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Horseback riding is not a sweet pastime, pick up and put down like a game of solitaire. It’s a great passion. She grabs a whole person and once she does, she will have to accept that her life will be drastically changed.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson

The happy, bounding snort of a horse left out to graze.

The warm rascal as a greeting.

The pure delight of a carrot.

A satisfying ride in a pile of dirt.

These are moments that horse owners savor and pay for in labor, time and love.

Of all the stories about the joy of owning a horse, one thing stands out. It’s not the beauty of the animal that gives joy, but there is that. Not the majesty, not the flying feel while riding, but there is.

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 manage their time and money to keep a majestic creature happy and healthy.

“The daily reality of owning horses builds humans who must consider the welfare of another being. Diet, exercise, health care and maintenance sharpen 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. It is a trait that serves us in our human relationships and our communities.

For their work and self-discipline, they get a pet, a riding partner, adventures in nature, and a social circle of other people who also love their horses.

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