A Horse For Me, Not You

 In Featured Stories

Age 14, Wisconsin, USA

My best friend Kathy and I took horseback riding lessons at a local stable. Our fourteenth birthdays, which were on the same day, were fast approaching, and she had an idea: If the two of us pooled our birthday money together, we could buy Chester, our favorite horse at the stable.

Over the next several weeks, we wrote up a detailed plan to separately present to our parents. It included splitting the cost for the horse, boarding, equipment, vet, and feed. We even set up a schedule: time spent together and time spent separately taking care of and riding Chester. We had a list of jobs we would do, including babysitting, to help pay for him.

Kathy asked her parents first, because out of the two sets of parents, we were less sure of hers. Kathy was adopted and often feels like the outcast of the family, having her wants set aside for her parents’ biological son. To our surprise, they said YES!

Now it was my turn to ask my parents. I’ll never forget my dad’s response. He said, “It’s never a good idea to buy something of substantial value with another person. It’ll lead to problems and you’ll end up destroying your friendship.”

Our birthdays came, and my parents decided I could get a horse of my own. Danny, a gorgeous, gentle Bay gelding became mine. When I told Kathy, she stood there staring at me, rigid, angry, and devastated. She then went back to her parents and begged them for a horse, telling them what my dad had said and that I had my own. They said no.

I feel horrible. I know getting a horse of my own hurt Kathy, but shouldn’t I have been allowed to have my dream? I love riding, but it’s also made me feel selfish. I invited Kathy to ride Danny, to come and help me at the stables. I thought that was a nice compromise, but it only made her hate me more.

Kathy stopped taking horseback riding lessons. We’re no longer friends.

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