28 Aug Horse Math is Funny
UPDATED: you can now listen to me reading this story out loud. (Horse math is funnier out loud.)
If you’ve ever wondered how you could end up with a ranch and an entire herd of horses, I’m here to give you the step by step instructions.
Step 1: you have a crazy idea that spending time around other people’s horses means you should have a horse of your own, so you scour the bulletin boards at the nearby feed store and you pour over Internet postings for a perfect bombproof-kid-safe-trail-friendly-not-too-young-but-for-sure-not-too-old horse and you hear about a pony that needs a home from the vet tech and hey, weren’t you just there for a routine checkup for your dog, but maybe it’s time to go meet a horse or two.
Step 2: the horse takes ownership of you and you fall in love. You decide you must be with it as often as possible. You notice that no horses live in your suburban neighborhood because it’s not zoned for horses and so you find a nearby facility that is zoned for horses, and you talk to the people who run the facility and you hope and pray and wish that they will love and care for your horse as well as you could …. if you actually good and had the time and skills to do so. You pay a small ransom every month for the privilege of being near your horse. You give your horse carrots and cookies because you love it so much and it is now officially the very best thing ever and the very best thing ever really likes carrots.
Step 3: you wonder why you’re driving all over town for horseback riding lessons to ride your one horse that’s barely trained but hey, he’ll get there, and wouldn’t it just be easier to rescue a horse or two that already has some miles on them and then your trainer can help you learn to ride on your own horse? Now all of a sudden you have three horses.
Step 4: you were boarding one horse but now you’re boarding three horses and there’s also the other horse with your other trainer who lives about an hour away and one day she’ll move home and now you have four horses and wouldn’t it just be easier to move to a new house that’s zoned for horses?
Step 5: you make a list of the ideal criteria for a home with horses, not only the facilities, but what it feels like to be there and wouldn’t it be lovely to find one with white fences and rose bushes and a basketball hoop and a house big enough for your family and visitors and your trainer and her visitors and enough space for all of your horses to live in pastures but also room for stalls, a barn, a wash rack with hot and cold running water and you write that all on a very important list in a notebook you put somewhere but can’t find.
Step 6: you look at homes zoned for horses and realize that to live with horses in Los Angeles means that either you will have to win the lottery, possibly more than once, or you’ll live rurally and you won’t have the same access to the clients that support your businesses or WiFi or sushi bars or dry cleaners or the award-winning high school that you dreamed of for your kids and speaking of that, what about their friends since preschool … and wouldn’t it be easier, or at least better, to not live with your horses?
Step 7: you become really good friends with your horse trainer and she’s only an hour away, but she’s not working with all of your horses and wouldn’t it be easier and even more amazing if your horses lived with your trainer/friend/soul sister and wouldn’t it make more sense to have everyone living in one location?
Step 8: you locate a property for rent that could work for you and your husband and your trainer and her husband and not be too far away from home and be able to accommodate your now six horses because three horses with one in training, plus a baby horse who needed a home after she’d been abandoned tied to a neighbor’s fence near your trainer the day before you were going to visit and then there was that dream horse who followed you across the pasture and … wait a second.
Horse math is funny.
Step 9: you make an offer on the property, and the owners say yes, right before they say no, but then they counter with an offer that makes you wonder why you ever wanted to have horses at all, but you write an impassioned letter explaining your vision, and why horses, and why your trainer, and why this particular property, and why have horses in Los Angeles…and it’s still a no.
Step 10: you think “outside the box” as if having horses in Los Angeles because horses help heal people even if you’re not riding them (and especially if you’re not riding them) wasn’t outside the box enough, and then you visit a property in Santa Ynez, 100 miles from your home, because you love Santa Ynez and you go to Santa Ynez all the time because it’s quaint and charming and sweet and one of your favorite restaurants is there and the local Pinot Noirs are delicious, and you find out that the owner of this new rental property 100 miles away actually lives a few miles away from you in your Los Angeles suburb and his kids went to the same tiny school as yours and by the end of the month you are moving your horses and your trainer’s horses and her client’s horses to a ranch in Santa Ynez.
Step 11: you sit on the balcony of your ranch house one weekend morning while working on a project and you flip open to a page of your notebook while gazing at the rose bushes behind the white fence right next to the basketball hoop and you notice that the house you dreamed of and wrote down is precisely where you are sitting right now.
At least that’s how it all worked out for us.