Let’s Discuss: Horses and Potato Chips

Horses are like potato chips – you can’t only have one. Or can you?

Right now I’m a single horse mother (for lack of another word), but that hasn’t always been the case. In high school I competed both Merry and Mac in eventing, and so had the responsibility of keeping both in shape, training, taking lessons, and generally keeping both in show-ready condition. It was frequently exhausting, but the completely different rides (Merry being hot, well schooled jumping, but prone to ultra sensitive antics, and Mac being quiet, but opinionated and green, as well as being a pony) kept things really interesting and exciting.

Merry going Novice @ The Fork

Merry going Novice @ The Fork



But for the last ten years, my attentions have always been dedicated to one horse at a time. This meant that my relationship with that horse was always a lot more close and my investment in the journey that much more.

Cuddles with Ivan

Cuddles with Ivan

But there are times, like now, when having two horses doesn’t sound like that bad of an idea again. Having a second horse would allow me to continue an active riding career while I figured out what is going on with Foster. Foster on the other hand, would absolutely hate this scenario, as I learned how jealous he is when I was briefly riding Bob a while back. He’d nicker to me every time I walked away from his stall, watching and making pathetic noises while I groomed and worked with the other horse. It sounds silly, but Foster enjoys being a pampered single [horse] child.

Plenty of personality to go around

Plenty of personality to go around

Of course having two horses is a logistical pipe dream for me anyways, financially and regarding time. But as I watch friends go through the adventures of working two horses, or seeking out their second steed, it does make you wonder.

What about you? Do you have one horse? Two horses? What do you feel is the right mix for you? If you have two (or more) horses, how do you handle the balance of attending to both/all? In a perfect world, what would you do?

26 thoughts on “Let’s Discuss: Horses and Potato Chips

  1. I have two – but one is a broodmare. In 2017 that will hopefully change to one riding horse and one baby horse (trading the mare for one of her foals). Of course, only one is rideable in either of those scenarios, so I don’t have a “back up” to ride. That said, I don’t have the time or financial capacity to keep two horses boarded, in lessons, and showing. There’s just no way I could do that unless I had a lot more time and money.

    • I think I might do better with one horse as well.. but… when that horse is limited to just walking, I start thinking about how my energy needs a second 4 legged creature to focus on πŸ™‚

  2. I had two at one point and the stress became way too overwhelming when both started overlapping and seemingly plotting against me to injure themselves at the same time. I am down to one now, and she is so high maintenance and high energy its exhausting at times lol – God love her anyway…I have really been tempted a few times and even put in an offer on a horse that was just too good too pass, but quickly felt relief when it didnt pan out because deep down finding time for two young horses would just not happen…BUT I do think for some people its a fabulous thing and helps balance out the other πŸ™‚

    • I am completely guilty of the same sin- there’s been two horses in the past that I just couldn’t NOT put an offer on.. Lucky for us both that it didn’t work out!

  3. I currently own 3 and have one on a long term lease.

    Up until recently I only had one riding horse and my yearling. Then I brought the yearling home so he needed a buddy. Then my friend needed a good place for her young stallion. So all of a sudden I’m responsible for 4.

    My babysitter is not sound enough to be in work so he is basically just enjoying retirement in my backyard while keeping the little dude in line. Keeping two horses in full time work is an insane commitment that I’m still trying to sort out. I actually enjoy being able to dedicate all my time and energy to one horse so I’m on quite the learning curve.

  4. i own zero, but lease one and am putting miles on another. personally i love riding multiple horses, but the balance is definitely tricky with even these two (and only one competes). it’s telling me something very interesting about myself tho: my patience is shorter with my lease mare bc i have higher expectations and take it personally when things don’t go to plan. but then i’m able to remain very objective and patient with the green bean, even when he’s worse behaved…

    • Lease or not- you still invest a lot of time and emotions into her, and so that totally counts! After getting Foster as a “baby” it took me a long time to finally start treating him as a big boy- long past the greenie stage! I think that’s a hard adjustment and one I looked to my trainers to help me deal with, personally!

  5. I have three…and three mini donkeys… Owning the farm makes a big difference financially but on the other hand takes away from the time with them. My APHA mare doesn’t do much except putter around the farm…she’s had limited training in her 13 years and doesn’t really fit into any one discipline enough to push towards anything so she gets to lay low a lot. I’ve had her since I was 12 though, so she’s with me for life. AQHA mare retains knowledge super well and can be pulled out of the field and taken to show/trail ride whenever as long as she isn’t obese. My gelding requires more attention, but still not bad. I do a lot more farm maintenance than riding though.

    • I will say that when I had the two horses, it was while I was still living on the farm- MUCH more feasible, at least financially. Totally understand that even though you aren’t paying board though that there are plenty of costs, including your time. The luxury of boarding is not having to get up every morning and feed, but everything has a cost…

  6. I have two. Kinda three, but the mare is my husband’s. In a perfect world with no injuries, I’d have one, but we like having three as usually 1 out of 3 will be injured leaving 2 to ride. Right now 2/3 are injured and the 3rd is semi-retired which creates quite the problem.

  7. I had two (and at one point three) for awhile, and it was hard for me to switch mentally from one to the other because they were both massively different rides and different personalities. I like having just the one to spend all the money on, although sometimes I wish it was a different one. πŸ˜‰

    • I used to make plans depending on my emotions- like, I’m feeling confident so I’ll start with the hot one first, or I’m tired so I might as well get the lazy one out of the way or else I’ll never get on him. Totally fickle, but it worked for me.

      Roberto is such a speshul kid, he’s lucky to have you to focus all your energy on him! πŸ˜‰

  8. I just have one right now, but as the Pony gets older and I have to start thinking about retiring him, I definitely do want to get a second, younger pony! The goal is to have something to ride and bring along while my main man is enjoying the easy life. Hopefully by that time I’ll also have my own farm to keep them at!

  9. I was able to do 2 (well schooled Carlos + green pony) when I had more time on my hands. I imagine if I lived closer to the barn and my horse was more schooled or I had a more mature horse I could handle that scenario again.

  10. If it were financially possible, I’d have 2! After this year, I’m convinced now more han ever that having 2 will happen… eventually.

  11. Bahahahaha horses are like potatoe chips πŸ˜›

    I have 2 but Grayson is a 2 yr old so he doesn’t take the attention Henry does, yet lol

    In the perfect world, I’d have property so I could work then both every day and then trailer to lesson with my trainer.

  12. I have three… that wasn’t really the plan though. I’d really like to ride with my husband at some point, so two makes sense. Somehow an extra got thrown in. Having one riding horse and two youngsters seemed perfectly manageable…until one of my youngsters was started under saddle. Now I have no time/money – ha! Hopefully in the future I will be able to reduce my work hours and keep them at home, then it will be easier. πŸ™‚

  13. Having 3 living at my house atm I still only focus on 1 full time. The other 2 are leased out which I love bc I can ride them on the days their lessees don’t but don’t feel like I have to if I end up not having time. It really is a win/win situation bc everyone is fit (enough) to do their job and I have time to get everything else I need to do.

  14. I currently have two horses, only because Phoenix came back into my life randomly a few years ago. Phoenix is a once in a lifetime horse for me and I love having him in my life but it did bring me to two horses. I would actually prefer long term to have just one horse because I’m so serious about my horse’s care and fitness that I go a bit crazy. Even more crazy when I rode my friends horse this summer/fall which was so much fun and I got to jump several times that way. I ride every day when both horses are good and Phoenix has proven to frequently be a good back up horse since his brother likes to come up with fun ways to get time off frequently. This schedule means I don’t do any kind of social events at night after work and I’m never home with my husband before 9 during the week. I’m also managing to squeeze workouts at the gym 2-3 days during the week in there recently. Another important thing to note is that I own two horses and haven’t jumped either of them in over a year (P is retired from jumping, Stampede just likes to be broken), so having two horses does not guarantee you anything. Sometimes luck just isn’t on your side and you have to give your horse what they need.
    I definitely have a feeling that I will likely have two horses again at some point because Stampede will probably retire young due to his issues but I refuse to own three so I will go along with the two I have for as long as they wish to remain on this earth with me. It’s not easy but I can’t imagine life without the boys.

  15. I have 4. I also have an 80 acre hobby farm, so that makes things easier.
    Our original plan was 3.
    1 for me, 1 for Hubby and 1 for our Kid.
    Then, out of the blue, 6 months after we bought the farm, our friend split with her Hubby and his plan was to send all the farm animals to auction.
    Which in December in Manitoba is a one way trip onto the meat truck for horses.
    So, we opened our pasture to 1 more, because friends don’t let their friend’s horses sell for meat (my vet told me that πŸ™‚ ).

    It’s tough sometimes. My hubby works off farm, my Kid is 14 and goes to school, and I work from the farm. Happily, I’m here nearly 24/7, but 1 person, 4 horses…well, you can see where I don’t have enough hands for everyone. πŸ˜‰
    I have a schedule I follow on a daily basis, to make sure everyone gets the time and attention they need to maintain their level of training. I’m working on finding some folks who want to just come out and have some equine time. That way, the horses can all get their hands on time, work on maintaining manners and gives me a little bit of sanity. πŸ™‚

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