January 20, 2011

A One-Horse Woman

I've always been a one-horse woman, well one at a time anyways.  I've noticed on a lot of the blogs I read many of you are fortunate to have several horses.  And I started to think about it - "If I could afford it, would I want more than one horse?"

In short, if I had no job but infinite income, yes, probably 4.  A dressage schoolmaster, a dressage horse in training, a fun little jumper to take on hunter paces, and a good solid western pleasure/trail horse.

But I don't have infinite income, and in order to get the income I have, I have to work at least 40 hrs a week, so no, I don't think I would want another horse.  Because in all honesty, we could afford another horse, and I often find myself looking for one that's affordable and just needs some work.  Then I think about Dexter and how that would affect his training.  How his progress would slow as I shifted my attention and I quickly change my mind.  I only have so much time I can devote to my horse weekly.  That's usually 1-2 hrs a day, 4-5 times a week (when the weather cooperates).  So that would be 2-3 rides a week maybe less if I had 2 horses. Doesn't seem fair for the horse, he would never get a chance to really have a routine and progress.

As I've mentioned in a previous post, I am the only person who rides my horse, partly because I like it that way and partly because I live out in the middle of nowhere, where the closest dressage trainer is 50 miles away.  So even if I decided to get another horse and have a trainer help me out, or another rider, I couldn't.

All this is just my logical reasoning as to why I couldn't get a 2nd horse.  The other part its that its just how I grew up.  I was only allowed to look for another horse once mine was sold.  I always only had one horse, my friends always only had one horse, so I just thought everyone only had one horse.  By the time I found out there was another option, it was too late, it was ingrained. 

I think having more than one horse would be like having more than one boyfriend (or girlfriend - lets not forget the mares).  I'd have to split my time and affection with both of them.  And God forbid I start to prefer one over the other, I would feel so guilty.  (Can you tell I don't have kids).

It probably also doesn't help that I currently board with a woman who has 4-5 horses in different stages of training.  She also has a regular job so I see her work on one for several months just to put it out to pasture for 6 months while she works on the others. 

But obviously it can be done.  So many people seem to be fortunate enough to have the time and finances to work with several horses at once. I'm curious how you all handle it.   How you do it with a full time job?  Do you ever worry about how much time you spend with each of them?  Do you ever feel guilty if one starts outshining the other?  How did you decide it was time to buy another horse?

While I think I will always be a one horse woman, unless I win the lottery, I certainly don't think that is the only option.  I applaud those of you who have time time, talent and resources to have several of these amazing animals in your life. 


  1. Well, I don't own either of the horses I ride, but the one thing I'd say is most important is developing a schedule. I'm the only one who rides Arty, so I ride him as often as possible, weather permitting. I part board Bailey from his owner, and between the two of us, he gets 5-6 days of exercise every week, three being from me. When I'm in good form (and the weather co-operates) Arty gets five days of exercise, three of which are in the morning before I go off to school. However, I'm only able to manage that because the barn is a four minute drive from my house. Sorry about the random and disorganized thoughts, hope it makes sense.

  2. I find I only have time / energy for one horse, but I have two, and my husband has one as well, who I sometimes ride. I got the second horse when I became obsessed with dressage and it really wasn't my Appaloosa's thing. He likes trails and will go forever on a trail ride, so I thought we'd do that, but then I just didn't have the time. I've felt so guilty that he wasn't getting much attention and riding but I just recently found a young woman who's a good rider and loves to ride him, so it's working for both of us.
    This is an interesting post and topic. It seems a few people are discussing it lately.