Love & Horses Part 3: From Horse Rescue to Wedding
“My horse habit absolutely affected my relationship, in a good way. My boyfriend, 7 years ago, was not a horse person. He didn’t enjoy being around the barn smells and was somewhat scared of my horses. And then...I found my childhood horse on a rescue post on Facebook. Seven years later, my boyfriend is my husband and we cofounded a horse rescue farm together. We were married on the farm we purchased to house our rescue. My husband went from a no horse guy to this!”
Timing is Everything
It started in 2011, I had a quarter horse and my son had a mare. I started dating this guy for the second time. We had tried it 10 years earlier and it didn't work. He was the typical computer nerd - Loves technology and all things electronic and also a diagnosed germophobe! Needless to say being around barns is not the cleanest, and he's hypersensitive to smell as well. He always had encouraged my passion, but he was not interested in participating. For about a year we dated, and an absolute fluke occurred: I found my childhood horse on a rescue web site. I had not seen him in 19 years. He was skinny and was 28 years old, in pretty bad shape. So after some researche we were able to confirm that it was actually him and he was two and a half hours away in Alabama. Joey, my husband said he wanted to go with me to see him. I was really surprised because it was at a barn with all the horses and smells. So he went with me down in Alabama and the first day was super emotional reconnecting with my Grayson after so many years. Joey was super excited about it. He thought the whole thing was really neat.
We spent half a day there, had a great time, and Joey was petting him and enjoying being near him. And it hit me that he wasn't just bad with smells and horses but he was actually afraid - not knowing exactly how to handle the experience. We went back home, and the next Saturday Joey asked if we could go back down to Alabama and see Grayson again. I have to say, I was shocked! And so it began, for the next two months we drove down every weekend to see Grayson. He was 200 lbs underweight and we were really getting reaquainted and connected. Through the whole process my husband fell in love with my old horse. The two of them became best buddies and somewhere along the way it stopped being my childhood horse and started being his adulthood horse. They were having the romance of the century! Thru the course of going back and forth, Joey said,
“Had the rescuer not driven down that road and seen him and offered help and then posted on facebook, we would have never found him and I would have never met him. I think we are supposed to do this.”
And I was like, “do what?” and he comes back with “I think we're supposed to rescue horses”. This was ironic because I have worked with horses my entire life, and it has always been my dream to retire and have a horse sanctuary.
Profound Changes for the Rescuer and Rescuee
Within six weeks Joey went from "I don't wanna be around the barn" to "I cannot not be around Grayson". So we ended up talking to our pastor at church, and our families, and it was insane, every body was so encouraging! We both had full-time jobs. Our son was 13, and we decided to just do it. We found a farm, and organized our non-profit, rehabilitated it, brought Grayson home in Sept 2012, and everything has turned out great. On August 4th, 2012 we got married. We told all our friends and family we were going to celebrate the beginning of the mission with this rescue, and it was actually a surprise wedding. All our friends came in their barn clothes and we had a big Barbeque. We had been together about 3 ½ years before we got married. Nobody was stressed, it was just a beautiful ceremony overlooking our pasture with horses in the background.
Since then Grayson has lived with us at our new Rescue. We opened our doors officially for rescues starting Oct 2012, and have been doing it for 6 years now. Over the course of 6 years, we have personally rescued over 100 horses thru our program and probably another 50 or 60 that we participated in the placement of horses into other homes.
The odd thing is that my computer nerd, germaphobe, smell sensitive husband, has become a complete handyman. He can do plumbing, build fences, and can do anything around the farm. He's an amazing farmhand. He has overcome tremendous leaps and bounds with his issues with germs and still struggles everywhere else but at the barn he's okay. Every horse that comes thru the doors he dotes and loves them. He especially loves the older or special needs horses and it's obvious it goes both ways.
Since then Grayson had passed away right before his 32nd birthday. To remember him, we memorialized his stall and converted his stall to Grayson Haven. It is our senior sanctuary stall. We have hospiced a couple of seniors in his stall, and they are amazing educators for our volunteers. The senior horses teach volunteers all about horsemanship. It has been a huge blessing. We have about 150 volunteers and 30-40 that come weekly to help with all that needs to be done. We both work full-time jobs. Everything has just worked out and been made available to us.
Takeaway: I believe that a girl never has to choose between her horse and her man. The right guy will always be okay with it.
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Check out Love & Horses Part 4