When was the last time you thought about how much something costs? Probably pretty recently, right? Maybe it was your last trip to the grocery store or this morning when you got your coffee. For me, it was over the weekend when I went to my local tack shop, a place familiar to equestrians as where we go to get everything we need for ourselves and our equine partners.
For most equestrians, a trip to the tack store is like a trip to insert-your-favorite-store-here. It’s our paradise. Our very over-priced paradise. A point that was driven home for me this weekend when I made my trip to the tack store for a seemingly innocuous item—leather cleaner. You see, equestrians use leather cleaner frequently to clean our bridle, saddle, girth, and even our boots and half-chaps. Out of everything you could get at a tack store, a bottle of leather cleaner has to be one of the most boring items to buy, but I digress.
While returning to riding as an adult has been an amazing experience, the one thing that hasn’t been so great is remembering what an expensive sport it is. And, apparently, a sport that has only grown more expensive over the years during my absence. The trip to the tack store reminded me of conversations I used to have with my now 95-year-old grandmother where she would tell me about simpler times when you could buy a pastrami sandwich that could feed a family and only cost 5 cents (and she thought that was expensive back then). The funny thing is, now that I’m an adult, I find myself reminiscing about “the good old days” when life was simpler….and cheaper. Board for a horse on Long Island costing $2K a month? I remember when it was a mere $600. A pair of paddock boots to kick around in at the barn? You used to be able to get them for $100. And don’t even get me started on the price of helmets these days (yes, if you follow me on Instagram, I am still riding in my old-school style helmet that at one time used to be cool).
On this fateful trip to the tack store, I only had my eye on one item. Leather cleaner. How much could that possibly cost these days, I thought to myself. I should be able to get out of the store relatively unscathed (and with my bank account intact). Upon entering, I was greeted by a sales associate who promptly asked if I needed help. Since I’ve been out of the game for a while, I figured I’d ask him what “the kids” were using these days to clean tack. Not only was I met with an array of options that ranged from creams to sprays (and even wipes), but they came in a variety of price points, too. Who knew there would be so many options when it came to buying leather cleaner? I opted for something mid-range in terms of price, but not before also being sold a bag of sponges (because the look of horror when I said I used paper towels with the leather cleaner was almost too much to bear).
I’ve heard people say that when you grow up, you become more like your parents. I guess, in my case, I have become more like my grandmother when it comes to remembering what things used to cost way back when.