So, You Think You Love Horses? Some Reflections on the Nature of Horses and Man

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On Being Married to a True Horsewoman

First One Buck

I promised an honest discussion of the nature of the true horsewoman and I try to keep my promises. I said the following to refresh your memory:

“The mare knew that she could push me around, but my wife was an entirely different story. When my wife would get mad at the chestnut, the mare’s eyes would get as big as saucers and she would shrink back. I remember looking at my wife in amazement and thinking that that huge animal is absolutely terrorized of her when she is mad. Even more amazing to me was that my wife did not show even the slightest fear when correcting this massive beast. It was one of those moments in which a husband realizes exactly who he is married to, and in this case just what a true horsewoman is, but that is the meat of another discussion and back to my story of learning to ride.”

When I married my wife I assumed that I had married a normal person. Yes, love is blind and one does tend to idealize the person you love. I had no idea at the time we were married that she was a true horsewoman. In fact, I had no idea that there even were such things as true horsewomen. I knew that she liked horses and had owned one, but the implications were lost on me. I only slowly discovered what a true horsewoman was. You may wonder why I keep saying “true horsewoman.” This is because being a “true horsewoman” is not just being a woman who owns and rides horses, but rather it is a state of mind. Try as hard as they may try, many women who ride horses will never attain the state of being a true horsewoman. They are doomed to forever be “white belts” in the world of the “black belt” true horsewomen. When we boarded the chestnut mare at the private school, I found myself in the company of a large number of other boarders. Spending time there, I had the opportunity of observing the nature of the other boarders, the majority of whom were women. I discovered there were more than a few who were carbon copies of my wife. The following story is illustrative of the nature of true horsewomen in a typical situation.

We were about to take a vacation to Florida. My wife usually rode our horse on a daily basis, but with going away we had other things to settle and our energetic chestnut Thoroughbred mare had not been worked for a number of days. I mounted her in the indoor ring and quickly discovered that I was not going to get my usual ride. I asked for a walk and got a trot. I asked for a trot and got a canter. We battled for a time and finally the horse had had enough and started to buck. Soon I was out of the saddle and gripping her neck and with the next buck I inscribed a nice arc through the air and landed with a thump on the ground. I sat up and experienced exactly what as a child you see in cartoons; you really do see stars! How about that! Out of my peripheral vision I saw a determined figure advancing toward me wearing riding breeches and boots. It was my wife. Surely, she would ask if I was hurt and give me words of sympathy, but as any true horsewoman will tell you husbands are just big babies and what I heard instead was:

“Do not let that horse get away with that. Get back up on her and make her listen.”

When a horse bucks you off they look
down with a surprised, puzzled expression
as if to say "What are you doing down there?"

I turned toward her and said, “If you want that horse to listen you get up on her. I am not getting anywhere near her.” I had nothing broken and only a minor shoulder sprain; I spent my vacation wearing a sling. Yes, I had a minor injury but more importantly I received a lesson in the nature of the true horsewoman and of course, I am only…..

The Accidental Horseman

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