The elusive husband horse

Long time lurker. stumped on a situation I thought y’all could help with. I’ll try to be brief.

My DH likes camping and I like horses. So we’d like to blend the two. Which leads to the purchase of a 2nd horse (which I’ve been itching at for for awhile). A second horse would allow for us to do family trail rides, an opportunity for the children or DH to join me on rides/shows, and give me a second horse to enjoy.

My preference for a second horse is an Eventer as I looove jumping and dressage. We’re talking low level stuff here. No ones going to WEF. I have wanted to try eventing for some time. My current horse (Belgian x) is not suitable for eventing or SJ. He makes a lovely dressage horse and 2’6” hunter for the local and schooling shows. I like running around local circuits and the occasional rated show. I’m completely content as he’s a lovely guy and I enjoy the progress. But for our family we’d like a second horse.

So in discussion with DH, he tells me he wishes to ride Western. Argh. I don’t ride western. Well, I did as a kid, but not well, and only cause I liked speed events (hence, my love for SJ) and reining. I don’t have western gear (yes it could be acquired).

I have nothing against western and I admire much of it. I just know very little of it. I know enough to be dangerous. Resident trainer at my barn could give him the basics, but our trainers teach hunter and dressage. Hauling out for WP lessons for DH isn’t an option - he wants neat and easy - and really doesn’t need more than the basics anyways.

So now I’m scratching my head wondering if a husband horse eventer (that neck reins) exists. Or if I bite the bullet and buy the dead broke trail horse (true trail horse that has BTDT and can carry a flag while being buzzed by mopeds with a shotgun firing nearby).

I feel like I MUST put him on something genuinely dead broke that will never shake his confidence so that I can nurture this interest. Yes, it’s somewhat selfish so that he’ll want to trail ride and do “all the things” horsy with me.

OTOH, I have no problem training my current horse and attending a half dozen shows without DH. Inviting him into this realm may complicate MY life.

I’m so conflicted as to what I’m shopping for - or if I’m really shopping for anything!

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Buy size and brain. Most horses can code switch between English and Western. If your husband is a beginner he isn’t going to be doing cutting or reining any time soon. If at all. So you dont need a talented catty Western horse.

However it may be hard to find a beginner safe horse that also has eventer talent. But some big QH and Paints can be asleep on their feet until they wake up, mine takes a fair bit of deliberate warmup until the go button works on any given ride.

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Can you borrow a western saddle and get him on your current horse? My DH loves the horses and goes to horse shows and all the things. But… I bought a saddle for him to ride my old retiree, it has been used exactly twice.

If he actually retains his interest in riding, is your current horse suitable for a beginner?

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Sounds like you own the hubby horse, and need to buy the eventer for yourself. :slight_smile:

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And, if your guy can bee-bop around the local 2’6" and does some dressage, he’s a BN horse (if he’s ok XC) already. I don’t know what your eventing goals are, but there’s no reason you shouldn’t get started with the mount that you have. :smiling_imp:

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This is how I read it too.

Slap a western saddle on your horse and let the hubby take it for a spin.

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I had never considered sticking my husband on my horse in a western saddle.

He (the horse) doesn’t neck rein. I’m not sure if it would be easier to teach the horse to neck rein or teach the DH to steer two handed in a snaffle.

He can have a bit of a startle which makes me nervous to throw DH on him - it’s nothing that would unseat anyone who has an independent seat.

I did have a friend ask me if I’d want to sell him - for HER husband. :joy:. Maybe he is the husband horse.

I had thought I needed something more agile for even BN -but as I’ve read some of the threads here on eventing - maybe could do that without much trouble. Worth a shot. Then I could have TWO horses to show and still do all the things!! :smiling_imp:

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LOL, well I purchased a horse for a similar purpose - for the other half to ride. My other half wasn’t a rank beginner; but, not an active rider either. He actually had ridden earlier in his life but just a little bit of pleasure riding when his kids got into horses. Western/trail was and is his thing; but, all very low key. I went looking with size, brain and temperament in mind. I ended up bringing home a mustang (appears to have a lot of draft blood in him) who had only been backed. He was also a stallion and 350 lbs underweight. A recipe for disaster right? I continued his training, put the weight back on him, then gelded him. He is the best darn trail horse and is in love with my other half. I was drawn to him due to his demeanor and level headed nature. He has survived to the age of 5 out on the reservation with his band of mares and offspring - very sensible. He also has the best darn gaits, is very baroque and I figured he’d make a good back up dressage horse if anything happened/happens to either of my other two who I compete. Well dressage is definitely not his idea of a good time; but, I can put anyone on him and not worry. He is the SO’s regular steady eddie, the visiting relative or friend mount and so easy to be around…I don’t think such horses are all that elusive but you do have to have an open mind. As others have pointed out the best solution may be plopping a western saddle on your current guy and going out to find ‘his’ replacement for you. My mustang goes back and forth between a dressage saddle and a western saddle easily (I still work him in a dressage saddle to tune up his basics in between the miles and miles of trail riding he does weekly).

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Oh my goodness!! What a gamble you (seemingly) took on that bet!! I doubt I could pick one out that well!

If your horse is appropriate slap a western saddle on and let your husband take lessons with the Dressage instructor. Never had a problem taking all sorts of off breed/gaited/western tack/wenglish tack for dressage lessons.

I will warn you the mistake I see with most of my horsey friends is that they bore the pants off their husbands by making them take lessons until all the joy of riding is sucked out.

I got my husband his first horse as a lovely OTSTB that you could put anyone on. We did no lessons and let his horse follow me on the trails. After a year of him really enjoying riding we did Dressage lessons. Which he hated but did improve his riding. We always did two trail rides to every one Dressage Lesson to keep the joy in riding.

20 years later my husband loves to ride as much as I do and we just got back from a two week vacation riding around Michigan State Parks.

If you want this to work get the right horse for him even if it is a gaited hony.

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It sounds like you need to honestly decide whether you are wanting a second horse for YOU, and trying to justify that by saying it’s for your DH, or if you (and he) really want a horse for him and the kids. There ARE horses that can do both, but they are rare and not cheap at all :rofl: So I think it would help to decide whose wants get priority.

Your draft x is certainly capable of trying eventing. If you don’t already have an eventing trainer, I would find one and see what they think he’s capable of. BN XC pace isn’t more than a forward canter.

And then I would look for a dead broke, bomb proof trail horse that suits your husband and that you don’t mind riding - because you likely will be the one doing the day to day exercise, but if he doesn’t like the horse he’s probably not going to want to ride it much.

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As someone whose husband of 20 years who never really showed an interest in riding but has recently started fox hunting with me, I am here to say…this is a factor you should consider. I do not regret him getting into horses or the sport, but it has absolutely complicated things.

A Brief List of Complications I Did Not Consider

  • There is another person and all his STUFF in my truck and–maybe more importantly–in my trailer tack room. This person does not share my mental map of how things should be arranged.
  • Said person, who is a fairly competent rider and has an amazing hubby horse, is still a beginner and I now need to make time to make sure his tack is on correctly/safely before mounting up myself (without offending his manhood, of course)
  • Said person, though an animal lover and very kind, does not fully grasp the fact that horses are not cars and why it might be unwise to try to take his draft cross in first field when is is only in shape for 3rd

Point being…there is now another human and another horse for me to keep track of and be responsible for when for the past 45 years, it has just been me and my horse. It takes more resources mentally, emotionally, and physically. None of this is BAD, mind…it’s just stuff that didn’t occur to me when he said he wanted to do this with me. :slight_smile:

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I think you are really looking for a second horse for you and trying to sell the idea as it being a husbands/ kids horse .

If you really want a safe horse for your husband and kids to enjoy, then you need to look for a horse with the training, experience and temperament they need to ride and have fun when you camp or trail ride.

It really doesn’t sound like your husband has desires to show WP or anything at all. Just to ride very, very occasionally?

There is no reason why a horse like this can’t dabble in eventing for you as well. Plenty of nice horses going western can do english as well.

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Agree with folks saying it sounds like you already have a decent husband horse, which is also a horse that could probably manage BN eventing. It sounds like you want something more athletic for yourself, though? I’d either hand your current horse over to DH and buy yourself something spicier/scopier for yourself, or try out eventing with your draft x and buy the husband a mega-bombproof QH type.

Good riding is good riding regardless of the saddle, so why not start by getting your husband a couple casual lessons in a Western saddle on your current horse, with the trainer at your barn you think he’d click with most? Embrace the Wenglish! There’s no need to teach the horse to neck rein or any Western cues unless you think it’d be fun… teeny kids can steer two-handed, your husband will be fine.

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This is exactly what I did when we were looking for a horse for Mr Squirrel. I realized after looking for a while and not finding one that checked all the boxes that I had the perfect horse for him sitting out in the barn. That required me to go out and buy another horse for myself, darn it.

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@ecileh good points. Excellent points. I have considered the implications of the encroachment into my space.

Thanks all for the vote of confidence that we can probably do BN reasonably with some work on the XC.

And yes, to the others who say I’m really shopping for a 2nd horse for myself, yeah, I pretty much am. Lol. I’ll be the one doing all the care/exercise. I know that going in. And if DH rides more than a dozen times a year I’d be surprised. But it does put us in a position where we can do trail rides together. So, while yes, it’s a second horse for me too, but it has to be something I can confidently throw him or my kids on. Like I think I mentioned, my guy can have some spook that might unseat the rank beginner. It’s rare and it’s honest and it’s predictable, but it’s there.

I will take note not to squash his interest by making him drill dressage lesson after lesson on my horse. Lol.

I think I’ll keep browsing the sale ads and see if I can’t borrow a western saddle and see what happens with a lesson.

My OTTB neck reins and has evented through Training. She was born and bred In Minnesota and ridden Western by her breeder as a young horse. So it’s possible to find an eventer that neck reins. Lol.

I’m guessing your husband wants to ride Western because of the security of the saddle, not because he has a strong preference for neck reining. As others have said, I think trying a few lessons with one of your trainers on your horse in a western saddle would be a good start to see what he really wants to do.

You’re exactly correct. He thinks western saddles are more secure. He can’t fathom how I “hang on” in my hunt saddle. He kinda approves of my dressage saddle as it has a deeper seat and knee rolls.

He is also riveted by Clint Eastwood movies and the Paramount show, Yellowstone, so I think that has some influence.

Dead broke neck reining eventer. It sounds ridiculous to even say out loud.

ETA - can you imagine the ISO ad? It would be one of the ones that get posted to a COTH thread about ridiculous ads. :joy:

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Thank you for this. Your post has been rattling around in my brain. Expectation management.

DH has been to a couple shows and desires to help, but i find the offered help can actually slow things down. But I’m sooo delighted he wants to engage in my nutso hobby at all, I’ll slow my roll an explain the difference between my dressage and hunt bridle, and why I want the ShowSheen and not the Lazer Sheen.

He’s a good egg.

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LOL, when I bought my mustang I was hoping my better half would ride maybe once a month. you know he loves this horse so much and we don’t make it too technical (ie, bore him to death) that my SO and I ride at least two if not 3 times a week on the trail. It was AFTER I bought the mustang that I bought a western saddle for myself. I competed in western disciplines as a kid right along with my pony club and hunter jumper pursuits. It was my SO who goaded me into buying a western saddle [again] and I’m so happy I did. It is my go to for backing younguns’ now and I like to trail ride in it every so often. Plus I have ‘breeds’ that are known to be a difficult saddle fit while they grow and mature. My western saddle has been a godsend when one has been in those in between stages while I wait for ‘the newly fitted saddle’ gets done. If you already have the answer in the barn, it means you’ll have a back up and a new focus (star) if you buy a second horse that really ticks off all of your boxes. BTDT and there’s no losers.

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