Allow me to present…
the Spectrum of Equestrian Spending
|Note: not to scale.|
As we all know, horse riding is not considered a cheap hobby. But within our world, the spectrum is quite vast.
At the top are the gajillionaires who buy million dollar horses and have their horses boarded in stalls nicer than my house. This is on my spectrum as Rita Crundwell, the now infamous horsewoman who funded her many prized champion reiners by embezzling money from the municipality she worked for. Some are born with trust funds and some have to steal them.
At the bottom of the spectrum are the Starving Students, such as I myself was just a few years ago in college. They muck their own stalls, which are made of used crappy wood put together by boyfriends who were paid in pizza. Everything is purchased second-hand (or third or fourth), and only if absolutely needed. They are pack-rats who keep everything in case something breaks.
In the middle but maybe towards the higher end are Tack Whores – the equestrians who appreciate quality (read: expensive) tack and other goods. You can tell these people at horse shows – their saddles are custom made, and they are wearing perfectly clean white polo shirts and the oh-so-trendy $600 Dubarry boots. (The secret to white polo shirts? Have a groom clean and tack up your horse. Amazing.)
So what does this have to do with blankets? Well my friends, it is through horse blankets that I have come to realize where I am on the spectrum versus where I have been and where I’d like to be.
I currently own 4 horse blankets. One I purchased for my first horse approximately 10 years ago. The others were well-used blankets I got from the “free stuff” pile at the co-op boarding stables in college 5 years ago. Only 1 of the 4 actually fits Hemie. Luckily its the only one that doesn’t have holes in it. I had him wearing one of the others, until a kind barn mate tactfully mentioned that it was big enough on him to be a tripping concern when he gets up from lying down. Eeek!
Which begs the question – after having Hemie for 6 months, and these blankets for 5 to 10 years, why am I still hanging on to old, falling apart blankets that don’t fit my horse?
Because I hadn’t stopped to realize that I was no longer a Starving Student.
Light bulb: On.
So, I am the gold star on the spectrum – creeping away from Starving Student and towards Tack Whore. I (slowly) have been coming to appreciate quality versus cost. When I bought my saddles for $750 each I thought it was a major financial outlay (I’d gotten all previous saddles for $100 or less), and now I’m shopping for one in the $2k range. When I look at half-chaps, breeches, anything, I realize that I’m asking “how long will this last?” in addition to “how much does this cost?”. An important but relatively new question for me.
So, congratulations to me for realizing that I can throw those blankets away. Goodbye, old disintegrating holey blankets! Hello, self who is no longer a silly pack rat for no good reason. And one day, maybe you’ll catch me wearing those cute Dubarrys and a white polo shirt. For now its still crusty old t-shirts.