Neither horse seems remotely concerned about my other worldly responsibilities, and I don't think they really care all that much. Other than Spud finding some magical escape portal in the back pasture, there hasn't been much action going on with either of them. (I still have yet to find where he is escaping from, so for now they are locked in the front paddock).
But enough of my mindless blabber and onto the point of this post.
I had a revelation the other day, after there was mention from a co-worker that I must be "loaded" because I have horses. I brushed the comment aside, mostly because it's one I encounter every 20-30 people I meet. What I didn't expect was coming home and seeing the following photo floating around in the Facebook media-sphere. I laughed at it, initially, but the more and more I thought about it, it started to make me think.
|It's not wrong, though.|
(this list is comprised of comparing levels of sport at a provincial level rather than a global one, because otherwise we get into things like sponsorship, etc)
5. Our "team" is made up of another living, breathing being that requires YOU to pay for it's longevity. And I'm just talking basic necessities - not even the tack or apparel that normally comes with riding a horse. Things like yearly vaccinations, hay/board, dentist appointments, joint/hock injections, etc.
Think of it this way, Soccer players don't pay to feed their team-mates (heck, they don't even pay their COACH), or even remotely pay for eachother's
4. Competitions are extremely expensive and not only do you have to factor in your own lodging and accommodations, you must also factor in your horses. Oh, and don't forget the cost to haul and the cost of a groomer/braider.
In other recreational sports, athletes use this thing called an airplane to get to their next game. Or, they use fuel-efficient vehicles that do not haul a 1,500lb animal in the back. And yet, pretty much everything is covered by the league (this is where equestrians go horribly wrong). I don't think many 16 year old horse crazy girls are going around collecting bottles from their neighbors to assist in sending them to the next show. But you certainly will see a team of Hockey players selling raffle tickets, partaking in hot-dog stands, etc.
The cost is minimal to none simply because, as a shower/ equestrian, you are alone for the most part.
Stuffing your saddle, horse, and the rest of your riding belongings into a duffle bag in the basement and reopening 5 months later is not only inhumane, but it just doesn't happen. Board still has to be paid and the horse still needs to be ridden - that is, unless your horse sustains an injury (but we'll touch on that in a second).
Hockey players go out and play rounds of golf when Summer is in full swing - the ice rinks are more or less drained of the ice and no one even thinks "hockey" until the first week of September. While us equestrians are freezing our asses off in the Winter, dragging buckets of water from the heated tack-room to the pasture because all the other taps are frozen.
So yes, your team-mate gets injured and most sports continue on with a substitute. YOUR team-mate gets injured and your entire season is put on hold for the fate of your "other half". Sure, a replacement could be given, but fees are still attached to your injured horse and more often than not, the replacement as well.
1. We do it all for the grace of a 98 cent ribbon. And it may not even be a first place ribbon.
In some competitions, yes there are trophies and "high point" awards, but mostly everyone is ribbon hunting. The irony in this is that we keep these 98 cent ribbons for years and years, to display proudly on our book-shelves until they become "old" and get boxed away for a decade.
All kidding aside, we are a pretty rebellious, strong, and independent sport. We are the ones who are convincing a 1, 500lb animal to jump oxer spreads and to not spook at the Judge sitting at C. Our language is completely silent and completely mesmerizing when it all comes together. We do it because we love the sport, we do it because we love the rush. We do it because we're crazy.