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What do you say when someone asks about your horse expenses?

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  • What do you say when someone asks about your horse expenses?

    I was at an in-law family dinner the other day, and one of my husband's (nosy) cousins-in-law asked me how much it cost to board my horse. This made me feel pretty uncomfortable--I'm only 22, barely out of college, and don't have a great job, and my husband is unemployed, so obviously a lot of our money is going towards my horse--even though he's kept at the most inexpensive place I could find.

    Also, to make the question more awkward, my husband's family doesn't have much money--I came from a richer family where, although I was not spoiled (my OTTB was very cheap, I did most of his training myself, I paid for lessons and showing from 16 on, etc), we had enough to pay for my horse, whereas my husband's family views it as an extreme luxury.

    ANYWAY I didn't know what to do, so I told her the base price of board (not including his shoes, my lessons, and shows). She ooohhed and then the subject was fortunatly changed, but I was really embarrassed. I'm well aware that my love of horses is a luxury, but I make a lot of sacrifices and I pay for everything so my horse is not a burden on our family.

    Has anyone had this problem? Any suggestions for dodging the question?

  • #2
    "Thanks for your interest in my hobby, I'd love for you to come meet Pookie someday, but his costs are really a private matter between my husband and I."
    Can you stress-fracture your brain?


    • #3
      I have resorted to telling some people my horses cost about the same as a very bad drug habit, but are considerably less problematic overall so I picked the horses.


      • #4
        Heineken-that is such a good mature statement, I may have to try that instead of my snarky one!! I am trying to be more mature now that I am 40 LOL


        • #5
          Kimball, as a private school teacher who works two other jobs to pay for this I've gotten good at evasion...that said, I said it grammatically incorrectly:
          "between my husband and me"!!!!!!
          Can you stress-fracture your brain?


          • #6
            "Wow. If I added it all up, my head would explode."


            • #7
              I just say "nothing as long as the grass grows". They usually shut up after that.


              • #8
                It depends who asks me. If it is someone who is interested in owning a horse or just curious in general I am happy to answer. If I felt that the asker had some motive other than simple curiosity, I might say.

                "Well you'd have to ask my horse, ever since he turned (your horses age) he's been paying his own way."

                "Oh I dunno 50 cents here, a dollar there."

                "Just a tad more than my bowling habit."

                Or something else along those lines.


                • #9
                  I always laugh it off and say "Oh he's my car payment" and then make a joke about needing to get the brakes fixed.


                  • #10
                    I would just laugh it off and say "too much" when questioned by a nosey relative.


                    • #11
                      "More than I'd like, but not nearly as much as it's worth to me."
                      * What you release is what you teach * Don't be distracted by unwanted behavior* Whoever waits the longest is the teacher. Van Hargis


                      • #12
                        I used to simply say "way too much". I am not a witty person, although I will later think of funny things I could have said...don't we all?

                        If people pressed, I would say things like - it is cheaper than putting my kid through therapy, or in drug rehab.

                        My family had some (very little) idea of the costs - but not the bigger picture of horseshows, trainers fees etc. I just always tried to steer the subject away from that. Once or twice I did have to say how much board was (and I had 4 horses....). Uncomfortable....so I know what you mean.


                        • #13
                          I have in-laws ask me this ALL the time. It is very annoying, mostly because 1) they have absolutely no idea how much my husband and I make, and we have done that for a reason, 2) they think we "spend too much" without the horse added on top.

                          They are very nosey, and like to dictate the way other people spend their money. My father-in-law had a serious accident last September, leaving him in a coma, and my mother in law asked me and my husband (her only son and oldest child, only child that is holding down a steady, responsible life) to help her handle her finances, retirement stuff, and insurance. With my husband being a business owner and me being an attorney, we sound pretty qualified, right?

                          Well, the uncle comes along and totally slams us, telling mother in law and neighborhood that he "doesn't trust me" because I have a horse while mother-in-law's car needs work done, and their house needs work and she needs things done so how can I have a horse and a nice car while she needs stuff? The funny thing is that in-law's income is like 3 times mine, they are just cheap and refuse to fix stuff when it breaks.

                          Anyway. They are ALWAYS asking me how much my horse costs, and my response is always "oh, about the same as a kid." Considering they all have kids, and I don't, they can't say much.

                          Took me a long way to get to my answer, but that's been on my mind and I figured you horsey people would get how pissed off that made me. Yeah, I'm totally irresponsible because I have a horse. Bite me.

                          Of course, if someone is asking because they actually want one, I lay it all out for them
                          "Look, I'm trying not to test the durability of the arena with my face!" (Because only GM can do that.)


                          • Original Poster

                            Thanks for all the great comments! I'm going to have to practice saying some of this stuff so I'll be ready when it pops up again (it always does!).

                            And yes, this was a nosy cousin. And gossipy. There was definately something other than curiousity going on there. I have no problem explaining horse expenses to my sister-in-law who wants nothing more than to own a horse. Unfortunately her husband was listening and I think her chances are now zero :P


                            • #15
                              I like the "about as much as a kid" response. That'd be perfect for me since there are no kids (of my own) in my future!
                              "Beware the hobby that eats."
                              Benjamin Franklin


                              • #16
                                I generally say, "Less than a child." (:

                                Although I must say, the other day my friends were asking me about how much I spend per month on my horse... and for them, I did actually add it all up out loud, including board, farrier, vet, supplements, lessons, tack and equipment, etc.... OMG. I never want to think about that again.
                                "Remain relentlessly cheerful."

                                Graphite/Pastel Portraits


                                • #17
                                  Good as Gold, given your age and location I'm going to make an assumption that you are Mormon...You could always pull the "That's not very Christian of you to ask things like that"...might stop the gossip in her tracks! (My old Mormon trainer had issues with her family not approving of how she and her hubby spent their money and she often pulled the "Christian" card when they were being rude).

                                  If I'm wrong, please forgive me
                                  Can you stress-fracture your brain?


                                  • #18
                                    While a horse *can* be very expensive to maintain, particularly if you participate in certain disciplines or show extensively, many people fall into the category of keeping expenses down and avoiding the priciest options.

                                    How about something along the lines of...

                                    *Cheaper than what most people spend on the cost of weekly manicures, hair appointments, ski trips, tickets to watch sporting events, hanging out regularly at bars, frequently eating at fancy restaurants, and annual vacations to places like Europe or the Caribbean.* Adjust as needed for your audience.

                                    My point is that *most* people never seem to realize how much they spend on common things that *some* of us see as frivolous, useless, or priced out of range. The key is, common versus uncommon expenses. Spending on manicures is a common thing, spending on a horse's board is not (generally, at least in my area!). Personally, I can't see spending outrageous sums on things like season tickets to football or getting my hair cut/dyed/styled regularly because I have no interest in such things and see it as a waste of money. Others see those kind of expenses as hard to cut out of their budget, yet see a reasonable board bill as a big expense. They see Superbowl tickets or attending the Olympics as a great opportunity that they just can't pass up, yet the purchase of a horse as a strange and expensive splurge. (Yeah, yeah, I know a horse CAN be a splurge too!!)

                                    Priorities. We all have 'em, the only question is, what are yours and are they sensible in regards to budget, life obligations, and reality?


                                    • Original Poster

                                      Originally posted by Heineken View Post
                                      Good as Gold, given your age and location I'm going to make an assumption that you are Mormon...You could always pull the "That's not very Christian of you to ask things like that"...might stop the gossip in her tracks! (My old Mormon trainer had issues with her family not approving of how she and her hubby spent their money and she often pulled the "Christian" card when they were being rude).

                                      If I'm wrong, please forgive me
                                      Wow, how did you guess?

                                      Yes, I'm definately LDS, as are my and my spouse's families, which makes spending money on a horse even more awkward because Mormons are the cheapest people in the whole world. Seriously, when I was at BYU people would wait in line for an hour for a free hot dog. Kind of silly.

                                      I remember when I got my first horse when I was 13 I was forbidden to tell anyone at church that I had a horse. My dad was convinced people would judge us (yes, very unchristen-like!). He was right--I couldn't keep it quiet for that long, and a few people definately thought we were being frivolous.

                                      But Heineken, thanks for the suggestion! I could say that for sure.


                                      • #20
                                        Klassy with a "K" !!

                                        God I hate money questions. I grew up in a "successful" household in a tiny town and was considered "rich" by some people, which was ridiculous, because they really had NO idea. Even my younger siblings don't. (FYI, no horses as a kid). Whatever. Asking money questions period is beyond rude/tacky unless they are legitimately interested because they want a horse, etc.

                                        I have generally simply said "enough" in response to "what does your horse/horse keeping cost?". I think people get the hint. I would LOVE for someone to go further, actually,--I get a bit snarky that way.

                                        With friends I will say "a lot."

                                        My in-laws are total sweeties and when I picked up a second job this spring (to pay off my student loans quickly) my m-i-l tried to offer us money!! So cute (they are modestly comfortable). But at the same time, I'm sure she is thinking, "what is wrong with my husband's wife, owning and breeding horses and now she has to work two jobs?!" Still, I didn't tell her (although I sort of wanted to) that the cars are paid for, student loans are next and then the mortgage--all in this decade. I really just think it would be tacky.

                                        I can see where it would look worse to the family if one of us were unemployed though...sorry OP--hope he finds something good soon!
                                        Last edited by TrotTrotPumpkn; Jun. 2, 2010, 03:48 PM.
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