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Non horsey husbands and small farms

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  • Non horsey husbands and small farms

    I think I need a check here. My husband and I bought our farm close to a year ago. He helps out a lot, but complains about it just as much. He helps with feeding on weekends, blankets, dumping wheelbarrow, all farm chores too.

    If the horses are mine, should I just do it all myself? We moved out here b/c it is my dream. He really likes it here too, but it is my thing. He has a two hour commute everyday and right now I'm working from home. We both cook dinner every night. He feeds the dogs in the AM and I feed in the PM. I do a lot of the house cleaning during the week.

    How do you divide the chores fairly both inside and out? Does your non horsey husband help? And does he help in "silence"?:

  • #2
    Not married...but have had a farm (leased) and a non horsey BF on more than one occasion and also have friends in a similar situation to yours.

    IMHO, the farm work should be handled by you unless he volunteers to assist.

    Keeping up the rest of the property though? Like mowing the "yard" or plowing the driveway? He can help with that.

    Big projects? Like putting up hay or major repairs? I'd sooner hire some kids to help or hire it done altogether than have an SO kvetching or resenting the horses.

    ETA: It's not his hobby. That's why I'm saying this. If his hobby were race cars and he needed to rebuild engines every weekend, would you kind of resent it if he expected you to help?
    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

    Might be a reason, never an excuse...


    • #3
      I do it myself if at all possible (and most of it is.) I never want him to resent one of the four leggers, and he doesn't. He has slowly become more involved (a little when I had chronic injuries) and knows how much I truly appreciate it if he does dump grain bags, or the wheelbarrow, or occasionally feeds. I think he's cleaned stalls maybe twice ever. He likes the perk of having a tractor and right now we are building our own run in sheds (saving us at least 3k/per. Of course one if for the tractor, so that makes it even better for him!
      I know some women who really 'involve' their guys a lot, and the guys I know don't like it. So as long as I'm physically able, it's 'my' deal. We have six horses, so it's a lot of work, but I don't mind.

      ETA he does all the laundry.
      We're spending our money on horses and bourbon. The rest we're just wasting.


      • #4
        My husband does a lot as far as building fences, buildings, clearing land, etc. But I do all the the day-to-day horse (and dog) chores, including picking up hay and unloading (I only get about 20 bales at a time). If I am out of town, he will take care of the horses and dogs. If I ask, he will run by the feed store for me. Occasionally, I can convince him to go on a trail with me.
        "We are all doing the best we can from our own level of consciousness.”
        ― Deepak Chopra


        • #5
          Fastest way to have the SO really resent the horses is to make him to horsework. Especially after moving him a 2 hour commute from work.
          Around here I'm home all day, hubby works 35-40 minutes away. I do everything including repairs. Only things he helps with are things I need lifted that are too heavy for me alone or that I can't use the tractor to lift. He helps with hay pick ups every 3 weeks, but that's because he likes to, makes him feel like a farmer. I do yardwork, snow removal on weekdays (if it snows on weekends he removes it) leaf removal in fall, fence/barn repairs, all horse work and all housework. I do not cook on weekends...my rule. I do cook all week and we have leftovers for weekends or we can hit a restaurant.
          His jobs are garbage...getting it from the house to the truck and going to the dump with me weekly. Gutter cleaning...which he avoids like the plague. My rule on that is if he keeps avoiding getting it done then I don't want to hear one peep when the roof wears out early or if water gets in the basement. And he fixes/cleans up all damage from not getting it done. He helps clean up after dinner every night.
          And because he's not forced to work like a dog from home on *my* horses...he adores those horses and insists on going down the barn with me every night for night check so he can hand out the treats...and he does the same on weekend mornings and helps with barn chores on those mornings to spend time with me and the horses. He enjoys it because neither me nor the horses make him take care of my hobbies.
          You jump in the saddle,
          Hold onto the bridle!
          Jump in the line!


          • #6
            That's something each individual couple needs to work out between themselves.

            In my case, like the OP's, we have our little farmlet because it's my dream, for my horses. Mr. CH is fond of our particular horses, but doesn't ride and isn't as enamored of the species as a whole (unlike those of us with "the disease."). He has his own interests that also require time, money and dedication.

            I ask for his help only rarely. I manage the daily chores alone, except when he volunteers to help. He helps with big jobs that could threaten my iffy back, like stacking hay. Likewise, there are chores associated with maintaining his hobbies that I only rarely assist with. On the rare occasion he seeks my help, I give it cheerfully, as he does with me.

            Mr. CH likes to garden, and has come to greatly appreciate the self-generating fertilizer the horses provide. Because of that, we now have come to share management of the composting piles. We share mowing/weedwhacking duties, as well, with me tending the pastures and him taking care of the yard areas around the house. He also likes to walk, and so makes walking the fencelines part of his self-appointed duties. Sometimes he'll make a needed repair himself, sometimes he'll flag it for me to do later. Either way, that's a big help.

            Basically, we use (un)common sense and the philosophy of s/he who uses it cares for it. I'm pretty satisfied with the set-up and Mr. CH indicates he is, too (though he wishes I'd make a greater effort to pick ALL the hay out of my hair and clothes before entering the house ... since vacuuming the floors is his job!).
            Equinox Equine Massage

            In the depth of winter, I finally learned that there was in me invincible summer.
            -Albert Camus


            • #7
              Does he make you do half of everything that involves him too?

              I can not imagine asking my husband to do half the chores so everything is split 50/50.

              He has his things, I have mine.

              He loves his tractor so anything that involves the tractor he will more than willingly do. So heck, he moves the manure pile and all that stuff. Go Mr. Trub.

              The horses are my hobby (even though we bought land, they are still my hobby) so I take care of them.

              The dogs are always fed by him in the AM since they get fed when I am out doing barn chores.
              PM whomever is there at 6:30 feeds them. We share dog yard cleaning.


              • #8
                Originally posted by Serigraph View Post
                I think I need a check here. My husband and I bought our farm close to a year ago. He helps out a lot, but complains about it just as much. He helps with feeding on weekends, blankets, dumping wheelbarrow, all farm chores too.

                If the horses are mine, should I just do it all myself? We moved out here b/c it is my dream. He really likes it here too, but it is my thing. He has a two hour commute everyday and right now I'm working from home. We both cook dinner every night. He feeds the dogs in the AM and I feed in the PM. I do a lot of the house cleaning during the week.

                How do you divide the chores fairly both inside and out? Does your non horsey husband help? And does he help in "silence"?:
                Our set-up is similar. My SO also commutes 2 hours and I work from home 4 out of 5 days. He feeds dogs AM and I do PM. This is really my dream, but he likes the country and has always been an animal lover.

                I do all care of the horses during the week. If something happens like my mare managing to lift a several hundred pound dutch door off the hinges, I call SO and let him no I will need his help when he gets home - which he responds "What did they do Now"

                He does like having contact with the horses, so on the weekend I do the pregnant mares and wait for him to feed the youngsters. He knows he can tell me hes not up for it and I'll do them as well, but thats rare. I never count on him for routine animal care, stalls, feeding, blankets, watering etc. I'm also the one on foal watch, but wake him up when its happening as he wants to be there.

                He likes doing tractor things, so I save those jobs for him. He also likes to do stuff involving tools. I give in and hire someone if he tells me he doesn't "have time" - he does alot around here and I don't want him to have no free time.

                The only time I get grumbling is when I ask him for help with video taping or taking pics - thats like pulling teeth. Most of the time if I ask for help, he knows that it is either a 2 person job or something I physically can't do.
                Epona Farm
                Irish Draughts and Irish Draught Sport horses

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                • #9
                  buying our 8 acres was my husband's idea - to "save money" on three horses (vs. boarding.) of course we now have eight horses hahaha. so much for saving any money.

                  I do all chores morning & night. he does morning two days a week in exchange I make sure I can pick up our 8yo at day care before they close (good trade.)

                  he loves to ride the tractor with a beer or two and his headphones so he gets all tractor jobs. he putts around a bit in the barn, too like fixing stuff that needs power tools and things that are high and I can't reach.

                  for bigger jobs I hire people who know what they're doing and will work in exchange for things I can provide like to babysit their kids while they work (for a discount on the work) or computer work (sometimes I can trade whole jobs for this or get a discount.)

                  he will cover chores like when I go away to Rolex or what have you. he says he doesn't mind but then he does sort of a schlock job (trying to tell me something, maybe?) so if I can I'd rather hire a barn sitter for at least a few of those days.

                  overall living with horses is my dream but living in the country with property is his. in his mind, the horses justify the property so it's all good. plus he loves and commits 110% to all animals so he'll go the extra mile to make sure they are taken care of properly but this does not include making sure every poop speck is cleaned from the stalls like I prefer.
                  Last edited by webmistress32; Jan. 8, 2009, 11:45 AM. Reason: more info


                  • #10
                    Wait, you work from home, yet your hubby commutes 2 hours because the farm was your dream?

                    You'd better thank your lucky stars for a man like that, and unless it's a 2 person job, do it yourself with no complaining.

                    Seriously, any man willing to do the commute from hell to make your dream a reality should get a gold star and a cookie, not have more crap added to his already overbooked schedule.

                    My SO and I aren't married (yet), but you can bet your boots unless he volunteers to help with the horses, there's no way I'm going to hound him to do so.
                    Homeopathy claims water can cure you since it once held medicine. That's like saying you can get sustenance from an empty plate because it once held food.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by trubandloki View Post
                      He loves his tractor so anything that involves the tractor he will more than willingly do. So heck, he moves the manure pile and all that stuff. Go Mr. Trub.

                      The horses are my hobby (even though we bought land, they are still my hobby) so I take care of them.
                      This sounds exactly like our relationship. My dh will happily flip/empty the manure bunker, mow pastures, rake the arena....pretty much anything tractor-related. If I need help doing something specific, I will ask; e.g. two-person jobs like fence repair, hanging a gate, etc.

                      My dh loves having a small farm, but not necessarily the horse part of it. He likes that *I* like it; that's enough for him. But there are lots of other jobs on a farm that are not horse-related - cutting back brush, chopping wood, gardening (which is mainly my thing but he will happily help prepare garden beds for planting, compost, etc.)

                      I would be careful about expecting your dh to love the horse jobs. If he is not a horse person, I think it might be unrealistic for him to want in on those.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by S1969 View Post
                        My dh loves having a small farm, but not necessarily the horse part of it. He likes that *I* like it; that's enough for him. But there are lots of other jobs on a farm that are not horse-related - cutting back brush, chopping wood, gardening (which is mainly my thing but he will happily help prepare garden beds for planting, compost, etc.)

                        I would be careful about expecting your dh to love the horse jobs. If he is not a horse person, I think it might be unrealistic for him to want in on those.

                        So many other things to be done, let him do those and you do the things that you like to do.

                        I can imagine it will not take long for the OPs hubby to start talking about selling the farm and moving back closer to work.


                        • #13
                          I have the same type of situation excepted my honey loves the horses too, as pets though. But still, I never *demand* for his help with chores and I think it is as fair as it can be because really, *he* didn't choose to have horses! Granted, he helps me around a lot but I don't and wouldn't rely on him either.

                          I get to have to work more to pay for my horses and it is perfectly normal too. Although our finances are pretty much common, I'll never expect him to provide 50% of the household income with my mini-breeding program on the side because in reality, MY things and hobbies cost more then 50% of the household income and therefore, I subsidize those expenses too.

                          It's all about fairness. YOUR hobby, YOUR responsibility and ultimately, YOUR fun too!
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                          • #14
                            If it's not a hobby---it's a job.

                            He has a job and commutes 2 hours a day.

                            You have a job and can work at home.

                            I imagine he wants to be a partner and not an employee.

                            You take care of your horses yourself.

                            Share the house stuff.
                            "Sic Gorgiamus Allos Subjectatos Nunc"


                            • #15
                              Sounds similar to my story too!

                              We live out in the country on our little 5-acre farm. DH's commute to work is 2 - 2 1/2 hours (part of it is a ferry boat ride). I work out of the house 2-4 days a week and the days I go into town I'm on a much more relaxed schedule than he is. Up until we had kids I did all of the directly-horse-related-work (feeding, cleaning, etc.). But he's always been the "tractor guy," so he dragged my arena for me and did all "man jobs" (building and fixing fences, or anything else that required tools).

                              When we had kids the schedule changed a little. He started feeding for me in the mornings on weekdays so that I could get the kid(s) up and fed. He frequently feeds for me at night too if I'm going to be home late from work or something. And he completely took care of the horses for me when I broke my ankle last year and right after I had each of our kids. He feeds the dogs in the morning (he's up at 4am, so he kind of has to) and whoever's in the kitchen in the evening feeds them at night. We split the housework, though I tend to do a little more simply because I'm in the house more. We don't have any "rules" for housework....it's whoever gets to something first. We certainly don't live in a very clean house (I'd have to go down to my barn if I wanted to eat something off of the floor ), but it's kept decently enough. Things are better since I hired a cleaning gal to come in once a week.....it takes some of the pressure off with both of us working.

                              As for whether he does it "in silence".....mostly......he almost never complains about the work (beyond giving me a hard time for making him slave away for MY horses). I think that he really enjoys living on the farm and doing his manly things. He also is happy that I'm happy, and that (in my mind) is priceless. The horses themselves, however, are a whole 'nother story. I think he'd REALLY love this place if I could get down from 6 to maybe 1 or 2. Ain't gonna happen, but he lives in the hope that one day it will. I let him believe it just to keep the peace
                              Flying F Sport Horses
                              Horses in the NW


                              • #16
                                Since the horses are my deal, I do all of the work. He has never offered, so I don't ask. He pays the bills and enables me to have my passion. I am 60 yo and have arthritis and a more severe case of fibromyalsia and if I didn't have my horses, I would definitely be housebound. The exercise is great, but tiring. He is busy with his profession and his vacation time is spent doing things together that he wants to do. Fortunately he cooks and will keep the lawn nice. The jack russells are mine and he has a couple of large dogs that he walks. If he were more active in my horses, he'd crimp my style. We are both very strongly opinionated in our respective endeavors and that's how I like it. Just don't try to do more than you can do and enjoy and you'll work it out. BTW- I commute 2 hours a day for my horses. His commute is 40 min a day! Hey, it works! Peg
                                Fleur de Lis Hanoverians


                                • #17
                                  Ditto what everybody else said. You got the man to move and get you a farm, you can't have it all.

                                  We bought our place 5 years ago (5 acres). He would be just as happy to live back in town, but he realizes it's my thing to have the horses at home and he is ok with that.
                                  Hubby does not ride, but enjoys feeding cookies and stuff like that, has made good friends with the husband half of our JtMFH's at the hunt, which makes things nice.

                                  Although he likes the horses, the horses are my deal, so I do 90% of what needs to be done to and with them. I say 90% because right now I work til midnight but he gets off at 9 pm so he feeds dinner, blankets when needed and turns out. But THAT"S IT. He doesn't do poop. Period.The days we are off the horse work is done 100% by me unless he happens to come out to the barn to hang out and decides to chip in. BUT I DON"T ASK HIM TO unless it's a real emergency or I'm stuck somewhere, like the time the dog had to get rushed to the vet at 9 am and the farrier was coming, he sat out there with the farrier. But they get along so it was ok. I make a point of not taking advantage or making a habit of it.

                                  He will, however, do farm stuff, like mowing, repairing things and guy stuff like that.

                                  We both work full time, and I have two boarders, so I also make a point of not using any of joint funds or asking him for $$ for anything horsey.

                                  re the chores: he doesn't cook, so that's on me. I have no problem popping a frozen lasagna or making bacon and eggs for dinner. He will do some stuff in the house but usually I have to specifically ask or make a list, which I hate to do. But he will stay outside all day and find stuff that needs fixing or doing, which is fine.
                                  So I make sure the laundry is done, which is no biggie, I can throw it in or swap it out through out the day, and keep the dishes done and the rest can wait. We don't have kids so the place stays relatively decent, just needs sweeping and vaccuuming, which I do when I get to it. The barn first, then the dogs, then the house.

                                  You can't do it all, so prioritize what has to be done as opposed to what should be done and go from there.
                                  "Perhaps the final test of anybody's love of dogs is their willingness to permit them to make a camping ground of the bed" -Henry T. Merwin


                                  • #18
                                    Yeah.....this is why I board! When my husband and I were looking for our first home he says, "Don't you want some land where you can have your horses?" And I asked him, "Do you want to get up early and feed, muck stalls, change blankets, drag the ring, fix a fence, throw hay?". Needless to say we bought a house in a subdivision My husband and I both work away from the home and I think it would be a ton of work if we had a farm as well. I think if you were home all day, you should do the majority of the work


                                    • #19
                                      This 10 acre farm was the carrot that my husband dangled in front of my nose to get me to agree to move somewhere big enough to care for his parents. We signed the sales agreement on our 10th anniversary.

                                      I do all the horse chores. He will help with barn fixes, like installing lights and electric outlets, removed a stall wall to make it into a tractor garage, and he will climb the 30 foot ladder to change the outdoor light bulb on the barn (good thing those bulbs last for years!). I've learned to do my own fence repair, and commandeer my daughter to help.

                                      This is my hobby not his. His hobby is home renovations, and I offer to help, but he chases me out of the house with power tools if I get too close while he is working.
                                      There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams


                                      • #20
                                        If you've got a husband willing to ride in a car four hours a day so that you can live out where you can enjoy your hobby then I suggest he's a candidate for cannonization. Even more so if he's actually willing to shoulder some of the farm work. Count your blessings.

                                        Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão