Some weeks I feel like the woman in the classic poem There Was an Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe. Owning and caring for a multitude of horses can be an exhausting, expensive process and that feeling becomes super apparent when both doctors and dentists need to visit in the same week. I love my guys, but this time of the year when everybody needs shots, shoes, teeth and tack, the old bank account takes a significant hit which can take months to recover from.
The problem is, I no longer turn over my “inventory” as quickly as I once use to. These days when I survey my paddocks I’m acutely aware that the faces staring back at me have been doing so for way too long! I’m starting to think that somewhere along the way I’ve become a sentimental old fool who has unwittingly been conned into routinely emptying my bank account for my horse’s personal pleasure. It’s annoying but unavoidable.
Back in the day none of my horses stayed for more than three years. It’s not that I put a timeline on my horse ownership, it’s just that for the most part my place was considered a stopover, a horsey halfway house as it were. I operated on the premiss that the horses I brought in simply needed a place to go where they could rest up get a lil’ learnin’ and a lil’ lovin’ and then go on their way. It was a great system and it kept me under wraps and above water, financially speaking.
Horses have a way of multiplying and much like kids, their numbers grow exponentially. The theory goes something like this: One is lonely all by itself so you have to get two. Two isn’t quite right, especially if you only want to ride one at a time and don’t fancy coming back to a screaming, sweat soaked maniac who has dug trenches in the paddock while galloping back and forth. Three means there’s always an odd man out standing off to the side and starring forlornly at the feed which is now being guarded by the formerly sweet duo turned terrorists upon his arrival. So now you need four to even the odds and let’s face it by the time you’ve got four…well what’s one or two more. And so it goes until spring hits and you realize that one set of shots or shoes or teeth is fine but when you start multiplying the cost by four, five or six, well that means your own trips to the doctor or dentist need to be put on hold because there is only so much dough to go around.
Now obviously it’s not all bad or else I wouldn’t be doing it and I do try to stay under budget but there are definitely times that I think it would be so nice if I could just once buy a horse after its teeth had been floated. A horse’s teeth are something you don’t want to ignore. Sore mouths mean cranky horses and cranky horses mean unscheduled dismounts. So I pay the money, and promise myself that I’ll pare the ponies down just as soon as I figure out which poem I most resemble.
Both are actual versions and depending on the day well, you get the picture…
“There was an old woman
Who lived in a shoe,
She had so many children,
And loved them all, too.
She said, “Thank you Lord Jesus,
For sending them bread.”
Then kissed them all gladly
and sent them to bed”
“There was an old woman who lived in a shoe.
She had so many children, she didn’t know what to do;
She gave them some broth without any bread;
Then whipped them all soundly and put them to bed”