Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Too much of a good thing

 Who doesn't love horses, and of course the more the better as we say. But is there such thing as too much of a good thing?

I've been a one horse person most of my life. Owning multiple horses was never really been an option growing up due to pasture space and money. And until last year when I bought my gelding I had never actually given any thought on owning more than one horse. And I probably would have never given it any thought except that over the summer my little herd very unexpectedly grew to three as a result of the gift of a horse I had trained due to the previous owner no longer being able to afford him. That is when my perspective changed.

Owning more than one horse can be great. Growing up we each had a horse and at any given time we had 3-6 belonging to the family out in the pasture. An extra horse or two can be a lifesaver when you have an accident prone horse, it can offer kids, friends, and even spouses a chance to share your passion. Another horse can give you options in riding different sports, and also provide much needed companionship to your main ride. But over the summer I quickly learned that extra horses often cost more than just money.

I'm a very equal person when it comes to my horses, meaning that if you do it for one you have to do it for everyone. If I only have plans for working with one, I always make sure I budget enough time so the other at least gets some cookies and a good grooming. For nearly a year I had been happily doing double duty for my mare and gelding much to my enjoyment. Then number 3 joined my herd, and everything that was doubled now became tripled. For the first week things went pretty smoothly, but keeping everyone equal quickly went from being a joy to a down right chore. As the weeks went on I found myself in a perpetual assembly line of horsey chores always in a hurry. Due to the unplanned costs of #3 and the current economy I unhappily learned that I could not afford to care for everyone as I normally would, or do the riding events and activities I enjoy. I was forced to cut out any new activities, postpone my mare's yearly float for the first time because I couldn't afford it, and the surprise after hours visit for #3. My busy schedule forced me to squeeze 3 horses into a time slot made perfectly for two, and I soon found that something or someone was always left out. Due to training my mare for competition and training #3 so he would be ready for a new home my poor gelding was much to my and his dismay was pushed to the back burner. Thankfully there was a happy ending for everyone 3 months after #3 arrived when I was able to find him a wonderful home with awesome people. The next morning with #3 in his dream home we were all at such peace, I was able to relax again, and I swear I saw my gelding smiling.
I am sure that at some point in time I will have more than two but that will only be when I have kids needing horses. This experience taught me that my personal equine number of true enjoyment is 2 and no more. Though I was more than happy to help my good friend in placing #3 it was a great lesson in how 2's company, and 3's a crowd, and how more doesn't always mean more of the good stuff.   

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