Category wise, horses are a unique pet to have. Most of us don’t have a member of the family that is technically considered livestock. Though I jokingly call my dogs my “herd”, they are fairly universally accepted as pets in the United States. While some people do have working dogs, they become less and less common. For dogs and cats, everyone accepts their value as emotional instead of economical.
Horses are less black and white though. For many of us, horses are our pets and nothing else. However, humans are selfish by nature and the majority of people that take on the expensive upkeep & time commitment that is having a horse in boarding/training do so because they’re getting something more out of it than just companionship. As I see it, our horses have two sides to their value – emotional and performance.
Performance value can vary as much as the kind of horses needed for different equestrian sports. Evaluating the monetary value of horses could be a novel of a blog post that I’m not qualified to write. The emotional value is more intriguing to me.
Now that I’ve had Simon for well over three years, I feel like our relationship has started to really click. Earlier on in our journey, I could have told you that he’s worth X dollars because of Y show experience or Z qualities. Now if I had to stick a figure on him, I wouldn’t know where to begin. I’ve realized lately that this is because his emotional value has grown so much for me in the past year.
I couldn’t begin to tell you what the dollar amount would be, but I wanted to share some of what would compose Simon’s emotional sales advertisement.
Maybe it’s the 15 lbs of treats we’ve been slowly working our way through, but whenever I go to get Simon from the pasture he comes to me now. Mostly he walks over, but sometimes if I call to him a few times he’ll trot all the way across the field. Pretty sure there’s no sight that’s better for the heart than your horse trotting towards you in the sunset.
He is easy on the eyes.
Every time I walk to him in his stall, he whickers to me.
He has a bit of a sense of humor.
When he’s done something particularly well in a lesson, he prances. This could be anything from a 2′ oxer to a lead change, but he’s very pleased with himself.
He is conscious of my safety (as much as a horse can be).
Lately, he licks and nuzzles me like a dog. Some would probably see this as a very bad habit, and I’m sure it has something to do with the 15 lbs of treats. I find it endearing though, and only get after him when he gets impatient and uses teeth. The other day I was talking to a friend before turning him out, and he carefully took the back of my breeches in his teeth and snapped them back at me. I told him he was a naughty pony, but it made me laugh.
The thing about emotional value is that you can’t really quantify it. Even as I sit here and try to list stuff out, I know I’m missing the overall picture. I like writing down these little quirks though, because they make me smile. One day (hopefully far, far away) Simon won’t be with us anymore, and I’ll be able to pull up this post to remember the details beyond lead changes and fence heights.
What’s something special about your horse that money can’t quantify?