Saturday, July 12, 2008
Using the "R" Word
I looked up the definition of “responsible” in the dictionary today. There were several entries, but the ones that resonated with me were: 1) being accountable for something within one’s power, control or management 2) having a capacity for moral decisions and being capable of rational thought or action 3) reliable or dependable.
The reason I was considering the meaning of “responsible” was because I was thinking about how we are all being forced to really tighten our belts. The reality of our country’s economic situation is that no matter which guy is elected as president, things won’t be improving much over the next two years. Let’s face it, they could get worse. So, as a horse owner, I need to stop and seriously look at how costs are rising and how I plan to take care of these two expensive darlings that live in my backyard. I’m only hoping that more people who have taken on a responsibility to care for horses are doing the same.
I read a statistic recently in the Wall Street Journal that of the two million Americans who own horses, one third of them have a household income of less than $50,000. Every time I go to the feed store, the cost of grain seems to have gone up another couple of dollars. We all know what’s happened to the price of hay and the lack of it. I’ve been really taking a long hard look at what it’s going to take to weather this economic storm.
I came up with three things that I can do, starting right now. 1) I can prepare for what I know is coming. I always say I will, but life and all its endless expenses keeps flooding along. There are certain big costs, like buying hay in September for the winter and vaccinating in the Fall, that I’m saving for now. 2) I can use less. I’ve cut back a lot on the shavings I put in the stalls and how often I add them. Now that the horses have grass to eat, I can conserve on grain and hay. 3) I can stop myself before I automatically do what I've been doing all these years to question why and how I do it just to see if there’s a way to cut the cost without hurting their health and wellbeing.
“Hello, Money Pit!” my mother-in-law greets my horses when she comes to visit. My own mother often lectures me about all the other things I could afford to do if I didn’t have Silk and Siete. There are plenty of people who know me that think I’m crazy to spend my money on horses. I’ve been fortunate to own them for over a decade now, and I intend to keep them safe and happy for the rest of their lives. Enough said.
Let’s share some tips about how we’re able to be more economical about caring for our horses.