There’s no way my now husband, Alex, knew what he was getting into when we first started dating.
I had this moment of realization recently, while sitting atop my horse dressed in our traditional hunter getup, and staring at my husband fumbling with a chair, a water bucket and a bag of carrots ringside at the horse show. I giggled to myself and thought about how far he’d come – well, how far we’d come together as a couple – over the years.
Luckily for me, Alex has always been an animal lover. It’s part of what drew me to him when we first started dating. He was so gentle to the horses, despite knowing so little about them, and was always willing to help out.
When my mare died a week before our wedding, he was there with me every late night at the equine hospital and every early morning. We mourned her together.
When I bought a giant, gangly off-track-Thoroughbred, he looked at me said: “OK, let’s do it.”
Fast forward through the green years where I logged all the miles myself with Alex at my side for moral and trailer loading support, and now we’re competing regularly with a trainer.
Despite my newfound horse show family with this new farm, Alex still shows up. Not just to film my rides, but to fill water buckets and dump grain before the sun rises in the morning. He slips on his duck boots and jacket to hoof it through the mud and the rain. He helps me hook up the trailer and pack away all our tack.
He holds the reins while I hurry off to the bathroom a few minutes before my big flat class, and never complains when my gelding slimes all over his shirt and pants.
Alex is not horsey. There’s a lot about care management and the sport he doesn’t know. But he still whispers into the camera, “nice ride” and “good boy” in all our videos.
My husband has his own hobbies, which require much less from me as the supportive wife than the horse show. But he doesn’t complain. He never balks at the bill. He just gives my horse a pat on the nose to thank him for taking care of me, and squeezes my leg in my tall boot before we enter the ring.
I’m thankful for my forever horse show husband.