Early Days

The Embarrassing Blanket Revelation

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.

6 comments on “The Embarrassing Blanket Revelation

  1. It's ok. In my head I'm pretty sure that I”m still 16 and someday I”ll go to prom like on tv. Never mind that ship sailed more than a decade ago and I still think that college athletes look older than me.

    Sometimes it's hard to adjust my outlook and self image…

    But I'd say that thriftiness is a valuable trait in a horse owner. It's all too easy to justify EVERYTHING in EVERY color at any cost. I would consider close to being tack whore (in mind if not totally in wallet), though I can't justify the Dubarry's (maybe it's because I don't think they are that cute) and I'm still missing that handy Groom. A willing husband comes damn close – but he still puts saddle pads on backwards so the polo shirt never quite stays white… something to strive for I suppose.

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  2. As a still starving, though recent college graduate…dont throw them away! Donate them if they are still useable!!! lol! What size?

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  3. Glad I'm not the only one with outlook issues! And you're right – there are those gals who justify some pretty outlandish purchases. I'm half judgemental, half jealous, of that skill.

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  4. I myself thought that as well at first, but honestly they are not in usable shape. If they were t-shirts, they would not be good enough to give to Goodwill. The plasticy coating is peeling off, there are multiple holes, rips, and tears. They should have gone in the trash probably years go. I just didn't let myself see it!

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  5. I went through that realization a while ago myself! It took a while to get there though. I hadn't been paying attention to the fact that my income was growing steadily; I still identified myself as poor. Then one day, I realized that i had money and could afford nicer stuff. It was a very cool realization. However …

    I am probably now officially a tack whore as I never purchase or even accept used tack. It's not because I feel too good to do so, rather I want to use what is exactly right: correctly fitting, designed for the function, long lasting, and maybe even good looking!

    Welcome to the club – meetings are held monthly!

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  6. It was actually western pleasure and halter horses that Rita Crundwell was stealing all the money for.

    I am not currently a starving college student, but I will be again soon. Yay for starting nursing school. I would like to be a tack whore but I shudder at a lot of prices I see and continue to browse eBay regularly in hopes of finding a deal!

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