My Horse Husband
By April Ray-Peterson
Many people around the world observed Valentine's Day in February, the celebration of love and affection. While I don’t particularly care for the day because I think that every day should be a celebration of love, I did want to take a moment to celebrate and thank my “horse husband.”
When I was presented with the opportunity to purchase Fire, my absolute dream horse, the timing was terrible. Our wedding was looming in the next month or so, and we were not at all in the financial position to purchase and maintain a horse. But I wasn’t riding. And I felt a little dead inside. I collected the courage to talk to Donald, and when I finished clumsily explaining how special this filly was and that I wanted to buy her, I expected him to say no. His response was: “Yes. You need a horse.” If there had ever been any doubt in my mind about whether I was marrying the right person, that response made any reservations disappear. He understands how important horses are to me and how special this filly is. And while the logistics of the purchase were challenging, I had his support, and where there’s a will, there’s a way.
When I traveled to meet Fire and do the pre-purchase exam, Donald was there with me in spirit. When I sent him photos of her, it was clear to him that a connection had been made and I had found my horse. He helped me to juggle finances to purchase the horse, and never once made me feel bad for digging a horse-sized hole in my bank account. Fast forward to when it was time to finally bring her home. He patiently waited with me in the driveway while I was vibrating with excitement like a kid on Christmas Eve. He took pictures to remember this momentous occasion and has been a supportive pillar throughout the whole process of getting her settled into her new home with us. He didn’t even get upset when I refused to come to the house and instead stayed in the barn for most of the rest of the weekend, staring at my new horse in disbelief that she was finally home and actually mine.
Fast forward… it’s been almost two years since we brought Fire home. We are incredibly lucky in that we live at the farm and therefore even if I spend all my spare time with my horse, in theory I am also kind of spending time at home. I could list all of the things I am grateful for when it comes to my horse husband, but it would be ridiculously long, so I will just highlight a few... The countless times I have had to call him when having troubles with my very opinionated mare and he’s come to my rescue with a lunge line, an encouraging word, or has horse-whispered Fire into the barn when my methods weren’t working. Or the fact that I bought a trailer that can only be towed with his vehicle and when I put a small hole in that vehicle my first time out he didn’t make me feel bad (I did enough of that on my own for the both of us.) Or that he helps me put the horses to bed every night with the care and attention of a dedicated horse person, loving all 18-20 horses in the barn as if they were his own and embracing the lifestyle that many just wouldn’t understand.
Donald’s Jeep and April’s trailer before April put a hole in the front fender of the Jeep.
Loving a horse person isn’t easy. So, here’s to all those barn boyfriends, horse husbands, and pony partners alike who love and support us no matter how much time, money, and effort we spend on our horses. And a gentle reminder to all horse people, (myself included) to make a little time for the two-legged people in our lives once in a while, too.
Photos by April Ray-Peterson.