If your little girl wants a horse for her birthday and you don't want to buy her one, just tell her the truth: horses live in smelly places with lots of dirt. The stables they live in smell bad because the horses go to the bathroom there. They go a lot and often. And they step in it and sometimes roll around in it. If you want to hang around horses, you will end up stepping in it, too. And you will have to clean it out of their hooves and brush it off their coats and scoop it up with a shovel every time you want to ride.
Mind you, once the girl gets to ride on the back of one of these smelly beauties they won't care if the whole world is covered in horse manure. But it might help you divert her attention enough to avoid such an occasion.
We did not buy Button a horse but we did buy her some lessons... figuring that a few hours of horsey joy is better than none at all. (I have since become convinced that when her lessons come to an end next month, her heart will shatter into a thousand pieces. Live and learn.) I have acquired quite an equine education watching during the few lessons she's had. Lesson #1 is that horse stables smell bad. Lesson #2 is that stables (even clean ones) are dirty places. Lesson #3 is that no matter how hard I fight against it, I have a strong aversion to both of those things. Lesson #4 is that horses are so cool that kids and their mothers will put up with a significant amount of gross stuff to be with them.
I will hang out with smelly, dirty, beautiful animals for the sake of my children and never let on that I am uncomfortable. I've just got to say though, for the record, that I am super grossed out every time the big brooms are pushed across the concrete floors through the stables and all the dust flies into the air. Dust... composed of lots of unappealing particles of hay, dirt and... manure. And I have to take a breath because the alternative is not breathing. As it travels into my nostrils and fills my lungs I think...
I am a city girl all the way. I am far more comfortable breathing dusty particles of pigeon droppings.