Riding a horse is not a gentle hobby, to be picked up and laid down like a game of solitaire. It is a grand passion. It seizes a person whole and once it has done so, he/she will have to accept that his life will be radically changed.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
The gleeful snorting and bounding of a horse let out to pasture.
The warm nicker in greeting.
The pure delight in a carrot.
A satisfying roll in a mound of dirt.
These are the moments horse owners savor and which they pay for in work, time, and love.
Of all the stories about the joy of horse ownership, one thing comes through clearly. It’s not the beauty of the animal that gives joy, but there is that. Not the majesty, not the feeling of flight when riding, but there are those.
Horse owners have a sense of accomplishment and pride. They don’t spend four hours playing games on their phones. They don’t buy every new style of jeans that comes out. They are managing their time and money to keep a majestic creature happy and healthy.
“The daily reality of horse ownership builds humans that must consider the welfare of another being. Feeding, exercising, health care, and maintenance all hone our ability to serve and have empathy for other beings,” writes Allison Trimble for the Northwest Horse Source. “… I show up and do my part, even when it’s hard. That is a trait that serves us in our human relationships and communities.”
For their work and personal discipline, they get a companion animal, a riding partner, adventures in nature, and a social circle of other people who also love their horses.