Thursday, August 5, 2010

Man Meets (Horse) Woman

I just got done reading a series of books by Roger Welsch which were recommended to me by one of our regular blog readers. The series was excellent; any book that can make me laugh out loud less than five pages in to it gets high praise. On the surface, the books were about some of the funny stories the author got up to while restoring old Allis Chalmers tractors, but underneath the theme was the age old man-trying-to-understand-woman (in this case the author's wife and daughter), and not doing a particularly good job of it.

As I have mentioned before, I spent most of my life as a pretty naive country boy. When I met Melissa I had absolutely no clue about interacting with either horses or horse people, beyond studying the physiology and nutrition of the former while I was in college. Being wed to a horse person, hindsight says I might have done well to take a few less animal science and nutrition courses and a whole bunch more psychology.

I was 33 years old the first time I sat on a horse (Melissa interjects here - it was also the last time you sat on a horse . . . ) and I've got to tell you that having a living, thinking animal under me was a little unnerving. If I'm truthful, it still is. Melissa prepared me for meeting her female horse friends the first time by saying that I would be fine as long as I didn't try to apply my version of economics, common sense or logic to anything they said. In one of my moments of regretful candor, I referred to Melissa's horse hobby as a form of brain damage. I found that this did not immediately lead to marital harmony, although it returned after a couple of lengthy months. Now I know better. After saying hello, the wisest course of action is for me to leave the area quietly and go fix on my tractor/truck/farm. (Melissa interjects again. Jason has come so far that now when he sees yet another box from Dover, Bit of Britain, VTO Saddlery, or any other tack retailer he no longer asks with a groan "how much did you spend" but instead asks with faked but at least attempted enthusiasn "what did you get this time?")

SO, topic for the day is how did you meet your significant other, and more importantly, how did you introduce him/her to your horse habit and your (likely very strange and perplexing) horse friends ?

Norman (the cuteness that is Norman!)

Jason hanging out with my horse Bonnie

Jason is Bonnie's favorite person ever; he used to play "water games" with her when she was a foal (they played with the water horse together). They still have fun with their water games but Bonnie thinks it is always play time when Jason is around.


Traveller coming through the woods

Cuff Links taking a nap

Grand and Leo

I couldn't resist this picture; B-Rad, Alex and Ogie

Snappy, Slinky, Lucky, O'Reilly, Spike, Lightening


Lauren said...

Can I put in an order since I don't have a "how I met my SO" story?

Laura said...

I met my hubby while I was on a break from horses. The poor guy had no idea what he was going to have to deal with eventually. lol

It was kind of his fault that I got back into riding though. A friend of his had a horse and she let me ride occaisonaly and that led me to realize that I could buy a horse and board it too!

He likes horses and rode a bit as a kid, but is into triathlons now, so isn't interested in riding much. He does turn a blind eye to all of the boxes that show up at the door because he buys himself enough gear for his bike and such.

He also thinks listening to us girls blather on about horses and barn politics is really silly, but he tolerates it now and again. :-)

Anonymous said...

Norm cuteness!!! (Can I have the photo by e-mail?)

I wasn't a horse woman when I met my husband - but the photos of horses and me riding them around my parents' house should have been the tip-off. That was during my 20 year "horse gap". We'd been married over 15 years before my kids were old enough to take riding lessons - and one thing led to another!

(Jason, my husband's got you beat - I think he's been on a horse 3 times!)

EvenSong said...

Al and I met through a mutual friend on campus when we both were back in school as older, "non-traditional" students. I had two geldings at the time, and he soon rode well enough that he would let me drag him along on trial rides.
When I got my first Paint broodmare, Al began telling folks "I used to think 'paint' was something you put on the side of a house!" But he learned, and by our second foal he was able to tell me over the phone "It's an overo (I think)" but forgot to check if it was a boy or a girl...

Funder said...

I had been married for a couple of years (living with him for 5 or so) before horses ever entered my life. Yes, my sweetie has stuck with me through the horse insanity even though he had no prior warning.

I think he puts up with it because it so clearly makes me happy, and it gives him more time for his nerdly hobbies. I do make a point of periodically telling him horror stories of how expensive other disciplines are - look at this $3k dressage saddle, honey! And specialty shoes are close to $200 every six weeks!

Sylvia said...

I love how you're blogging together :)
We met at the hospital we both worked at. Ten years, three kids, and many years of (what felt like endless) schooling, here we are. He's never been around horses much and I've yet to buy another, but he's reading all my horse books when he has prep for my future purchase ;) My horsey friends range in levels and interests and he likes them all. (or at least tells me he does!)

SmartAlex said...

Well let's see.... it was about a year to the day since my first husband had spoken the dreaded phrase "It's me or the horse" and I had pulled over to the side of the road to let him get out so I could get back to the showgrounds...

Tim and I met at a local watering hole on a sunny Sunday evening in May. It was like oil and water. I've never seen anyone retreat so fast! But we just kept running into each other, so about 2 weeks later, he sort of shrugged and asked "so what are you doing this evening?" That was over 11 years ago, and we've been pretty much inseperable ever since.

He's still never sat on a horse, but he can be trusted to get one out of it's stall and on cross ties without supervision. And he knows not to put his fingers in their mouths. He never asks me what I've spent and he has noted that I take better care of my horse equipment than he takes care of anything. He recognises horse as an addiction, but he forbids me to quit because that's what makes me happy.

Jason said...

Excellent stories, everyone !

I maintain that it's my right to tease Melissa unmercifully about her horse habit and what it (supposedly) costs me in time, money and effort to maintain.

My favourite line is that we put everything we earn into a kettle and once a month we get together to divvy up how the money gets spent. Melissa believes the fairest way is to throw the money into the air and anything I catch before it hits the ground is what we pay the household expenses and groceries with. Everything else goes to horses. :)

Vivian, Apollo's Mom said...

Pete, my husband, is the one who got me into horses. Naturally, he usually regrets it! I had been into horses as much as possible as a kid, especially one living in NYC from ages 12-18 could be. I rode in the summers as much as I could. Then came an almost 30 year hiatus. It is a second marriage for both Pete and I and when we moved from about an hour north of NYC to Va., getting back into horses was a primary goal. I had never owned my own horse but Pete had owned several from the time he was 16 to about 25. His family had always kept a pony and a horse at home from the time he was an infant. He did his own thing riding, mostly trails, in a Western saddle with an English bridle. We purchased our first horse, a Morgan mare in 1997. We didn't own her for long as she was a driving horse and we hadn't ridden in so many years we were kind of at a loss. Then we got back into lessons around 2001 after we moved to Fl. In 2002 we bought Apollo, right after my first cancer surgery (uterine cancer). We had been looking at a smaller Morgan who failed the vet check and Pete decided to buy Apollo whom I had only ridden once but had fallen in love with to help with my healing. That he did...I went from being scared and riding him hunt seat to getting into dressage and becoming a real DQ. When I had lung cancer in 2004, I was back to riding in 5 weeks. We nearly got divorced over Apollo as I put him first in my life and spent 4-5 hours at the barn daily,riding and caring for him. He was spoiled rotten and groomed to perfection and on every supplement whether he needed them or not (I thought he did). Four and one half years ago or so, Apollo succombed to EPM which is why he is at Paradigm today. Pete is supportive of me with horses and went through my disasters with my former Paint (3 accidents) although he has not allowed me to get another one. Luckily I lease a wonderful Belgium Draft/TB cross which I have brought into first level. He still complains about how much I spend but I have eased up a bit on my end as well. Although he always says he regrets the day he got me into horses, I know he is proud of me being a goofy 56 year old woman who found her passion late in life!

KayVee said...

I met Hubby while in high school and still a horse crazy teenager. He called me after our first date and asked if he could see me after school. Sure. If he met me at the barn. Poor guy. He had never been around horses. He never would ride, but he did get good at leading City Player around the barn and even brushing him some. I left horses after college (that was stupid) and am now planning a return this fall after I finish up some other stuff (only so many hours in a day). He is a bit nervous. More about the expense, I think. But, as Laura pointed out, triathlon stuff can be I'm just trading one for the other.