HI Spy: What sacrifices have you made in order to have horses in your life?

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    Girl and horseParticipating in equestrian activities can be very rewarding. Horse ownership, with all its ups and downs, is an experience that can’t be matched by anything else. Still, most horse people will admit that they’ve had to give up or go without certain things in order to maintain their equestrian lifestyle.

    The most obvious sacrifice is financial. Horses are expensive, but the majority of horse owners aren’t rich! You probably don’t often dine at fancy restaurants and your idea of updating your wardrobe might consist of finding new barn jeans at the local thrift shop. While your friends are enjoying $4 lattes and shopping for the latest fashions, you’re working out your farrier and supplement budget for the next six months.

    Horses are time-consuming. Plenty of horse owners sacrifice lazy Saturday mornings to head out in all kinds of weather to toss hay, scoop grain and muck stalls. If you compete, you’ve undoubtedly had to pass up barbeques and camping trips in order to spend a summer weekend at a show. Even meeting up with friends for an afternoon can be a logistical challenge when you need to fit in a riding lesson or training session with your horse.

    On the other hand, maybe your equestrian life has taught you to sacrifice evenings wasted in front of the TV or your previous concerns about going out in public with dirt under your nails (and in your hair, and on your clothes) and you’re better for it.

    Whatever sacrifices you’ve made, when you gallop down the trail, achieve a show-ring goal, or hear a friendly nicker when you walk into the barn in the morning, you know you’ve made the right choice.

    Tell us what you’ve given up to have horses in your life–and why it’s worth it–by clicking “Submit a Comment” below. Some of the responses may appear in a future issue of Horse Illustrated.

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    59 COMMENTS

    1. I’ve had to give up more time w/ friends. During the summer I make sure I ride before I go hang out w/ friends if I’m showing in a few weeks. Sleep is the biggest thing, but on Sundays I can ususally make up for it. New clothes too, instead of new clothes I save for a new bridle or clippers.

    2. I’ve had to give up some things but my mom has gave up more then me so I can take lessons and see my horse. She gave up her job and her friends just for my lessons. Even though im not taking lessons because my horse is injured she still helps pay for his board and makes sure I see him everyday. So even though I gave up some things. My mom has got me beat by so much.

    3. I got my horse when I wasn’t planning to and was really not ready for a horse. She was a rescue and needed someone to love and take care of her. I was unemployed at the time so I did chores at my barn to help pay for her board. I budgeted and only bought discount items and borrowed tack until I was able to buy my own. Its been a tough road but she is so worth it!

    4. I have had to sacrifice many things for horses; money, friends,sleep and more. At age 16 and 17 when most are procrastinating their work and just hanging out with friends. I worked as much as I could to be able to buy my first horse and continue to financially support him.Time has been a big sacrifice, my horse is 45min away and I go there 5-6 times a week. You can only imagine how many times I say “cant, have to go to the barn.”

    5. I’ve sacrificed a lot for my horse. I have a job to help support my horse. I got my job at 14 to help so i could keep her. I don’t hang with my friends like most 14 and 15 year olds do. I spend as much time as i can with my horse. But, i’m not the only who had to sacrifice time and money. My parents had too, and my grandparents, who bring me out to see her in the summer. These are sacrifices i’m willing to take, if it means i get to see my horse.

    6. I am willing to go all out! I don’t go out at night with friends, instead I am mucking poop! Oh, well, we do the darnest things to keep our big hunk of love! It is totally worth it though, to hear the soft nicker when he spies you come, or rub his muzzle on your cheek, or when he has a big cut you have to doctor! Horses are so FUN!

    7. Horses have become my life, so I have had to give up many things in order to keep my babies. Unlike most 16 and 17 year old girls, I don’t throw big parties for birthdays or hang out with friends at the mall all day. Instead, I gave up the chance of getting a car in order to get a horse. Free time is a rare luxury especially with school. But they’ve given me so much joy that I don’t regret anything and would gladly do it all over again if I had to!

    8. Like a lot of people these days,keeping horses is expensive.I would have to say I’ve given up being able to by all the cool horsey stuff from catalogs.My horses feed bill always come before my groceries too.

    9. I am 17 and have been working min. wage jobs ever since i was 14 strictly to pay for hay for my horses.
      I work hard so my horses can have a better life.
      All of my money is put into the horses.
      I rarely have time to myself or spending money.
      But it’s all worth it because a horse is the best friend you’ll ever have!

    10. I am only 15 and I have two awesome horses of my own. I had to give up playing sports or school, but I would do anything to be able to spend time with my horses.

    11. In order to ride, I have to give up the time that I could be doing chores or cleaning my room! Which I hate doing! I also have to give up comfort that would come the next day. The sore legs are worth it though!

    12. I had to give uo my riding lessons and my fancy jaeans and relaxation times so I could have a mini and turn this little horse without papers into a Champion with his name in the papers.

    13. I don’t have enough fingers to count how many things I have sacrificed to have my horse, but I would give up almost anything for her. She has taught me so many things including responsibility, respect, loyalty, commitment, and love between horse and human.

    14. ive given up summer camps in order to be able to take lesson once a week, but i wouldn’t change it. i’d do anything for horses!!
      <3 Zippalong Lass <3
      <3 Spot Me <3
      <3 Molly <3

    15. I can not honestly bring myself to say that I have sacrificed for my horse, because horses have given me so much more than what most teenagers have with their shallow, meaningless hobbies like painting their nails and gossiping over designer shoes. Not to be stereotypical, but it’s true. Sure, as a younger person, I’ve had to give up late nights at parties, $95 jeans, and most school activities. On weekends I go to bed early and wake up only half an hour later than I do during the school week. But, again, I can’t call it sacrifice, because horses are what I live for. Having a job isn’t a sacrifice, it’s a lesson that horse’s have given me. I wouldn’t trade that lesson and the love of my horse for all the $95 jeans in the world.

    16. I HAD ALWAYS WANTED A HORSE AS A LITTLE GIRL, AND I FINALLY GOT MY 1ST HORSE AT AGE 17. I KNEW I COULD DRIVE MY PARENTS CAR SINCE THEY WOULD ALWAYS HAVE ONE, SO I WANTED A HORSE INSTEAD. WITH MONEY I RECEIVED AS HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION GIFTS, INSTEAD OF PUTING THAT MONEY TOWARDS GOING TO THE BEACH (WHICH I DIDNT GO) OR WHATEVER, I BOUGHT MY VERY 1ST SADDLE. WHICH I STILL HAVE 10 YRS LATER! I AGREE WITH ALL THE OTHER COMMENTS ON NOT BEING A TYPICAL TEENAGER, AND NOW ADULT, CLEANING STALLS INSTEAD OF BEING AT THE MALL, OR HANGING OUT WITH FRIENDS, NOT GETTING EXPENSIVE CLOTHES, PUTING HORSE FEED/NEEDS BEFORE MY OWN, ETC. THE KNEE PAIN, BACK PAIN, HEAVY LIFTING, THE FREEZING COLD, THE MISERABLY HOT DAYS, THE POURING RAIN, LETTING MY OWN SHOES GET RAGGED AND BUYING MY HORSE SHOES INSTEAD. IT HAS ALL BEEN WELL WORTH IT. I WOULD DO IT ALL OVER AGAIN, WITHOUT HESITATION. HORSES HAVE TAUGHT ME SO MUCH AS WELL. RESPONSIBILITY, DEDICATION, PATIENCE. YES, I HAVE GIVEN AND GIVEN JUST TO HAVE THEM, BUT THEY HAVE GIVEN BACK SO MUCH AS WELL.
      HORSE PEOPLE ARE A DIFFERENT BREED. AND WE UNDERSTAND EACH OTHER AND WHY WE MAKE THESE “SACRIFICES”. ITS JUST SAD THAT OTHERS WILL NEVER KNOW OR UNDERSTAND THE LOVE AND HAPPINESS HORSES BRING TO US NO MATTER WHAT WE HAVE TO DO FOR THEM AND, JUST TO HAVE THEM. HORSE OWNER FOR LIFE!

    17. I’ve always wanted a horse, & when I turned 15 we got my first foal. A couple months later my dad was offered to buy a horse he had been working with & fallen in love with & we bought him as well. Since then we have cut down our cable bill by reducing our channels, I have had to start paying for half of each of my horse lessons & we are no longer taking vacations or buying unecessary things. Everything added onto a shopping list is looked over & decided what is really needed, & coupons are our lifesavers now. Tack sales, garage sales, babysitting & pet sitting have become my passtimes after school. Instead of eating out all the time & watching movies in the theaters, we now cook alot more & wait until movies come out as rentals. But its all worth it so we can own our two babies (:

    18. I’ve loved horses for years. I had always dremed of riding them and owning them. Then one Christmas, my aunt gave me money for lessons. I loved it so much that when the money ran out and my parents wouldnt pay for them, I started using my money to pay for lessons. I only made enough money a month for a lesson, but I paid for them anyway. It was well worth it, even though I only got to ride once every month.

    19. This past year I had to give up marching band and concert band to be able to finish training my horses. I was bitten by the horse loving bug at five years old when my parents bought me my first horse…now at 14, I’ve never looked back. Playing the saxophone was a hobby and you can give up hobbies; Horses are my passion and it is impossible to give up something that makes your life amazing and worth living!

    20. Well, I haven’t had to give up to much, since my grandma pays for my riding lessons. But it’s like I own a horse because I lease one for free (go to Lone Star’s Club Page for more info). But I have had to give up my allowance. It is now all going toward fly spray, tack cleaner, saddle repairs, and show fees. I know that sounds like nothing compared to what some of you have had to give up, and frankly, I don’t miss it. Riding is worth a million allowances any day!

    21. I wouldn’t call what I do for my horses sacrafice. Sure somedays I would love to have the expensive clothes or electronics, or go to parties every weekend. Though when it comes down to it I love and enjoy my horses much, much more then anything that I have had to give up or live without.

    22. As a child, I always dreamed of having a horse of my own. My parents never would get me a horse or lessons, etc. Last year, I met a horse lover. After helping her care for her horses for a month, she told me she had a friend that had a horse that he didn’t have time for anymore and we could go pick him up. So we did and at the age of 29, I finally got to start living my dream. I lived in a huge executive style home that was beautiful. However, I couldn’t be happy there because my horse couldn’t be there with me. My children and my husband started getting horses and we made the decision to move to the country! So in Feb 2010, we got a house with pasture for our horses and we moved in and so did our horses! Now we love it! My kids get to live my dream at an early age and couldn’t be happier. I’m so thankful for meeting Erica and thanks to Chris for giving me Chief. He truly is my first (horse) love! I am so happy and my stress level has almost diminished! OH, my parents and my brothers now have horses and they are now planning a move in the country! LOVE MY HORSES!

    23. In order to keep my horse at a nice facility, I have to work off my board. I give up my weekends and many week days to rake the huge barn isles, blanket an uncountable number of horses, clean the runs, and tack up horses for lessons and clinics. It’s a really hard job, but worth all the effort. Especially when I get to see my pony living the good life!

    24. In order to have my horses, I have given up vacations. Its hard to find someone who knows how to feed correctly and clean stalls as well as bringing them in and out of the barn. I have yearlings and they require a watchful eye at all times. You never know when they will try something. It doesn’t matter how much you show someone or write it down, they just don’t get it.

    25. I drive a Hoopdie – a 1997 Honda Accord – not so much for the financial aspect (although the thought of a car payment is scary) but more so because I can crud it up and not feel guilty.

    26. In order to have horses I’ve given up vacations, the top brand name clothes, a fancy vehicle, a lot of friend based events, weekends to work off board. But to me its all worth it when I get my horse round or we get that clear round in SJ at the end of a 3-Day Event.

    27. I’ve had to give up vacations and not being able to take spur of the moment trips. I always need someone looking out for my mare. Having a horse is still completely worth it!!

    28. i gave up my husband! and my horse is worth every minute of, not only does he give me unconditional love but also every child I bring to the barn for therapy. If we eat out its Mc Ds or Wendys and we dont have cable. No home phones no matching dinner ware, no fine china, but we got love and a meaningful life that surrounds and includes not just my children but hundreds of other peoples children. And I dont care if my nails got dirt under them or if my clothes and boots are covered in manure, but I do love the faces of people when I walk into the store it gives me the best laugh in the world. Non Horse people just dont get it.

    29. My horse is my greatest joy, and I don’t consider anything I do for him to be a sacrifice. For example, if I want to buy a latte or go to a movie, my horse probably wants that cookie more, so he gets the cookie (or medicine, leadline, etc.) He’s so much fun just to hang out with, I don’t want to be anywhere else, anyway!

    30. I Gave up buying the DS i always wanted. I also gave up a new tv and psp. i gave up video games and now my whole world is horse!. My mom said Id have to give up alot of free time and show her i am responsible enough to get a horse. I wanted a horse so much i gave up everything.

    31. My family and I have practically given up everything for horses. We carefully budget money each month to have them in our lives. It is really hard for me since I have to pay for a lot of it, but I think that it makes me appreciate them more. It is really difficult at times, but in the end, the happiness that I feel from every ride, penny, and minute spent at the barn is so worth it.

    32. I’ve had to give up lots of opportunities to hang out with friends, or go to birthday parties because I was either riding horses, or helping around the barn. But in the end, it all adds up, because being with horses makes me the happiest.

    33. SOOO much!!! It begged and begged for SOO long to let my parents allow me to volunteer with horses. It took 4 years of begging. It took 4 years to convince my parents that horses is NOT a “phase” and that it is a passion and the life I want. I finally was allowed to volunteer. Then, one day my parents made me the happiest girl in the world and let me take lessons. It went from “NO NEVER, Horses are too big of a responsibility to let u be around them” to “I’m so glad you found something u really love.” And now, IM A HORSE RIDER!!! BUT there might be more now! There is a fjord horse at the farm I volunteer at and her owner knew I LOVE to ride, so she said I might be able to lease her… AND MY MOM AGREED!! IM THE HAPPIEST HORSE GIRL IN THE WORLD!!!!! 😀

    34. I pretty much gave up my social life. I gave up some Friday night movies, I gave up some Saturday afternoons at the mall and a lot of evening I used to spend after school with friends. His name is Worthy and every time I see him I know he’s worth it.

    35. I gave up buying new technology so I could buy a horse. I gave up free time too. Also a nice smooth ride by myself, to train him to trust me and training to pivot and jump and longe in the saddle. But everytime I see him I say I wouldn’t give you up for every penny in the world.

    36. School sports. More than once have I turned done other sports because of the horseback practice days. But I can deal because when you finally achieve the perfect ride it’s all worth it.

    37. I gave up my lazy weekends and after school naps. It meant taking on more responsibility everyone knows those hot summer or freezing winter days when you just don’t want to leave the house. It meant my presents and new pairs of jeans were replaced by things my horse needed. But being able to go to the barn and ride whenever and to choose what we do if I want to have a jumping day and push our limits in height or if I just need a relaxing trail ride is perfect!

    38. I have always loved horses & finally at the tender age of 59 my dream has come true to own one. I don’t feel it is a sacrifice at all. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. “Achilles” gives unconditional love, yes he is just a companion horse but my husband & I love him just the same. We even got another horse “Ruby” & they are good for each other. All of our animals are rescues!! I wish more people would open their hearts to give these masjestic animals loving homes.

    39. Working and working to get a horse, I spend every day after (middle) school walking an endless amount of dogs unitll my legs fall off. Saving every penny to put into a slowly growing bank acount, wiating to be spent on the perfect gelding.

    40. I’ve given up several things, including being involved in school, help sessions before a final, and even friends, but one thing that I really miss is piano. I had to give up piano lessons to be able to go to riding lessons, but at the time I seemed more talented at piano. You can probably guess the outcome. All I can say is; at least piano is something you can teach yourself. If I gave up horses I would definately regret it much more than music.

    41. I have given up spending all my money, (I don’t get paid to do chores… they’re a given) on things for myself or for novelties and settled for hand-me-downs to keep my riding lessons.

    42. I mostly give up friends but one thing I know is that my horse listen better to me than my friends so I am fine with that because it is almost like you know what they are saying.

    43. Well I’ve given up a plenty of stuff. I gave up those nice rainy days where you stay in your pjs all day long and those unbearably cold winter days where you just want to stay in and sit by the woodstove. I also gave up my social life with school friends. While they go to friday night football games, I choose to stay home with my horses(I do believe I made the best choice though!). Usually practicing for an upcoming show. Horses are better listeners and don’t judge you as others do. They don’t mind if I go to the barn in my pjs on an early summer morning! So naturally I’d pick the horses over anything!!! Special thanks to my horses for allowing me to be seen around them in my pjs!

    44. well i have dad to give up my home to move to a different house….and i have also had to battle with my allergy to dust and hay! but in the end it is all worth it as long as i can be with my horses

    45. I have given up hanging out with my friends. My friends have started to hate horseback riding because i am never around anymore. But i dont mind because horses are my bestfriends, they listen and will never leave you for a cute boy!!!

    46. As a recently graduated high school student, my years of horse experience have been placed much higher than my education, friends, and hygiene! I’ve missed a few days of school for Midwest Horse Fair, trail rides, and assisting in veterinary procedures with the horses at the barn. My friends are used to getting the reply “Sorry, I’m riding that day.” when asked to hang out. And how many times have I had to clean the floor when I get home with muddy boots! Otherwise, I’ve been fortunate enough to not have to pay a penny for my horsey time.

    47. I beleve that to truly have horses it is a must to make sacrifices. I have braved many a cold snowy winter sacrificeing my own comfort and warmth breaking ice, And running out in the sleet or iceing rain to save my horse and bring her in the warm barn, trying to clean a stall in sub zero weather trying to peal the frozen manure off the rubber mats! lol
      thats just some the winter…..

    48. I have given up quite a bit of spending money to pay to lease a horse, and fun afternoons with friends to ride and spend time with the horse I’m leasing.

    49. I’ve given up dating. Horses and men do not mix real well. If you do have a horse(s) plus a guy then please realize that you are very blessed. Plus a lot of times going out to eat or going to the mall with my best friend because of needed feed or feet done

    50. I can’t say I’ve given up anything to have my horses-its a trade off. Probably the biggest item that I “occasionally” miss is the ability to sleep in, or to go away without worrying. Thats it. Otherwise I’ll keep my horses, thank you very much.

    51. What have I lost? NOTHING. Okay, a few extra hours of rest and an occasional day or two with important government people have slipped by me, but I’ve been gifted a dream-come-true. Who can ask for more?

    52. There’s no such thing as personal sacrifice. For me it’s an every day compromise and the question, Who’s needs are more important at the moment.Do I really need that box of donuts or Missy a bag of carrots.Or our big one now, does the 1994 Ford get replaced with another bucket of rusty bolts if the old girl still has a few miles left or does Missy get the newer Saddle she’s so worthy of. Well that’s a no brainer; walking ain’t crowded.

    53. Sacrifices I have made to have horses in my life, well not buying many things so I can save the money for lessons. Also, not doing certain things like having sleepovers with my friends so I will be well rested for my lesson in the morning. But for me, it’s not a sacrifice I mean clothing or riding…it’s a no brainer for horse lovers!

    54. The sacrifices I have made include not having fancy clothes, or fancy tack. I am happy with having my horse, and if I can be happy about that the sacrifices I have made are well worth it.

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