Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Gift Horse

We have probably all heard the saying, "Do not look a gift horse in the mouth".

Well, around 1991, Anne was taking riding lessons from the daughter (Amy) in a family we knew. Anne grew attached to Pepper, the old horse Amy had that she rode on. Anne was told one day that they would like to give Pepper to Anne as Amy got a new, younger horse. Yes, a gift horse, literally. She was so excited and as you can imagine, it was too hard to say "no thanks", and we became the proud owners of a 27 year old horse.

Not everyone, including us, had a place to keep a horse. So, the gifters made us another offer that we could not refuse. They would board our horse for us. It started out costing $100 per month for hay and boarding. We also bought a saddle from them, which also stayed at their barn. In case this is not all coming across clearly, all of a sudden we bought their saddle and received their horse and began paying them a monthly fee for them to keep the horse they always had at their own property. It was also my responsibility to tend to shoeing the horse and to pay any vet bills.

For them, it worked out great, they still had everything they had before with one difference; I was now paying them $100 every month and covering some of the work and other bills.

We ended up having the horse for around three years with the last portion of the time being a trade for a place to board Pepper in exchange for us feeding some horses for the property owner.

Our gift horse probably ended up costing us around $3,000.

I can laugh about it now...

America appears to be on the receiving end of a "gift horse" in the near future. We all need to step back, reconsider the consequences and unintended consequences of socialized health care. Do not be too quick to think that all of a sudden you will get free health care. What will be the cost to you of this? Nothing from the government is free and with no strings attached!

The health care plan, being proposed, does not have coverage of the "uninsured" as one of the main goals. This plan is designed to eliminate competition, gain a monopoly of the health care system by the government, increase taxes on the achievers, put more of the public's money in the hands of the government, and basically set the government up to dictate and control most every aspect of our lives. Those are the intended consequences. Some unintended consequences will be a lower quality of health care, fewer doctors who make less money, longer waits for medical appointments and procedures, and less choice by the patient.

There are exceptions to every rule. I believe that this time, we need to not only check out the horse's mouth, we need a through inspection - the shoulder length glove kind.


  1. Just thought I should clear a few things up since your memory has clearly faded and your recollection of the horse-owning experience is clearly not as positive as my own. Pepper was old, but healthy and useful to me for the whole five years I had her and probably my only real friend during much of that. It gave me a sense of pride, acceptance, and purpose having something to take care of and escape with that way. I took her with me from Star Valley to Pine to Show Low and back to Star Valley before mom had her taken away one day while I was at school. I was heartbroken, but knew it was better I see her go that way than to watch her die. She cost you a bit each month, but the boarding only cost for one year. The rest of the time, you and mom paid for what she ate that was not hay and I earned the boarding by "working" at the three properties I kept her at following that. We had only one vet bill that I can think of during that time and that was to look at a runny eye. The givers of the horse may have seen their gift as a win-win situation, but they only ended up with her there for a year or so after I got her. I see no negatives in the entire experience and am hugely grateful for the family that gave her to me and for you guys allowing it.

  2. Isn't it cute how a child's perspective and memory are so different from that of mature adults. She also thinks that she paid for her first car by working summers. How cute, but expensive!