For the non-horse type readers, you may find this to be a window into the minds of your horse friends and family. I was in the Evergreen public school system sometime in the seventies when they decided teach us a new method for math called “Touch Math”. Each number has invisible dots on it that corresponds to the value of that number. So if one was adding two and four, one would count the invisible dots on the two and then the four to come up with six. They abandoned this method within the year and I know why, it is not helpful! Fortunately, Horse people know a much more interesting form of math called “HORSE MATH”.
VALUES AND UNITS
Horse Math is where everything in the world that does not have anything to do with horses, corresponds with a value in the horse world. For example, as much as I may need a nice pair of pants for work, I cannot bring myself to buy them because they hold the same value as the new bridle that I would like to buy. Not that I will buy the bridle either, but closing the door on that possibility is too hard to do. Now, my husband and mother would strongly agree that I really need that new pair of pants and I do have plenty of bridles that I can use in the meantime, but this bridle is the latest in pressure points and all of the reviews say their horse was like a different animal… I know the horse types are tracking right along with me and the non-horse types are starting to get an explanation for strange responses in their relationships with their horsey friends.
Another example of a Horse Math unit of value is hay and grain. A bag of grain is a unit of about $15 and a bale of hay equivalent to around $8. When you figure out how items affect your feed supplies, you may decide against them. Dinner out = three bags of grain. Movie = two bales of hay. Set of new socks = bag of grain. New tires = two tons of hay – that could last you a while!
Horse Math corresponds to different categories of horse items. First, Essential horse supplies are a no brainer. These items around fifty dollars or less and cancel out or even disappear in the budget. Essential item costs, if kept to a manageable level*, are easily made up by cutting your own hair or watering plants, letting dogs out or feeding horses for someone. Essential items might be a saddle pad, barefoot boot, the latest curry, fly spray, or mane and tail detangler. If you forgo any luxuries that your non-horse friends indulge in like manicures, pedicures, expensive hairdos, vacations, or any other sport like skiing or biking (also requires equipment), this savings can count toward Essential items as well.
These are the big ticket items that last a lifetime, but you really need one to get serious. Assuming you have the horse, saddles are the core of Foundation items. These may require saving money through odd jobs, asking for money for birthdays and Christmas, putting aside a little windfall here and there, until the day comes that you have enough. This is a significant day to have a piece of equipment that holds its value, gets better with age and something to pass down to the kids. See, what better investment!
Now I have a birthday coming up. What do I want? Jewelry, clothes, day spa trip? Are you crazy? Birthdays and Christmas are the time to get what horse supplies you really want, but it did not fit into the Essential or Foundation category. This is the Necessary category. These may be a new headstall, bridle, show coat, chaps, boots or show shirt. Something you figured out it would be nice to have at your last show, trail ride, competition, etc. Keep a list ready, so if anyone asks you what you want, you are ready. One tip is to use the wish lists on your favorite horse gear websites. Here is a sample from my list – de-wormer, fly-spray, a new fly sheet , stirrup pads, bridle, blue saddle pad (to match my cross country colors of course) – see, both practical and fun!
If you haven’t noticed yet, just the words “Essential “, “Necessary” and “Foundation” items are all things that one really cannot do without. I know, it may seem like a sickness to some of you. But now you know what to really get us horse people for our birthday!
* I am not sure who determines this…