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April 24, 2013: Horse Cents

Horse sense and horse cents has at times seemed to me to be diametrically opposed entities. One is indicative of wise decision making, and the other of profligate spending. Then there are times in which they complement one another. Horse sense is knowing what animals need. And horse cents is providing it.

I remember the day in which I brought Raudi to Moose Creek Ranch. I embedded every single detail in my mind because it was the second happiest day of my life. (The most happy day of my life was the one in which I passed my dissertation defense.) Bill and Katie looked on as I opened up and sprinkled

sawdust in her enclosure. I remarked that the stuff was expensive, upon which Bill, laughing, said that I hadn’t seen anything yet. Katie then said that “boats are something that you sink money into,” to which Bill said, “Horses, same thing.”

I really thought I’d be the exception to their indirect claim that horses are a huge money eater. Frugal Alys had just one horse. A small, hardy little horse with few needs. Costs were going to remain minimal.

The Longs were right. This morning, Pete, in a very upbeat voice, said “Alys has horses so I’ll never retire.” The enormity of his supposedly off-hand remark hit me like a bag of salt blocks. He is so right. Our metaphorical boat doesn’t have a bottom.

Later, as I was pen cleaning I traipsed back down our monetary memory lane. The addition of horses two, three, four, and five have been an additional expense, as have all their related costs. (An aside – Hrimmi, who was not planned—except by Singy—was born healthy, no expense there. And she did not need to be gelded, no expense there. But you never know). Related cost: Feed: hay, grain, supplements. Tack: saddles, bridles, bits, halters. Facility and related expenses: fencing, shelter, hay shed, compost facility, tractor, run in sheds. Veterinary and farrier visits: most just a matter of routine. Clinics: here and elsewhere, including eight trips to British Columbia. Trailers and trucks: many upgrades. Trip expenses: includes route expenses, food, lodging, and gas.

Now it’s time for me to provide a rationalization for all this. I’m not sure that I can. This is like a heroin addiction, though we’ve probably spent more on our horses than has the most diehard junkie on his or her habit. Horse?

Oh, but I can provide a rationalization for all this. With no horses, there would be no rallying cry. So verily unto you I say, giddy up.

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