How do we afford it...
Well, most of my equipment is from many years ago before anything "horsey" went crazy in prices.
My Hermes saddle...when I bought it was $2,750 cost to the tack shop.
My friends owned the shop and I paid cost.
Today that same saddle is over $6,000 easily, probably more. That saddle is now almost 40 years old...and because it is taken good care of still ride-able and usable daily if I wanted to do so.
I could not afford it otherwise, not then and not now.
I bought it when I did not
have other bills, my salary was mine to spend and I worked for a independent very wealthy boss/family who treated me well for my dedication to the family horses in my care.
I was treated as one of his children and he often gifted me very nice equipment and I also learned when working in the upper level barns of the "rich-kids" to dumpster shop.
To me dumpster shopping is when the poor little rich kid can't be bothered cleaning so throws away dirty and mommy buys them a new of this or that...that is how I acquired much of my very expensive tack otherwise I would not have.
I was not
born to a wealthy family, but as a kid my horse lived in a old converted section of a chicken coop with a attached paddock.. It was home, horse was safe, dry and all mine.
Once I started working some things did change but not my fear of working hard and earning everything I have on my own sweat equity.
I did not
own my own horses on Long Island once I moved on from working the show barn scene simply because they were no longer a perk of my employment and at one time 2 horses cost me $300 a month total..
I could not
afford board, all the other farrier and vet expenses and incidentals once I was on the outside looking in..
Part of my jobs were showing for sale some very nice animals I could of never rode nor owned so had my horsey fix.
I was paid to ride and show animals for sale to prospective clients, hence my attire had to be classic in looks, complimentary to the animals I sat astride and better be just right in appearances.
Mt farrier was a childhood best friend and he shod my horses when I had them for a batch of homemade chocolate chip cookies...honest.
My vet, I paid the cost of the vaccines, any tests needing done cause it was me who assisted the vet when he was doing routine work in the barn of 30+ horses, we got it done in a afternoon...so my annual vaccinations bill was about $40 dollars...plus whatever coggins cost.
Yea, it can be done to this day but you have to be willing to give up the chic clothes, going out with the friends, vacations...what was that?
Last time I had one of those was called my honeymoon, a loooong time ago!
In Florida and the way the economy has been in this nation...
I could buy a nice horse to ride on trails, do very limited showing with at the local level and not spend more than $2,000 to have that horse be mine. Even less if I wanted to truly put sweat equity in for a few months, probably could have a nice horse for $1,000 or so.
You need to have some knowledge, take some risk and know when to walk away, when to grab the bridle and run with your diamond needing polished and know when presented with "should I sell..." the opportunity may never present again quite that way so make the choice you must live with.
For someone without my experience level it will cost you more, period.
I can go buy a really nice used saddle, bridle and all my equipment needed for the horse for around $600...that is a leather saddle by-the-way.
do your own vaccinations...only thing I must have a vet for is mandated coggins which is at most $35 a year. And add dental work as needed, when needed.
Farrier, learn to do yourself. My farrier is $35 a horse, a cup of coffee or less if you drink some of that expensive stuff from the corner store.
If you are not referring to competing at the elite levels, well then you also aren't usually facing extraordinary expenses for maintaining a horse who has such wear & tear to their body. It is possible
, absolutely in certain areas yet to buy and own your own.
You must though make decisions and trade-off for the pleasure of owning...choices.
Sometimes, those choices stink when you want but can't and because of it you are faced with euthanasia as the best you can do for your animal...and that is OK too. Choices, we all must live within our means and by how we spend our money or the debt we want to carry.
I haven't bought equipment to speak of in about 8+ years...
I have and make do with what is in my arsenal and actually there is absolutely nothing being marketed that entices me to spend oodles of money to impress anyone.
Once you get to be a adult, you aren't so impressed with what is seen but more with what your actions speak of, your quiet knowledge knows and how you don't need to impress anyone, your just get it done attitude speaks volumes to those who truly know you have your experience...and you also are open to others ways of doing, expanding your knowledge base not shoving yours down others throats...comfortable/secure in your skin is one way it was told to me. That to me is impressive
...what I just wrote although all truth is not impressive to me in what I've got.. Impressive is how I worked my tail off to earn the right to say it is mine
Do not despair...your dreams are
all attainable. Save a bit every week, even if just a dollar.
Over time, it adds up and becomes quite a nest-egg to spend on our wishes and hearts desire.