As animal lovers, we all say our horses are precious, but we often struggle to find their true 'worth'.
In a financial sense, a horses 'worth' can be weighted and swayed heavily by their credentials in the show ring, dressage and show jumping arenas, on the hunting field, and all the other activities the modern horse can perform.
The 'worth' also varies on the owner, and their individual requirements, ensuring that the animal is suited to the needs of the owner or even potential buyer. Of course not only their skillset but the standard at which they perform those skills also adds to the value and 'worth' of a horse.
But lets consider horses after their ridden career has expired. Their 'worth' in a financial value cab drop considerably when no longer used in a ridden capacity. There are however other types of 'worth' with animals not exclusive to horses, and that is in an emotional sense.
Take, for instance, my old mare. she is 20 years old now and long since retired from ridden work. In her younger days she was ridden, hunted, driven and jumped very well. Her movement beautiful, colouring vibrant, and she is the ideal size and frame to be a great family horse. I imagine her financial 'worth' will have been a modest amount back then. However, right now, her swayed back, protruding withers, swan neck and arthritic joints show her body has been crippled by a lifetime of hard work. Her 'worth' in financial terms is now probably very little if anything at all.
Her attitude towards humans is often defiant and stubborn. She wont be stabled happily, she bites and kicks when you try to rug her, and everything has to be done whilst loose in the field as she panics and breaks away if you tie her up or restrain her in any way. You could say she is awkward!
BUT if you consider her worth in terms of the warmth she makes me feel even on her bad days, and the blissful peace I experience when I watch her in the fields. Or even the love I have for this beautiful creature, whom greets me every day with a soft nicker, then this horse is worth more than any amount of money. Horses are known healers, and that is exactly the effect this rickety, moody old geriatric mare has on me. She makes my day better and my soul complete.
We should all look at horses in terms of their worth on a more emotional level. The price on a horses head might be low, but the impact that horse could have on your life, might just be priceless...