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On Being a Horse Husband

(post written by Jason) I had the pleasure of meeting a new client recently when he brought one of their family horses here to retire. By way of introduction he said, “I’m a horse husband.” I told him I understood completely and that I too was a horse husband. I’ll expand on what that means in terms that I think a lot of horse husbands will understand.

Melissa lives to fool with horses and she absolutely will turn her life inside out in order to give herself the ability to ride. I can’t pretend I understand….and I certainly don’t pretend to match….. her obsession with all things equine. Don’t get me wrong, I like horses and enjoy tending after them here on this farm. We have a nice life and a great lifestyle because Melissa and I were able to meld our passions for horses and farming. The difference between Melissa and I is that when I have leisure time (a rare thing) I like to do things that have absolutely nothing to do with horses, or for that matter with farming.

It’s taken me years coming up on decades to understand that while Melissa usually humours these non-horse and farm related pursuits, what she really wants to do during any free time she might have is ride/groom/otherwise fool with horses. If Melissa could choose between a non-horse related five star European vacation OR spending every day we would be away on vacation attending a horse show there is absolutely no doubt in my mind which she would choose if left to her own devices. (Melissa here. If you offered me a five star European vacation I would go. I would go to the horse show another time. Really.)  In the first years of our marriage, in a moment of utter frustration with this budget busting, time consuming, LIFE consuming habit I MAY have likened it to a form of brain damage! I also may have used four letter words in my description! Fortunately I understand things better today than I did at that time in that I now know where I rank in the grand scheme of things. Husbands are easier to replace than horses. Cheaper too.. More on that in a minute.

Unfortunately for Melissa the last few years have not been kind to her personal horse habit. Between having to retire her own horse, euthanizing her other young horse, being a wife and mother, and running the farm, riding came to a complete stop.  Suffice it to say that she absolutely understands what it’s like for one of our clients to have to retire a horse due to unsoundness and at an early age. She also understands what it’s like to have to make the call to have her own personal horse put down years ahead of his or her projected expiry date. She understands that one of these events, possibly combined with other life events, mean riding gets put on hold for a long time. And I, dear reader, have learned what it’s like to be a horse husband to a dejected, and at times heartbroken, wife with non-stop horses on her brain.

After five years completely away from riding Melissa started talking about easing back into the saddle a few months ago. We talked about budgeting time and money toward a horse and all the many things that come with them. We don’t have a lot of leisure hours and finding time for Melissa to ride is a real challenge for us. In all this I remained supportive. (Melissa here. I would like to rephrase this. In all of this you eventually resigned yourself to being supportive). 

A few weeks ago, thanks to one of our longtime clients, Melissa lucked into a good deal on a youngish horse that she thought would fit the bill for her new riding schedule. Within seconds of the horse’s arrival at the farm she had ordered him a custom saddle…..English riding but also…ahem……made in England. You know, England, where labour and leather are both cheap. That England. Within minutes she was talking about going to Florida, and not with me or Carter either, for some training this winter. For all this stuff I’ve remained fully supportive, which is the preferred role of a horse husband. (Melissa here again. Jason has remained supportive, but I cannot let our dear readers live with the fallacy that he’s been pleasant and in continuous good humor about everything. This has happened at times, at other times he has to work his way to pleasant and good humor).

You’d think after thirteen years together I’d have this habit figured out by now. After all, I’m in the business. I hear and talk to and deal with a lot of horse husbands and horse spouses when they visit. You’d be wrong. A month after the arrival of horse number one, Melissa asked me about purchasing horse number two. And that’s when I temporarily lost my shit. I used foul language.. I *may* have even used the term *brain damaged* when I referred to her lifelong obsession with this time consuming, money consuming, LIFE consuming habit. And the absolute bugger of it is that she didn’t even try to refute me. Horse #2 arrives at the end of next month. By that time I’ll be back to supportive, at least until the surprise arrival of horse #3. (Melissa here again – there is NO plan for horse #3. NONE. I promise. For now.)

King (Cisco in the background)


Johnny, Ripley and Toledo


Cisco and Levendi being wild before breakfast


Duesy and Bruno


Blu and B-Rad


Nemo and Sebastian


Renatta and Norman


Calimba and Charlotte


Lofty, Gibson and Romeo


Traveller, Lily and Renatta


Dolly and MyLight


Sabrina, Sparky and Timbit waiting for breakfast


our new resident Quigly


Quigly and Happy


Nemo and Quigly


Quigly enjoying the retired life

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