Wednesday, January 23, 2008

You have a non-horsey husband if...

Bob and I were married in 2005 -- my first marriage, his second. When we met, I told him about my horses. He had worked on farms in his youth, he said. And he claimed to love animals. Yeah, right. I didn't date a whole lot, but the men I went out with always claimed to love animals. I don't know, they must figure women will think they're sensitive. Horses, it seems, separate the men from the boys, and most never made it past the first muck bucket. By the way, that's Bob to the right, with Harvey. His nose isn't bulbous, he's wearing a breathe-right strip. Hay allergies.

Stacey, meet Bob's cats
Well, it turns out Bob is a true animal lover and advocate. This hit home the first winter we lived together. I came home from work before Bob, who works second shift. Opening the door, I was accosted by a blast of cold air -- the heat was off, the windows open, and the internal temp was about 55 degrees. Dialing his work number, mittens still on, I counseled myself to stay calm. When he answered, I asked him politely why our home environment resembled an Alaskan tundra. He responded cheerily: "So I can leave the back door open for the cats. It's not natural for them to be cooped up inside all day. Cats like to be out." I'll spare you the remainder of that conversation, but it was clear to me then that I'd met my match in terms of putting animals first.

Happily, Bob has really embraced having horses in our life--in part because he does not have to fund any of it (part of our arrangement), but mostly because he truly loves animals. By any measure, he's been supportive and involved. He hangs out at the barn, he goes with me to shows, he grooms, he goes to horsey events. He handgrazes Harvey and is Riley's favorite carrot dispenser. But he still is a non-horsey-husband. How do I know?

You have a non-horsey husband if...

  • Despite your cogent explanation of gait mechanics, he fails to distinguish between the trot and canter.
  • He refers to your half-chaps as "shin-guards."
  • Watching the free walk in a dressage test, he blurts out "why are they taking a break?"
  • As a suprise, he cleans your saddle for you -- with Turtlewax.
  • He attends horse competitions mostly to see women in tight pants.
  • He refers to any and all horse headgear as "the bridle."
  • He is overheard describing dressage as a sport where "they make the horse go in circles."
  • He turns ashen when you talk about about gelding your yearling.

Note on the Turtlewax: To be fair, it was leather car interior cleaner.

A few words of praise...
I can't resist doing a little bragging, esp. in service of motivating other husbands. Ladies, feel free to share this article with your husband. Supportive non-horsey husbands do exist, see the one pictured left at the KY Horse Park, and note he is not looking put upon and miserable. Bob refills water buckets, cools my horse out while I chat with other boarders, cleans tack (well, once), and takes time off work to help me at horse shows. He takes my horse-blankets to the laundromat. Oh, and did I mention he's not that into sports? Admit it, your pulse just jumped a bit, didn't it?

Of course, there are things about him that drive me nuts--we still haven't resolved the house heating issue satisfactorily, and somehow my comfort does not rate above the cats. But that's a topic for another day.


  1. Hilarious post, Stacey! I'm sure you straightened out the "bring the winter indoors" problem by now. So isn't all that horse headgear called the bridle? I'm learning so much here!

  2. Can we clone Bob? I totally need me one of those, I've been looking everywhere but can't find one.

    Sounds like you got yerself a winner, even if he's not horsey. Very funny post.

  3. Well, the winter housing issue got worked out but I'm on the losing end, it seems. Ironically even the cats find it too cold, when I come home they're usually upstairs in our bed, huddled together.

  4. I got lucky too- so there is hope that horse guys are out there, and available for those of us who live and breathe horses. Dear Husband is a barefoot rehabilitator, cooks, tends the boys so I can ride, and has been known to clean and make the house look great when I am under the weather.

    Glad you found Bob- i was worried I had gotten The Very Last Horse Guy!

  5. I almost hesitate to mention this (too much bliss than one person should have) but Bob does almost all of the cleaning. I have not touched a toilet brush since I moved into his house. Part of it, of course, is that it's HIS house. He is used to taking care of it the way he likes, and my methods don't pass muster.

  6. Te he :) Mine doesn't forget to mantion I smell like horse's a**e ;)

  7. I love it! I've got one of those ... he's quite adept at mucking stalls and carrying water buckets. He even (mostly) knows how to use the brushes in the right order.

    Here's one more sign:
    Horse husbands are good at picking up and holding on to a few key riding techniques. These generally include heels down and posting on the correct diagonal. (This has also been confirmed by my dad, who is an official horse husband and dad).

  8. See my husbands story of being ahorse husband here - Also check this out - it got published! -

  9. Dressage mom, that is one great horse husband post, I can see why it was published. Have to admit I'm just a weeeeee bit jealous that a NON HORSE PERSON got their work pubbed in a major horse mag. Here I am languishing on the internet....

  10. He might be a non-horse person, but he is also a writer for his job. That's why he can tell a great story.


Hi Guys, Your comments are valued and appreciated -- until recently I never rejected a post. Please note that I reserve the right to reject an anonymous post.