Ah, Husband. Some of you have SOs who knew full well the crazy they were getting themselves into when they decided to date/marry you. That’s not the tale Husband gets to tell.
When I met Husband, I was finishing up college and at that point hadn’t ridden a horse in about 7 years. Horses came up from time to time in conversation, but as I figured my horse days were long behind me, it wasn’t a main focus.
We dated, I graduated college, we got married, I started my career, he re-enlisted in the Marines, we bought a house, we had a kid…something was missing but I didn’t know what it was.
Then about 3 years after we first got married, one August day in 2010, I walked into a public speaking course, hating life because public speaking, while necessary for my job, was something I dreaded.
But as introductions were made, one stood out to me- a girl who said that for fun she rode dressage.
Now, I’d lived in NC at that point for 4 years and I’d never heard of anything remotely horsey, never even seen a horse trailer, so hearing the word “dressage” after 10 years was startling. But we talked, she invited me out to her barn to meet her horse, and 5 minutes after patting the ol’ guy’s neck, I decided I NEEDED my own horse. Stat.
Problem was….Husband was deployed to Afghanistan. He was infantry, so wasn’t on a base and could only communicate via letters (which took WEEKS to go back and forth) and the occasional phone call from a satellite phone. Sat phones were the bane of my existence during deployments. They only worked for outgoing calls, so I was at the mercy of waiting for him to call 24/7, and they were so unreliable that you never knew if you’d get 30 minutes or 30 seconds. So when that # flashed on my screen, I answered and without even a hello said, “Hey, I want to get a horse.”
But he said to go for it (because he had NO IDEA what he was encouraging), so a week before he arrived home, I’d purchased Jester for $700 w/delivery included, a basically unbroke 9 year old Paint/TB cross gelding. And Matt came home after a 7 month deployment at 6 AM, we took some pictures and immediately headed to the barn.
Husband later admitted that he assumed having a horse was pretty much like having a dog that lived somewhere else. Sorry, Husband. I didn’t even really know what I was getting us into.
Because the area was so decidedly non-horse friendly, I had no trainer options and instead, relied on Husband videoing on our camcorder so that I could later upload the video to our desktop computer and compare my videos to pictures and videos of professionals. THEN I would write notes of what I needed to work on, drag Husband BACK out to the barn the following day, and he’d simultaneously video while reading me my notes.
And he did it all. Every time. No complaints. Even though it was mostly stuff like this thriller below- 2 minutes of counterbent trotting along the rail.
He came to my shows and cheered the loudest of anyone when I won a walk/trot class (I KNOW, that was what was AVAILABLE, ok?).
He agreed to trade in one of our cars in order to get our first truck. And a month later when we went on our annual family vacay to Michigan, agreed to take one of the days he could be spending at the lake to go buy a horse trailer….then drive it 17 hours home.
Then when I found a quasi-dressage trainer that was the closest available, Husband would drive 1.5 hours one way with me to video. And if the sun was in the way, he freaking BLOCKED THE SUN (1:11 of the video).
And when we decided to go for Kid #2, Husband respectfully requested that I not ride, as it made him nervous. So I agreed and, having wanted to try Jester in eventing anyway but not having facilities anywhere nearby, sent Jester to a trainer a couple hours away to introduce him to dressage arenas and XC fences. Unfortunately, a pasture accident a month into training left Jester with an irreparable broken leg, so Husband drove me the 2 hours to say goodbye.
And a few weeks later, these momentos arrived, courtesy of Husband. I had no idea he’s gotten any of Jester’s tail hair, and he said he didn’t tell me because he didn’t want to upset me further.
A few months later the Tiniest Dictator came into the world and shortly after, we packed up and moved to the Charlotte area, using the horse trailer for storage, as I was horseless.
But not for long, because while I was sort of looking, sort of not, our anniversary was coming and Husband had plans. He knew which one I wanted based off of how much talking I did about this horse so…
And resumed his Husband duties of videoing every excruciating trot circle and canter transition, still with no complaints. But this chapter is where he started inserting his own commentary (you know what I’m talking about if you follow me on IG) into most videos.
He makes me laugh when I hear a ridiculous accent:
He has the ability to make you sit on the edge of your seat. Will they make it??
Sometimes he ran into things:
He’s videoed more BN dressage tests than I can even give him credit for. And usually I wouldn’t even watch the video- I’d grab a screenshot or two and forget the rest.
And, oh yeah, he’s Super Dad. Usually while he’d be videoing, he’s also be wrangling control over a 6 year old and 1 year old. More than one dressage judge has heard him threatening our kids with bodily harm if they disrupt my test.
He continues to be baffled by the fact that I only want horse stuff for birthdays/special occasions. But he’s compliant.
P loves going to shows with him because he knows Husband brings food.
And I love him going to shows because he’s an excellent…
The last 3 Father’s Days have fallen on horse show weekends..
And there was that one year that we spent his birthday at Windridge and not only did he NOT complain, he came out for the dressage/SJ day to video in the pouring rain, and THEN he said that my winning the event was the best birthday present (which is insanely cheesy, can not possibly be true, but 100% how Husband is).
When I said I wanted to buy a hammock so I could sleep in the horse area of my trailer at shows instead of stay in hotels, he found me a turquoise one.
Then when I decided that sleeping in a hammock was NOT for me (after one night) and said I wanted AC in my dressing room, he took my trailer to the shop.
THEN when I wanted the dressing room insulated so it held heat/AC better, he bought all the materials and got to work.
He’s even gotten in front of the camera a few times to help solidify our nonstop contest winning. It all started because I really wanted those free Kastel shirts but the contest was geared specifically for men. Luckily I have Husband.
It did take a *tiny* bit of convincing, though.
And that led to him playing the part of “Crazy Pilgrim” in our Triple Crown contest submission (which, of course, we won). Husband is at 2:18 in the video.
And most recently to our submission for some free Coat Defense, which…we won.
And been a co-conspirator on other crazy videos we’ve done, like “Game Day:”
Because everyone should test to see how their horses handle getting beaned by a football.
He did the AM handwalking for me while P was on stall rest (and after this terrifying video, underwent an intense course on how to properly secure a rope halter):
And through it all has videoed pretty much everything- with his own twist, of course.
He rushed to the barn when P created the Foot Hole and offered more than once to do P’s midnight eye meds so I could sleep; and when I agonized over the mounting vet bills and seemingly never-endingness of the eye ulcer, he just said we had to do what was right for P.
Every year for P’s birthday he buys decorations. The 2 years I was in KY over P’s birthday, he took the kids out and they sang him Happy Birthday and gave him treats.
When I was in Nashville for a bachelorette party, Husband went to the barn and surprise-FaceTime’d me from P’s stall.
Then I had this INSANE idea to get ANOTHER horse.
And Husband said, “Go for it.”
So I did.
And Husband was there when I arrived back from DE with Leo in tow to video and snap some pictures.
And he’s still videoing the most boring things ever with his most expert commentating.
And I still have yet to hear him complain. Love you, Husband!