Every since I was a horse-crazy child, it's been drilled into my head that the real cost of a horse is not what you initially pay for it at the horse store, it's the daily cost of care afterwards.
"But mom, we have a barn right there, and there's grass to eat and we have an apple tree, and a bridle is cheap and I can ride bareback and I have my birthday money and allowance and this horse in the newspaper ad says "Free to good home!" That's a free horse! Mom, please!"
"There's no such thing as a free horse. It's not the price, it's the upkeep," she'd wisely (and heartbreakingly) say. "What about..."
And I actually never really heard anything more than that because I'd stop listening and start wailing.
Amazingly enough, my husband seems to have gone to the same school of economics as my mother. It's like they're reading from the same script of the new off-Broadway production of Making Wenny Sad For No Reason.
So when I saw this ad on Craigslist, I laughed out loud.
This is a horse who has no continuing upkeep! I'd need to buy a pot of black paint to change his mane and tail to a bay, and to fill in his eyes, but otherwise -- no feed! No farrier! No vet!
Dave said, "Mmmhmm. And what are you going to do with it? You can't ride those; they're not built for it."
So I explained about how it's the perfect model to take sale pictures of the tack and saddles I restore and sell.
Me: "No more hooks or wooden stands -- I'll just put them on this tireless and patient horse and take as many pictures as I like. Ooh -- tireless? Not if I put wheels on his hooves! Then I can roll him around! And he'll look great in the yard. The neighbor kids will love it! And when people ask how to get to our house, what better way to end the driving instructions that with "..and there's a fake horse in the yard. You can't miss it."
Dave: "No. That's completely ridiculous. And how would you even get it here? You're not getting this thing."
Me: "Well, of course not. It's a thousand dollars. But picture this..."
And I proceeded to outline my plan of borrowing a friend's trailer.
Me: "Then I'll pull up out at the barn and come running in saying I finally got a horse, and who wants to come see it, and everyone will come outside. I'll open up the trailer and scream "OH NO IT HAPPENED AGAIN!" And everyone will see the statue and I'll say "DAMN YOU, MEDUSA! DAMN YOU TO HELLLLLLLL!"
...well, to end this scene, I'll just say that it's another birthday been and gone without a horse with a bow on it being presented to me. While that never gets any less disappointing, the disappointment at least is a familiar one, and not unexpected. And for those that would like to buy me a horse but have no idea what to shop for, here's a real life, honest-to-god piece of advice on how to do that: Ask my riding teacher to help you. She will know exactly the sort that will be best for me, with the right level of training, sound and healthy, and suitable for my intermediate riding level. She has a large network of friends and could probably find several suitable options with various prices points in less than a week. How you wrap it is up to you...