We question ourselves quite often with the whole horse thing. Are we crazy? Clearly "yes" is the quick answer. If you're kid was interested in softball, it'd cost only the price of a glove, a bat, some balls and maybe a $50 annual fee for the league. If it was bug collecting, I'd buy a %10,000 bug net and still come out ahead.
With horses, the glove becomes a Pessoa saddle, the Louisville Slugger - a $500 riding helmet, the Rawlings balls become a $40,000 plus horse or two and the $50 annual fee becomes trainer fees, boarding, shoes, etc, etc and etc. Yes, NASCAR or golfing on the moon probably beats this. Yet, people who think Hockey or golf or skiing is expensive haven't got a clue what an expensive sport really is.
The question remains. Is it worth it? I can tell you only this. After riding since she was three, my daughter, now 19, is one of the most confident people I know. She's thinking about either medical school or a degree in business. She's dedicated her life to horses and thus she's stayed away from some of the typical teenage temptations. She handles herself extremely well with all types of people, whether young or old, nice or nasty or rich and poor. She was extremely busy growing up which taught her unbelievable organizational skills.
Could that have happened if we'd said "NO" more often, maybe. However, while it's expensive and at points we'd have to say we couldn't swing this or that, as a parent you search hard for the things that your child will be passionate about, whether track, softball, acting or (gulp) horses. If you find that one thing... that one very special thing that supersedes all, you've won.
The answer is that you have to figure all this out for yourself.