Love & Horses Part 2: I have Great Taste in Horses but....

Love & Horses Part 2: I have Great Taste in Horses but....

My horses have always been there for me.  The men, not so much.  I have been married to two men and both said, "oh, I like horses" but it ended up they resented all the time I spent outside and away from the house and family.  Yes, I have great taste in horses, but terrible judgment in men. When this divorce is done I won't go there again.”

"I have great taste in horses, men not so mcuh."

Personally I live and Breathe HORSE

I don’t wanna breathe without horses around. I love everything about them. Nothing about them bothers me. I did not live on a farm as a child, I grew up on the edge of suburbia but there was a 3000-acre flood plain that backed up to our backyard. The owners of that land had a ton of horses out on the pasture. I took that as an open invitation to go on over and see the horses whenever I could.

When I was eight years old I lied about my age to get on a paper route so I could start earning money. I saved my money for four years and when I was 12 my mom took me to a riding stable where I cleaned stalls and did just about everything that needed doing. At 13 or 14 I started guiding trail rides. At one point the barn owners brought in a trailer of horses, and asked if I wanted a horse of my own!  I picked an unhandled gelding. There was an old man there that helped me train him and I had him for 7 or 8 years. I paid for everything myself and worked it all off. If I wasn't at school or at my other job I was at the stable. I lived at the stable, or i would have if I could have! It was my life. I never cared if I dated or had friends, I was just happy to be at the stable with the horses. I had a few friends that rode in high school but they rode more polished styles while I was just wanted to be out on the trails.  

When I started college I majored in speech drama and went to visit New York and Chicago and realized, “this city life isn't gonna work for me. I have to be out in the country.” One day it was snowing and I was at a friends house.  My first husband-to-be walked in the door covered in snow.  He had on a friends jacket and boots and I thought, “Maybe he isn’t a city guy!” We dated for about four months and decided to get married. He was good around horses and did well when we went riding. We moved to Fayetteville in Arkansas to start our life together and he was in school for pre-vet while I started taking Agricultural classes.  And of course we had some horses then and managed to ride some.

Torn Between Horses and Family

My husband and I decided to move back to Little Rock, AR because we wanted to start a family and I had gotten pregnant immediately. So, we sold all but one horse and moved back to Little Rock. We were only able to have a couple acres on the edge of town. With a new baby, the horse project got pushed to the back of our priorities.   My husband never said he resented the time I spent with horses, but when our relationship fractured over other issues, everything became, “nothing is getting done because you are out with the horses”. It was definitely my mistake in making a poor choice for a husband. Now looking back my opinion is that horse people should marry horse people.  The horses will always be in the middle of things so if you both love horses it will work out!

So that marriage ended and I had two little girls under two. To manage as a new single mom I wound up having to get rid of my last horse and all my goats too.  I went into a full time job as a technical recruiter. So that’s how I met my second husband. I was trying to get him to go on a job interview and he was somewhat outdoorsy. We dated for three months and then got married and moved into a barn on the edge of town.

We had collected a total of 16 Arabian horses when I became pregnant with my oldest son. Then the whole oil industry crashed and we lost everything. We were both shell-shocked and didn’t know which way to turn, so once again I had to agree to sell off some of the horses. We moved back to Little Rock where my husband found another job and we began getting back on our feet as a family.  When my mother passed away suddenly the rest of the horses became just another stress point for the family because there was no money to take care of them and no time to be with them. I had to sell them all again.

Our family then moved to Texas and I really missed being around horses so we began purchasing again.  I was trying to manage homeschooling for my children and the horses kept getting pushed to the bottom of my priority list. I really tried  to get my riding time, but it was just not happening, my list of family obligations was too long. I kept spending less and less time with the horses and more time taking care of life. That is one of my biggest regrets. I wish I would have spent more time with the horses.  But life happens that way i guess.

Health & Healing

About 5 months ago I started having some issues with my stomach. I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. I have always been a go go go go, person but now I can't get very far from the bathroom.  It helps to know you are not alone and I eventually found a facebook group for UC so I have someone to talk to that understands. I also have high functioning Aspergers but I never knew until I was 50 years old!  One on one I am good, but put me in a crowded room and I'll panic. So it sort of makes sense that I feel comfortable around these animals. I guess they are a sort of social therapy for me.

So now I am currently in the process of getting my second divorce and the horses have been an ongoing bone of contention with him as well. He used to ride occasionally but as the years went on he stopped riding. I’m just the opposite, every chance I get I'm out with the horses. I have 12 horses again now and they are my babies. Maybe the horses are just a convenient subject to argue about but I finally reached a point where I said enough is enough.

"I would rather be alone and happy and with my horses than arguing with my partner, stressed and not riding."

I am content now and happy. I like the calm and quiet.

My Takeaway: “Don’t get married. Don’t have kids. Not if you are anything like me. I may be more cynical on the relationship end of this issue at this point in my life. I realize that I am a loner - I am happy with my own company even within relationships. My mother once said I am the most isolated child she ever knew.  I thinnk I just like to be around people that have the same passion for being around horses as I do.”

By: Cathy Lewis-Harris 

Cathy Lewis-Harris

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Check out Love & Horses Part 3