It is that time of year again. The mistletoe is hung, the smell of pine wafts through the halls, the world is covered in a blanket of white…at least my world is. It is also the time of year that our hearts and minds start wishing for the things we’d like to see under the tree. If you are like me then your idea of window shopping is perusing horse sale ads. When you write your mental letter to Santa, surely it includes a horse or two. If you are like me and married (or have a committed significant other) you might even start dreaming that he might just get you that stunning Appaloosa stallion that you have been dreaming of for months, who just happens to be for sale (that’s a hint to anyone out there feeling particularly generous this holiday season….I can get you contact info for the seller and my address for shipping if you’re so inclined…PS…I’ll love you forever), and make him a Christmas morning surprise complete with a big red bow. Yes, I foolishly lay awake at night playing out that scene in my mind. Usually, about the time I wrap my arms around the neck of my new stallion my husband snores and snaps me back to reality.
He is never buying me a horse as a surprise! Not going to happen, not now, not ever. While he doesn’t “hate” horses per se, he sees absolutely no value to them other than being very efficient wasters of money. Well, there is one value, his daughter is far more horse crazy than boy crazy so as long as they keep the boys away, she is always welcome to have a horse or three.
Knowing that my husband is so opposed to having and keeping horses, one may ask, how did you manage to get the ones you have?
That very question got me thinking. How did I manage to talk him into our current equine situation? Here is a handy survival guide for all you horse girls out there who can’t quite convince your significant other to climb on board your horse crazy train.
“They are too expensive” this was the first thing my husband said to me when I was looking at getting my first horse since I said goodbye to my mare all those years ago at the age of 13. I was armed for this question. I had found a well broke, yet inexpensive mare, so I came to this fight ready for a rebuttal. “I’ve been watching horse prices for some time now. You see, a horse with as much training as she has clearly had, the easy going temperament and soundness that this mare has would well exceed 4 to 5 times the asking cost of this one. Sure, I could find a cheaper or possibly free one that isn’t broke but then I could spend thousands upon thousands in training. The board is only $250 a month and that is easily manageable on my income alone.” This is where you stop. Do not for any reason what so ever mention, farrier, vet, supplements, tack, trailer, show fees….nothing! These items are best slipped in at individual times and never brought up with the discussion of costs associated with a horse.
Let’s say that your dream horse pops up on a Craigslist ad and your heart is jumping for joy and you have to find a way to get him. Do not under any circumstances tell your husband that you’d like to buy said dream horse. Talk instead, of emotional things, love and spiritual connection….your man is likely to start putting up his armor to anything feelings related and next thing you know you’ll be in the car headed to the top of a mountain to “look” at Mr Dream Horse.
While “looking” at said horse, be sure to look around. Check the horse from top to bottom. Look for anything that isn’t quite right. I got lucky, Mr Dream Horse (or as I call him now, Cash) happened to have been a bit neglected in the farrier department. Instead of talking about practical man type things, money, cost, bills…you know “man things” I spoke of heart things. The poor guy needed to be “rescued”. He needed “love” and proper care and a person. He “needed” me!! Just for good measure you can add a, “we’ll fix his feet and if he isn’t a good fit we can sell him, there is literally no risk!” Once again, his armor made of quickly disappearing money faded away as we welcomed Cash to our herd.
There might come a time when you see a horse, not just any horse, but one that stops you in your tracks and takes your breath away a little. You already have a horse at home, remember Mr Dream Horse? Yes, you’ve already used that one. Non-horse husbands might be easy to fool with feelings, but you cannot use the same one twice or they will catch on. So, you’ve met Mr Dream Horse part 2. Well, there is another tactic, it doesn’t work on all non-horse husbands, but if yours is like mine it is worth a shot.
He needs a horse of his own! Who better to fill this void that he didn’t even know was missing from his life than Mr Dream Horse the 2nd? You do have to be careful with this one, you’ll want to show him how his having a horse will only improve your relationship by offering the two of you an incredible activity that you can enjoy for many years to come. This one is tricky though, what ever you do, do not make is sound like he will be expected to commit to hours upon hours in the saddle thus solidifying your relationship…he is liable to run for this hills if he thinks that the new horse is anything close to relationship repair or strengthening. Your relationship is just fine how it is and he will be even more opposed to having a horse if he thinks it comes with relationship expectations. Instead, talk about things he enjoys and how him having a horse will only increase his enjoyment. I was able to swing my husband to my side with one little phrase, “you can hunt on horseback!” Never mind that this horse, Mr Dream Horse the 2nd, was not broke and never mind that my hubby didn’t know how to ride, all those things come out in time.
So, now you’d like to breed something? You could alway try a free breed lease from a friend. Men always love the word “free” and “lease” doesn’t mean own, so it is definitely worth a shot. Just don’t take the mare in the fall with the intention of breeding her in the spring. By spring he is tired of feeding her and might send her home. Take it from me, when it comes to horses we have to think things through before committing, if there is any possibility of an out, the skittish non-horse husband will run through that gate and never look back.
If you, like me, have a teenage daughter who owns a beautiful mare, you could put a little bug in her ear about how fun it would be to have a little one running around. This one is tricky though. As flighty and unpredictable as non-horse husbands are, teenage daughters often take a lead mare attitude and just when you think you have a perfect plan to get a spotted baby from her beautiful quarter horse mare, she hits you with, I WANT A HALF ARAB! Wait…what? But, but, but……. The flaw in my otherwise flawless plan, she owns that mare. Bought her with her own money. I have zero pull when it comes to getting my own agenda with this one.
Just when I thought I had written the book on how to manipulate your non horse husband, I realized that I am but an amateur and will never be the master. You see, the master is the only teenage daughter of a big, crusty exterior, giant hearted dad. While he often goes along with my hair brained ideas especially when it comes to horses, he can see right though my feeble attempts at manipulation. His daughter on the other hand…she need only flash those big green eyes, tilt her head ever so much to the side and say, “daddy please?” Next thing you know that quarter horse is at the breeder being “introduced” to her baby daddy, an Arabian. I bow down to the queen!
For some time now I have been eyeing that spotted stallion, clear on the other side of the country! I can’t even get my daughter on board to help me work on her dad! She “doesn’t like Appaloosas”.
So, this Christmas season, I will be content with my little herd. I will still dream of that spotted stallion and hope that Santa delivers him in time for Christmas, since clearly my husband won’t be doing it.
Just remember that there will be times that your non-horse husband puts his foot down. Don’t get mad, after all, he knew all along that he was being manipulated and played along because he is a good sport. Taking a stand against your crazy horse dreams might actually save you from becoming the horse equivalent of a crazy cat lady!
Merry Christmas and (H)Appy New Year, I hope Santa puts that pony under the tree for you! Clearly I am on the naughty list and won’t be getting anything this year!