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Men and Their Tolerance / Acceptance of Horses and Our Lifestyle

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  • #21
    I've recently taken up riding again after a 30 year absence (school/work/marriage/kids got in the way). Now at 50 and an empty-nester, I'm thrilled to be back riding and have also vowed to never give it up again. Waiting until after our "post retirement relocation" to buy a horse of my own, but I'm lucky enough to have a few to ride in the meantime, so no expenses besides tack and equipment.

    My DH has been very encouraging, both supporting any and all expenditures I've made and the time I've devoted since becoming a "re-rider" He's very excited to see me so excited about something. DH is a natural athlete who excels at any sport he takes up, and in the 25 years I've been with him he has given up marathon running, been actively involved in canoe tripping & golf; taken up windsurfing, sea kayaking, downhill skiing, and most recently road biking. He considers anything I've spent so far on riding equipment a drop in the bucket compared to what he's laid out over the years.

    Oddly though I do get a little defensive when he asks me about the horses. I know he's excited for me and just likes to hear me talk about it, and sometimes you can't shut me up, but other times I feel like "this is mine - keep out!" I don't know why I feel that way and feel kind of guilty about it, because he really is just trying to be as supportive to me as I have been with his interests over the years. Just something I have to work on I guess.
    At its finest, rider and horse are joined not by tack, but by trust. Each is totally reliant upon the other. Each is the selfless guardian of the other's very well-being.
    (Author Unknown)

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    • #22
      As you can see from the replies, it can work many ways. You may be thinking of all the threads about how the SO resents the horses and all the replies saying "dump him!" I think the key is how threatened/controlling a guy is. If he is not the controlling type, the relationship between you and your SO can work well with the horses either if he is interested in participating or if he isn't. It all depends. Personally, my DH is fine with me spending most of my free time and energy at the barn. He's not into it at all, but he will go to a show or something if I ask him to. I'm just extremely thankful that he realizes how therapeutic my barn time is for me.
      I heard a neigh. Oh, such a brisk and melodious neigh as that was! My very heart leaped with delight at the sound. --Nathaniel Hawthorne

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      • #23
        Originally posted by Dewey View Post
        I think the key is how threatened/controlling a guy is.
        Or how threating/controlling YOU are!

        I know my DH would be a lot less supportive and interested if I nit-picked and tried to dictate his every move. Instead, I don't interfere unless something could get dangerous. I just let him enjoy stuffing the horses full of cookies, trail riding now and then, and being the main operator of the tractor and power tools. If something isn't done quite the way I'd prefer, it's still a darn cheap price to pay for having a happy and supportive SO.
        ---------------------------

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        • #24
          My exboyfriend hated all things horses...

          Therefore I married a horsey guy and never looked back

          My dad also hated horses and the horsey lifestyle my mom gave us with his "horse support." There are just some people who will be against it no matter what.
          Southern Cross Guest Ranch
          An All Inclusive Guest Ranch Vacation - Georgia

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          • #25
            My bf could care less about horses, though he seems supportive enough (even if he doesn't understand my obsession). Besides while I was out riding, he could play his games to his hearts content.

            If I had a horse and was able to keep him/her in my backyard I think he would be a little more involved (giving treats and scratches) since he loves animals. He gets pouty when the more outgoing of my cats nestles next to me rather than him. It's pretty cute.
            The Sempiternal Horse

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            • #26
              My DH has no desire to ever sit on a horse. It isn't his passion and he feels like it wouldn't be fair to have a horse for him that he wouldn't put his heart into. But, he totally supports my riding 100%.

              He will muck stalls, fix fence, come watch me ride, fix my trailer, go do whatever horsey things I want to do and is always happy to do it because it makes me happy. He tries hard to learn as much as he can so he can hold an intellegent conversation with me about my horse. He can tell how my ride is going, what lead my horse is on, if she looks a little off, if she's behind my leg, etc.

              I'm so thankful for everything he does to support me and I try to let him know as often as possible. I also try to support him in his hunting as much as possible. We dated for 5 years and recently got married and he knew the horse came as part of the package, no exceptions. I don't think all men are like this, but it's worth the wait to find one who is and I feel incredibly blessed to have found one

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              • #27
                Originally posted by Dewey View Post
                As you can see from the replies, it can work many ways. You may be thinking of all the threads about how the SO resents the horses and all the replies saying "dump him!" I think the key is how threatened/controlling a guy is. If he is not the controlling type, the relationship between you and your SO can work well with the horses either if he is interested in participating or if he isn't. It all depends. Personally, my DH is fine with me spending most of my free time and energy at the barn. He's not into it at all, but he will go to a show or something if I ask him to. I'm just extremely thankful that he realizes how therapeutic my barn time is for me.
                Me, Me, Me, what I want, controlling, do it my way, make me happy, spending my free time and energy on my self.

                Phew! If you wish to have a partner and a good life, think more of WE and less of ME.
                "Sic Gorgiamus Allos Subjectatos Nunc"

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                • #28
                  Interesting Post

                  As an engaged woman this is very interesting. Understanding the horse thing has not been easy for my guy. That is mainly because he did not get IT for a while (the obsession, the studying, the constant nature of it all). He also still does not understand how on earth I devote so much money and would spend more if I could rescuing horses in need. We had a fair share of tiffs in the beginning but now I realize a few things, as long as I am fair with my time and attention he supports the horses, he visits them with me, and feeds treats etc. He will do any little favors I ask for and enjoys them from a distance. He is not a horse guy but then again he balances me out (i.e. forces me to think about money and saving it, supports me, and encourages me to diversify my activities, etc). I would probably have 20 horses and a barn i would struggle to care for with a full time job if I was with someone like me. Im the type that wants to rescue them all! Now I am happy rescuing a few and taking wonderful trips all around the world (his hobby). Its a different situation but with a effort and compromise we made things work

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                  • #29
                    After 10 years of marriage (that included horses) I gave them up. I didn't think it was practical (it's not), too expensive (it is), and I felt like I needed to give him space for his hobby (motorcycles). So I learned to ride motorcycles and was happy to join him in his chosen hobby. I tried to be happy about it...I really did. I told him that it was what I wanted. I broke away from COTH, tried not to look at horsey anything...sold a bunch of stuff (including my horses)...well..that lasted..two months?

                    HE just bought me a new horse, because he saw how not happy I really was (though I tried to hide it well) horseless. It wasn't entirely a surprise - I had known this horse for a very long time, and when he came up for sale, I mentioned it to him...and he said "Let's go see him". Today, when I rode the horse for the first time post-trying him, he said when he came in the door "I can tell that you rode today, even without you saying so" and he was delighted to see me so happy.

                    I say "he" bought me the horse, even though we both work...because he was the one that said "let's buy him".

                    Our marriage has had ups and downs, but the one thing that I've discovered is that if I'm looking out for HIS happiness, and he's looking out for MY happiness, it all works out. I've given him lessons on my horses in the past, and he has enjoyed it, but it's not his thing. Plus, he hates being in the cold (and it seems that I ride more in the winter for some odd reason...)

                    Incidentally - what really is working out is having the horse at home (now that I've got the kinks all worked out of that). A lot of the resentment that he had that I sensed (that he never voiced) was because I was away, often for hours at a time (because for some reason it takes me 1 1/2 hours to ride, no matter how short of a ride...or even if I just longe...I must be really inefficient). Add driving time, and that was a lot of disruption (and we have kids, who do not ride, which made it doubly hard.)

                    So now, he gets to build stuff and tinker in the garage with the motorcycles while I ride, and I'm not "unavailable" to our boys, who can play and do the things they do. It works out for me because I've always wanted my own barn, and I LOVE getting to see my horse several times a day.

                    All in all - I'm a happy camper...and so is he! But it took time...and he still teases me about where he finds hay in the house (uh...everywhere) and where he finds random pieces of tack. I love it when he's at the barn with me, and I don't mind when he's not. I would love for him to ride with me more, but I'm okay that he doesn't. I am still riding motorcycles with him, and we are planning adventure tours together. Win-win

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                    • #30
                      For me it is not about participation at all, just acceptance of the time/money/emotion spent on horses and its impact on the relationship. Having horses at home is sacrifice enough for a non-horse person.

                      I don't push him to spend his time watching me do my stuff. Any more than I beg to attend his 2-day golf tournaments, or 12 hour poker tournaments.

                      I do appreciate that he has helped me with fixing stuff, chores, etc in a pinch, and come on some "moral support" shopping trips etc.

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                      • Original Poster

                        #31
                        OneGrayPony, this I very much agree with!

                        Originally posted by OneGrayPony View Post
                        Our marriage has had ups and downs, but the one thing that I've discovered is that if I'm looking out for HIS happiness, and he's looking out for MY happiness, it all works out.
                        Bdurham33, congrats on your engagement! I think it's really important to find that balance that you're talking about and I'm glad you guys seem to have found it.

                        Originally posted by bdurham33 View Post
                        As an engaged woman this is very interesting. Understanding the horse thing has not been easy for my guy. That is mainly because he did not get IT for a while (the obsession, the studying, the constant nature of it all). He also still does not understand how on earth I devote so much money and would spend more if I could rescuing horses in need. We had a fair share of tiffs in the beginning but now I realize a few things, as long as I am fair with my time and attention he supports the horses, he visits them with me, and feeds treats etc. He will do any little favors I ask for and enjoys them from a distance. He is not a horse guy but then again he balances me
                        Originally posted by RugBug
                        Don't throw away opportunities because they aren't coming in exactly the form you want them to.

                        Comment


                        • #32
                          My hubby loves the horses... LOVES them. Not to the point of competition, but just being around them. He LOVES the puttering in the barn, the catharsis that can come from mucking stalls, the joy of happy healthy animals grazing and running and buckin in joy and life. He loves schmoozing at the horse shows, when he fills in as helper. His sense of accomplishment is almost equal to mine. We have sheep and chickens, dogs and a cat. he loves them too. He is a true treasure and I thank the lord every day he has been my partner for 22 years.

                          He also, has his own interests, he kayaks, and bicycles. He has a motorcycle and a little sports car, so... it is just not about the animal "kids".

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                          • #33
                            My DH is incredibly supportive of my riding, but has yet to set foot at the barn where I have boarded for going on 4 years now. He will do social things with the horsey crowd, and tolerates lots of horsey talk. He pays attention and knows what I am working on and can (and does) explain eventing to our non-horse friends, but he has never bought me a single horsey thing (10 years of marriage) and quotes fondly my former trainer's DH saying to him the first time he came out to the barn (when we had only been together a few months) "just say no, when they ask you to hold a horse or carry a bucket, or anything, just say no. Otherwise it is a slippery slope" He has done a great job of sticking to that, actually avoids having to say no by never being around the horses
                            OTTBs rule, but spots are good too!

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                            • #34
                              Originally posted by Trakehner View Post
                              Me, Me, Me, what I want, controlling, do it my way, make me happy, spending my free time and energy on my self.

                              Phew! If you wish to have a partner and a good life, think more of WE and less of ME.
                              Was this addressed to me, the OP, or just everyone reading the thread? I don't really understand.
                              I heard a neigh. Oh, such a brisk and melodious neigh as that was! My very heart leaped with delight at the sound. --Nathaniel Hawthorne

                              Comment


                              • #35
                                Everyone has it differently.

                                My hubby is a vet, so he understands the love of animals, and we both know the "kids" are priority #1, no matter the species. However, he has absolutely no desire to get to know my horses any more than he has to. Sure, he pets them and tells them he loves them, and he's trained to treat them if necessary, but he's not an equine vet, and he hasn't handled horses more than what was minimally required in vet school. He patiently learned how to care for them when I'm out of town, and asks how they're doing daily, and listens to my regular stories about the funny thing they did that day, but really that's as far as it goes.

                                And I am perfectly ok with that. The important thing to me is that he'll never make me choose, that he understands how important animals are to me. But it is totally not necessary for him to watch my lessons (he's never seen one in 5 years) or go to horse shows (he's only been to one in the first month of our relationship).

                                I will also say that we keep finances completely separate. I pay for the horses out of my own salary. We share joint expenses, but keep completely separate bank accounts. He would (rightfully) have more say in my horse habit if he paid for it. But he doesn't, so he keeps his trap completely shut.

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                                • #36
                                  My DH is a saint. Everyone who meets him says they want to clone him and have one of their own.

                                  He is a computer geek who works in IT and never rode. Then he meets me, who not only rides horses but trains and sells for a living. Poor guy. I kept telling him he didn't know what he was getting into! He helps around the stable, does stalls, does repairs, pretty much does anything. And do to me having health issues helps so much it is like another job

                                  The way we make it work is we always talk about things. He knows that if it ever became a problem do to my health and how much he helps then we would move, or I would cut back on the horses I own. I have my horse account that I do 95% of all the payments for horse things out of. Even then we always talk it over before a major purchase, or getting another horse, even if that horse is free.

                                  There has to be give on both sides. I see so many people post about how their SO doesn't know how many horses they have, how much they spend on them, or that they ask but regardless of what the answere is they just do it anyways. To me that is not a relationship that shows respect on both sides.

                                  And in the end if it was my DH or the horses. I would choose him every time.

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                                  • #37
                                    I am guessing that the person who gave me the thumbs down is one that has horses hidden from her SO?

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                                    • #38
                                      I got one too, Couture.

                                      I understand though, if that's the case, for a long time I thought my DH and horses were incompatible...but I wasn't hearing what he was actually saying. And I was being rigid in my thinking about how the horses were in my life. And when it was that kind of a challenge, I was angry about it. Very very angry.

                                      Luckily I learned how to actually hear him. And he learned how to hear me. It was a challenge, but came with time.

                                      Comment


                                      • #39
                                        What I really appreciate about this thread is all the different viewpoints and experiences. It's definitely scary to hear about the other side, from which people are saying that their marriage ended because their SO didn't approve of their horse-time. As an unmarried person, I find that so alarming.

                                        I like hearing that the process of balancing your home life and your passions is completely individual. For some people, the ideal partner has another hobby that s/he is obsessed with, so that s/he understands the draw of a passion and doesn't impose on one's horse-time. For others, the ideal partner comes to share your enthusiasm for everything - or, well, at least some things - horsey. And most of us are somewhere in between, right?

                                        My last boyfriend was very enthusiastic about horses and horseback riding. He loved to look at them, and pet them, and to ride. Grooming and tacking up never really thrilled him but he was game and he was comfortable around animals. I will cherish forever the memories of some of our trail rides.

                                        My current boyfriend is not particularly comfortable around animals, but he appreciates things that are beautiful (ahem). He is fascinated by the fact that I horseback ride, and he recently gave it a try himself, which resulted in non-stop grinning. He, too, is wonderful and supportive, just in a different way. When he comes to the barn, he will scrub buckets. He has his own work and his own passions, and he completely gets it.
                                        Disclaimer: My mom told me that people might look at my name and think I had an addiction other than horses. I don't; his name was Bravado.

                                        Comment


                                        • #40
                                          I really don't get why anyone would be giving these posts the thumbs down. (I got one too)??

                                          This thread isn't about what's right or wrong, it's about everyone who wants to expressing what does, or in some cases doesn't work for them. I think everyone is learning something from everyone else's posts. I also think a thumbs up is pretty cool if you want to give one, but an anonymous thumbs down is just rude. If you've got something to say, just say it (as long as you're not flaming someone) but a thumbs down is just a sneaky "mini-flame"

                                          I'm sure I'll get a thumbs down for this one from our anonymous thumber-downer. Whatever...
                                          At its finest, rider and horse are joined not by tack, but by trust. Each is totally reliant upon the other. Each is the selfless guardian of the other's very well-being.
                                          (Author Unknown)

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