Friday, June 17, 2011

Husbands and Horses

"You love that horse more than you love me!!" How many horsey girls out there have heard that one? I certainly have! And it always was a great big red flag, that the relationship was doomed, that I would soon have to choose, and that my guy just didn't 'get it.' Many men in my life have insisted on being the center of who I was, and wanted to be the thing that I focused the majority of my time on. And over and over, I had to set them straight, which inevitably led to the end of the relationship.

You see, my love of horses has always been the force that moves my life. When I first learned to speak, one of my first words was 'horse.' When I learned to walk, I carried around a Breyer (Secretariat) all the time. Growing up, I spent hours and hours with my horses, and a huge chunk of my time away from the barn studying them, reading about them, talking about them. They have always been my lifeline, the way I look at the world, the way I cope and the way I celebrate.

And even more importantly, they are my family. My horse Jake is about to turn 33, and I have owned him since he was 4. My horse Jazz is 27, and I have owned him since he was 2. Several other horses have been with me their entire lives. When I spend time with my horses, it isn't all "Weeeeee!! I am off riding and having a grand ol' time!!" It is about my responsibility to them. I am dedicated to keeping them safe and healthy and making sure that they aren't separated or face any type of pain or neglect. If I had to get rid of them, not only would I lose my best friends, I would lose myself, and would be wracked with guilt and pain beyond measure. How could a man ask me to choose?

Well, thankfully, I found a man who didn't. My husband Matt is every horsey girl's dream. We met when I was 28, and at the time, I was working a day job at a private jet company, and he was a drummer with a well-known, touring band, so he was home during the day. After only a couple of weeks of dating, he called me up at work and asked, "Would you mind if I went over and cleaned your stalls?" Ummmmm, HELLO! "Sure, that would be great!!" Haha! Matt grew up in a family that did not keep pets and so he was hungry to be around them, learn about them and supported my love for them. I think that he needed them in his life and just soaked up everything that I (and the horses) had to teach him. We got married a year later, and in our 13 years together, he has learned to ride, groom, start them under saddle, tend to wounds, trim their feet, has been present for foaling and helped with imprinting, and has been working for several years as a horse and cattle feed specialist for a large feed distributor. While he does occasionally have complaints about how much work they are, he never asks me to choose, and I am quite certain that he "gets it." I am so lucky to have someone who will go out and feed when it is below zero outside (I am useless in the cold), understands why we must spend so much money and time on our animals, or can be trusted to help the vet attend to a horse when I am not available. Though it was heartbreaking to lose those other relationships to the dreaded horse jealousy that always seemed to come up, I know that I was being led to someone who loves me, along with all my horsey attachments, unconditionally.

If you have a great horsey husband, wife or significant other in your life, I'd love to hear about them!!

(PS -Matt and I now have two kids, and even though they are now at the top of the totem pole, the horses are still so important to both of us. I hope that it teaches my kids the meaning of love, dedication and commitment.)


  1. The Hubby says that about me and my love of Little Debbie Oatmeal Cream Pies.... Do you think our marriage is doomed?

    Great post, Shannon!