A new friend at work got me hooked up with a friend of hers who owns multiple horses and is always looking for people to ride them. So this fellow here, has been my 'other' time killer hobby for the last few weeks. His name is Taz and he' s quite lovely. He's well behaved on the ground and when I'm on his back and he's been a very generous and patient while I relearn how to ride properly. The last time I rode in an English saddle I was in 5th grade - circa 1979. Yeah, it's been awhile. There are something like 6,987 of unused horseback riding muscles in my legs and back and they all want me to know that for almost 30 years of non use, they plan to make me pay. Ow. Ow. Ow.
My senior year in high school, my friend Lace and I used to go out to one of those 'rent a horse' places in Brandywine, Maryland. We spent so much time there that eventually I/we got talked into buying a horse. We paid $600 for this nice quarter horse - Prince - board was $140.00/month. He was a western pleasure horse and worth ten times what we paid.
You might wonder how a 17 year old could afford a horse - I had this crazy job my senior year in high school. I worked for a title company and researched judgements. I got paid by the search, not by the hour. So, if I buckled down and worked hard I could clear 1000 bucks a week. That is mad cash for a 17 year old and what else would a 17 year old spend mad cash on? Lace and I shared him, and he was well loved and well taken care of.
Riding Taz lately has had me thinking about Prince a lot and laughing, first because who sells a horse to a 17 year old and second, we never told our parents. Lace and I owned a horse for a year, and no one knew. Lace and I had a lot of secrets, and while the horse may have been the biggest in size, there are others that will never make the page of this blog or any other.
I told my mom the truth just a few years ago - she was stunned, and after shaking her head a few times, she laughed - and said she guessed if I was going to keep secrets and hide "big" things from her she was just grateful it was a horse and not a cache of guns or a coke habit.
My mom, she's cool like that.
I keep reminding myself I can't really afford another expensive hobby right now but I am enjoying it so much that I have caught myself trying to do the math in my head, the 'figuring out if I can afford it math'. Fortunately, I suck at math, so until I start putting stuff down on paper (or in an Excel spreadsheet) it's all okay.
The day I sold Prince was heartbreaking. I will never forget the woman who bought him hugging me and telling me that "he would grow old with her" - I have always hoped that is exactly what happened.
This time, if I do buy a horse, I think I'll tell my mom.