I spent a few days in north Florida at a horse breeding farm. I rode many times a day, trying out different horses. Ultimately, I chose an older dressage schoolmaster who was imported to the US several years ago. I had a pre-sale veterinary check done on him, and he received a glowing report. So I am wiring the money tomorrow, and he will arrive sometime this week to his new home here with us.
After making the decision to get him, I struggled for several hours with the feeling that I don't deserve to have him. I felt a bit of panic and anxiety over the responsibility and the idea that I am being frivolous in spending quite a bit of money on a horse.
These feelings aren't new. I have struggled for many years with the idea that I am not deserving of "things". My parents made sure that I knew how much things cost and how I was to take care of what I had because something would not be replaced if I broke it. They bought me cars and a horse, nice clothes, paid for college--yet, I had the feeling that I needed to realize how lucky I was. And I did feel lucky and grateful but not deserving.
I don't think these feelings are unusual for someone growing up around heavy drinkers or alcoholics. The low self-esteem generates feelings of not being good enough, not being worthy. The interesting thing for me is that I didn't feel this way when I got my sailboats. But purchasing a horse seems to make me wonder if I am not thrusting myself into a world where snobby people stand around and sip on fancy drinks and talk about the latest hunt club gossip. That makes me anxious because I don't like gossip or fake people.
I realize that I am building up a lot of this in my head. We have the money to have a horse and maintain him. I enjoy riding and live in an area where there are lots of trails and horse farms. The dressage barn is within walking distance of our place. I know the logical answers to my fears. Yet, I still alternate between being excited and having anxiety over having something I want that seems not necessary, not critical to my survival.
I am sure that when he arrives this week, my feelings will be those of excitement. My wife is happy and excited. I talk to her about my anxiety and she tells me that I have not gotten over missing a horse for many years. Now things have come full circle, and the time is now to have another. She loves the idea of my getting him and being able to visit him to groom and feed with carrots.
Funny how the mind reruns the old tapes of "you're not good enough" when there needs to be joy instead. Anyway, here he is. He will be here soon. His call name is Star (His registered name is something long and difficult to pronounce). Hopefully, there will be years of adventures together. I don't think he will fit on my boat. But the song of Lyle Lovett comes to mind:
If I had a boat
I'd go out on the ocean
And if I had a pony
I'd ride him on my boat
And we could all together
Go out on the ocean
Me upon my pony on my boat