Recently I was looking through past issues of EQUUS, when I came upon an article called “Neighborly Advice.” It was published in our January 2009 issue, just as the terrible economic toll of the 2008 financial crisis was becoming clear. The author, longtime EQUUS contributor Karen E. Baril, had compiled a list of suggestions from New Englanders on how to stretch horse-keeping dollars. Ideas ranged from buying in bulk and organizing group veterinary visits to increasing turnout and bartering for goods and services.
Reading the article today, I have a feeling of déjà vu. Of course much has changed in this country during the 11 years since it was published, but much has stayed the same. The pandemic and resulting economic disruption have put many of us in a familiar position: Appreciating more than ever what is important to us, but worried about coping financially with the future.
Looking back and looking ahead, what’s most striking is the resiliency of the horse community. We have gone through trying times, and we face challenges today. But we are lucky. Our horses keep us centered and leave little doubt as to where our priorities lie. So I am confident that horse people across the country will do as they have always done: Take stock of the situation, focus on what matters and find a way to make it work. And, along the way, lend a helping hand to those in need.
If you’d like to read the story from 2009, I’ve posted it here. Much of the advice still applies today, but we may have learned more since then about keeping horses happy and healthy in financially trying times. If you have a suggestion, comment or insight, please join the discussion on our Facebook post linking to this Free Rein installment.