accounting and horse math

how a Los Angeles family ended up with a ranch 100 miles from home aka Wrong Turn Ranch, Santa Ynez (2014-2019)

· horse stories,equine learning,second chances

It wasn’t long after having horses in our lives that we realized we needed a better long-term solution than boarding.

If you're not familiar, having a horse looks kind of like this.

Step 1: you have a crazy idea that spending so much time around other people’s horses means you should have a horse of your own, just one, and you scour the bulletin boards at the nearby feed store and you pour over Internet postings for the perfect bombproof-kid safe- trail friendly-not too young but for sure not too old horse and you hear about a pony that needs a home from a vet tech and eventually you decide to go meet a horse or two, and then two weeks later you rescue a horse named Nickels and you have to find him a place to live because he doesn't fit in your backyard.

Step 2: the horse takes ownership of you. You fall in love. You decide you must be with it as often as possible. You realize horses don't live in your suburban neighborhood because it’s not zoned for horses. You find a relatively local facility that is appropriately zoned, and you talk to the people who run the facility and you hope they will love and care for your horse as well as you could assuming you had the time and expertise to do so. You pay a small ransom every month for the privilege of being near your horse. You give your horse carrots and cookies, and you invite everyone you know to meet it because you love it so much and having a horse is now officially The Best Thing Ever.

Step 3: you wonder why you’re driving all over town for horseback riding lessons to ride a horse that’s barely trained but will eventually get there, and wouldn’t it just be easier to rescue a horse or two that already has some miles on them and then your trainer can help you learn to ride on your own horse? Now you have three horses, Nickels, Penny and Trigger.

Step 4: you were boarding one horse but now you’re boarding three, and there will be at least one more named Fleur who will eventually finish working with her trainer and move home, so that’s four and wouldn’t it just be easier to move to a new house that’s zoned for horses?

Step 5: you make a list of the ideal criteria for a home with horses, not only the facilities, but what it feels like to be there and wouldn’t it be lovely to find one with white fences and rose bushes and a basketball hoop and a house big enough for your family and visitors and enough space for all of your horses to live in pastures but also room for stalls, a barn, and a wash rack with hot and cold running water.

Step 6: you look at homes zoned for horses and realize that to live with horses in Los Angeles means that either you will have to win the lottery, possibly more than once, or you’ll live rurally and you won’t have the same access to clients that support your businesses or WiFi or sushi bars or dry cleaners or the award-winning schools you dreamed of for your kids and speaking of what about their friends since preschool and karate classes and dance and, and, and wouldn’t it be easier, or at least better, to not live with your horse(s)?

Step 7: you bond hard with your horse trainer that lives an hour away, and you begin to think wouldn’t it be even easier and even more amazing if your trainer/new bestie/long lost sister/ride or die, and her husband, were living and working with all of your horses all of the time and wouldn’t it make more sense to consolidate horses and trainers and locations and not have to split time between home and Topanga Canyon and Palmdale?

Step 8: you locate a property that just might work to be not too far away from home and be able to accommodate your now six horses because three horses with one in training, plus a baby horse named Stella who needed a home after she’d been abandoned tied to a neighbor’s fence near your trainer the day before you were going to visit and then there was that dream horse Caliente who followed you across the pasture and how did one horse become six? Horse math is funny.

Step 9: you make an offer on the property, and the owners say yes, right before they say no and counter offer with something even crazier than having horses, so you write an impassioned letter explaining your vision, and why horses, and why your trainers, and why this particular property, and why horses in Los Angeles, and it’s still a no.

Step 10: you think “outside the box” as if having horses in Los Angeles because horses give people second chances even if you’re not riding them (and especially if you’re not riding them) wasn’t outside the box enough, and you visit a property in Santa Ynez, 100 miles from your home, because you love Santa Ynez and you go to Santa Ynez all the time because it’s quaint and charming and sweet and one of your favorite restaurants is there and the local Pinot Noirs are delicious, and you find out that the owner of the rental property 100 miles away actually lives a few miles away from you in the suburbs and his kids went to the same school as yours and by the end of the month you are moving your horses and your trainers' horses and their clients' horses to Santa Ynez.

Step 11: you sit on the balcony of your ranch house one weekend morning while working on a project and you flip open to a page of your notebook while gazing at the rose bushes behind the white fence right next to the basketball hoop and notice that the house you dreamed of and wrote down is precisely where you are sitting right now.