Thursday, July 31, 2008

A Romantic Ride

Hi Everyone,

I’ve always been a romantic when it comes to horses. As a child I daydreamed about a fictional horse barn near us where the perfect horse would be available for me to ride any time (perfectly free, of course). I never let dreaming get in the way of doing, however. I would muck stalls, feed, teach beginner lessons, anything to earn free rides or just be around the horses in addition to the two lessons a week I was fortunate enough my parents could provide me.

I stopped riding when I turned sixteen and started working to save for college. As an adult I started riding again while in graduate school at Yale. The Equestrian Center was near the playing fields where my then boyfriend, now husband, played football or softball depending on the season. We would go over together when he had a game scheduled and I would ride the edges of the field, always on the lookout for errant balls heading my way.

Eric, my husband, is certainly an animal lover, but nevertheless had absolutely no desire to be on the back of a horse. He would come into the barn to get me and give an absent pat to whatever nose presented itself over the top of a stall door, but that was as close as he got. The only exception I can recall is when a polo pony’s door wasn’t firmly closed and it barreled out. Eric had just come in from playing football and reflexively tackled the pony, who stopped cold and backed right into his stall with Eric’s shoulder against his chest. Handy timing on that one for everyone except the pony.

Still, he wasn’t proof against my plea for a romantic ride on our honeymoon. He agreed, with the firm stipulation that this would be the first and last ride of his life. We honeymooned on Cape Cod and the barn we stopped at found the largest horse they could for Eric, who is six foot two. The found a lovely, gentle giant named King, and Eric dubiously climbed on board. I nearly bit the tongue in two not laughing, but I figured since he was going the extra mile for me to have my romantic fantasy the least I could do was be cooperative.

After a quick lesson on turning left and right, kick to go and pull back to stop (you’d think after years with me he’d know all this but selective hearing at it’s finest had obviously been in play). We had a nice slow walk through the woods with a guide and I loved every minute of it until I turned and saw Eric was no longer behind me. My heart dropped to my stomach and I called out to him. With a huge sigh of relief I heard him call back “We’re fine. We’re on autopilot back here.”

Come to find out King had dropped his head for a few quick bites of grass and Eric was just sitting in the saddle while King had his fill. When we suggested he pull King’s head up, Eric told us “He’s hungry. We’ll be along after he’s had his snack.”

I may not have married a rider, but I sure married a horse lover. When I rode competitively he ran my ribbons around the top of the walls of our den. He would tell people it was the most expensive art in the house (well, actually it was), but he was very proud of ‘his horses’ wins’. We’ve been together over twenty years and he still has a picture of both my horses in his office.

Here’s to all the wonderful supportive horse people’s families!




Laura Crum said...

I really enjoyed this fun post, Mary--thanks. Its nice to read something light-hearted once in awhile!

Jan Scarbrough said...

I leave my husband at home when I go to horse shows, but when we first married eight years ago, he let me have Harry. Sadly, my beautiful Saddlebred is no longer with us. My husband, however, remains supportive of all my horse-loving activities.

Leslie said...

I have a husband who is great with my horse passion. Though he's not as comfortable around my horses as I'd like, I will say, he's come a long way! He can still be a bit intimidated and he's even a big guy himself! Enjoyed your post and may you both continue a romantic ride through life..............