Dressage and the horse world in general is a complicated and confusing one, and that is for the people who are involved in the sport. To the outside eye, I am convinced we look like martians.
And then there are those who are involved not by choice, but by association. Those poor souls without the love of sport and horse are thrust into this world and exposed against their will by maniacal wives and husbands. Yes, they are the Horse Spouses and they deserve praise to be sung from the mountain tops.
Because guess who tends to get the runoff from bad shows, bad rides and falls? Yes, indeed, the ever suffering horse spouse.
They have heard countless hours of horse talk and have memorized the terminology. Rather like a parrot, they can regurgitate words like “Half Pass”, “Throughness” and “Shoulder – In” without knowing the meanings.
Then they move into the next stage of being dragged out to shows. They carefully weave a path through the show grounds, trying not to dirty their nice shoes and slacks to stand politely on the sidelines and watch you ride circles for six minutes. Sometimes you come out of the ring with a big smile on your face. But it is equally possible that you ride the same set of circles and come out of the ring inconsolable. To your horse spouse, both series of circles looked exactly the same. They silently thank god for the end halt and salute so they know when to clap, because otherwise there would be no telling.
Or the times where your stall has been flooded and who gets to come out to help shovel muck and shavings for two hours? Why it is your spouse! Just what they wanted to do on their day off – get knee high in filth and the malodorous scent of ammonia.
What about that red letter day when your horse colics and they walk on eggshells while you fall apart and then two weeks later receive a vet bill that puts them on the verge of an aneurism.
When they get home they are received a sweaty, dust covered partner who smells like animals and they just try to breathe through their mouth while they are being hugged.
The horse spouse is a special, battle hardened breed of husband or wife. They have that thousand yard stare and the battle scars to prove their loyalty.
So thank you to all horse husbands and horse wives. And thank you to my own.
Today is my husband and my’s anniversary (If there is a better way to write that sentence I do not want to hear about it. Language is ever evolving and I have decided that this is the next step forward: my’s.). On this day, April 1st, nine years ago we were married. Sometimes I feel like the April Fool’s joke is on him! Haha! We are contractually bound now help me load this hay! Suffice it to say I am still VERY twitterpated with him, but what strikes me as a miracle of miracles is that he seems to still be twitterpated with me as well.
This man has helped me in every way possible. He has listened to me rant for countless hours, has helped me boot and turn out horses, has waited for me while I ride, as filmed many a clinic and show, has supported me continuously and always been there on my days where it is sometimes too much. Sometimes I think he must wonder what it would be like to have a wife who is soft and pale and feminine instead of the tanned, sinewy piece of lady that I am. But he always makes me feel beautiful and loved. So thank you to all horse spouses and especially to Daniel Padgett, my very own horse husband, we are lucky to have you.