By Jerry Tardif
We're all aware (at least, somewhat aware) of the risks associated with being around and riding horses.
After all, they're big, they're powerful, and with a bad attitude, can easily "push their weight around".
But how many of us think about the very dangerous risks just from horse ownership, even when NOT AROUND horses?
The risk of actually OWNING a horse?
Not legal risks; not financial risks; OWNERSHIP risks!
Well, if you're not thinking about this issue, you should be — this article should help.
As soon as you buy a horse, you make a financial commitment — this is the crux of the problem.
Does your romantic partner realize this risk?
If they, too, are horse people, the risk is minimal or nonexistent.
But what if they're not? Ahhhhh…there's the rub!
Take the case when the horse person says, "My ten year old saddle no longer provides me with enough support."
(No, we're not going to speculate as to possible body-shape changes that may have occurred over the years, or any other reasons for recent, insufficient, derriere saddle support; we're going to take the horse person's word for it.)
The "non-horse interested" partner will often, and with trepidation, visualize a new saddle.
Then, he'll (for some odd reason, it's almost always a male) see dollar signs.
But unfortunately, this partner sees the dollar signs leaving in a frightening direction, that of the local tack shop, or worse, a "designer" tack shop.
To this partner, the feeling is not good and his body starts to hurt…badly…
It may even start to tremble.
A typical response might be "NNNNNNOOOOO!!!!!!!"
There is grave danger for the horse person here.
"Incidences" have been known to occur.
Such incidences could include loud yelling affecting the ears and auditory system in the brain.
Brain trauma from horse ownership when not even near a horse — who knew?
Insidious risks are everywhere!
Or even more worse (great grammar, eh?), take the case of the horse-loving partner seeing a great bargain of a horse being offered at auction, or more sinisterly, from a purported friend.
The cute filly or gelding in need of attention is heartbreaking for the horse lover and she (statistically, often a female) snaps it up and brings it home.
But enroute, extreme guilt and fear begins to intrude on this partner's consciousness.
The non-horse partner, often a husband, is not likely to understand.
In fact, he may not have the capacity to understand (such is just one of many weakness of a male, non-horse partner).
The care and feeding costs of this new, additional horse, may somehow undermine the ability to acquire some other critically needed survival item of the household, such as a motorcycle, ATV, home stereo system, or flat-screen, high-definition TV system.
The inability or delay in being able to acquire such a critical survival item could prove emotionally devastating or "unraveling" to the male partner fomenting a complete inability to cope — it upsets the "natural" order of things.
The early symptoms could be some subtle murmuring in seemingly disapproving tones.
But the disease can progress quickly.
Within 10 or 15 minutes, stammering can result.
After a hour or two, the symptoms can worsen into much louder, but equally unintelligible, babbling sounds.
In particularly severe cases, items can sometimes be seen flying through the air, thunder and roaring is heard, followed by the slamming of doors and squealing of tires with other latent, aberrant behavior that can last for months and sometimes terrorize other family members, or worse: pets.
Yes, horse ownership is not for the timid or those with weak hearts.
It takes intestinal fortitude and great emotional strength.
Oddly enough, the non-married, non-dating, single horse-lover never experiences such episodes...go figure...
This has been a public service warning about the dangers of horse ownership unrelated to being on or around horses — YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!
Besides being an avid trail rider, Jerry Tardif is a technology consultant and a horse and nature photographer in SE Connecticut — see his work at: www.jerrytardif.com.
He is also co-founder and President of QueryHorse.
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