Hmmm no, a horse is a want. Not having a horse is not going to affect your health and your success in the future.
Believe it or not, your not the first or only young girl who thinks that they 'need' a horse. There are hundreds, probably thousands of 13 year old girls who would give their right arm for a pony.
I am also in a similar situation to you, but I am fully aware of just how difficult and expensive it is to maintain a horse. I've had horses since I was 10, however those have all been horses I've taken off the track, or green inexperienced horses that I've taken from nothing to something. I am now looking for a horse that can take ME from nothing to somethin. I work 3 jobs, often working 7 days a week, with 7am starts and sometimes 10pm finishes.I am studying at Uni, about to move out of home and have to pay for my lifestyle as well as saving up or a decent horse.
It IS hard. And $4000 a year...well, I hope you find a giveaway horse or something under $500 because $4000 will not stretch very far. Particuarly when you are starting from scratch with horses, you need to buy a saddle, rug, saddle cloth, bridle, halter, brushes etc. which will cost you at least $1000. Then feeding, well you are looking at around $30 a week if your horse is a good doer. Farrier, if your horse needs shoes you're looking at around $100 every 6-8 weeks. Worming is about $20 every 6-8 weeks. Vaccinations, depending on where you live, it can be upwards of $50 every 6 months, or a year, again depending on your location as to what diseases/infections are present.
Vet, you cannot pre-empt when you will need a vet and what for. A call out fee alone can knock you back a days pay, and then you will have the consultation fee, the costs of any treatment and medication/drugs administered etc. Generally, a cheap vet visit will cost you $200. I have had to spend over $2000 on a vet bill when I had a horse tear her back leg down to the bone.
Then of course, what happens if your horse falls and breaks it's leg or gets colic? You lose everything. I spend $5000 on a horse a couple of years ago, a beautifull 4 year old wb mare, within 8 months she had fallen in the paddock and broken her leg. I had to pay $200 to have the vet come out and shoot her.
And what if the horse ends up being too much for you? Horses change according to who is handling them. They may be quiet as a lamb with one owner, and an absolute terror with the next. You don't know until a month or so into the purchase when the horse starts to try and pull the wool over your eyes and test you. A horse would be a saint if they did not go through this stage. If you don't get on top of the behaviour immediately, it can escalate and all too often I have seen kids being totally put off riding and horses because of one bad experience.
Yeah, I'm depressed not having a horse either at the moment. I have always been a refular competitor in dressage, have worked for a lot of horse people, even been paid to ride. I haven't ridden in 9 months, and havent had a horse for a year. I came third in the state for novice dressage last year, and now I have nothing. So yes, i DO know what it's like, particuarly because I've had a good taste of having horses, dealing with them and I am so involved with them and have been for quite a lont time.
I have decided to lease a friends horse for a while, it's something to ride, something to play with and something to keep me occupied. No she's not a dressage horse that is going to take me to where I want to go, she's a 3 year old percheron that is built like a tank and has dont next to nothing. But it's something. I'm actually intending to buy a weanling or yearling, up and going horses are way out of my budget for the type of horse that I am after, for me, a youngster is a far more viable option. However you do not have the experience to do the same.
I think you should look out for leases. That way you don't need to pay outright for the horse, and you can look after it as if it's your own, and if you don't get along with it, you can always send it back.