I have a crush…

…on my horse.

Soon we will return to discussing our learning process and what we’re working on, but today I’m just going to love on my boy and tell you just how wonderful he is.

Because honestly Frankie is my dream horse. I don’t know what I did to deserve him and I don’t know what stars had to align to bring him into my life, but I am grateful every day for this big brown brontosaurus. And here’s why.

  • His stunning good looks. He may try to maim himself out in the field and scrape off all his skin like a dope, but goshdarnit he’s a well put-together horse. I realize that I’m biased here, but I love everything about how he looks- from his deep dark color without a hint of white, to his giant donkey ears, to his big thick tail, to his liiiittle hint of dappling, to his sturdy legs, to his sweet expression, the list goes on and on. If I could have built a horse from scratch, this is what he would look like.
frankie_side
DROOL
  • His terrible goldfish memory. To be fair, he may actually have a great memory. But he has a wonderful ability to forget when things go wrong. We crashed through that jump? No problem. I can circle around and try again without wondering if he’s going to back off it. I pick up the wrong lead? I can just bring him back to trot and ask again. He doesn’t get flustered by any of my rookie mistakes and is patient enough to take care of me until I figure it out and give him a good ride.
frankie_chip
Like when I BURIED him to the base and he didn’t care
  • His ability to compartmentalize. This kinda goes with the goldfish memory. Even if he gets riled up about something before I hop on, he settles into his job as soon as my butt hits the saddle. For example- we clipped him in preparation for the show next week. He was totally fine for everything except his ears. The ears were…exciting. A twitch seemed to have no effect other than giving him a weapon to impale me with. We did manage to get them done without too many hysterics, but he certainly made his displeasure known. I let him decompress in his stall for five minutes and then hopped on for a hack- no residual tension or angst. He lets the past be the past.
saddlepad_f
Happy horse ALL THE TIME
  • His consistency. He comes out of his stall/his field every day the same- ready and eager to work. Even when he has a few days off due to a lost shoe/flooding in his mother’s apartment/whatever reason, he doesn’t get sassy or fussy. Tired Frankie rides the same as Fresh Frankie rides the same as Rainy Day Frankie rides the same as No Turnout Frankie rides the same as any other Frankie. I don’t wonder what kind of horse I’ll have under me on any given day- I know he’s gonna be my reliable guy. Indoor arena, outdoor arena, grass pasture, side of the road, any venue.
nostirrups_grimace
He also consistently makes llama faces
  • His nonchalance about the jumps. He doesn’t blink at them. You know that perky cute expression most horses get when they approach a jump? He doesn’t make that face. He just lopes along and takes the jumps as they come up. Gates, verticals, oxers, boxes, poles, mountain blocks, muck buckets, traffic cones, whatever. He will jump whatever I present to him. I was used to having to manage Addy and wonder if she would jump the jump, and it’s so different having a horse that doesn’t need that mental reassurance.
frankie_combo
Yeah. No cute perky faces.
  • His ability to jump the jumps. He’s just so ATHLETIC. I’ve jumped him 3′-3’3″ fairly regularly and he barely puts in any effort, and when I popped over 3’6″ he was juuuust starting to pay attention. And he takes the bigger jumps with the same laid back attitude- he is confident in his ability to get over the jump. My goal has always been to make it to the high adults at 1.10m and that’s still the case, but it’s kinda crazy to realize that Frankie could likely take me higher if I wanted to.
frankie_crossties_boots
MUSCLE AND ABILITY
  • His willingness to try new things. I’ve hopped on him bareback with just a halter and he has behaved just as well as when there’s a bit in his mouth. I’ve used the horse vacuum on him without really showing it to him first and after an initial sniff of curiosity, he leaned into and got a droopy lip. I took him for a trail ride around a residential neighborhood and he bopped around on a loose rein the whole time. He is totally game for any harebrained scheme I can come up with.
frankie_bareback
Literally any harebrained scheme
  • His personality. You didn’t think I’d leave this out, did you? Francis is one of the absolute cuddliest snuggliest horses on the planet. He LOVES hugs and smooches, loves scratches up near his ears, loves to give kisses on the cheek, and will press his face into my tummy just for loving. He hangs out by the gate when I turn him out so I can give him more kisses, follows me along the fenceline, stands for HOURS to be groomed, and generally just soaks up attention like a sponge. The epitome of a sweet goofy gelding.
frankie_kisses
Snugglez 4 dayz

Phew, I’m glad I got that off my chest. We can now return to our regularly scheduled programming.

My Madly Magnificent Manfriend

This weekend is mine and Manfriend’s anniversary, so to celebrate I’m going to take a little break from my usual posts and properly introduce this guy of mine.

longwood_nick
Ain’t he handsome?

If you’re wondering why he’s always simply “Manfriend” here, it’s because it sometimes freaks me out that I’m dating a full grown man. Like, not a boy. A full grown adult man. Am I seriously old enough for that? Anyways, we’ve established that he’s a man, not a boy- hence manfriend. And I’m always seeing bloggers refer to their SO simply as “hubs” or “PC” (Prince Charming?), and I wanted to give my guy his own blogging moniker.

How we met: My good friends had just asked me to be a bridesmaid in their wedding, and after exchanging some sly glances told me, “there’s a groomsman we need you to meet.” I tagged along to a party that he was at, we began chatting…and then nothing.

We had a pleasant time talking, but I got no vibes from him at all. No numbers were exchanged, and when my friends left I headed out with them thinking that was the end of it. Too bad ’cause he was cute and actually taller than me, but life goes on.

Fast forward two weeks, I got a message from him asking if I wanted to go to his house for a party he was hosting. I said yes, showed up, we had a blast, and a week later we went on our first real date in the middle of a snowstorm.

That very first party. I absolutely insisted on the selfie. We were Team Australia for the Beer Olympics, so I had the brilliant idea of taking the pic upside down. 'Cause, you know, Australia is upside down.
That very first party. I absolutely insisted on the selfie; we were Team Australia for the Beer Olympics, so I had the brilliant idea of taking the pic upside down. ‘Cause, you know, Australia is upside down.

I thought that date was a disaster- he had to come find me after I went to the wrong place, we couldn’t find a restaurant that was open because of the storm, and then I got so nervous I started telling cheesy jokes (e.g. what’s the internal temperature of a Tauntaun? Luke warm!). I couldn’t imagine that he would ever want to see me again. Thankfully he didn’t see it as a disaster, because we’ve been getting into shenanigans together ever since. I’m just as giddy to see him every time as I was for that first date and by some happy coincidence he seems pretty pumped about the whole thing too.

What he’s like: Imagine Prince Charming as an utter goofball, and that’s him. He spoils me like a princess, pushes me to work hard to achieve my goals (he’s the only one that can get me to run), and makes me laugh every single day. If he hadn’t encouraged me to go for it, this blog wouldn’t be here now and I wouldn’t be back in the saddle. Of course now he pays the price of hauling tack around for me and listening to me yammer on about site views, but he does it all with his usual smile and enthusiasm.

There’s nothing he wouldn’t do for his friends and family- I call him Mr. Dependable. Guns are his biggest passion (he taught me how to shoot on our second date! His huge focus on safety made it much less scary) but he also gets excited about anything outdoors; no sitting behind desks for him. Instead of a desk job he’s in executive security (and working towards becoming a bodyguard) and in his other life he’s in the Marine Corps Infantry Reserve. It’s a running (terrifying) joke between his mother and me that he only wants jobs where there’s a possibility he’ll get shot at.

He’s my unofficial horse photographer, my own personal comedian, and my best friend. In short, he’s the funniest, sweetest, best person I know and even that is an understatement.

horse_whisperer
He’s also an accomplished horse whisperer, but Addy doesn’t seem very impressed with what he has to say.

What’s your funniest first date disaster or favorite meet-cute? Share your story in the comments!