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The tack room

Non horsey husband

92 replies

Nonhorseyhusbandhelp · 12/04/2023 10:01

My husband has had the misfortune of having never been around horses so really is clueless about every aspect of horses other than them being big and expensive. I've grown up with horses but haven't had them since knowing my husband due to work, kids etc.

I have always been very clear about the fact that this is something that is important to me and will be something I plan to do again in the future when the kids are a little older so not paying childcare and I'm back working full time again.

I recently mentioned this again to my husband who completely freaked out saying it's too much money.

I'm feeling totally deflated about this as this has been my plan/goals and I was clear about this from the start. I also made sure to go into a career which would mean I was financially stable and therefore able to have the lifestyle I wanted.

If any of you have a non horsey partner how do you make this work? Both financially and I guess emotionally?

OP posts:
maxelly · 12/04/2023 13:48

It is quite tough, my DH is a bit more horsey than yours from the sounds of things in that he quite likes them, has occasionally ridden himself and will help out with looking after them in an emergency but he's never quite been bitten by the bug or 'got' the lifestyle in the way a real horsey person would. I would say the key things are communication, forward planning and compromise. The last one is particularly important, it's all very well saying you've been clear but you need to listen to what your DH is saying and take that into account as well (and equally he shouldn't get to dictate to you either).

DH and I have always been incredibly strict about financial planning and fairness which I think is essential when one or both of you has an expensive hobby. We have regular budgeting conversations so we both fully understand our essential spends, agree an annual budget for shared 'non essential' expenses like eating out, takeaways, holidays, days out, children's expenses (when we had young DC), Christmas and birthdays - we don't always fully agree as if it was just down to me I'd cut back spending on those things to the bare minimum so as to have more left over, e.g. never or very rarely go on holiday (who wants to be away from the horses anyway? Grin ) whereas for DH these things are really important so he'd spend more, so we have to land somewhere in the middle. We also agree what our long term financial goals are e.g. house renovations, retirement planning and allocate a monthly amount towards savings for these things (luckily we're very much aligned there, neither of us care about things like a big house or a flashy car and we both work in the public sector so excellent pensions). What's left over is our personal spends or hobby money, and this is strictly divided exactly 50:50, even at times in our lives where one of us was earning more than the other.

The net result is I haven't always had enough 'spare' money to live the horsey lifestyle I've wanted and I theoretically 'could' afford on our joint income, only in the last few years since the children have grown up and we've downsized our house have I been able to afford my own (before then had to make do with lessons and shares) and even then not exactly the horse I would have purchased or yard I would have been on or activities I would have been doing had I only had myself to consider (currently have an older Connie boy on full loan at a fairly scruffy/low key riding school based livery yard, in my dreams I have a string of high powered yet incredibly well mannered sports horses on full livery at a fancy competition yard and am out competing or hacking in beautiful countryside in my top of the range lorry every weekend Grin ). But obviously much as I wish I could have both the dream lifestyle and my marriage intact, in the final analysis I would still choose being married to DH as I love him and all that 😘over singledom and being free to spend all my money on horses, I guess that's the choice you have to make in a marriage.

If I'm being honest I do sometimes get annoyed because DH doesn't spend his share of our 'spending' money on things in my heart I find 'worthy', I would understand if he had a different absorbing hobby he spent all his money and energy on like I do on the horses, but he's more of a potterer/fritterer, his spends go mainly on things like nice lunches and coffees when he's in the office, bits and pieces for his computer, having the latest/top of the range phone, computer games, music, food/drink subscription services, that sort of thing which in my less admirable/loving moments I add up and think how many lessons or saddles I could have bought with the money he's 'wasted', but then again he's seen me do things like spend thousands on vets bills and rehab livery for an irretrievably broken horse or spend £££ on lessons where I end up crying about how bad a rider I am or competitions where I've been eliminated at the first fence and similar, so he'd have a perfectly logical argument that I'm the one throwing money down the drain 😂 Over the years we have both learnt to keep such thoughts firmly unspoken as down that road marital harmony does not lie!

We have also had to discuss and come to compromises on how much time I spend on the horses which in a way is more difficult than the money, as I say DH does like his weekends away and holidays so I do have to have the ability to leave the horses sometimes, equally I have to really plan our weekends and put the energy in to e.g. getting up at the crack of dawn on a Saturday to feed/turnout or only ride for 20 mins rather than going on a lovely long hack because I know DH has planned a nice day out for us later, again worth it for the sake of our marriage even if I secretly sometimes would rather spend it with the horse!

coffeecupsandwaxmelts · 12/04/2023 23:18

It's really difficult because horse ownership is more of a lifestyle than a hobby, and I don't think there's any way of owning them that doesn't take up a huge amount of time or money.

I can see both sides. I never grew up with horses but I started riding as an adult - and tbh horse ownership scares me Grin it's a massive commitment and I'm wondering if your husband is a bit nervous about how much work it will add to your lives.

I think it would help if you sat down and came with a solid plan and then spoke to him about it properly. Figure out the costs and the timings, what would happen if you were sick or on holiday, the practicalities of fitting the horses around daily life and children, etc.

Basically, you need to try and reassure him that it is affordable and that it won't take up all of your free time.

hattie43 · 12/04/2023 23:40

I've had horses for the majority of my adult life and the commitment and finances are huge so I'm not sure it'd be something easy to compromise on . Unless you are uber rich and can afford full livery it's too big an ask for a family imo .

Nonhorseyhusbandhelp · 13/04/2023 02:55

@maxelly I'm quite strict with finances and budgeting (love a spreadsheet) but him probably less so I think that maybe makes me feel less panicked about finances than him. Luckily, long term we do probably share most of the same goals. We're not fussed about a big house or flashy cars or lots of holidays etc

Thank you for taking the time to reply! This is a really helpful insight 😁 definitely highlights the importance of communication and compromise

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Nonhorseyhusbandhelp · 13/04/2023 02:57

@coffeecupsandwaxmelts yes definitely a lifestyle rather than a hobby and I think explaining it to him like that did help him to understand a bit more. I think it is very much the panic of taking on such a big financial commitment especially when he doesn't know anyone who does

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Nonhorseyhusbandhelp · 13/04/2023 03:01

@hattie43 the plan would be full livery as I sometimes have to work nights and weekends and longer days. Luckily I'm in a job where my earning potential is very good (although not currently there yet) so full would be an option and it wouldn't take from as much family time as DIY

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coffeecupsandwaxmelts · 13/04/2023 08:05

If the plan is full livery that won't be cheap - can you afford for your husband to have the equivalent in time and money for himself?

There was a recent thread on AIBU from a lady who had a horse and her husband was becoming increasingly resentful of the time and money it was taking up. They couldn't afford for him to have the equivalent and it was starting to cause arguments.

Fuctifin0 · 13/04/2023 08:12

My dh isn't horsey but had always encouraged and supported me in my horse ownership.
He bought my current horse for me as I was on maternity pay and couldn't afford the initial outlay but was okay with the upkeep.
We are lucky enough to have her at home and I frequently hear him talking to her as he walks past her ❤️
Since having her at home, he has said he can see how horses get under your skin ☺️

GOODCAT · 13/04/2023 08:55

My husband isn't horsey, but I had the advantage that I already had horses when he met me, so he knew the reality. It helps that we always kept our finances separate and I am now the much higher earner and always paid all the horse bills, my own way and the vast majority of our joint bills.

My working hours are different to his so I have horse time early in the morning, he starts work early and I start late.

I would be clear with him that you still want this and will need the time for it. You will need to show him how it will impact your finances and your time. Show him that he will get the equivalent in time and money.

Pinksorrel · 13/04/2023 09:17

As with any hobby/lifestyle choice it needs to be fair between you and your husband. So you pool all money, pay essentials, pay agreed extras (savings, holidays), and then you split the rest. If you can afford to keep a horse with your half, go for it!
Obviously the time commitment needs to be considered also. It wouldn't be fair to leave him with more than half of the work (Inc paid work, childcare, housework) or to 'opt out' of too much family time.
Hope you can make it work!

Lastqueenofscotland2 · 13/04/2023 09:42

coffeecupsandwaxmelts · 13/04/2023 08:05

If the plan is full livery that won't be cheap - can you afford for your husband to have the equivalent in time and money for himself?

There was a recent thread on AIBU from a lady who had a horse and her husband was becoming increasingly resentful of the time and money it was taking up. They couldn't afford for him to have the equivalent and it was starting to cause arguments.

Yes I do agree with this, if you did full livery could your husband have the same amount of leisure cash, if not then i think it’s not fair

Wintersunrise · 13/04/2023 10:59

I don't think it's possible for a non-horsey partner to really understand the level of commitment until it actually happens. DH was very supportive of the idea of me getting a horse of my own (after my part-loan got sold out from under me) as he knows how important horses are to my wellbeing, but the reality of it was that the time spent caring for my horse (on DIY livery about 5 miles away, albeit with help from a freelance groom a couple of days a week) was taking too much away from work and family life. I didn't feel able to spend time having long hacks or competing at the weekend - I was always rushing around to get home.

3 years on, I have recently sold my mare (to a good home where she is thriving) and won't be getting another one. This makes me sad, but also relieved. I could have moved her to full livery, but the nearest place is about 40 minutes drive from where we live, so I'd realistically only be able to get there a couple of times a week. I've decided I'd rather just go back to riding lessons, and a couple of nice riding holidays per year, rather than the constant stress and worry, and feeling as though I wasn't doing right by anyone (DS/DH/elderly parents/work/DHorse).

DH would never have told me to sell the horse, that was my decision, but he says that I seem calmer and happier. It has been lovely the past couple of months to not to feel torn in two all the time, and I can't even face a part-loan at the moment, so I think he's probably right. If I was single and didn't have DS, then I'd absolutely have another horse. But it's not worth my marriage, or missing out on DS's childhood years when he is growing up so fast.

You may find full livery works better, but don't underestimate the amount of time it takes to do anything at the yard, even groom, tack up, ride, cool down, rug up, let alone going out anywhere competing or doing pleasure rides etc. If you're also working long hours, to fund the massive expense, then when are you going to spend time with your husband and kids, and when does he get a break/ get to pursue his hobbies?

Wintersunrise · 13/04/2023 11:07

Also, unless your kids turn out to be horsey too, you won't see much of them if you're working full time and also spending enough time with your horse to keep it healthy and fit, even on full livery. Children still need a surprising amount of time and parenting, even once they're old enough to not need childcare!

DS went through a horsey phase, was having regular lessons, and this was one of the things that made me think having my own was a good idea - I had ideas of us sharing the horse once his riding had progressed enough, and he did ride her a bit, and borrowed my friend's pony to hack out with me a few times, but he lost interest completely once he got to secondary school.

Nonhorseyhusbandhelp · 13/04/2023 11:39

Thanks for the replies everyone, lots to consider!

My husband would be able to spend equal on his own hobby although he doesn't have any which would cost as much (although I can't think of many hobbies that cost as much as horses!). We are both currently on about £40k with future potential earning being about £50k and £100k, we don't live in a hugely expensive area, don't drive expensive cars or go on expensive holidays. So I don't think financially it's unrealistic which is why I was so surprised at his reaction. I suppose it's more the complete unknown for him. We are both outdoorsy people so share a lot of the same values in that sense so I hope that it would be something that he would actually quite enjoy being a part of.

I did see that AIBU thread which did make me think about it more. I wouldn't want to be in a position where he was resentful towards me for it but at the same time as this is something that is so important to me and something I have spoken about since we met I'm worried I would also feel resentful towards him if I saw him as a barrier to this.

I suppose further discussion about it is probably needed and maybe if I can demonstrate that I can put aside the amount of money needed without it having to change the family finances that might reassure him.

Hopefully the kids get the horsey bug as well so he will have no choice but to be involved like my poor dad 😂

OP posts:
Nonhorseyhusbandhelp · 13/04/2023 11:41

He does want to be able to go part time at some point so maybe that's a way to feel more equal if he isn't spending the money on his own expensive hobby.

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overitunderit · 13/04/2023 12:00

I don't really agree with people saying you both need the exact same amount of spending money to spend on what you want. Surely the idea in a marriage is that you find a solution that works for you both and that all money is joint money so it doesn't really make sense to me that someone wouldn't be allowed an expensive hobby like horses or golf just because the other partner doesn't have an exact equivalent in terms of financial outlay. Having said that it needs to feel fair to both parties whether that's in terms of time commitment or childcare but it seems mad to me that someone would be prevented from a lifestyle they love simply because their other half can't have the same amount of cash in their hands.

If you have been very clear from the start that horses are in your future then I would just start taking steps to make it happen. You can negotiate and agree what exactly is reasonable for your family and your relationship but some form of horse ownership sounds like it is a non-negotiable which is fine in my opinion. I've recently taken on a share and it was a bit of a negotiation at first as my non horsey husband was extremely worried about the time it would take up on my days but I've tried to do it in the most considerate way possible and I try to allow him his own time away for golf and sports when it works for him whilst also being quite clear that this is something I want and is important to me. So on my days I am up and out at 7am and he is responsible for the kids until I am back at which point one of us takes them to nursery and then I go back during work hours in the afternoon to limit disruption to him. At the weekends I will take my few hours in the morning and try to enjoy them knowing thats really the only time I get away from the gang.

My pony is full DIY so there are lots of jobs to do but it means the cost is kept down a bit. It does mean time commitment is higher than livery but I'm enjoying the time I'm spending with the horses as well as riding.

Can you start with a share or loan whilst you work out what's realistic for your family and go from there? Whilst full livery seems ideal in some ways there are disadvantages such as having to deal with other liveries, working with the yards rules on turn out etc.

twistyizzy · 13/04/2023 12:44

My DH is totally non-horsey and has never even met my current horse of 7 years.
It has caused a lot of resentment both in terms of time and money i spend so we hace now separated oir finances. That way as long as i cover my share of mortgage + bills, the rest is mine to fritter away on the horse. However this means I never have any money for joint things eg holidays etc so he foots the bills for luxuries and all my bday presents from him are haircuts/new clothes as I just can't afford them.
Non-horsey people will never "get it" and it is the equivalent of being a golf widow. I am on DIY so in winter am at yard for 1 and a half hours every morning at 6am and then again at 5pm. Summer is easier but then I'm often away all day at shows /hacking etc.
The housework goes out of the window and with a DD and working full time i spend every day flying around trying to fit everything in. We are currently away for a few days and I'm constantly checking on his welfare as he is high needs. When he had colic in depths of winter 2 years ago I spent 3 days straight at the yard and he ferried up food and drink for me.
It is not a decision to be taken lightly and I've see it cause real issues between husbands and wives.

Nonhorseyhusbandhelp · 13/04/2023 12:48

@overitunderit also a good point. It would be daft for me to not be able to do it because it would mean he couldn't spend the same amount on himself each month when there is nothing he would be spending it on anyway.

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Nonhorseyhusbandhelp · 13/04/2023 12:54

I think in an ideal world I would probably prefer DIY or part (husband has big plans of us living rural and having land so I can keep my horses and he can have a random selection of farmyard pets 😂) but realistically full would be the best option so that I was able to be at home more with the family but also so the horse would have a more consistent routine when my work schedule wouldn't allow it.
He was very open to the fact that he just does not get it and cannot understand why I would want to spend so much money on something that has no financial return. I think it made more sense to him when I described it as a lifestyle rather than a hobby.
My horsey sister also lives in the same city as me and wouldn't be able to afford one of her own so I had thought if she was on board she would be able to share some of the burden of cost and time etc

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twistyizzy · 13/04/2023 12:57

@Nonhorseyhusbandhelp are you fully aware of the cost of Full livery and that you still have costs on top of livery? By me you are looking at £500 per month + feed + shoeing + insurance + lessons + vaccinations + dentist + tack + physio + saddle fitter + any other million costs. I'm not sure you would have much change out of £650-700 per month depending on where in the country you live.

purpleleotard2 · 13/04/2023 12:57

I congratulated my friend on his upcoming marriage that I had just learnt about.
He replied that it was all cancelled as the bride to be loved her horse more than him.

FormerlyPathologicallyHappy · 13/04/2023 12:59

I'd rather beg forgiveness than ask permission so I'd keep finances separate and if you want to buy a horse with what's left over then that is up to you.

He's not going to divorce you over it.

Nonhorseyhusbandhelp · 13/04/2023 13:01

@twistyizzy Ive worked it out at about £800 a month to set aside with a buffer. And that would be going on one of the more expensive livery yards in the area

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twistyizzy · 13/04/2023 13:01

@FormerlyPathologicallyHappy that's always my motto 🤣 I've just put 2 shows worth of entry fees on his credit card. I've now got 2-3 days to soften him up before they appear on his statement 😁 He can't afford to divorce me because I know where all his money is stashed!!

twistyizzy · 13/04/2023 13:03

Nonhorseyhusbandhelp · 13/04/2023 13:01

@twistyizzy Ive worked it out at about £800 a month to set aside with a buffer. And that would be going on one of the more expensive livery yards in the area

That's great but I can 100% assure you that you will end up going over that 😁 best not to even have a budget otherwise it just gets depressing when you exceed it every month.

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