With springtime finally coming to New England, the discussion is now on show season. In a fortunate-unfortunate scenario, both my husband and I enjoy showing. The problem? Sharing a horse. We began negotiations about how to work show season out and eventually came to a compromise.
The key to the answer was simply the fact that I am currently riding Jack while my husband is not yet. However, since Jack hasn’t been off property yet or to a larger show, he will be entered into a lot of in-hand classes. While I can be anxious on show days, my husband is cool as a cucumber. Therefore, he will take Jack into the in-hand classes while I will ride him in Green Horse Walk/Trot once he’s ready for it.
Now most horse couples aren’t like us in this sense. Husbands typically aren’t your showing type. The trick to having a husband during show season is to not just make your husband your servant. Yes, he can be a good groom or hold your horse, but he also needs to feel appreciated. Make sure to pack snacks and sunscreen and give him breaks too. Let him decide what he wants to be responsible for. Don’t order him around.
I know shows can be stressful, but remember at the end of the day no matter the color of your ribbon, your husband is going home with you. Sometimes it’s good to put your marriage before your showing.
My husband and I are very unique in our work schedules. He works early days while I work what I call 1.5 shift (not quite second shift, but just about.) I also work Sunday-Thursday while he works your typical Monday-Friday shift. Although some people would balk at these schedules, there are definitely some pros and cons – especially being a horse family.
The big con of course is the fact that we really have to cherish our time together. We see each other for a sliver of time when I come home before we go to bed and then from Friday evening when he’s out of work to Sunday afternoon when I go in.
However there are pros when it comes to horse time. During the weekdays, I will visit the barn in the mornings and see our gelding, Captain Jack. It’s my own special time with a good deal of piece and quiet at the barn since lessons are usually later and most people are at work.
My husband tends to go in the evenings after work if he can or Sundays while I’m at work. It’s his time to spend with Jack and also have some time to himself. We both use our free time to get chores done around the house and run errands.
On weekends, we tend to visit the barn together at least once a weekend. We take Jack out together, exercise him, groom him and just enjoy him. It’s nice to have the occasional “us” time with him.
It’s taken us a good bit of time to work this out. Our differing work schedules have taken a lot of adjustment, a lot of compromise and a lot of trial and error. Now that it is figured out though, it works out very smoothly. It’s not ideal in any way, but for us, it works.
The other day I was scrolling through my Facebook feed when I saw a post from one of my horse friends. It detailed examples of how a guy could be a “horse husband.” It pretty much said a man must wait on his wife hand and foot at shows, at home, holding your horse, constantly feeding you, being supportive, etc. The thing is, this post kind of made me angry.
A relationship — whether between your horse and you or your husband and you — is a two-way street. It’s not a black and white, I am your queen and you listen to my every orders. I don’t think that would really work on my husband or my gelding quite frankly. But the post made me think. How many wives struggle balancing their life as a wife and an equestrian?
It can be difficult to figure out if it’s more important to go to the barn to work your horse or stay at home and do the chores. It’s a constant push and pull game as you work to balance work, home life and barn life.
Now I know I don’t have kids (not human children anyway) and that brings in a whole new equation. However this blog is going to be my attempt at helping women like me to figure out the best way to do well in the show ring and in your home.
And the journey begins now.