my priority.

                      I am now several years beyond that experience with a good job in healthcare which affords me a nice apartment, two horses, and a full summer show schedule while I work toward a degree in biology, after which I intend to apply for PA school.

                      My path certainly isn't appropriate for everybody. If you have any doubt about whether or not you'll return to school if you take a gap year or two, go NOW! That was not a concern of mine, however, and I have taken invaluable insight away from my "adult time" in the "real world". You have many options on the table, perhaps even more than you're aware of. Consider them all, and don't fall into the trap that I've seen so many of my friends get caught in, thinking that every good student must immediately enter a four year degree program after high school graduation. Many of my friends who were excellent high school students are still in school for their 5th or 6th years, accumulating more and more debt, several major-changes later, and still not confidently headed in any particular direction.

                      Comment


                      • #51
                        A little surprised more attention has not been paid the the fact the 600 for board is being diverted to grandmas meds?

                        Given this information, maybe counting on living at home rent free for the foreseeable future while trying to structure keeping the horse based on no living expenses.? Might not be a great idea.

                        Her health is likely to deteriorate further and could create a financial burden for your mom resulting in the house being sold and you really getting cut off and not just from horse support. Caring for aging parents is a huge financial drain on your mothers generation.

                        If grandmas health is going to continue to get worse and/or procedures are required in addition to the meds? Your mom may have to downsize to an apartment and you may have to go. Happened to me- my dad died after running up considerable medical bills. The horse was the absolute last thing on anybody's list, right behind free room and board for me.

                        I think you need to consider the situation here much more carefully and consider the consequences of increasing medical costs before deciding you want to live at home and keep the horse. Things change, never assume they will always be as they are.
                        When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                        The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                        Comment


                        • #52
                          Originally posted by findeight View Post
                          A little surprised more attention has not been paid the the fact the 600 for board is being diverted to grandmas meds?

                          Given this information, maybe counting on living at home rent free for the foreseeable future while trying to structure keeping the horse based on no living expenses.? Might not be a great idea.

                          Her health is likely to deteriorate further and could create a financial burden for your mom resulting in the house being sold and you really getting cut off and not just from horse support. Caring for aging parents is a huge financial drain on your mothers generation.
                          Financial drain on mom possibly, but also a worry for OP's future:
                          I want to go to university, but there is this possibility that I may have to take care of my grandmother instead or get kicked out of the house totally (my mother initially said I had to live at home while going to school to save money) and have to find an apartment, and then I will have to pay my own rent on top of everything.
                          I know I sound like an a-hole to some people, but I would not put my future in potential jeopardy to take care of an aging relative. The world is not as it once was, where women stayed at home, were financially supported by husbands, families were larger and lived more multi-generationally together, etc. I'm single with a great career, which I got through a LOT of schooling - my present would be drastically different if I was forced to drop out of university to take care of my grandma, for ex. Nor would I interrupt my career to become a caregiver should something happen to my parents, whom I dearly love, but for whom I should not have to sacrifice my life and aspirations.
                          Proud Member Of The Lady Mafia

                          Comment


                          • #53
                            Originally posted by Fairview Horse Center

                            Your depression will solve/cure over time because you gain confidence at taking care of your self, and your horse, have successes creating and implementing your own financial plan, and taking control of your life, and learning to do more and more things for yourself - change your own oil, minor home repairs, do your own blanket repairs & cleaning, etc.
                            Very respectfully, I disagree.

                            I am 37 this year and have dealt with clinical depression since high school. I have 7 years left on my house mortgage, no other debt, and have done it all myself. I am what most people would consider uber-capable, the very definition of independent success.

                            The depression has not solved/cured itself.

                            It is managed, but it is always there. I expect it always will be.

                            OP, I feel for you. If I were in your shoes I would feel a bit shocked and like the rug has been pulled out from under me. You seem very logical and are clearly intelligent, and you've put a lot of thought into the situation - you can still think rationally. This speaks volumes, particularly in relation to depression.

                            If it were me, I think I would do the following:
                            - Try to lease/free lease your horse to get out from under the ongoing expenses. If you must, sell or donate her.
                            - Investigate private colleges that may have large endowments and available grants for top students. I finished school with just over $10k in student loans from a top private school - my dad didn't have much money so the expected family contribution was low. Most of my education (including room and board) was paid for with grants and scholarships.
                            - If nothing pans out with a private school, investigate community colleges for your first couple years.
                            - Find a way to stay involved with horses during school if you have to sell. I rode a crazy Arab owned by my dorm's custodian to get my fix and worked at a horse camp during the summers.
                            - Expect to work through school, and find every opportunity to make additional money.
                            - As others have said, get a degree in something that will make you employable. I chose economics, and it's worked well for me.

                            Contrary to what some others have said, I would take this opportunity to move out of the house. You do need to establish yourself as an independent adult, and living with an alcoholic parent is not good for you. Roommates and a shared apartment can be great, or an affordable studio or one-bedroom apartment if you prefer to live alone.

                            Hang in there, and if you need a sympathetic ear shoot me a PM.

                            Comment


                            • #54
                              OP, as someone who has struggled with depression, let me start by saying this. While I too refer to my pony as my therapy, when it comes down to it, if your depression is severe enough that it is negatively effecting your ability to function normally when completing the tasks necessary in an average day, then you are definitely need of more therapy than a horse alone.

                              Although I was a few years older than you when it happened (my parents continued to help me pay expenses through the first two years of college - I worked off board, but they would contribute towards unexpected vet bills and paid the majority of my living expenses), I experienced a similar situation. My family's financial situation changed virtually overnight and it was no longer possible for them to contribute in the same way. Instead of worrying about paying for my horse's room and board, I was told I had to start being responsible for my own.

                              I can still remember how deeply sad that made me, but I found that if I focused on all the memories of all the support (financial and otherwise) that I had received for my riding and horse from my family I was able to stay a bit more positive. In fact, I found this was the first time I truly realized how much they had contributed and how wonderful they opportunities they worked so hard to provide me with were. I'm embarrassed to admit it now, but as a younger teen I occasionally felt that my parents weren't being supportive enough, especially in comparison to some of the kids who had had "horse show moms" I was so envious of.

                              In my situation, my TB ended up going out on a lease to a therapy barn. I was free to come visit him whenever and they even kindly included me in his exercise schedule so I still go to ride him one day per week. Once it was clear he needed to step down from the heavy work load of a lesson horse, a new friend of mine ended up wanting to lease him and the two of them ended up being such a match for each other that I ended up giving him to her after the first 6 months of that lease were great for everyone. He's in a great place and I have a wonderful friendship now that arose out of what was initially a really awful situation for me. Of course, I miss being the one being to feed him carrots everyday but even though I'm now able to be a horse owner again, it is clear to me that my friend provides a better situation for him and his specific needs than I could at this time, so I'm still extremely happy with the situation.

                              Not that my story is directly relevant - I just wanted to give you an example of how letting a much loved horse go can work out just fine. In the time I was horseless, I: spent much more time exploring other interests in college (including a life changing study abroad semester); went on a few dates and met the man who is now my fiance; had lots of time to do work, volunteer, etc.; worked as a working student in a new discipline for a summer; exercised horses for friends; groomed and galloped at the local racetrack and spent time training for and running races.

                              Your current situation sounds really tough - I don't say any of this to pretend that I know exactly what you are going through or that I have any of the answers. I just wanted to let you know that sometimes good things can arise from these crappy situations.

                              Comment


                              • #55
                                First, go to Alateen, please! I'm 23 with a 17 year old brother (I'm actually writing this at his graduation LOL), and I've put him in AlaTeen because for the past 4 years, my single mother has been a drunk, absent the last 2 years, and very sick/in the hospital for the past 6 months. I've seen how badly my brother struggled with it, I have an idea of what you're goin through. I go to Alanon myself, and it's really the best. It sounds so cliche, you don't think you need it, but it's very helpful.

                                Second, I highly suggest community college unless you have a full ride scholarship. Also next year do RA, you get free food/housing.

                                Third, see in the university has a barn, for instance I board through UCSB, and they subsidize most of our expenses (except repairs, manure hauling and feed), so board is SUPER cheap, very, VERY cheap. Pasture board around here is $350-$400, at the university barn, students gets $185 for a pen and 3 rings (dressage, jumping and one we use for barrels/poles.) If you're on the board (it's a club), you get free board. Explore options!!

                                Comment


                                • #56
                                  This is the closest thing to the advice I would give/listen to. I have never been valedictorian, or dealt with depression, and my family tries to be supportive. I have dealt with financial issues and grandparents with health problems. I'm also the mother of a college student and a recent college graduate....

                                  I'm sorry this is happening and it does suck! I don't care what all the posters who say you need to suck it up and stop feeling sorry for yourself say - it's normal to feel that way. It doesn't mean you're not grateful for what you've been given in the past. Who wouldn't want to find a way to continue to have those things?!

                                  Go to you barn family. Good luck. I know it's scary, (((hugs)))

                                  Originally posted by TrakHack View Post
                                  Very respectfully, I disagree.

                                  I am 37 this year and have dealt with clinical depression since high school. I have 7 years left on my house mortgage, no other debt, and have done it all myself. I am what most people would consider uber-capable, the very definition of independent success.

                                  The depression has not solved/cured itself.

                                  It is managed, but it is always there. I expect it always will be.

                                  OP, I feel for you. If I were in your shoes I would feel a bit shocked and like the rug has been pulled out from under me. You seem very logical and are clearly intelligent, and you've put a lot of thought into the situation - you can still think rationally. This speaks volumes, particularly in relation to depression.

                                  If it were me, I think I would do the following:
                                  - Try to lease/free lease your horse to get out from under the ongoing expenses. If you must, sell or donate her.
                                  - Investigate private colleges that may have large endowments and available grants for top students. I finished school with just over $10k in student loans from a top private school - my dad didn't have much money so the expected family contribution was low. Most of my education (including room and board) was paid for with grants and scholarships.
                                  - If nothing pans out with a private school, investigate community colleges for your first couple years.
                                  - Find a way to stay involved with horses during school if you have to sell. I rode a crazy Arab owned by my dorm's custodian to get my fix and worked at a horse camp during the summers.
                                  - Expect to work through school, and find every opportunity to make additional money.
                                  - As others have said, get a degree in something that will make you employable. I chose economics, and it's worked well for me.

                                  Contrary to what some others have said, I would take this opportunity to move out of the house. You do need to establish yourself as an independent adult, and living with an alcoholic parent is not good for you. Roommates and a shared apartment can be great, or an affordable studio or one-bedroom apartment if you prefer to live alone.

                                  Hang in there, and if you need a sympathetic ear shoot me a PM.
                                  Y'all ain't right!

                                  Comment


                                  • #57
                                    you could get a waitress job. the money is really good. "odd" jobs here and there won't pay for horse expenses

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #58
                                      Everyone who has posted here uncovers things I hadn't thought of... definitely glad I asked for the collective wisdom of COTH. Thank you all.

                                      After talking with a barn friend, I have a better idea of finances involved with taking on a horse on my own (she did it, and is willing to help me figure it out). The $600 isn't board alone, it is the approximate combined cost of all of my horse expenses and my expenses in a month plus a little extra. (So I can budget around $500 a month). I am going to explore part-time career options to see whether I need to sell, lease, part-lease, or just keep my horse. I board at the cheapest place locally already, as in yes, it is cheaper than the university equestrian center, so not much I can change there. Supplements will be re-evaluated and trimmed for now, thankfully I don't need anything at the moment so no immediate gear bills are looming. I show live stock to earn extra spending money, and I have a nice lamb right now that should get me enough for a decent-sized "rainy day fund" when she goes to auction at the end of the summer.

                                      Another friend turned me on to a possible job at a breeding farm just up the road, more of my non-horsey friends work in a restaurant down the street from my house and do pretty well there, and my barn friend said that she got through her undergrad with a competitive horse at Prelim by guiding river-rafting trips, so I'm also going to look into that.

                                      Loaning her to the Equestrian Center through the University is not an option... her value would be almost nothing by the time she got out, they are not very good to their horses and the trainer there is awful- we see him on the regular circuit and... just... no. No way would my trainer even let a horse go to him.

                                      With a decent road bike I could actually bike to the barn and to school from home, that would save me on gas/car wear and tear beyond the initial investment in the bike, so I am carefully looking into that avenue (I live/will attend school in a place where we have good weather for most of the year; school is a straight, flat 18 miles from my house, barn is on the way there).

                                      Alateen meetings actually might be helpful. Part of my resentment with my family definitely stems from the fact that since I can remember, my mother has been a drunk (which, as I grew older, I understood stemmed from pretty horrible abuse as a teen/young adult from her father and oldest brother). It feels like I have been raised by a shell of a person that wasn't/couldn't ever be there for me, and getting some help figuring that out sounds good right now, haha.

                                      Wow. Can anyone say disfunction junction? But: To those of you who are survivors: you are inspiring, and I hope that your efforts earn you double what you invested.

                                      Still interested in hearing your stories, everyone's feedback has proved valuable.

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                                      • #59
                                        Originally posted by hALTERplate View Post
                                        The $600 isn't board alone, it is the approximate combined cost of all of my horse expenses and my expenses in a month plus a little extra. (So I can budget around $500 a month). I am going to explore part-time career options to see whether I need to sell, lease, part-lease, or just keep my horse.
                                        Honestly if you could get your horse half-leased, you'd be laughing. If you got a serving job and made $75/night 4 nights a week, thats $1200 a month. Spend $300 of that on horse, $200 on you and $700 on student loan repayment.

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                                        • Original Poster

                                          #60
                                          Also, to the poster who talked about "jumping ship" on family to ensure their own future: that is a difficult decision. When did you/would you hit your tipping point? Sometimes it is hard to recognize a toxic situation from the inside, I am wondering if there are any red flags to look out for.

                                          A friend of mine recently told me to jump ship now. She knows my situation better than anyone, but I know she is also slightly over reactive. Also, she is judging my situation based on hers, and they are similar, but slightly different. I am curious about what people set as their trigger to walking away from their family. There are benefits, but also HUGE detriments and major consequences to this- many of them permanent and nasty. I'm just wondering about what went through people's heads when they made decisions like this.

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