Crazy Cow Country Farm

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“I want to earn money with horses”

April 2nd, 2008 · 1 Comment · Uncategorized

How often have I thought that?  Dreamed that?  Heard that?  Pretty often, let me tell ya.  Unfortunately, in today’s economy, horses are a luxury and not one that folks can invest a lot of money in.  And even when you realize there just might be a way to eek out some funds doing something you love, you realize it just aint gonna happen.  Take this situation for example.

Monday evening I received an email from Traci, the lady who sold us Buck last fall, asking for help.  Seems she was gifted an aging mare who was underweight and after 30 days wasn’t putting on quite enough.  Traci is also looking for training methods to connect with her horses better and really wanted some advice.  Now I’m not a horse whisperer or trainer, but she’s seen from this blog that I can at least make some progress and all the horses here look beautiful so she turned to me for some suggestions - perhaps I can call myself qualified to at least be considered a resource.  There, that sounds good.  I’m a resource horsey lady.  I like that, we’ll go with that. 

Well you know me and by the time I wrote out what I considered basic short and sweet advice the email was like 4,000 words since I tend to ramble on and on.  At the end I noted, I’m sure sorry I didn’t know about this sooner because Jen’s coming up tomorrow and she loves to go farm visiting with me.  Poor Jen, I’ve drug her all over Kansas and she just never knows what she’s in for when coming up to the farm.  Thankfully, she’s adventuresome and is always game for some excitement.  So Jen arrives yesterday morning and one look at her and one look outside at the bitter cold 40 mph winds and I knew we weren’t getting a ride in – she’s been sick and still not fully recovered.  As we sat having coffee I told her about Traci’s email and she suggested we do the chores then head on up there.  After a quick phone call to Traci to get a budget from her so we could pick up all the things for her at TSC, we hit the road and arrived a couple hours later.

I got to meet Luke, her little 5 month old baby, and see all the kids again.  After a brief tour of the new animals on her farm we went to meet the mare and assess the situation.  Well this mare was severely underweight so we set about emptying all the sacks I’d brought and fixing her up some lunch and dinner.  We spent about an hour going over nutrition and how to get some weight on horses as well as daily needs.  And poor Traci was shocked to hear us saying, Don’t grain the horses!  No grain!  No oats, no sweet feed, no complete foods, and NO GRAIN!  So we moved the mare into a separate paddock and got her set up then went to the round pen so I could show Traci a brief example of things I’ve learned from Lisa.  She set me up with a little Arabian gelding who was the cutest little thing and I worked him for about 20 minutes.  I would have liked to spend more time but the bus would be pulling up soon back at my farm and Kenny would be on said bus so you know I was itching to get home.  We went over everything again and I invited her down this weekend to ride Buck.

On the way home Jen and I talked about Traci’s farm and how enthusiastic she was and her dreams of having a place where kids can come to ride horses and all that good farm stuff.  I thought of Joe and Shannon when they took their three horses they’d boarded here down to Louisiana and how often they’d called looking for advice with them.  And Sherri up in Junction City with Midnight and her mare.  Then this morning Ed called and told me how proud he was that I’d come to be a resource for friends and was always willing to go visit them and offer help.  Then I started thinking……. there should be a way to offer these services (not that I’m a trainer or anything, but simply these resources and information) for people on a budget.  Why couldn’t that happen?  Wouldn’t that be cool for people to be able to call someone for a “house call” and get a crash course in horse care as well as lists of resources to go when they have questions?  Sounds reasonable.  Sounds perhaps somewhat profitable – well, at least a hobby that could pay for itself, yes? 

Then I remembered hearing Traci tell Jen as I was working her horse, I want to learn this.  I want to help kids and I want to earn money with horses.  And I remembered thinking, Let me know how that works for you.  Not in a condescending way, but just in a reality sucks way because I feel the same.  I see trainers desperate to earn part-time income, let alone a full living.  I field calls from people who seem shocked at our boarding prices.  And I myself watch hay prices rising with a tightening of the heart.  Horses are a luxury.  A wonderful and rewarding luxury yes, but a luxury nonetheless.  It’s difficult to remember that when a decent horse can be purchased for under $500 in today’s market but it’s no longer about the purchase price, it’s about the ongoing care and training of the horse where the money seems to be spent.  And unless you learn to do it yourself by attaching yourself to some wonderful resources, it can break the bank.  Literally.

So, in the infinite words of my husband, I won’t quit my day-job. 

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