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Significant Others & Horses

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  • Significant Others & Horses

    How does one deal with a significant other who doesn't seem to like that taking care of the horses after work can sometimes interfere with other aspects of life?

    My SO is not happy that I have to go set grain at the barn after work when it interferes with other plans (ie: "his" plans). For example, his family tends to plan birthday parties on Fridays, right after work. It would be one thing if these parties were at 6pm, but they start at 4 - I don't even get off work until 5!

    I forgot about his mother's surprise party tomorrow. I wasn't given an exact date and it wasn't on our calendar for me to remember. Which means I didn't give the BO enough time to find someone else I could switch a shift with. The BO & I view this as I would any other paying job, you have a responsibility to follow through with.

    This is just one instance. There have been other times he wanted to go somewhere, but we had to plan it around the horses.

    I could easily go to the barn around 8pm to set the feed, which is when I would want to leave the party because I am exhausted and am not feeling social. I figured that would keep everyone happy. If I fed before the party, I wouldn't be there in time for the "surprise" (even though I don't really think it matters).

    I would be more understanding if I went to the barn every single day, but I don't. I only go out 2-3 times a week, 5 if I am really really lucky (or if my horse hurts himself).

  • #2
    Well to be quite honest, I had exactly this sort of significant other years ago. I divorced him. I wanted to be at the barn every day of the week. I compromised and only went 3-4 days a week, he still resented it. Even when he had other things to do, he was a little jealous of the time I spent with the horses and the fact that if one of them had a medical issue, I would jump to be there. We simply didn't have compatible goals in life. During one of our final arguments, he said "I could never be happy with the horses in the back yard". I knew then, that I would never be happy unless I DID have the horses in the back yard and it was over.
    I have since remarried a wonderful guy who won't admit it, but appears to actually be allergic to horses...pity, as they live in the "backyard". He has no issue paying the mortgage on our lovely 50 acre farm, never hesitated building the barn, was eager to be there when my filly was born this spring.
    I'm glad I got out of the old marriage, wish I'd seen the light sooner.
    *disclaimer, it sounds like I left the ex for the horses. When someone is jealous that they don't rank as high as other responsibilities in your life, you might want to evaluate the relationship. My husband is my PARTNER. We have two little kids, four horses, a geriatric dog and a farm to take care of (and each work full time). We have very little time for each other, we have NO time to pout about it. Our relationship works because we both understand we are a team, we've got each other's backs, and my responsibilities are his responsibilities.

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Thanks!! I've had that discussion with him. I told him the horses will always come first. He knows it & has learned to accept it.

      Other than when the horses interfere with plans, he's relatively supportive. Comes out, stacks hay, nails up saddle racks, and all that jazz and he is definitely allergic to the dust at the barn (summers are bad with the fans blowing, he can manage in the winter with allergy pills). We were going to buy land and bring my horse home (which would make things much easier, since I wouldn't be spending an hour driving each day to get the barn), but that ended up costing more than we expected.

      Comment


      • #4
        I don't have much to add - only I sympathize with you! My DH is very easy-going when it comes to the horses. He doesn't say much when I go to ride (3-5x weekly) or when I need to buy something for the horses. When my boarded horse was sick and I needed to be there every night he understood. In addition to the one board out, I have two retired guys at home. At this point, he understands the "baggage" I come with.

        With that being said, I'm incredibly grateful for him. He said to me last night, "You're addicted to horses. They're all you think about. I wish you were addicted to something else... like housework, or cooking." We shared a good laugh over this , and although he was halfway joking, I know he really wishes I wasn't into horses. To keep the peace and to let him know I do appreciate him, I will go out of my way to compromise. If it means feeding the horses earlier/later, so be it. If he wants to go on the boat on a beautiful Saturday, even if I had planned to ride on that day all week, I'll do what he wants. The fact your husband is "relatively supportive" and even entertains the idea of bringing your horse home is more than a lot of other non-horsey husbands do. Go out of your way to make him happy.

        After all, I wouldn't have the horses if it weren't for him. Horses might always be your personal priority, but that doesn't mean your spouse can't also be tied for #1.

        Comment


        • #5
          Well, my DH and my family will always come before the horses. There is no chance that I would give up what I have with him for horses.

          That being said, we have agreed that I can ride 3x a week, minimum. (It would be more if I didn't have a daughter to take care of). He watches our DD while I go to the barn. If I want to do a horse show or XC schooling or something like that, we plan it in advance and he gets to do something he wants on a different weekend. We are a team and always try to work together to figure out how to make each other happy. He knows I'm happiest when I'm riding regularly. He makes sacrifices so that can happen. At the same time, I know it's not fair to him (or my daughter) to spend all my time at the barn. So I compromised to the 3x a week and we do a lot of fun things that he enjoys.

          It really comes down to open communication and scheduling things in advance. My DH KNOWS that Tues, Sat, and Sun I'm going to the barn. If he wants to do something else on a weekend, we discuss it and work out a different day for me to ride.

          It's worked out pretty well for us so far. I don't know what will happen if/when we have more kids, though!

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by mydogs View Post
            How does one deal with a significant other who doesn't seem to like that taking care of the horses after work can sometimes interfere with other aspects of life?
            Originally posted by mydogs View Post
            Thanks!! I've had that discussion with him. I told him the horses will always come first. He knows it & has learned to accept it.
            If you have told him the horse always come first, I don't see how he will ever like the fact that the horse interfere with other aspects of life. I am actually surprised he is still there.
            Auventera Two:Some women would eat their own offspring if they had some dipping sauce.
            Serious Leigh: it sounds like her drama llama should be an old schoolmaster by now.

            Comment


            • #7
              My ex hated the horses-the time, the money, etc...Even though he worked second shift and wasn't home when I was at the barn! It was a control issue.

              Current DH is very tolerant, but he has his own activities too. (golfing, hunting, Elks Fraternity)

              My suggestion for you? board at a full care barn so you don't have to go to the barn for everyday activities, just to ride. That's what works for me. I have a long commute. I also reserve 2 nights as "husband" nights. I never ride on Monday and I don't ride on Friday unless it's at a show.
              Not my monkeys, not my circus.

              Comment


              • #8
                I told him the horses will always come first. He knows it & has learned to accept it.
                Nope, he hasn't learned to accept it. If he hasn't by now, he isn't going to. You either need to figure out a compromise that you are happy with, or get out now, otherwise, you and/or him are just going to become resentful.
                "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."

                Comment


                • #9
                  Part of your problem is that you are a planner and he's a spur of the moment person. If you could get him to realise that you can't be spontaneous if it means not taking care of the horses, that would help. Maybe a monthly calendar that you both use to keep up with plans. Then if it is not written down, you have an out. And maybe ease up on the 'what is most important' part.

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Originally posted by RockinHorse View Post
                    If you have told him the horse always come first, I don't see how he will ever like the fact that the horse interfere with other aspects of life. I am actually surprised he is still there.
                    Well now that's a bit uncalled for & rude, now isn't it?

                    As for the others, thank you. We've been able to make things work, 90% of the time. When last minute plans come up or when he doesn't give me a date of an event, trying to schedule everything to make it all work can get a little complicated. But, its nice to see that others have been able to make it all work.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Frivian View Post
                      Well, my DH and my family will always come before the horses. There is no chance that I would give up what I have with him for horses.

                      That being said, we have agreed that I can ride 3x a week, minimum. (It would be more if I didn't have a daughter to take care of). He watches our DD while I go to the barn. If I want to do a horse show or XC schooling or something like that, we plan it in advance and he gets to do something he wants on a different weekend. We are a team and always try to work together to figure out how to make each other happy. He knows I'm happiest when I'm riding regularly. He makes sacrifices so that can happen. At the same time, I know it's not fair to him (or my daughter) to spend all my time at the barn. So I compromised to the 3x a week and we do a lot of fun things that he enjoys.

                      It really comes down to open communication and scheduling things in advance. My DH KNOWS that Tues, Sat, and Sun I'm going to the barn. If he wants to do something else on a weekend, we discuss it and work out a different day for me to ride.

                      It's worked out pretty well for us so far. I don't know what will happen if/when we have more kids, though!
                      I take pretty much the same approach, and find it works well.

                      I confess that I cannot really understand telling a spouse/SO that a hobby is more important than they are. I personally could not tolerate being told that, so I would not expect someone else to put up with it either. But hey, that is just me and everyone of course has the right to make their own choices.

                      It seems to me that you could establish a more collaborative scheduling process to reduce conflict over activities. If your SO knows that you will be at the barn M-W-F, for example, perhaps he could plan outings for Thursdays or Saturdays. That said, I don't think it is unreasonable for someone to expect the occasional attendance of their SO at family events, such as the birthday party mentioned.
                      **********
                      We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
                      -PaulaEdwina

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Having been married for 13 years to a man whose needs for my undivided attention grew and grew, I can't offer any other advice other than, stick to your guns or move on.

                        On the second actual date with my ex, I brought him out to the barn, introduced him to the ponies and told him they were here to stay. If he couldn't live with that, he should move on.

                        He said no problem. But then bit by bit he chipped away at the time I spent with them. I didn't even realize how much until he was out of the house and I realized I had felt imprisoned by his neediness.

                        My current man (fiance) is totally supportive. And most important - he can occupy himself when I'm not around. He's actually happy to have some alone time. Hallelujah!
                        co-author of
                        Duel for the Crown: Affirmed, Alydar, and Racing's Greatest Rivalry
                        www.duelforthecrown.com

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by RockinHorse View Post
                          If you have told him the horse always come first, I don't see how he will ever like the fact that the horse interfere with other aspects of life. I am actually surprised he is still there.
                          I don't think this is so much rude as it is true. Would you want to hear that your SO's dog or hobby will always come before you? Would you be willing to accept that? We can't have it both ways- horses as #1 and a non-horse hubby or SO who has to just "accept it" when we seem to always tell other woman never to accept less than they deserve. Why should anyone?

                          It's not a matter of who is first or second or what number priority the horses or your SO are. It is a matter of not only communication, but also what you contribute and bring to your partner. He has made an effort for the horses and spending time at the barn. Are you doing the same for him? Relationships are about sacrifice- and I like what one poster said about making time for her husband and going on the boat or doing something he wanted to do. It's not always about us and what we want. A relationship is healthy when both parties give equally to each other and support each other. When your horse is sick- he's a priority. When it's your SO's mom's surprise birthday- that's a priority.

                          Of course, you will have to decide if this is the right person to be with and be able to work this through. Some are, some are not so only you can determine that.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by mydogs View Post
                            As for the others, thank you. We've been able to make things work, 90% of the time. When last minute plans come up or when he doesn't give me a date of an event, trying to schedule everything to make it all work can get a little complicated. But, its nice to see that others have been able to make it all work.
                            Your first post certainly didn't intimate that 9/10 times everything is hunky-dory, hubby stacks hay and helps out, and this is just a few instances of planning gone haywire.

                            You guys seem to have a planning mismatch problem, not really a horse problem. He's supportive, but he also has priorities - and it sounds like if there's sufficient lead time you swap shifts so both partner's priorities are attended to.

                            In this instance, seems like you created the issue by forgetting his mother's party, or he created it by not giving a firm date, or whatnot. Again, planning and communication on both your parts, not really about liking or disliking the horse thing.
                            Proud Member Of The Lady Mafia

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              So when he takes up golfing and it comes before you how are things going to be?

                              I don't understand getting married if you're already married to your horse. I can see a marriage where your hobbies and interests/passions are valuable to him b/c they are important to you but when you put them ABOVE him in the priority status that's an issue that is eventually going to cause a problem. If his first priority is you and yours is your horse... that's not a firm foundation for much of anything.
                              “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Stephen R. Covey

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Serious question - why is it okay to state that horses come before your relationship and expect your SO to be okay with that? Where does this mentality come from? I see it bragged about so frequently on this board, which makes me at least partially understand where the "crazy horse girl" stereotype comes from.

                                I cannot imagine staying in a relationship where someone told me, "(My hobby/pastime/obsession) will always come first." I wouldn't expect my SO to stay with me, either. He comes first, along with my family, and the horses come after.
                                Originally posted by BAC
                                I don't think FF's post was rude (not this one at least).

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  This is why I make it very clear, to myself and to my partner, that my involvement with horses is not, and will not ever be, up for discussion. I think it becomes a problem when one partner sees the hobby of another as a threat to their relationship, regardless of what that hobby is.

                                  Perhaps some may see this as selfish. I don't think of "selfish" as always being a bad thing. I'm a pretty driven person, I like my independence, and I like having something that is mine, so that I may maintain a sense of self in a relationship. I expect, and want, that my partner will also have something that they really enjoy doing that doesn't have to involve me, and we can choose to enjoy each other's pursuits together.

                                  My current partner and I do both. I am very lucky to be with someone who genuinely likes horses, who grew up with horses, who loves animals in general, who enjoys being at the barn, and who supports me wholeheartedly in all my pursuits with horses. Dates have been interrupted, plans have changed, I've gotten "those calls" at the worst possible times. More than once, he has said, "Let's go, I'll help you however I can."

                                  That said, I have been in your exact situation, OP. With someone who is supportive, for the most part (or not very supportive but doesn't interfere) but makes it pretty clear that they don't like it all that much, and really belly-aches when sh*t happens. And with horses, sh*t happens often. I have realized that I could not be with someone who made my involvement with horses a "me or them" thing.

                                  Because it's not about one being more important. They are both equally important to me in different ways. Anyone who sees it as a threat to the relationship has, in my experience, insecurity issues that extend beyond the relationship itself. I don't like horse emergencies interrupting my daily life and plans any more than my partner does, but I sure as hell don't need him making me feel guilty about it on top of that.
                                  Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not. Remember that what you have now was once among the many things that you only hoped for.

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    Okay, maybe that came out wrong. If SO were to tell me that I had to choose between staying with him or keeping the horses, then I would choose the horses. The horse was here first & that wouldn't be a decision I should ever have to make (unless for certain reasons). That's what I meant when I say the horses come first. Obviously if he were in a hospital then I would put him first instead of the horses.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      What others have said is completely true, relationships are all about compromise. I have the horses, my husband has the lake and a boat. During the summer, we spend every weekend at the lake, horses droop away on their own in the heat (farmsitter feeds). When the lake is too cold, I get my horse time.
                                      But on the "my horses are number one" side of things. I wouldn't put my horse above my husband, if you want to be with your horses and not with him, then maybe you're not so into the relationship anyway. BUT if you're with someone needy who needs big gestures and displays of affection to feel like he's the most important thing in your life, what happens when you have kids? Because I've got two of those now, and guess where my husband ranks for attention? I'll give you a hint, it's not number one. Where do I rank for him? I HOPE it's not number one, I better be no higher than third, by a long shot. I say that though because we are very much a team and both approach relationships with the same way of thinking, it's all about working together, it's not you and me, it's "we".

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I agree with the observation that a large part of the problem is that he does not always plan ahead or keep you informed as he should. If you cannot move horse(s) to a full-care barn where you do not have to do anything about feed, then get rid of the S.O.; keep the horse. (Have you thought of looking into simplifying the feed regimen, or setting it all up on one day of the week?)
                                        Jeanie
                                        RIP Sasha, best dog ever, pictured shortly before she died, Death either by euthanasia or natural causes is only the end of the animal inhabiting its body; I believe the spirit lives on.

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