I justify my horses by realizing what would be left of me if I did not have the experience of working with them. To me, it is a matter of tithing. It is a sort of debt to the Universe, which I secretly help turn by being with them. Therefore, if I need to, I am glad to forego a larger house, a newer car, fewer cars, country clubs, and other items many people might otherwise prioritize. These things have never returned anything by comparison, and what I have gained through horses is, on the other hand, priceless.
If finances are tight, you should consider leasing a horse with one or more other people. This sounds a little strange – it is really rather a ‘time-share’, but it is a common practice: two or more individuals share the costs of maintaining what could be a very nice horse at a very nice stable.
Another very good alternative – and, really, the best one if you are just coming to equitation – is to simply begin taking high quality lessons with a good instructor possessing high quality schooling horses – even if you must travel once or twice a month to do it. In this way, you can invest in your education for now (there is somewhat more to learn than most appreciate), while also enjoying the experience, and defer the decision, cost, and responsibility of owning a horse altogether for now.
Good luck to you. You can read more about equitation theory and history at harmony+cross.