Exciting news

Safety first, when it comes to fiberglass shower demolition.

Johnny and I have decided that after many years of dating and living together, we are going to get married. While I’m excited about the impending legal benefits and health insurance coverage, I am probably most excited about the actual wedding festivities. Why? We’re having a Kentucky Derby party/wedding!

Lest you think I am forcing my poor, un-horsey significant other into a frenzied, horse-themed affair, it was totally his idea.
As all of our real life friends can attest, we aren’t particularly romantic people. We love each other, sure, but you’re not likely to hear of grand romantic gestures or even see us holding hands. We are relatively level-headed, pragmatic people; the thought of an elaborate wedding is terrifying anathema to us. However, we wanted as many of our friends and family as possible to come celebrate with us. Johnny said, “Why don’t we just have a Derby party wedding?”
And so a Derby party wedding it is. We’ve tentatively planned on having a short, secular ceremony at a friend’s barn, followed by a reception filled with mint juleps, Southern food, and of course, a broadcast of the race. Moe and Gina will be there, of course, decked out in roses and their best leather halters. (Because what’s the Derby if there aren’t some Thoroughbreds?)
Best part: instead of an engagement ring, I get to pick out a dressage saddle. Perfect.

A Tribute to the Unhorsey Significant Other

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, I’d like to give a shout-out to my distinctly unhorsey boyfriend, Johnny.

Those are dogs embroidered on the pants.

Despite his city upbringing, he’s been a valiant supporter of my equestrian pursuits since we met nearly five years ago.

When I lived in Kansas, he came with me to watch polo practice. (He spent the time playing with the coach’s dog.) He listened to me talk, at length, about horses, tack, and various equestrian sports and asked intelligent questions.

He was supportive of my career in therapeutic riding, despite its low salary, long hours, and lingering barn smell that followed me home every night.

When I thought I wouldn’t be able to buy Gina, he found a way to make it work. When I wanted to move Moe to Oklahoma, he helped me sort out the particulars.

Johnny gamely went on a trail ride on our annual summer vacation. (He nearly fell off.) He happily accompanies me to the barn and has learned to feed the horses treats, groom them, and lead them. He’ll watch me ride, hold the horse while I do something else, cheer for me at a show (despite having no idea how scoring works). He watches Rolex, endures the annual Kentucky Derby party, and listens to my commentary on the Olympic equestrian events.

While Johnny may never be horsey in the way I am, I know he appreciates them as funny, beautiful animals. He understands how important they are to me, and never complains about their costs, the time I spend at the barn, or the bridles hanging from the back of kitchen chairs.

Happy Valentine’s Day to Johnny, and to all the other unhorsey significant others out there! We love you almost as much as we love the horse.

30 Day Blogging Challenge: Day 5- Your Show Team

Day 5- Your Show Team

My show team here in Oklahoma is composed of good friends and a decidedly unhorsey boyfriend.

There’s Anne, my amazing trainer (who’s also my friend). She helps me stay cool and calm, helps me warm up, and lets me know when it’s time to beat the pony.

Anne and the famous Atut.

Arguably the most important member of the team is my pal Levi (of hunter pace fame). Levi is my go-to guy when my horses and I need a ride somewhere. While I have a three-horse trailer, I don’t have a truck to pull it. So Levi graciously chauffeurs us around, whether it’s to the lake for a trail ride or halfway across the country.

Levi (right) and me (left) training for the hunter pace last spring.

The third and final member of the Hand Gallop show team? Johnny, my boyfriend of nearly four years. Johnny is not a horse person. Before meeting me, he hadn’t been on or around a horse since he fell off one at Boy Scout camp at age eight. These days, Johnny is comfortable enough around horses to groom them, lead them, and sort of tack them up. He even volunteers at the therapeutic riding center where I work! But he still doesn’t have fun at local dressage shows when I tell him stuff like “Can you hold Gina? Don’t tie her up, she’s going through a ‘not tying’ phase right now.”

Johnny likes cities. (We vacationed in Detriot once!)