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My Horse Addiction
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My Horse Addiction

Horse buying is an addiction, and it will nag at your brain until you have fulfilled the craving that will soon again consume you. It takes over slowly, like a chronic disease. It can be cured. It will take willpower (and maybe a body patch), but it can be cured. My wife has this disease. At first, I was in denial, though the evidence was stacking up around me. My tack shed was filling up rapidly and it seemed I was always building another corral. When I finally faced the fact that she had a problem, I was helpless to do anything about it, because by then I, too, was addicted.

We started out years back with one horse, a Missouri fox trotter colt. It was such a joy to hear his welcoming whinny each morning when I stepped out to greet the day. I was a proud horse owner. My dream had come true: I had a home in the country, a pick-up truck, a pretty wife, and now instead of a mule or donkey I had my own fine saddle horse. I built a two-sided shed to protect the little guy against the never-ending Nevada wind. I cleaned his hooves regularly and brushed him down several times a day. I petted him and gave him treats, spoiling him rotten. He was just like a big puppy. It was a happy time, for a while. But, alas, all good things must end.

There is fairness in our relationship and since I had a fox trotter, my wife got a fox trotter too. And this is where our tranquil life took a detour. We discovered that with a computer and a credit card, there is nothing you cannot have in the equine world. So armed with these tools, we started acquiring more and more horses. Soon we also had a Tennessee walker, and then a tiger horse, and then another tiger horse, and then a spotted saddle horse, and six times the work. I did not know this, but when you buy a new horse, the accessories that go with it become an absolute must. And there is such a variety of colors and styles to choose from. The breast collar should fit the type of horse and style of riding, not to mention the saddle; the cinch must be made of a space-age material, and a mismatched bridle is practically a sin. Even your riding helmet should complement your tack if you wish to make your outfit complete. It was pure lunacy, but pure fun, too.

Another factor I failed to consider was the continuing expense. Feed, corral repair, farrier visits, and vet bills all rear their hungry heads at the most inopportune time. The more horses we acquired, the higher the expense. And on top of that, we needed a new horse trailer. But we handled all this with glad humor, and somehow managed to keep our heads above water. If that was all the money that we had to put out, it would have been painful but acceptable. But horse riders usually want to ride with other riders, and that is how we came to join not one but five saddle clubs. It seemed to be the right thing to do at the time. The meetings got lively whenever a contentious member took issue with some bylaw they did not agree with, but the resulting melee gave us enough entertainment that it was worth some of the money shelled out for dues. Add all this together and you have a hobby that costs more than any income you can hope to make in the next twenty years. But horse folks know this, and they accept it. I looked at it from both the practical and the romantic sides and what I concede is this—horse buying is definitely an addiction that we have no wish to cure.

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