HAD (Horse Addiction Disorder) refers to the psychological dependence on equines.
Unfortunately there is no known cure for this condition as deprivation is likely to lead to the sufferers actively seeking and/or approaching random equines. Not only could this pose potential dangers to the individual, but this behavior inevitably reinforces the sufferer’s obsession with horses. It’s a vicious circle!
HAD sufferers should be permitted their equine time despite the negative consequences which include: significantly reduced social hours with non horsey people, decreased regard for personal appearance, increased possibility of body odor, and the strong possibility of their obsession causing poverty.
HAD sufferers are generally happy people, in fact all of them will tell you they don’t suffer from this condition, they survive because of it!
It started for me about the time I turned 40, this overwhelming desire to be around horses as much as I could. It lead to the acquisition of two mares, which eventually led to the purchase of a truck and trailer, a large plot of land in the middle of nowhere and all kinds of various and assorted horse related accessories.
Since this disorder (I can’t tell you how happy I am that I have a real disease and not just that I am weak and indulge myself) typically starts when women are in their early teens and have very little money, it usually isn’t quite as devastating financially. If it strikes when you are more established financially, that just means that you have more to spend (and lose) on treatment (i.e. more horses, more t-shirts with cute horse sayings on them, a bigger truck, bigger trailer, a barn, well, you get the picture).
There was a time in my life when everything I did or said revolved around my disease. I worked all day, but then came home to brush, feed, clean and ride my horses. At one point, I ended up with nine of them!
Fortunately, I’m in recovery. I still keep horses and love them, but I don’t feel like I have to buy every horse that looks like it wants to come home with me, and I don’t think every mare on my place needs to be pregnant most of the time. For one thing, I just don’t have the energy I had once and there are limits to what I can do physically and financially, so I’ve cut down, waaayyy down. Every once in a while though, I pass a new born foal on a neighbor’s farm, or I see an amazing stallion who would be a great cross on a certain mare and I get the itch. It’s probably something like an ex-smoker who gets a whiff of cigarette smoke on occasion.
At any rate, I’m not ready to give it up entirely and who knows what the future will bring? There may be one more special baby who will take the show world by storm in my future. For now, I like to think of myself as being in semi-retirement. When the house is completely finished and I finally get a barn built, I may just start looking for that perfect Arabian mare who wants to have a baby or two. You never know what might happen around this place!