Author Topic: Dating a Horse Girl and her Finances  (Read 25499 times)

czc118

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Dating a Horse Girl and her Finances
« on: June 11, 2015, 06:19:47 AM »
I've been dating my current girlfriend for long enough to where the subject of finances has reared its ugly head.  This is a sensitive topic for most especially if you are debt.  Long story short most things in our relationship work out great!  I can see myself going the distance with this girl on many levels. 

This is my first time dating a "horse girl".  I don't typically like using that term because it tends to come across in a derogatory way but I think most people can relate so im using it with no negative connotations.  Up until recently I thought I wanted to get into horses so I though it would be a great match but after some time in the saddle I have realized they are too expensive and too dangerous for my conservative tastes.  I also up until recently did not realize the passion that she had for her horse and realized that if I continue the relationship with her there is no doubt in my mind that I continue the financial relationship with the horse.

Being a believer in the mustachian philosophy I couldn't help but ask how much is this going to cost.  While we were dating she told me how much it cost in a piece wise fashion as we were at the very awesome barn.  I thought wow this barn is such a cool place I wonder how much it cost... $300/month and that's cheap if you know horses.  When all is said in done I do not see how the horse will cost any less than about $1000/month with boarding, food, vet, supplements, trailers, trucks, competitions...etc  I would consider this to be an aggressively low number as well.  Anyone who knows horses knows that its one of those hobbies that really has no limit on spending.

This issue came to a head recently when I found out how much debt she has via student loans / credit cards.  It was very evident to me at the time, not being a horse lover, that the horse has got to go!  Needless to say I made the very big mistake of saying that out loud to her without the proper tact.  This did not go well for either party.  We almost broke up over the issue.  It was then that I realized that the horse is her equivalent of our early retirement.  Whereas we put money into investments so we can be finanancially independent and pursue items that we could not otherwise with a 9-5 job or similar she puts money into the horse because that is where her happiness is derived and she has no intentions of retiring early and furthermore no possibility with the horse in my opinion. 

It is my opinion that even if we did get debt free and start saving some substantial cash her horse hobby would start growing to fit our new found money.  This scares me.  We had a long discussion over the topic and she decided that it was a good idea to reign in her spending.  PUN Indented HAHA!  sorry couldn't resist.  She has told me of some steps that she is going to take to reduce her spend such as moving back in with the parents, not competing in high end events, and selling some of her gear.  This shows me that she wants to make it work.  She is also going to come up with a detailed budget.  All in all I am very happy that she is showing this amount of effort.

The questions I have now are.  Will this create financial strife in the future?  What is a fair way to create the budget considering she has substantial debt and I the complete opposite with a decent amount of money invested.  Not that we are combining finances right now but in the future should we go yours is yours mine is mine?  This seems very odd to me if we were to get married.  I suggested putting it into one pot then having a hobby budget however I'm worried her hobby budget will be substantially more than I am willing to put out.  In the end I think she is never going to give up her horse in the same way I am never going to give up my pursuit of financial independence so I can pursue other hobbies that can make money vs sitting in an office.

I am particularly curious if there are any equestrian Mustachian's that have an opinion here.  She has send me many equestrian forum links that show their philosophy some of which are easy because they do you do you i do me.  Others seem to get divorced over the issue because the horse party does not make nearly enough to pay for their own sport hence requiring asset reallocation from the non-horse party.

Thank you!

TrulyStashin

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Re: Dating a Horse Girl and her Finances
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2015, 06:57:38 AM »
I was a "horse girl" from age 5 until about 17.  I rode English and showed and fox hunted all over Virginia -- sometimes at very swanky venues and sometimes at the local fair.  I owned three different horses from age 12 to 17.  The first horse wasn't fancy enough (the horse world is a VERY status-conscious, materialistic place).  The second horse turned out to be nuts with a nasty habit of running head first into trees (we got ripped off -- the horse world is a nefarious place).  The third horse went chronically lame and was unrideable.  At  age 17, my parents were fed up and said "horses or college, choose."  Don't ask me why or how but my silly teenage brain somehow had the wisdom to say "college."  Thank God.

I know this world and I'm sorry to say this, but, dude . . .   She's got a LONG history of making emotional decisions around money.  She's not going to give up the horse and $1000 a month is a very low estimate of your anticipated costs. 

IMHO, you have to decide whether this is something you can live with or not.  If not, then you've got your answer.

Frankies Girl

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Re: Dating a Horse Girl and her Finances
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2015, 07:14:24 AM »
I had horses growing up and it is possible to do them cheaply (relatively anyway), but I had non-registered horses, they were mostly pasture/grazers with a small amount of grain/hay to supplement and we didn't compete or travel (so no fancy duds/tack, grooming expenses, trailers/fees). They were about $100/month for just having a horse to ride around the general stable area and the trails nearby.

But knowing horse people that were really into competing/showing, I'd say it is a VERY expensive black hole of money waste - tens of thousands spent buying more fancy tack and special equipment, training fees, more expensive horses, facilities that would feed, muck stalls and exercise when the owner can't get out there... it's pretty much impossible to do that unless you're independently wealthy (or have a daddy that pays for everything like a girl I grew up with) or else resign yourself to the fact that you'll be working for pretty much the rest of your life to have a few days a month to play with horses.

So I'd say that the woman you're with has the horse thing a little backwards - she's not in it just for the enjoyment of riding, but for "showing off" - the status of her horse and how fancy stuff is is a HUGE deal in the horse show circuit. And she is not supporting herself and she's got tons of debt and still thinks spending tons of money on a very expensive hobby is non-negotiable.

A big red flag for someone that is frugal and interested in FIRE is that she thinks moving back in with her parents is more acceptable than just stopping the shows/competitions completely (and just ride for fun) and/or sell her horse and work out at a barn or even do a horse share to get the "horse experience" instead of blowing huge amounts of money she doesn't have. The smart thing to do would be to wait to get a horse until after she was earning enough to support her habit without any debt.

And also the fact that she thinks this is a good idea - uber expensive hobby when she's in debt - is a good sign that she's not smart with money and may not ever be.

Does she actually reduce expenses elsewhere (in other spending is she doing okay to compensate for the horse hobby?) Does she have the earning potential and career that will cover her horse habit and still contribute a good amount to savings?

But you definitely should decide how much of a deal breaker that would be going forward. And something else to ponder if you marry her: if you have kids, they'll probably be into the hobby as well if their mom gets them into it... so the expenses could get MUCH worse.

But one thing I would not do - do not make her getting rid of her horse a condition to staying together. Decide for yourself if you love her enough that this is something you can live with, or if it is truly a deal breaker for you. If it's too much money, and you can't reconcile the idea that you'd be supporting her hobby even on a small scale, then you need to let her go and find someone that has the same values as you. It is a real possibility that you might be the main breadwinner if she doesn't have a decent job track.

Money is one of the big issues that break up marriages, so making sure to discuss and work this out now is preferable to divorce.

« Last Edit: June 11, 2015, 08:36:32 AM by Frankies Girl »

CommonCents

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Re: Dating a Horse Girl and her Finances
« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2015, 07:31:13 AM »
It seems to me telling her she can or can't do something isn't going to be productive.  While I'm not a fan of split finances in a marriage (how, after all, do you figure out expenses for kids if you have them?), this may be one area where it's appropriate.  Alternatively, you might set a budget for the horses (either a set figure or a %).  You could pour an equivalent amount of money into your "retire early bucket". 

I would also suggest being honest with her and say that just as her passion is horses, yours is early retirement.  Then have a conversation about them.  See how she'd feel if she kept working while you retired early.  Would it matter if you retired 10-20 years sooner than her?  How do you guys feel about kids?  Would you be a stay at home dad if you retired early?  Is that something you're both ok with?

And yes, I do find it concerning the solution is to go live with mom and dad.  Mooching off someone else to support her habit isn't ideal - and sets up habits.  At least the process of making the detailed budget may be helpful.  See if she can figure out how much she really spent (including travel, food etc costs for the events) over the past few years.  Then show her how much money she could have if she didn't participate - and how much it'll cost over the next 25 years.  I don't expect she'll change overnight so this is a pretty tough one - basically can you live with knowing you'll likely retire many years after you hope because of how much will get funneled to horse spending?  And that kids will likely increase the horse costs?  And can she live with you knowing she'll need to reduce her spending to a level where she might not get so much enjoyment out of it?  And that you'll likely be unhappy with her spending, even if she does cut it?

HoneyBadger

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Re: Dating a Horse Girl and her Finances
« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2015, 07:50:52 AM »
Here's how far a horse girl can go:

The comptroller of Dixon, Illinois embezzled $53 million over 20 years to support her passion for horses.  Here's an excerpt from the article:

Ms. Crundwell got her chance to talk and sobbed while she said, “I’m truly sorry to the City of Dixon, my family and friends.”  Once Judge Reinhard had his opportunity to weigh in he let Crundwell know, “You have much better passion for your horses than the people of Dixon who you were suppose to represent.”

http://www.forbes.com/sites/walterpavlo/2013/02/14/fmr-dixon-il-comptroller-rita-crundwell-sentenced-to-19-12-years-in-prison/


WaterLily

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Re: Dating a Horse Girl and her Finances
« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2015, 08:04:28 AM »
I am an equestrian mustaschian myself, and five years ago I found the perfect man for me, since he is equally devoted to horses. We have five horses at the moment - he has two, and I have three (altough he's the one who will do all the schooling and riding of my youngest horse).

A few thoughts:

- Horses is a lifestyle, not merely a hobby. To ask her to give up the horse completely will have a huge impact on her life. The horse is probaby the only/or the largest hobby that she has. I couldn't picture my life without horses. Sure, I would have more money, and sure, I would have more free time. But for what? The only thing I would want to spend time and money on is horses... Sitting at home or going on walks or gardening would just never suffice.

- Social life. Part of owning horses is also the social part of it. All of my friends are horseowners, and I have lived and breathed horses since I was a child. Getting rid of the horses would ruin my social life, and I wouldn't get to see my friends even a fraction as much.

- Cutting costs. I live in northern Europe, and in my country it is waaay cheaper to have your own place with a small stable and some pastures, than it is to pay for boarding. We can easily have five horses at home, for the cost of 1 horse if we would have to pay for boarding. Would you be prepared to move to a more rural area, where land might be cheaper to purchase?

We also have two mares for breeding, and sell the foals every year to make back some of the money we spend.

I am lucky to have found the right man for me. But if he tried to make me choose between him, and the horses and dogs... Well, lets just say that I would show him the door. ;)


little_brown_dog

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Re: Dating a Horse Girl and her Finances
« Reply #6 on: June 11, 2015, 08:10:19 AM »
I'm not a horse person persay but I am into hobby farming (poultry in the backyard) and if given the opportunity to care for larger livestock I'd definitely go for it...

im not surprised there was a bit of a blowup - telling someone to just get rid of their non-human baby is never ever going to go over well, regardless of how rational the person usually is. people constantly remark about how much we spend on vet care for our rescue dog who has needed multiple orthopedic surgeries and each time i want to punch them in the face. these are sentient living creatures with feelings, thoughts and personalities of their own...just tossing them aside is a travesty. that is why it is so important to make sure you can financially support them before committing to them...just like parents who choose to have kids. it kills me that so many animals are dumped in shelters or rehomed because someone didn't think things through...

however, that being said, it is clear that your girlfriend needs to make some major changes if she wants to keep her horse. finding a less swanky place is the first on the list. some of these luxury barns are insane - all the animals really need is a clean, dry, and safe space staffed by competent and loving carers. she also needs to look at her personal spending. caring for animals, like kids, requires sacrifice on the part of the guardian. if she wants to keep her baby, she will cut back on eating out, new clothing, nice cars, and any other luxuries. he is her luxury. if she loves him enough, she will be completely fine with this.

actually I'd argue that if she does curtail her spending and sacrifices for him, she may be a great potential life partner. this demonstrates: 1) ability to be financially savvy while still putting others before herself and 2) honoring the commitments she has made to others. if she balks at giving anything up and buries her head in the sand, major red flag.

you may struggle personality wise with your girl friend long term if you place financial goals before animals already under your care...the vast majority of animal people (even those who are reasonable, frugal, and financially secure) are not going to understand how someone can put money before living things unless it is a truly extreme situation where there is actually no way to care for the animal without devastating the family.  while she definitely needs to make some changes, i think you need to really evaluate whether or not you can emotionally and financially support a partner who might just have a very different perspective on what is important in life. these issues will constantly come up throughout your life since horses are a long term commitment and there will always be financial decisions regarding supplies, vet care and even burial/cremation arrangements.

i agree with waterlily, if my man said it was him or my animals, there would be no hesitation regarding who would go first.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2015, 08:27:38 AM by little_brown_dog »

snuggler

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Re: Dating a Horse Girl and her Finances
« Reply #7 on: June 11, 2015, 08:12:09 AM »
So, I admittedly don't know a lot about horses, but I've heard of "sharing" horses. As in, you split the costs with other people, and then you get to ride it every Tuesday and Saturday, or whatever the agreement is.

Perhaps that is a good way to compromise? 

Gone Fishing

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Re: Dating a Horse Girl and her Finances
« Reply #8 on: June 11, 2015, 08:17:33 AM »
Very, very few relationships have a couple 100% in agreement all the time.  It is how you deal with that 5-10 percent of the time that you disagree that makes or breaks a realtionship (any more than that and you might need to look elsewhere!).  Sounds like you have had some constructive conversation and have come up with some action items to address.  If she does what she said she is going do, in good spirit, I would take that as a sign of maturity. 

When I was dating my wife, one of the things that impressed me the most was how much more mature she was in handling things that would have sent my previous girlfriend into a tail spin.  In the begining I would actually brace for the storm that never came.  It was quite refreshing! 

Recenly I have been reflecting on what I might call the "second level" maturity of adulthood, otherwise known as "getting your shit together, stage 2".  The first level being sucessfully leaving the nest and having the ability to provide for one's own basic needs,  and the second level, when someone starts to take real control of their lives and begin to steer it where they want it to go vs just letting it happen.  This often involves concrete goal setting and may include financial goals but also career, family, health/performance and spiritual goals, as well.  Then making the choices required to reach these goals.  As I look my personal peer group (mostly in their late 20s and 30s), there is a wide variety of maturation levels and very few of us are probably "fully" mature, but most are progressing.  My point in all this is that (I'm assuming you are probably in your 20s) you may be a bit ahead of your SO on the finance goals, but there is nothing to say she will not catch up IF she is generally mature in other areas of her life.               

Something else to consider is that there is nothing that says you have to merge finances and/or ER goals if you go the distance with your girlfriend.  There are plenty of members on the forum who have seperate finances and goals from their SO.  It can work just fine if everyone is on board.

   

czc118

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Re: Dating a Horse Girl and her Finances
« Reply #9 on: June 11, 2015, 08:32:01 AM »
Wow!  This is my first post on the Mustachian forum and I am so glad that it is.  Many many thanks for the very objective and honest responses.  Many thanks to the horse owner responses because I am new to this world and don't understand what the norm is.

TrulyStashin - Excellent choice on college!  Sometimes I feel if I had a kid going into college I wouldn't even offer the choice or i would and if they chose wrong I would insist.  Although to an 18 year old I'm sure this would come across as I'm the Jerk Dad that doesn't care about their hopes and dreams... insert mushy emotional teenage response here.  I think your right in that my $1000 estimate is low for the competitions she enters.  She has recently decided to give up eventing in favor of dressage which is still very expensive but slightly less so.  Do you own a horse now?

FrankiesGirl - I am into homesteading and recently hobby farming via chickens probably one of the things that attracted her to me.  I am very handy and can build structures and fix machinery so I did tell her that a compromise we could do is to have horses on the property we own.  If the cost was $100 this is an easy yes!  Heck it could even be up to $500 and I would be ok because I do like horses just not riding them so I wouldn't mind taking care of them on the property.  I think you right about the atmosphere about riding especially dressage that high end products ultimately yield higher scores and therefore higher desires to be obtained by the rider.  I can't compute this in my engineer head but thats the way it is.  I like the way western riders do it where its all about riding and less about the gear.  I also mentioned that I have trouble wrapping my head around spending so much money for a few days of riding a month when you could have the whole month filled with happiness and freedom if you are FI.  I think horse sharing is also another phenomenal idea where she gets the experience at a fraction of the cost.  When i brought up having a horse to own and ride for leisure she did not like the idea because one of the items about riding that appeals to her is the competition and getting better at the sport by competing.  If you take that out of the equation I think she just wouldn't bother owning the horse.  Another item is that her horse is basically the Ferrari of horses not a Toyota so he is delicate / expensive.  I also mentioned the idea of pausing her riding until she is out of the debt yet another item she was not keen on as "the horse is her life" so to take away the horse would make her a utterly miserable person to be around.  I havn't known her without horse so I cannot comment here but I believe her when she tells me this.  I never though about living with the parents vs. stopping to ride as a red flag but maybe your right here.  Both she and I recognize that her past financial decisions were not good and she is showing great potential on correcting her prior ways.   I sent her a bunch of MMM classics and she said it has helped her see the benefits and having a course correction.  Thank you for your point of view!

CommonCents - I have brought up early retirement with her and she said that she would be ok with it however in practice you never know how that tune might change when I'm out hiking the trails or enjoying the sun by the river and shes getting up at 5:00AM to catch a bus into the city which we both hate.  I wouldn't mind being a stay at home dad however if I retire early i view my job in life to be done so it wouldn't be like I'm replacing my 9-5 job with the stay at home dad job so i wouldn't view it as an obligation mean that we should still be spliting child duties 50/50 yet another item i see going over like a lead balloon.  Both of us are unsure if we want to have kids at this point in time but I anticipate that as we get older currently 29/26 that kids will be wanted probably only one maybe two, probably one...   She doesn't have a strong career now but with the horse hobby I dont see this changing because  a strong career requires a time devotion which she will not have available.  This means I will be the breadwinner.  I am not trying to be self serving with that comment its just the truth of the matter.  The income disparity is fairly substantial meaning its likely I would pay for many items.  Best case scenario she will be in debt for the better part of 7 years at this rate meaning I will be buying the house paying the taxes...etc.  Again not trying to pat myself on the back there.  One of the items I find good and bad is that her parents love her so much they will do anything to see her happy even at her overall detriment.  My opinion is that they enable her to pursue a hobby she cannot afford at this time by buying her tack and supplementing normal living expenses she cannot cover.  However it is amazing that they have that type of love for their daughter and it only comes from a good place that much is very obvious.  They are awesome people I really enjoy hanging out with them but cringe when they offer support.  She mentions I am a bit of a hypocrite on this point because I too live at home but my arrangement is different.  I pay rent, I buy food, I fix both of our vehicles our sheds our house.  I offer payment in many different ways beyond the rent/ utilities.  In addition my Dad loves having me in the house and would prefer me to be there as would I because the house is amazing for homesteading / hobby farming and I love my Dad.

HoneyBadger - That is SCARY!!!!

WaterLily - Your comment heavily resonantes with what she has told me.  Horses are her lifestyle and something that is engrained in to her.  After I realized this which is tough for a non-horse person I realized it was wrong of me to expect her to give up her horse because the grief that would bring her.  The question now is how much compromise can we both give to reach a point of consensus?  I'm not sure myself.  I love rural areas!  I've been trying to find a job to get me more rural.  I live in Pittsburgh, PA which is a relatively good place for rural land.  You're right my tuckas would be out the door if it was me or the horse  I have come to accept that fact.  I'm so happy that you found such a great match congratulations!

LittleBrownDog - I may have not communicated properly with the barn.  To me its awesome because I really like that kind of thing but its not a luxury barn just the owner keeps it well.  As for expenses beyond the horse she is probably a Mustachian just never put the definition in place.  She pinches pennies better than me and I can actually learn from her so this isn't a concern at all.

SoClose - She is very intelligent, mature, good looking, and we are also very compatible.  I think this is why this relationship took off so fast.  We went from the first date to acting like a married couple in no time flat.  I am proud of the tough realization she had to deal with when facing her finances head on with a pushy boyfriend behind her.  HAHA!  I like your stage 2.  This is the stage she is in and I have past.  I think your right she may be able to come along for the ride. 

Again, Many many thanks for the very well written comments!

former player

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Re: Dating a Horse Girl and her Finances
« Reply #10 on: June 11, 2015, 08:39:45 AM »
You don't say how old your girlfriend is (or how old you are, for that matter), and going back to her parents' and student loans makes her sound young - which suggests that there may be scope for her to change.   She obviously needs to get her finances in order, for her own benefit regardless of her relationship with you, but as long as she is paying her debts and saving at least something for retirement on top of her horse costs, she is making choices she is entitled to make - your question is "can I live with those choices"? The parameter of the answer will change depending on whether you are/will be living together/married/have children and what the financial consequences of that change in situation would be.

I also note that you don't say what your hobbies are, or what you would do when FIREd - are you just looking not to work, do you have current hobbies/ambitions in mind as FIREd activities, or will you look for new things to do when FIREd?

Horses can be very expensive (e.g. high end competition done on an amateur basis rather than as a paid professional) or relatively cheap (fairly ordinary horse kept on your own rural property and used for trail riding).    If your experience through your girlfriend has been of the first you might find yourself happier with the second: unfortunately the two don't often meet - it's not much of a joint hobby if your girlfriend in in the barn's school practising dressage and jumping while you are out on the trails.

Even at the cheaper end, responsible horse owners may feel the need to keep a horse for life, including during a long retirement, in order to be sure that it is not mistreated or sent for slaughter.  Breeding may be a way of offsetting costs e.g. in certain circumstances in Europe, it is highly unlikely to be so in the USA (very large oversupply of horses and a constant trade in them being exported to Canada and Mexico for meat).

You do need to know that riding horses is one of the most dangerous hobbies there is: death and serious injury (serious head, neck and back injuries) are relatively common compared to other hobbies - think motorcycling levels of danger.  This becomes more relevant if you are thinking of marriage and children- a dead or seriously disabled wife is not an impossible outcome if she continues to ride, particularly if she is competing at a high-ish level, in which case I'd suggest life and disability insurance.
 
Edited to add: written before your latest reply.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2015, 08:54:17 AM by former player »

mbl

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Re: Dating a Horse Girl and her Finances
« Reply #11 on: June 11, 2015, 08:58:43 AM »
WaterLily....very well put.

I am also a horse owner and have been so for many years.
Many good comments here.

There are many levels of horse owner ship and competition.   For the most part and for many that I've encountered, it is a love, a lifestyle and a passion.    Usually it is done for the sheer enthusiasm and constant goal of improving.   Whether it's just trail riding or seeking to event at the Olympic  level(BTW....usually those riders are on someone else's mount and are employed doing so).
Being into horses whether it includes riding or just the ownership is a passion that typically doesn't wane.   

 A horse isn't like a motorcycle or a bicycle.  You don't put it away and just take it out again when you want to ride.   Whether it is a grade horse or a purebred  Hanoverian, they get injured, sick and even without that require regular trimming, worming,  inoculations,   and a number of other possibilities.  They can require a lot of care as can their stalls, pastures, paddocks, barns etc.   The love of the horse includes acceptance and even joy in doing those things that are necessary to the care, feeding and of course riding of the horse and the infrastructure that it resides in.

In the end, either you accept this woman as she is with the understanding that having horse in her life is part and parcel of who she is.   She'll need a partner who understands that and fully accepts it.    Anything else will just breed resentment.   She might be better of with a man who rides and is a horse owner.     Much less room for having to justify a way of life to someone else.   I can't imagine anyone who has the love of horses and rides to give that up because a SO desires it.     In the end, the horse will win out and the SO will be left.

mbl

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Re: Dating a Horse Girl and her Finances
« Reply #12 on: June 11, 2015, 09:09:01 AM »
I've been dating my current girlfriend for long enough to where the subject of finances has reared its ugly head.  This is a sensitive topic for most especially if you are debt.  Long story short most things in our relationship work out great!  I can see myself going the distance with this girl on many levels.    The real question is, if you don't want her to have a horse and the lifestyle that is associated with it,  does she see herself going the distance?

This is my first time dating a "horse girl".  I don't typically like using that term because it tends to come across in a derogatory way but I think most people can relate so im using it with no negative connotations.  Up until recently I thought I wanted to get into horses so I though it would be a great match but after some time in the saddle I have realized they are too expensive and too dangerous for my conservative tastes.  I also up until recently did not realize the passion that she had for her horse and realized that if I continue the relationship with her there is no doubt in my mind that I continue the financial relationship with the horse.    If you don't value horses and riding...which is fine...it is certainly not for everyone, I truly believe that you're at an impasse.

Being a believer in the mustachian philosophy I couldn't help but ask how much is this going to cost.  While we were dating she told me how much it cost in a piece wise fashion as we were at the very awesome barn.  I thought wow this barn is such a cool place I wonder how much it cost... $300/month and that's cheap if you know horses.  When all is said in done I do not see how the horse will cost any less than about $1000/month with boarding, food, vet, supplements, trailers, trucks, competitions...etc  I would consider this to be an aggressively low number as well.  Anyone who knows horses knows that its one of those hobbies that really has no limit on spending.   It isn't a hobby.....it's usually over the l;ong term....a lifestyle....and this is why I believe she is probably better off with someone who sees the value in it

This issue came to a head recently when I found out how much debt she has via student loans / credit cards.  It was very evident to me at the time, not being a horse lover, that the horse has got to go!  Needless to say I made the very big mistake of saying that out loud to her without the proper tact.  This did not go well for either party.  We almost broke up over the issue. It was then that I realized that the horse is her equivalent of our early retirement.  Whereas we put money into investments so we can be finanancially independent and pursue items that we could not otherwise with a 9-5 job or similar she puts money into the horse because that is where her happiness is derived and she has no intentions of retiring early and furthermore no possibility with the horse in my opinion. 

It is my opinion that even if we did get debt free and start saving some substantial cash her horse hobby would start growing to fit our new found money.  This scares me.  We had a long discussion over the topic and she decided that it was a good idea to reign in her spending.  PUN Indented HAHA!  sorry couldn't resist.  She has told me of some steps that she is going to take to reduce her spend such as moving back in with the parents, not competing in high end events, and selling some of her gear.  This shows me that she wants to make it work.  She is also going to come up with a detailed budget.  All in all I am very happy that she is showing this amount of effort.

The questions I have now are.  Will this create financial strife in the future?  AbsolutelyWhat is a fair way to create the budget considering she has substantial debt and I the complete opposite with a decent amount of money invested.  Not that we are combining finances right now but in the future should we go yours is yours mine is mine?  This seems very odd to me if we were to get married.  I suggested putting it into one pot then having a hobby budget however I'm worried her hobby budget will be substantially more than I am willing to put out.  In the end I think she is never going to give up her horse    CORRECT   in the same way I am never going to give up my pursuit of financial independence so I can pursue other hobbies that can make money vs sitting in an office.

I am particularly curious if there are any equestrian Mustachian's that have an opinion here.  She has send me many equestrian forum links that show their philosophy some of which are easy because they do you do you i do me.  Others seem to get divorced over the issue because the horse party does not make nearly enough to pay for their own sport hence requiring asset reallocation from the non-horse party.

Thank you!

MayDay

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Re: Dating a Horse Girl and her Finances
« Reply #13 on: June 11, 2015, 09:13:26 AM »
I have an opinion, but I'll admit up front that it is negative and biased. 

My MIL is a horse person.  When DH and his sister was a kid, they went without to a point that safety was a concern (no heat in the house, for example) but the horses never ever ever went without.  I will always resent my MIL for that. 

Now she can afford it fine.  Her horses are still #1.  To the exclusion of a regular relationship with her grandkids (my kids) since she HAS TO BE AT THE BARN twice a day, and no one (I mean no one!) can be trusted to take care of the horses.  So we moved within 2-3 hours of her (from across the country) and she has never once visited us for more than about 6 hours.  And she never will, because the horses are #1.  When we lived xcountry, I think she visited twice in 7 years, when each kid was born. 

So.  Yah.  I kind of have an issue with any one hobby (especially such an expensive one) being such a.... I don;t even know what word.  Non-negotiable?  Absolutely can't even possibly be discussed cutting?  Priority over heating the fucking house?  Because that is how horse people are in my experience (I am sure there are exceptions but I haven't seen one yet). 

Is having CC debt the same as not heating a house with children in it?  No.  But its kind of really really terrible anyway.  Maybe a similar example to the CC debt is a horse friend of mine who works FT and lives far away from where the horse is boarded, so barely even sees her horse, and her house went into foreclosure, but horse boarding got paid every month!  So where exactly is the line going to be?  For me, it would probably be at credit card debt.  You have to figure our where your line is.


Posthumane

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Re: Dating a Horse Girl and her Finances
« Reply #14 on: June 11, 2015, 09:16:36 AM »
While I'm not a horse person, I do have a similarly expensive hobby/passion - airplanes. Like with horses, there are (somewhat) cheaper ways of flying, but there is no upper limit on costs.

$1000/month is a lot of money, but as someone wise once said "You can have anything you want, you just can't have everything you want." $12k/year is an amount that a person making an average wage could scrape together as long as they are frugal in other areas, which it sounds like she is. If she's willing to give up most other expenses that most people have, like eating out, fancy clothes, electronics, etc. then having her horse and saving up for retirement are not incompatible.

So the problem here isn't her horse passion, it's her handling of finances that led to her being in debt. If you think this relationship is viable in the long term in most other respects, then you just have to accept that she will always have a substantial budget line item called "horse expenses" that you shouldn't try to eliminate. You can look into ways of reducing it though, along with all of her other expenses, so that she is able to pay for her horse without going into debt.

In my younger days before MMM I went into debt to own a plane. This probably would have been a red flag to a mustacian in those days. I quickly learned how much it sucks to be in debt, paid it off, and learned about saving and investing. I still spend a lot of plane ownership but it's not a debilitating expense, I just make up for it by having a beater car, living in a small house, not having cable, etc.

TrulyStashin

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Re: Dating a Horse Girl and her Finances
« Reply #15 on: June 11, 2015, 09:24:33 AM »
Now that I've read more, I'm even less optimistic.  Sorry.

She was into eventing and now it is dressage?  Oy vey.  Eventing is just about the most expensive version of an expensive hobby that she can possibly choose.   The mindset of the horse world is that an eventer "needs" at least two of everything:  different saddles (at $1500 each), two kinds of helmets and maybe even a top hat, body armor but also a black coat with tails for dressage.   Sheesh.  It is mind-blowing.   Now she's shifting to dressage which means that she'll need lots of lessons with a new/ different trainer.  Probably some new kinds of tack.   Have you looked at the entry fees for dressage competitions?   Horrible.  One weekend at a show two hours from home will blow through $1000 easily.

No, I do not ride anymore.  I rode off and on through my 20's, but then life took over.  Riding requires a high degree of fitness in some very specific muscle groups and if you don't have that level of fitness all you can really do it trot along which isn't much fun.  I have wonderful memories of riding all day, every day, mucking stalls, cleaning tack, etc.  My best friend and I ran the fields like the wild young fillies we were and I wouldn't trade those days for anything.  But, I have other goals now.  Would I ride/ own horses again?  Only if I was truly wealthy so that I had the time to ride at least 3 x a week.

Also, have you considered the impact that horses will have on your mobility?  Even is she is willing to downshift toward less expensive versions of horse ownership (backyard horse, no competition, trail riding) that will mean that every time you want to go away for the weekend, you need to pony up  (ha!) $$ for someone to come care for the horse while you're gone (unless they're 100% pastured -- then you might get a weekend, but you can't go for a whole week).

Frankly, her parents are not behaving in a loving way.  They're crippling their adult daughter.   If you marry her, they will play a big role in your lives together b/c she will continue to look to them for $$ every time she runs short.   You'll feel undermined and inadequate.  They will have a hard time resisting the urge to give advice, along with their money.  She'll never grow up so long a Mom and Dad bail her out.

oldladystache

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Re: Dating a Horse Girl and her Finances
« Reply #16 on: June 11, 2015, 09:33:36 AM »
Horse oldlady here, former horse girl.

I've always been extremely frugal, but I somehow managed to have a horse (or access to one) for most of my life. There are frugal ways to get your horse fix, but it doesn't sound like she's likely to go for that.

Now that I'm financially secure I spend more than I need to, but still less than the amount you're thinking about. Most of my friends spend more on training, tack, fancy feeds, and such. I use old hand-me-downs, plain feed, and do things myself. I can't shake my frugal ways.

I expect some day my sweet pony will need expensive care, and she's family so she'll get what she needs, no matter what it costs.

Horses are expensive, and dangerous. If you can't live with that I suggest you let her go and find someone more in line with your values. If you try to change her you'll almost certainly regret it.

mrsggrowsveg

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Re: Dating a Horse Girl and her Finances
« Reply #17 on: June 11, 2015, 09:43:23 AM »
I was a competitive western rider up until a few years ago when we started having kids.  Now we are doing the homesteading thing and the only kind of horse I would be allowed to have would also have to pull a plow.

I really like your idea of homesteading and keeping a horse yourself.  Dressage is a really expensive discipline.  The lessons/training are the highest I have seen and the trained horses are very expensive.  The good news is that Dressage is really just a fancy word for training.  Any horse can be a dressage horse and there are many different levels.  She could just take lessons and not own a horse to get a variety of experience.  You all could also buy your own horse that isn't at the highest level and your girlfriend and the horse could work together to achieve higher levels of training.

My neighbor is a Dressage rider and actually an early retiree.  However, I don't think she got really into dressage until she was a bit older.  They keep three horses.  One older horse for her husband, a retired horse and her very nice imported horse.  She does not keep shoes on her horses, but gets regular trims.  This is much expensive then keeping shoes on a horse.  They built their own outdoor sand Dressage arena.  She hauls her horse to lessons every week or so and does occasional competitions.

If you were to keep a horse here are some things you would need:
Horse:  $5000-infinity
Saddles and Equipment:  Sounds like she has those
Land:  For grazing, I would recommend a couple acres per horse.
Shelter:  You could do as cheap as a lean to, or a fancy barn full of stalls.
Farrier work:  Every 6-8 weeks.  A trip would probably be $40+
Vet work:  There are regular vaccines and then the potential for very expensive lameness work.
Riding Area:  Sand or Lime is nice for drainage.  You could even just till up dirt.
Trailer
Vehicle to pull trailer

Exflyboy

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Re: Dating a Horse Girl and her Finances
« Reply #18 on: June 11, 2015, 10:06:23 AM »
I married a horse gal... Good luck..:)

Her horse habit cost more than my 200mph airplane at one point! all the time. The difference was I was a 6 figure engineer, she made $30k

Fortunately my Wife is relatively frugal, but for crying out loud she could have been buying a house (or actually investing) with the money she was spending on her "free" horse, she is an underpaid teacher and this has to be the most stupid financial decision.. Literally all her spare income was going to care for the thing.

Finally the barn where her nag was being boarded raised their rates to $500 a month and then she said.. "we can't do this anymore".. We then spent $10k improving our property (self installed a French drain to dry out the mushy barn and bought a truck and trailer).

I would say the horse is still costing us $150 a month on average... At least, hay, bedding, farrier, suppliments... And she does NO competitions ever!

I knew all this going in of course and were are now more than FIRE, so if she wants to spend this money on a horse, well that's fine by me now. But it was a bone of contention for the first 10 years of our marriage. Thankfully My Wife has said she won't be having another horse when this one dies.

A couple of weeks ago the Horse got colic.. Not too bad but the vet came out and we got a bill for $300. Thankfully we have only had the vet out twice during our 15 years of marriage..

Basically if you marry this gal your marrying her horse, that's her choice... Deal with that fact because she won't be giving it up that's for sure.

« Last Edit: June 11, 2015, 10:14:23 AM by Exflyboy »

Retire-Canada

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Re: Dating a Horse Girl and her Finances
« Reply #19 on: June 11, 2015, 10:08:10 AM »
To the OP I'd say it's much easier to find someone more compatible with your life goals than to try and change this person so she fits.  She can have a great life doing her thing. It just won't be compatible with your FIRE goals.

Bicycle_B

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Re: Dating a Horse Girl and her Finances
« Reply #20 on: June 11, 2015, 10:15:17 AM »
So many excellent comments!

My sister bought her own horse starting at age 13, sold horse at age 20.  She earned every penny, asking only for rides to the stable.  Good thing, because our family had no money to spare, though we had a car.  Here's how she did it.

At the age when young girl often shifts from "Oooh, horses!" to "Oooh, boys!" Sis came instead to Mom with a plan.  "There's a stable at address X...it's 3 miles from town. Would you give me a ride so I can talk to them?"  Parental discussion over the next few days established that she intended to learn about and be near horses by working on a volunteer basis, or at least propose this to the owners of the stable. 

After family agreement that not a penny would be paid by any parent, that rides would be by prior arrangement if acceptable to parents on their schedule and that the whole thing could be cancelled by parents in the event of unforeseen problems, she was given her ride to the stable where she approached the owners to make her pitch.  They nodded judiciously and handed her a shovel.  “You’ll need to start by cleaning that stall over there.”  After the 2 hours or so that she had, they examined the much cleaner stall, noted that she had worked without complaint, and said she could come back.

She went back maybe three times a week for the next seven years.  They taught her all about Western riding.  Then they started taking her along when horses were being bought and sold.  Finally they introduced her to someone whose horse was going to have a foal and was willing to sell for a low price.  She started babysitting their kids to save for the big day, and then to pay for feed. 

By college, she was ready to sell – not because of losing interest in the horse, but because she needed to pay for college and make a living, and the horse habit did not seem sustainable to her in that context, much as she had enjoyed the experience to that point.  A bad market for selling horses delayed the sale until she was 20. 

Mr. MMM was just learning to ride a bike at the time.  But looking back, she might be a good example of Mustachian horse enthusiasm.

waltworks

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Re: Dating a Horse Girl and her Finances
« Reply #21 on: June 11, 2015, 10:24:24 AM »
I have personally never understood the attraction of horses, but it's also clear that they are, to some (mostly women, which I've always thought was weird) basically best friends for life, and as such, not something that can be sold or given away for financial reasons. I totally understand that.

Doing *events* or *competitions* is a different story. That's IMO where the buck has to stop, because it's a huge portion of the expenses and giving it up does not require giving up doing fun things with your horse. It just means you need to do *other* (preferably free) fun things. I'm guessing the horse is perfectly happy to just go on mellow trail rides and eat treats rather than be hauled around in trailer for days at a time, too, but what do I know.

So I'd basically look at whether she loves horses, or whether she loves the competition/lifestyle. If she just loves her horse, you're good. If she wants to structure her life around a crazy expensive hobby involving horses, that's bad.

-W

Roxysmart360

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Re: Dating a Horse Girl and her Finances
« Reply #22 on: June 11, 2015, 10:36:34 AM »
I second oldladystache. Horses are expensive and dangerous. Take it from someone who knows and has had a few family members get hurt. I once got thrown into a fence as a child and my father (a non-horse guy) was furious with my mother and the horse. It was no one's fault but my own inexperience.

Owning a horse is a life-long commitment, many horses can live up to 25 years and depending on the breed much longer. Horses are pets, not objects and you won't just be able to sell the horse even when times get tough. What you have here is a package deal, her and her horse. Asking someone to give up a pet for finances is dangerous territory, as you found out. You might want to ask yourself several questions to determine if you are ready for this type of commitment.
1. If she got injured while riding, would you blame the horse?
2. Would you take care of the horse if necessary, say if she was out of town or laid up? Remember they are a lifetime commitment, like a pet or child.
3. Do you love this woman enough to delay your FIRE goals, especially if an expensive something comes up for the horse that it needs (cause it will)?
4. If she is a horsewoman, your kids are going to learn how to ride, are you going to be okay when they fall off? What if they get hurt? (because this doesn't stop a horse person from getting back in the saddle)
5.Are you going to get upset when you throw your back out haying in the summer? Or are spending the best day of the summer/ worst day of winter haying/working on fence-lines or mucking out the pasture?

I can tell you that from my own observations, those who are not horse people and who have a horse person as a significant other tend to harbor some resentment when it comes to all the time, work and money that goes into it. You need to decide if having horses in your life is something you can live with and go from there. If not you need to have a conversation with your horse girl because you aren't going to be the best match in the future.

nobody123

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Re: Dating a Horse Girl and her Finances
« Reply #23 on: June 11, 2015, 10:47:02 AM »
Forget the horse -- she's not going to give up her passion, so it's a package deal if you want to stay with her.  The bigger issue is that she's in CC debt and has to have her parents subsidize her lifestyle.  Will she be expecting you to do so if you are married?  Do her parents expect you to do so once you're married?

If you are willing to do so, explain that you're willing to devote some percentage of your income for her discretionary spending and never complain about it again.  Make sure she and her parents know that is your line in the sand, and that if you lose your job there won't be money to spend on a horse that month and she will need to figure out what to do. 

However, if you are just going to grumble under your breath every time you see a charge on your credit card from the tack shop and you start doing the mental calculations of how many extra days at work that just cost you, cut her loose and find yourself a girl who has values that more closely align with yours.


Retire-Canada

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Re: Dating a Horse Girl and her Finances
« Reply #24 on: June 11, 2015, 11:03:41 AM »
and that if you lose your job there won't be money to spend on a horse that month and she will need to figure out what to do. 


What she'll do is charge the costs to some form of credit that the OP will be responsible for. Once they are married it will be his expense to pay and she's not going to give up a horse simply because they can't afford it. That's clear from her current situation.

The OP isn't considering marrying a partner. He's considering taking on a dependant and her horse.

Exflyboy

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Re: Dating a Horse Girl and her Finances
« Reply #25 on: June 11, 2015, 11:04:11 AM »
25 years... try more like 35 years these days!

Oh and don't forget liability.. Horse is on your property and it gets out on the road and somebody hits it with their car.. Your on the hook.

My Insurance company laughed at me when I said I wanted liability coverage for it.


nobody123

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Re: Dating a Horse Girl and her Finances
« Reply #26 on: June 11, 2015, 11:20:02 AM »
and that if you lose your job there won't be money to spend on a horse that month and she will need to figure out what to do. 


What she'll do is charge the costs to some form of credit that the OP will be responsible for. Once they are married it will be his expense to pay and she's not going to give up a horse simply because they can't afford it. That's clear from her current situation.

The OP isn't considering marrying a partner. He's considering taking on a dependant and her horse.

Exactly my point.  Obviously she can't afford her hobby as she envisions it on her income.  He needs to decide if the sex is good enough to justify taking over the enabler / subsidizer role that her parents are currently filling.  If it is, he needs to date her for a while longer to see if she actually adjusts her ways to get out of debt before he even thinks about marriage.


little_brown_dog

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Re: Dating a Horse Girl and her Finances
« Reply #27 on: June 11, 2015, 11:29:14 AM »
ah that's too bad that she doesn't seem willing to downgrade the competition lifestyle to something less expensive like leisure trailriding. if she had been primarily concerned with keeping her horse friend due to personal attachment and just riding for pleasure, it sounds like you might have a good compromise on your hands. unfortunately, it seems like you may just really need to have a tough but honest conversation at some point...she can't even support this hobby on her own (as indicated by her parents' financial investment) and you can't see yourself supporting it for her. you could pose the compromise regarding leisure riding, but if she insists on expensive competitions and all the required costs that go along with it you are at a stalemate.


Argyle

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Re: Dating a Horse Girl and her Finances
« Reply #28 on: June 11, 2015, 11:42:16 AM »
It sounds a bit as if it has gone from you wanting her to be more frugal to you wanting to control her.

It is possible to be frugal and be a horse person.  A good friend of mine does it.  She has built up her ranch and barn from scratch and works three days a week at a non-horse job so she can take the time to enjoy the rest of her life.  She has invested in fixer-upper rentals and lives a frugal lifestyle and owns and shows multiple horses (eventing, dressage).  She's as mustachian as you can get.

So it's not what she spends her time and money on, it's whether she's living within her means.  If she is, then the details are nobody's business.  What you're worried about is if she's not -- I can't fully tell whether she is or not.

But the bottom line is that you can't change her financial choices, and you definitely shouldn't try to change whether she does what she enjoys and what makes life meaningful to her.  Even suggesting that she give up her horses sounds as if you don't really "get" her and what's important to her, and that you're inclined to want inappropriate control over her choices.

It's very possible to keep your finances separate and for you to retire early while she continues to work.  In fact, this is the arrangement my frugal horse friend and her husband have.  But if that means that you'd still be uncomfortable with the choices she's making, then maybe she isn't the right partner for you.

Retire-Canada

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Re: Dating a Horse Girl and her Finances
« Reply #29 on: June 11, 2015, 11:47:18 AM »
What you're worried about is if she's not -- I can't fully tell whether she is or not.

Credit card debt and has to live with parents as an adult because of her horse habit. What is unclear?

CommonCents

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Re: Dating a Horse Girl and her Finances
« Reply #30 on: June 11, 2015, 11:51:27 AM »
After reading more in this thread, I'm beginning to think that one or both of you is likely to be resentful at the compromise.  Unless as little brown dog suggests, you can both cheerfully live with leisure riding her horse friend, then I think you may not be well matched for long-term success, just like a world traveler and  homebody would have issues merging their lives.  (Keep in mind during any conversation with her that people would see us as crazy too!)

ltt

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Re: Dating a Horse Girl and her Finances
« Reply #31 on: June 11, 2015, 12:04:54 PM »
Sometimes, I just do not understand people.  The OP knows what he is getting into---that $300 per month figure is low (and I'm not a horse person) but had a roommate who was (and that was 20 years ago).  If she is "the one," then you'd better be willing to support the horse or she has to make enough money to support the horse.  Vet bills alone, plus reshoeing, accidents, and think about getting insurance.  Good luck.

fallstoclimb

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Re: Dating a Horse Girl and her Finances
« Reply #32 on: June 11, 2015, 12:18:36 PM »
Uh, all I can say is -- do not make her choose between the horse and you and expect it to be you!

TrulyStashin

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Re: Dating a Horse Girl and her Finances
« Reply #33 on: June 11, 2015, 12:19:15 PM »
I have personally never understood the attraction of horses, but it's also clear that they are, to some (mostly women, which I've always thought was weird) basically best friends for life, and as such, not something that can be sold or given away for financial reasons. I totally understand that.

It's not weird at all.  Think about it for a minute.... horses are beautiful, incredibly romantic creatures, and a 100 lb. skilled equestrienne is autonomous and in control of a 2,500 lb. animal.  Flying along the ground at a flat out gallop?  What an adrenaline surge!  Fearlessly jumping big fences?  Amazing!

It would be weird if this wasn't appealing to girls/ women in our culture where being autonomous and in control is rare.

TheOldestYoungMan

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Re: Dating a Horse Girl and her Finances
« Reply #34 on: June 11, 2015, 12:52:25 PM »
What we have here is someone with an expensive hobby.

Expensive hobbies aren't necessarily out of line with MMM.  The philosophy here isn't about not ever spending money, it's about maximizing the happiness you derive from spending that money.

And then it's about knowing how much per year that spending is going to be.

And then it's about saving 25x that amount as quickly as possible, through maximizing and optimizing every aspect of your life, including how to do your expensive hobby as efficiently as possible.

It's cheaper to keep a horse on your own property than to board it.  Even if you could find a really cheap place to board it you run against a time cost that keeps you from maximally enjoying the hobby (transit to or from the stable).

Probably cheaper is to keep the horse on your own property and find some perhaps less enthusiastic horse people to buy timeshare rights to it.

Cheapest is probably to build a 3 stall barn and rent out the other 2 stalls.  Scale up as your willingness to invest in this venture goes up.

I was glad to see the airplane hobbyist post because that's a great comparison.  Owning your own plane, on the surface of it, seems like the most asinine un-mustachian thing ever.  But by carefully gearing your life toward that hobby, it doesn't have to be profoundly stupid.  (share planes, used planes, learn how to maintain own plane, charter flights, house on an airstrip where you rent out hangar space, aerial photography, tours, etc.)

The standard MMM recommendations on spending money should apply to the horse though:

1.  Buy used if at all possible.
2.  If buying new get the lowest price possible.  Negotiate, trade, work for a discount, whatever.
3.  Sell unused equipment/space.
4.  Find like-minded hobbyists and pool resources/share.
5.  Monetize the hobby (post FIRE income directly affects pre-Fire stache sizing reqs).

If you can't give up the hobby, then double down and get really really good at pursuing it efficiently.  Absolutely love to fly?  Get a piloting job.  Love to take care of horses? Get a job taking care of horses!

Let's say that this hobby is going to cost $20k per year (I'm betting you can do way, way better).  That's an extra half million dollars to need in stache to retire.  Not trivial, but doable.  I don't know about you, but I'd happily work an extra 5-6 years (likely less because now compounding starts to really help out) for the right girl.  And if in the interim she could take a break from the hobby for a year or two, to really supercharge the savings, like say, while popping out some chittlins, that's cool too.

But are you capable of owning the decision.  For life.

Remember it's not about convincing anyone of everything at once.  Optimize each piece at a time.  It took me a year of saving everywhere else to finally drop the big fancy truck.  Likely you started saving at some point as well, and did some things you now consider "wrong."

It is possible for someone to change, but it is probably disingenuous to stay in a relationship that only "works" for you if they do change.  Do you love her, or do you love who you wish she was?

I used to work with a woman who was a horse lady.  Always had horses.  Is now 67, still working.  3 divorces, 3 sons, never getting married again, stables the horses on an ex-husband's property.  Spends 3 hours on the road every day after work to get to the horses, feed, clean, and then back home.  All weekend with the horses every weekend.  Plans to work until death.

She's an awesome and interesting person, but her lifestyle seems batshit crazy to me.

Pre-fire, if she fully embraces frugality (but keeps the hobby) are you willing to spend a couple hours mucking in the barn every day after work?  Cuz if you want to see her that's where she's going to be.

It's not going to be "we're wasting all this money on the horse."  It's going to be, "we're wasting all this money on the horse, that's the only thing we ever do together, and if we aren't doing this then we don't see each other at all."

"Dangerous at both ends and shifty in the middle"
-Sherlock Holmes on the subject of horses.

Exflyboy

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Re: Dating a Horse Girl and her Finances
« Reply #35 on: June 11, 2015, 01:12:33 PM »
Build your own airplane, then maintain it yourself...:)

But like horses it owned my life and I got fed up with it and sold it.

My Wife would never do that with her horse!


czc118

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Re: Dating a Horse Girl and her Finances
« Reply #36 on: June 11, 2015, 01:19:39 PM »
Wow!  Much more truly helpful advice.  I'm glad that everyone is keeping an objective point of view on the subject.  On most forums I see people get emotional and nasty but not here apparently.  Thank you again!  I was trying to respond to everyone's comments individually but the volume is too much to keep up with.

In general I think that most people are saying the same thing.  That being:

1) She is not going to give up the horse and its a package deal,  I think this is very correct
2) We both have to determine where our lines are in the sand and ensure they overlap
3) Setup a budget, stick to it, and never look back.  I like this idea but maybe harder said than done with a horse after all it is as many have alluded to similar to a family member and not a mechanical object that can have no issues or many and the variability is large

The last post is an excellent clarification on what it means to be a Mustachian which is not never spending money but maximizing your happiness from money.  This is why I am willing to compromise on the horse because that is what brings her happiness.  I think what we are going to have to figure out is how we can do that best.  I think that is going to require running the numbers and talking it through.  Right now we don't have a full picture of how this will play out numerically and that's the next step. 

On the comment that I am trying to control her, I'm wondering if you have met a horse girl / woman.  They cannot be controlled even if I wanted to, which I do not.  haha.  In fact this is one of the things that attracts me to her because she is independent and other than the debt would be self sufficient.  The reality of the situation is that many of us millennials are coming out of college with substantial debt (not whining here just stating a fact), I know I was one of them I just chose to pay it off as fast as my budget would allow and now I am free.  This freedom gives me great joy and that joy is hard to relate to a person who has yet to experience it.  I don't feel that her debt in school was a bad choice but at the same time it is a reality that we will have to deal with.

I also like the analogy to a similarly priced hobby with airplanes.  Unfortunately my hobbies consist of items that are free like hiking, backpacking, fishing...etc  These activities tend to a have a initial capital cost but it is low and the maintenance cost is even lower combine that with carpooling with groups of people from meetup and I am spending almost nothing.  I didn't choose these hobbies because they are cheap I just happen to like them.  Although I am going to be flying to CA to climb Mt.Shasta on Sunday so... sometimes I splurge. 

Some people mentioned getting into the hobby with her.  I tried, I failed, and I fell off.  I found out rather quickly that the benefit to cost ratio is not in my favor.  I do like riding but I do not love riding and I think you have to in order to fork over the cash and risk life and limb.

The other engineers comments resonate with me because I am also an engineering making some decent cash.  It also scares me a little that it took 10 years to reach a compromise.  Hopefully those 10 years were not unhappy years!

Thanks again!  I think the rest of our story is probably too personal to post up on the internet so I don't want to be to revealing and in turn disrespectful to my girlfriend.  I'd just like to reiterate what a wonderful person she is and I don't want people to get the impression that she is anything but great.

ltt

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Re: Dating a Horse Girl and her Finances
« Reply #37 on: June 11, 2015, 01:40:22 PM »
".....popping out some chittlins...."  Well, that's a new one..... :(

lifejoy

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Re: Dating a Horse Girl and her Finances
« Reply #38 on: June 11, 2015, 02:21:25 PM »
Sounds like you're in love.

People make sacrifices when they're in love. For you, it may be sacrificing some extra funds. For your gf, it may mean sacrificing relationships in lieu of her relationship with her horse. We all make compromises when we love someone.

- I moved to a far-away land, with terrible weather, away from all my friends and family.
- I took any job I could get, far below my capability level. (Slim pickings in a small city).
- I probably lost out on around $150k of earnings over the past three years.

BUT - I got to be with my now-husband! I got to come home to him every day, face the good and the bad with him. It is absolutely worth it, and although we are moving, I would spend ten more years here if I had to... because he is my partner in crime, my honey bun, the one I'm building my life with.

So, bottom line: compromise is ok. Sacrifices are ok. As long as you have common goals and mutual respect, I say, the heart wants what it wants!

NoraLenderbee

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Re: Dating a Horse Girl and her Finances
« Reply #39 on: June 11, 2015, 02:40:51 PM »
I see this more positively than some of the other posters. She's 26, right? How long has she been out on her own? She may never have had to think about her hobby from a cold financial perspective. This may be the first time that she has ever sat down to figure out what it really costs, what sacrifices it will require, and basically to deal with the realities of being an adult self-funding an expensive hobby. It's a great sign that she's considering ways to cut costs and sees the need for a budget. This may actually be the start of a big Mustachian conversion.

Moving in with parents to fund an expensive lifestyle isn't responsible. But moving in with parents temporarily so you can tackle debt is a very sensible thing to do. It remains to be seen whether she will be disciplined enough to improve her situation, but so far it looks good.

It's too soon to decide yay or nay on the relationship. For now, keep working with her as she works through the financial realities. When she understands clearly what she's spending, and what else she's sacrificing for her hobby, she may be very willing to reconsider her level of commitment to the competitions, etc.

Erica/NWEdible

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Re: Dating a Horse Girl and her Finances
« Reply #40 on: June 11, 2015, 02:51:54 PM »
I have personally never understood the attraction of horses, but it's also clear that they are, to some (mostly women, which I've always thought was weird) basically best friends for life, and as such, not something that can be sold or given away for financial reasons. I totally understand that.

It's not weird at all.  Think about it for a minute.... horses are beautiful, incredibly romantic creatures, and a 100 lb. skilled equestrienne is autonomous and in control of a 2,500 lb. animal.  Flying along the ground at a flat out gallop?  What an adrenaline surge!  Fearlessly jumping big fences?  Amazing!

It would be weird if this wasn't appealing to girls/ women in our culture where being autonomous and in control is rare.
Plus, you know, rhythmic clitoral stimulation.

I kid, I kid.

===

To the OP, my sister is a horse girl. At one point, she owned a barn and was a profitable small business woman teaching dressage. She has always worked her ass off, and she built a rural, horse-centered lifestyle for herself that actually made money. I don't think it made a TON of money, but she was able to have the life she wanted.

Seems like you really like this girl. A lifetime is long, compromise is inevitable. The grass is greener where you water it...blah blah blah. I think there are many ways for a person to live their unfrugal passion without being a total consumer sucka. Plus, never under-estimate how a person's feelings towards a furbaby might change when/if they have an actual baby.

The thing that worries me is the parents, honestly. Over-coddling of adult children is like handicapping your children to make yourself feel better. I see it with some of my peers that are trapped in pseudo-adolescence for decades. That's not pretty, man.

Cpa Cat

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Re: Dating a Horse Girl and her Finances
« Reply #41 on: June 11, 2015, 02:53:33 PM »
I'm not a horse person, so I may be speaking out of turn.

But it seems to me that early retirement might be attractive to her if she viewed it as a way to spend more time with horses. Afterall, if she were retired, she could possibly live in a country home with a barn and Horse around full time.

With the magic of compounding and freedom from work, she will get much more "bang" for her horse buck if she doesn't own a horse now, but saves to own one later.

Now, of course, she actually owns one right now. And that may be a stumbling block. If someone told me I could own a hundred cats ten years from now, if only I give up my current cat, I would not make that trade. Giving up an animal you already love is not something that can be taken lightly.

It's possible that the best you can hope for is that one -this- horse is gone, she agrees to not purchase another one until you are both retired.

CommonCents

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Re: Dating a Horse Girl and her Finances
« Reply #42 on: June 11, 2015, 03:09:41 PM »
Let's say that this hobby is going to cost $20k per year (I'm betting you can do way, way better).  That's an extra half million dollars to need in stache to retire.  Not trivial, but doable.  I don't know about you, but I'd happily work an extra 5-6 years (likely less because now compounding starts to really help out) for the right girl.  And if in the interim she could take a break from the hobby for a year or two, to really supercharge the savings, like say, while popping out some chittlins, that's cool too.

Sure he can do better - he's at zero!  It's how much she'll cut back that is the question.  :(

But, dayum!  $500k in 5 year is over $80k/year saved.  I don't know what you do, but that's essentially my whole paycheck and I'm pretty sure the tax man intends to get his cut and won't accept "but my partner really likes horses" as an excuse.

I'm not saying it's undoable, but this thread has taught me is that horses way are more expensive than I though they were.  People will go to extreme lengths for them, vet bills will crop up unexpectedly regardless of your budget, and people want to maintain them in "retirement" (likely along with a second one they are riding).  You've got to really love her to accept that your vacations will be trips for competitions, your time with her will be hanging out in a barn, you'll do most of the housework/childcare if she's needing to take care of her horse, and that your kids will likely get horse-fever too.

I think I'm lucky my husband's splurge is a daily iced coffee from starbucks in the summer (I've weaned him off buying in the winter) and a few expensive travel bachelor parties.

waltworks

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Re: Dating a Horse Girl and her Finances
« Reply #43 on: June 11, 2015, 03:13:54 PM »
Well, you can drive cars/motorcycles/airplanes/construction equipment too and be fully in control no matter how petite you are. Plus go a lot faster, and spend less money, and arguably be safer.

Let me be clear that I'm not trying to tell anyone they shouldn't like horses. But I still think it's weird that it's mostly the ladies that do.

-W

It's not weird at all.  Think about it for a minute.... horses are beautiful, incredibly romantic creatures, and a 100 lb. skilled equestrienne is autonomous and in control of a 2,500 lb. animal.  Flying along the ground at a flat out gallop?  What an adrenaline surge!  Fearlessly jumping big fences?  Amazing!

thedayisbrave

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Re: Dating a Horse Girl and her Finances
« Reply #44 on: June 11, 2015, 03:22:40 PM »
Former horse girl here. 

Without knowing the details of the situation, yes she needs to at least scale back on the competitions.  Dressage is one of the most expensive disciplines, and its reputation of snootiness/luxury is true.  Lessons are expensive, showing is expensive.  People look down on you if your horse isn't fancy enough.  I faced similar challenges growing up riding, as the 'outcast' since I never took my horse to the fancy shows at the fairgrounds (we could afford it at the time, but I didn't know that). 

But, I think it's completely do-able to have a horse and not have to spend a lot of money to do so.  Relatively speaking, that is.  I would encourage your girlfriend to think creatively about opportunities at the barn.  For instance, when my mom bought me my first horse at age 10, she shipped me to the barn every weekend at 7am to help with barn chores - I mucked stalls, scrubbed buckets, fed horses, etc.  She got credited back some of the money she was paying for board in exchange for my child labor (haha.. good thing I loved it!) Since she already spends a lot of time there, is this an option? Is she experienced enough to teach beginner lessons, or if not, then at least help beginners get tacked up and mounted on time for lessons (not sure if she rides at a beginner friendly barn)? Someone else mentioned this, but she could also half lease her horse... typically around here (Triangle area NC) you can half lease for $250-$350/mo... which is 2-3 days per week of "riding time".  Does she have any other cool skills? (For instance, my roommate competed Arabians, and would sew these really amazing costumes for the costume/western classes and sell them for top dollar).  Things like that. 

Like others have mentioned as well, I'd talk to her and try to do more 'goal-aligning' even if your goals aren't the exact same.  For you it's ER, for her it's horses.  As long as she is not depending on you financially to fund her horse habit, I don't think this is worth breaking over if you truly love her and want her in your life.  It just takes negotiation, communication, and making sure you're respecting each other's goals.  I am a pretty big advocate for keeping money separate personally for a variety of reasons, but in this case I think that's probably vital in order for you to not build up resentment over time for the horse spending.

Ishmael

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Re: Dating a Horse Girl and her Finances
« Reply #45 on: June 12, 2015, 05:56:43 AM »
I'm happily married to a "horse girl", for almost 20 years now, and one thing I've learned is that a girl liking horses is not a hobby, or something they choose to do. I've jokingly labelled it a "mental illness" :) So, you have to accept it as part of who this girl is.

Horses are expensive. The purchase price is the smallest part of it, which is something most people dreaming about it don't get.

HOWEVER, there are ways of making it work financially, and they don't have to be anywhere near as expensive as you've laid it out. My wife spent a few years in the horse showing/competition circuit, paying roughly the $1k/month, but then realized that it was too costly and would interfere with her other goals in life, and that the core part of what she truly loved was simply her relationship with her horse. Also, there was a lot of "drama" around these shows, as a lot of "horse girls" can be pretty high strung.

So, we ended up moving out to a rural area (we both wanted to live outside the city anyways), and buying a piece of land where she could look after her horse (and her mother's - horses are social animals, and always need a companion). We have a run-in shelter, no fancy barns or anything. There are paths through the woods, and logging roads around her and she enjoys just going out on trail rides. Total costs for hay, vets, shoeing, etc for both horses (and a dog, 2 cats, a cockatiel, laying hens and 2 bunnies) are around $3400CDN/yr - the horses are probably 2/3 of that. Expensive, but not outrageous for a hobby, and especially not for a passion.

Also, by hobby farming, you can be frugal in other areas of your life, by growing your own food, cutting firewood for heat, having more cheaper hobbies to choose from, etc.

And, for reference, we're still on track for FIRE in the age 45-50 timeframe, including raising 2 kids and a most of their university saved up for.

So there are ways of fitting them into your life that are positive, FWIW.

jzb11

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Re: Dating a Horse Girl and her Finances
« Reply #46 on: June 12, 2015, 06:25:16 AM »
I wouldn't be concerned about the horses so much as I would be concerned about whether or not she has the will/capacity/motivation to live within her means and think about the future.

If she is not willing to do so, with or without a horse, then I think you'll need to move on. Don't be desperate (I'm not implying that you are, just a friendly reminder). You will find someone who you will love and who will share similar values.

An unmastachian hobby isn't necessarily the issue. It's how she handles the her finances as a whole that you really want to get a handle on.

The_path_less_taken

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Re: Dating a Horse Girl and her Finances
« Reply #47 on: June 12, 2015, 06:32:47 AM »
   

 A horse isn't like a motorcycle or a bicycle.  You don't put it away and just take it out again when you want to ride.   Whether it is a grade horse or a purebred  Hanoverian, they get injured, sick and even without that require regular trimming, worming,  inoculations,   and a number of other possibilities.  They can require a lot of care as can their stalls, pastures, paddocks, barns etc.   The love of the horse includes acceptance and even joy in doing those things that are necessary to the care, feeding and of course riding of the horse and the infrastructure that it resides in.

In the end, either you accept this woman as she is with the understanding that having horse in her life is part and parcel of who she is.   She'll need a partner who understands that and fully accepts it.    Anything else will just breed resentment.   She might be better of with a man who rides and is a horse owner.     Much less room for having to justify a way of life to someone else.   I can't imagine anyone who has the love of horses and rides to give that up because a SO desires it.     In the end, the horse will win out and the SO will be left.




1+

Even backyard horses (I have one, and currently two burros as well) can be expensive.

I think that you both need to be realistic about your goals: FIRE with horses will probably be her bottom line.

Can you live with that? Without resentment?

If not...it could be a rocky road.

If it weren't dressage/showing though, there are a ton of ways to just be around horses for zero outlay of money: volunteer at an adaptive riding center, or any big barn...a little stall mucking and some will let you exercise horses.  Live in a rural area and board horses for other people: you're actually making money, there. A craigslist ad in a rural area will get you a "barter two hours of chores for one hour of riding" gig.

But...I love my horse. I'm sure she loves hers. Hard to walk away from that...

As a kid my Dad gave me the Walter Farley "Black Stallion" series...I'm sure she's been reading/breathing/loving horses for that long as well.

As a couple, I wish you both luck. But I wouldn't want to wager on her being happy with losing the horse.

(sorry!)

TheOldestYoungMan

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Re: Dating a Horse Girl and her Finances
« Reply #48 on: June 12, 2015, 07:22:07 AM »
Let's say that this hobby is going to cost $20k per year (I'm betting you can do way, way better).  That's an extra half million dollars to need in stache to retire.  Not trivial, but doable.  I don't know about you, but I'd happily work an extra 5-6 years (likely less because now compounding starts to really help out) for the right girl.  And if in the interim she could take a break from the hobby for a year or two, to really supercharge the savings, like say, while popping out some chittlins, that's cool too.

Sure he can do better - he's at zero!  It's how much she'll cut back that is the question.  :(

But, dayum!  $500k in 5 year is over $80k/year saved.  I don't know what you do, but that's essentially my whole paycheck and I'm pretty sure the tax man intends to get his cut and won't accept "but my partner really likes horses" as an excuse.


So for a specific expense, when you talk about how much it will delay FIRE, the thing to remember is that the theoretical FIRE date sans-hobby is not going to be delayed as much as it would seem.

A huge part of the "saving" that you have a hard time envisioning at that point is going to come from delayed withdrawals on your already FIRE-sized stash.

Taking the case of 50k/yr take-home pay, 7% annual returns, 3% annual growth of salary, and a 70% savings rate, the first 500k takes 10 years to earn.  But the second 500k only takes 5 years. 

   70% saved   7% returns   3%/yr raise
Year   Total Stash   Passive Earnings   Earned Income
1   $35,000.00   $2,450.00   $50,000.00
2   $72,450.00   $5,071.50   $51,500.00
3   $113,571.50   $7,950.01   $53,045.00
4   $158,653.01   $11,105.71   $54,636.35
5   $208,004.16   $14,560.29   $56,275.44
6   $261,957.26   $18,337.01   $57,963.70
7   $320,868.86   $22,460.82   $59,702.61
8   $385,121.51   $26,958.51   $61,493.69
9   $455,125.60   $31,858.79   $63,338.50
10   $531,321.35   $37,192.49   $65,238.66
11   $614,180.90   $42,992.66   $67,195.82
12   $704,210.64   $49,294.74   $69,211.69
13   $801,953.57   $56,136.75   $71,288.04
14   $907,991.95   $63,559.44   $73,426.69
15   $1,022,950.07   $71,606.50   $75,629.49


A huge part of the savings each year becomes the returns on the previous year's stash.

Of course, if the expensive hobby starts to reduce the total savings amount, things start to look catastrophic, thus the points about monetizing the hobby and making it as efficient as possible.

This is a big part of why one-more-year is so attractive.  It's not just the additional savings from one more year, it's deferring the withdrawals.

electriceagle

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Re: Dating a Horse Girl and her Finances
« Reply #49 on: June 12, 2015, 07:35:12 AM »
I'm surprised that there hasn't been much mention of this already: if you convince her to give up horses "for you", she will feel no end of resentment regarding the decision. It may come out now or it may come out in 20 years, but that resentment will always be there.

If she is going to give up the horse(s), it has to be for her.

Also, I'll echo the concern about mooching off mom & dad to save money, especially if she is over 25 (or so). It sounds like her parents have always been very generous with her; does she know that a partner is not supposed to be a replacement parent?