A Note about Sugarbush Draft Horses

I see it over and over again, and no matter how many times it's said, it's still wrong. "Sugarbush Drafts are just an Appaloosa Draft Cross". Uh.... no. The Sugarbush Draft Horse was a breed created many years ago in Ohio. While the initial cross was made using Percherons to Appaloosas, in the many generations following, the breed has been solidified into a consistent type. Saying these horses are "just" a draft cross makes as much sense as saying that AQHA horses are "just" a Thoroughbred cross, American Cream Drafts are "just" a dilute Belgian, or that Morgans are "just" a grade.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Horse Husbands

As many of you know, I'm not truly married.  I'm in that might as well be married stage.  Unfortunately, my better half is Canadian, and that means no marriage with out approval from the government, and a lot of hoops to jump through.  We're in the process of jumping though.

But I've been married before.  My ex-husband was a horse person.  In fact, he grew up raising Arabians.  When I started with horses he knew more then me, and taught me the basics.  Since that time I've relearned a lot, and I think I now have a kindler gentler way with horses. 

So that's 2 men in my life that have been involved with horses.  In the past, my boyfriends had little to no interest in my pony addiction, and they just couldn't understand it.  I simply assumed that was just how things were.  Men and horses didn't mix - at least not the type of men I dated.  Since cowboys did nothing for me, my past boyfriends preferred motorcycles and sports cars to horse power.

So, now I look at the women around me.  They mostly have husbands or boyfriends in their lives, and their men's view of horses varies all over the scale.  From indifferent to horsey lovers, it's pretty interesting to see how a man copes with his woman having this obsession with large farm animals.  But then that makes me wonder about the term "horse husband".

For me, a horse husband has always been the type of husband who puts up with the horse habit.  He's not really into it, but every blue moon he will do something horsey to get brownie points from his wife.  My father is this type of man.  He knows that he's lost his wife and daughter to the horse bug, so he makes the best of it.  He pets horses.  He even owns his own horse, and knows how to drive a carriage, but by choice he only rides once or twice a year.

Jae on the other hand, could technically be a horse husband, but he's a very different type.  He LOVES his horses.  Ironically, the horses love him too, and just swoon over him.  He knows how to handle a horse expertly from the ground, and is my "go to" person for assistance with training.  He can hand breed an unruly stallion, break up a horse fight, and diagnose lameness in the proper foot with a mere glance.  But he rarely rides.

Now, I truly think that most of the reason Jae doesn't ride is part lack of time, and part lack of experience.  He doesn't want to learn to ride, and make mistakes, in front of everyone.  His ego is pretty solid, but the bruises still hurt.  The lack of time, and myriad of jobs that are well over due, means that he doesn't often get the time to learn when no one else is around.

(So I have this devious little plan.  Midnight needs to be conditioned.  Jae needs to learn to ride.  I think he is going to do most of the walk/trot conditioning on her once she's up to saddle weight.  He weighs almost nothing, so won't strain her, and she's big enough to take up his leg, and make him feel like he has something to SIT on.  We'll see how that works out though.)

But, my point is, that the whole idea of horsey husbands is all over the place.  It's a term that is used all the time, but no one really quite has the same idea of what it means.

I think it's pretty much granted, that if your man is as good, or better of a rider then his wife, he's not JUST a "horse husband" but rather he's a horseman himself.  We can all agree on that, right?

But there are men who think that the horse addiction is just plain silly.  These are the "I don't get horses" men.  They don't get it at all, and they don't really like how much of the family budget goes into these things.  They allow it, because they have no choice - and often because the horse addicted wife points out HIS expensive hobbies - but they would be perfectly happy if his wife gave up horses for knitting.  Is that a horse husband?  He suffers through the horse thing, but he puts himself as far from it as possible.  This is NOT the type of man you will see sitting quietly at the barn waiting.  Oh no, he's the type of man that is at home watching TV, or playing video games while his wife gets her fix.

Then a step up from that is the tolerant husband.  He has no interest in horses, but he's a good supportive man.  His wife comes to his hobbies, so he goes to hers.  He sits in the stands while she rides, and makes the right faces and noises, but he couldn't tell you the difference between chestnut and bay.  He doesn't have a clue where the "mane" is on a horse, but he's there to smile at his darling wife while she has a good time.

From there you get the "Maybe this is fun" type of husband.  He's the weekend warrior.  He doesn't want to LEARN to ride, but rather expects that the horse he sits on will do all the work.  He kinda likes riding, but in the same way that he likes go carting.  It's amusing, but not something to take serious.

And we can't forget the most common type, the "I could be one ya know" husband.  This is the man that takes an interest in horses, and is always ready to step into the saddle.  He never got the horse bug on his own, but once his wife introduced him to horses, he found that he likes them a lot.  He will probably never take lessons, and there's no way he will show, but every time she goes to the barn, he will gladly putz around on his trusty mount.  These are the kind of men who have their own horse, and actually ride it, but who would never even think of spending serious money on a super comfy saddle, or specialty riding apparel.  They like horses a lot, but they aren't serious about their riding.  In their defense, these types usually are very serious about making their wives happy.

And of course you have the last 2 stages of horse husband.  The "I'm learning" man, and the "I'm damned good at it" types.  The only difference between these 2 types of horse husbands in my mind, is how much time they have been able to put into the passion.  No matter how they learned about it, they took to horses like a duck to water, and are a true partner in the sport.  I think of Jae as the "I'm learning" type.  My ex husband was the "I'm darned good at it" type. 

So are all of these horse husbands?  When you read a sales ad that states "perfect horse husband type of horse" what type of husband are they referring to?

And since I've never had to live with a less then enthusiastic man around my horses, I often wonder what it's like.  Do wives of these men have to juggle their time between their passion and their spouse?  To be fair in a relationship, do they have to give up something so their husband can have his hobby?  How do you schedule the time to ride and do horsey things if your husband isn't rabidly fascinated with horses?  It has to be hard to juggle!

I'm so glad my man has as much of an addiction - even if he doesn't ride - as I do, and he can spend hours in the barn with out me around.  I just can't imagine it any other way.


  1. Let's see, my past relationships were a lot of "this might be fun" types. Most thought it was pretty cool that we had horses. I dated mostly "city boys" who never had the opportunity to be around horses. I definitely couldn't be with someone who didn't understand the love.

    My hubby, Chris (the guy with the cheeky grin on Poko) started at the "this might be fun" to the "I could be one" to the "I'm learning" stage.. He's thought that horses were cool from the get go, but I honestly don't know if he would've sought them out on his own, if I hadn't drug him out to our first Pony Party last November. God! It's almost been a year??

    My dad has always been supportive of me and my mom's addiction. I know he's ridden once or twice, but never really got into it I think mostly because of the physical awkwardness for him.. we never really had a horse his size.. (he's 6'5) his feet always hung to their knees. He's never felt comfortable up there. He loves the horses, offers a hand when it's needed.. helps feed, etc.. but it's always been "our" thing with me and mom.

  2. Laughing Orca RanchOctober 7, 2011 at 3:29 PM

    You are very lucky to have had "advanced" Horsie Husbands in your life. After reading your descriptions, I feel lucky to at least have a "I could be one ya know" husband. He would do anything to make sure I am able to do the things I love to do, and he does love horses. I think even if I died he would keep my horse around. He wants to ride but is perfectly happy just spending time taking care of my horse. And even when I have been seriously injured and even hospitalized due to horse related injuries, and he has to take care of me for many weeks and even months, and even though we'd have a lot more money if we didn't have a horse, and even when I have considered getting out of horses and never riding again, he has encouraged me to not give up. I am grateful for him.