From Endurance to Dressage
I don't write about my husband very often. Occasionally I mention him, but it's more in terms of we instead of he. My husband is a pretty private guy. His Facebook feed consists mostly of "shares" and photos from the hikes he takes with the dogs. He doesn't do selfies or posts about how he feels. Today is his birthday though, and I want to make sure that for today at least, he knows how loved and cherished he is.
We met way back in 1990 when I was 19 years old and he was 21. We've been married almost 29 years. I don't think he quite knew what he was getting into when he said I do. I can be a force of nature, and not in a good way. Think tornado, heat wave, or never ending rain. Through it all, he weathers my storms, supporting me through all of the crazy. We've all seen those horse memes warning men about what being with a horse girl is like. My husband has seen all of my crazy, and no matter how weird (or expensive) it gets, he rolls his eyes and shrugs.
My husband is not a "horse husband." He doesn't come to shows. He doesn't schlepp buckets, haul hay, or hold my coat. He doesn't hold the reins, hook up the trailer, or check my ride time. While he has done all of those things at least once, they're not part of his daily life like they are mine. There is a lot that he does do though. He never says no. He hugs me when I cry. He includes my horses in his list of who makes up our family. The dogs are part of that list, too. If there is a horse thing to do or a horse in a pasture on the side of the road, we do it or he points it out. While not a rider, he's ridden horses in Belize, he's ridden a Clydesdale, we've done carriage rides in Italy and Canada, and he's taken me to numerous horse racing events including the Breeders' Cup (three times). He has even dropped me off and waited so that I could go riding in Scotland and Portugal.
I am not sure if my personality would do well with a "real" horse husband. I like my independence. I like feeling empowered. I can do it myself. The truth is that it's easy to feel so strong when I know that I have such a great man supporting me and waiting to step in when I can't do it. When my trailer has a flat tire. When I desperately need help at a show. When I can't go to the vet alone because of what I am going to hear. My husband is always there for me, supporting me emotionally, financially, or just giving me that metaphorical kick in the ass that I need to get the test ridden or the miles completed.
I rarely consider how hard it must be for him to see me drive off on my own. I would be worried sick if it were him hauling horses up and down the state alone. Camping in parking lots and pastures. Riding a half ton of unpredictability on mountainous trails and show grounds teeming with a bunch of other crazies. Even though he has rushed me to the emergency room more times than any husband should have to, he still wishes me luck and reminds me to have fun.
So today, in honor of my husband's birthday, I won't ask him to listen to yet another lesson debrief, I won't ask him to stop by the feed store, and I sure as heck won't ask him if we can swing by the barn on the way to anywhere. Instead, I'll wish him a very happy birthday, take him to dinner, and ply him with sweets. I'm taking him somewhere on Saturday to do something completely non-horsey, and I'll even let him listen to golf on the radio without feeling the need to listen yet again to what an abscess is or what my thoughts are on this summer's show schedule.
Happy birthday, Sean. I hope I give you even just a fraction of what you so generously give to me. Love you!
About the Writer and Rider
I am a lifelong rider.
I began endurance riding in 1996 where I ultimately completed five, one-day 100 mile races, the 200-mile Death Valley Encounter, and numerous other 50, 65, and 75 mile races. I began showing dressage in 2010.
Welcome to my dressage journey.
About Speedy G
Speedy went from endurance horse to dressage horse. After helping me earn a USDF Bronze medal in the summer of 2020, he is now semi-retired. Speedy is a 2004, 15'1 hand, purebred Arabian gelding. His Arabian Horse Registry name is G Ima Starr FA.
Izzy was started as a four-year old and then spent the next 18 months in pasture growing up. I bought him as a six-year old, and together, we are showing at the lower levels. He is a 2008, 16'3 hand warmblood gelding. His Rheinland Pfalz-saar International (RPSI) name is Imperioso.
National Rider Awards
State Rider Awards
State Horse Awards
CDS Sapphire Rider Award
Third Level: 63.514%
Third Level: 62.105%
2023 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
2023 Show Schedule
2023 Completed …
2023 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
Qualifying Training Level
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%: