A few months ago I wrote a post entitled, Who Needs a Horse Husband. It outlines how I balance my relationship with my non-horsey husband and why it works for us. So imagine my surprise when lo and behold Jason comes to me with a suggestion for our wedding anniversary. A dude ranch in Colorado! I mean, what? It’s totally on my bucket list.
I can’t imagine anything more fun than traveling out west with my sweetie, and learning how to be a cowgirl for a week. Bending poles, sorting cattle, and driving a herd…..but I was a little shocked that he suggested it. My husband is not into horses at all, and would prefer to hike on foot than trail on horseback.
Sadly, Colorado didn’t work out. I’m still hoping to do it one day. But most guest ranches require a full week stay and time is something of which these busy working parents don’t have a lot. The kids are still in school this time of year so we decided to stick closer to home. Plus, my husband would not last an entire week on a horse. That is something he needs to build up to.
I hopped on Equitours.com and Equitrekking.com and found some beautiful ideas here on the east coast. So many looked great, but we decided on a visit to the Vermont Icelandic Horse Farm. It is within driving distance and we have never been to Vermont outside of winter. My friends have visited Iceland and teased me with tales of the personable nature of this sturdy breed, as well as their unique gait, the tolt. Something I have been itching to try.
Here is the thing, my husband has been on a horse perhaps twice in his life. Due to skateboarding and snowboarding injuries, he is contention for being more robot than man. And on top of that he has had two back surgeries due to disk disease. There is no way that he would be able to survive long days in the saddle. At least not without months of working up to it with riding lessons. Something he is just NOT interested in.
Instead we’re going to try out a nice short trail ride through Vermont’s Mad River Valley assuming the rain stays away. He’ll still need the hot tub afterward, but it’s a better fit for his first big trail ride. Now we’ll have time for some amazing farm-to-table local fare and wandering around the gorgeous grounds of our bed and breakfast at The Inn at Round Barn Farm.
So what will I pack for an equestrian weekend with my husband?
Comfortable Driving Clothes
The Mad River Valley is about a 6 hour drive from where I live in New Jersey. Road trip! I’ll be packing some snacks and drinks. But I will likely be wearing my most comfortable non-pajama clothing. Although I’m not ruling pajamas out.
Well of course I’ll be bringing jeans and boots, along with my helmet. Jason will just have to borrow a helmet there. Safety first! Right now the weather looks a little cool and damp. Jason tells me he still wants to go unless it's down pouring, so that means lots of layers and a waterproof coat. I'd rather have too many layers than two little and freeze.
I’m planning on bringing my handmade Fly & Tick Spray. The ticks are bad this time of year and I really don’t know how overgrown the trails are in the valley. I’d like to do without a tick bite, thank you very much.
A few hours on a trail is a whole lot of fun for me, but Jason will definitely be sore. My Warm Muscle Rub should do the trick, especially after a soak in a hot bath. The organic, all natural ingredients are designed to increase circulation, reduce inflammation, and provide pain relief.
As much as I know the Warm Muscle Rub will work wonders, with Jason’s back it’s a good idea to have Advil on hand as well. After all, I want him to be as comfortable as possible and have a great experience.
We love food. Rustic, farm-to-table food? Well, I already drooling. So I have to make sure to bring a nice dress and shoes with me. I don’t often get to be dressed up due to the nature of my job. After all, who am I going to impress- the horses and dogs? That’s just asking for a cold nose up my skirt. So a romantic anniversary weekend seems like just the time to wear a dress and heels.
Spring yields amazing color and I’ll be bringing my Nikon DSLR to memorialize the trip. For the trail ride you can bet I’ll be taking photos and videos on my iPhone of Jason like a proud equestrian wifey.
We’re on our way as this posts and I’ll be sure to note how the hubby likes his equestrian mini-vacation. After all, we're going to the home of Ben & Jerry's! It would be a shame not to stop by and say hello.
Maybe we’ll make an equestrian of him yet and can do extended equitreks in future. Colorado, Ireland, more? After all, his wife and daughters all ride. Wouldn’t it be great if Daddy can join us?
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About the writer: Heather Wallace of Monmouth County, New Jersey is a certified equine and canine sports massage therapist, co-owner of Bridle & Bone Wellness LLC, and equestrian & canine blogger at Bridle & Bone. She is an adult amateur equestrian and has two rescue dogs, Gonzo and Beau.