In recent times,eventing super-coupledom has taken the sport by storm. There is no doubt that to succeed at any level in the ridiculous world of horse trials requires a strong support team-Tim and Jonelle Price,William Fox-Pitt and Alice Plunkett,Sam and Sparkles Watson,Kyle and Jen Carter are sterling examples of how successful you can be with the right partner. But what if your passion is the equestrian Rubix cube of eventing,and your partner isn’t horsey? How do you juggle your priorities? Of course,my inner bitch thinks ‘screw your priorities,I’m going horsing’ but we all know that that leads to a sad and lonely life featuring A LOT of cats and mismatched clothing.
I have managed to stay married for six years now. It hasn’t been a challenge (for me-I’m sure it’s been the life Krypton factor for him) because my husband is the most tolerant human being on earth-in direct contrast to his wife-and he also isn’t horsey. At all. He’s a farmer. He HATES horses. I mean,so do I but I hate them DIFFERENTLY. He went to maybe three events with me. I was racked with guilt about him losing his weekend to something he neither likes or understands so I started leaving him at home. I can’t force him to like what I like. I could make him pretend he likes it,but that’s a whole other bartering system not appropriate for a family page…..his observations were hilarious. ‘Your horse is a dickhead’ (heard that a lot,couldn’t disagree) ‘how much money does it take to do this (stupid) sport well? It’s INSANE’ (again,unarguable) ‘is it time to go home yet?’ (Oh god if only) and ‘will there be chips?’ Here’s hoping…..
The biggest disadvantages to solo flying are the smallest things-having someone to do a fence in the warm up,for example. I try to get in with someone else who has help if I can,otherwise it’s begging pleasant looking passers by to put a fence down or up for you. Not having your rounds videoed is another. Overall,I’m so used to it now though and for me,the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. I am the mother of a berserk toddler. Days away with horses alone are a day away from everything at home,indulging my filthy little habit in peace and quiet. For me,it works and it’s achievable.
Pre husband,I did date a show jumper so I have seen the flip side of non-horsey partners. It was kinda cool heading off together in the lorry but it’s not always easy working with someone who has different ideas than you do. If you have two totally separate operations out of the same base and neither interferes with the other unless required then it probably works,but otherwise I think It’d be carnage….the sand arena would be like some sort of Beiruit,lobbing jump cups at each other from behind fillers whilst swearing at each other and threatening to hide each other’s bridles….no thankyou……anyway,turns out the show jumper boyfriend was a psycho and I just about escaped before the cement lorry arrived……phew!! Just as well it all worked out since I obviously wasn’t destined to make it big in eventing anyway and the husband is much happier watching rugby on the sofa than he would be being dragged around Burghley. Each to their own!