Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A Tribute to Roger

Today is my husband's birthday. Happy birthday, Roger! He's not a cowboy, but he understands my passion for horses and has been my number one supporter in that department. While my father completely ignored my requests for a pony, my husband began planning our path to horse ownership as soon as he decided to marry me.

In the first few years of our marriage, he took me to horse stables so that I could ride. One time he even hung out at the stable and supervised our kids because they were too young to ride, while I rode off into the sunset with a group of tourists on rented horses for a couple of hours. This was totally his suggestion. I didn't beg. He just gave me those couple of hours on a horse as a gift. Once our kids were old enough to ride, he took us all on a mule ride through Yosemite.

When we moved into a house across the street from an Arabian horse farm, I took the dogs for a walk each day and stopped to admire a stunning colt who seemed just as interested in me as I was in him. One day I took my husband up the street to see the colt. I'll never forget my husband's expression. It was like this colt took his breath away. He said, "That's one awesome horse. Get him."

I argued that we had no place to keep a horse, no truck, no horse trailer, nothing but land. He said we could build a barn and get everything we need over time. I was skeptical. We were living paycheck to paycheck. I really had no intention of buying a horse, but my husband talked to my neighbors about it. The next thing I knew, my neighbor was giving me a tour of her farm and introducing me to all of her horses, telling me their prices. Of course, they were all too expensive. I pointed at the colt and asked about him. Ironically, he was affordable, but what really sold me was that my neighbor offered to board and feed him at a very reasonable price until we got our own property set up for horses.

That's how we became the proud owners of Bombay. Raising a horse from a yearling was a handful with us being first-time horse owners, but my neighbor was really good about keeping me on track with Bombay's wormings, vaccinations, and hoof trims. She even set me up with a couple of horse trainers once he was old enough to ride. A year after we bought him, we were ready to move him into our new barn on our property, but Roger noticed that Bombay seemed lonely. He handed me a blank check and told me to go pick out another horse to fill the second stall. That's how we ended up with Lostine.

Roger knew that I wanted to experience breeding and raising a foal, so he encouraged me to breed Lostine. I had to bail out of that plan when we lost our jobs after 9/11. By the time we got back on our feet, Lostine was too old to breed, so Roger encouraged me to find another broodmare. That's how we ended up with Gabbrielle. I decided that Gabbrielle was such a great horse that I didn't need to breed and raise a foal from day one after all. I was beyond satisfied... and beyond spoiled. I'm the only person in our family who likes to ride, and I have three horses to choose from. Each horse is unique and each horse presents me with different challenges and different blessings.

However, Roger's giving didn't stop at helping me purchase the horses. He helped build the barns, he built all the horse fencing, he gave me his Christmas bonus one year as a down payment on my truck, he cleans stalls, feeds the horses, takes their blankets off and puts them back on, fills up water troughs, and puts the horses to bed on the days that I'm not home. He has had to do all the work in caring for the horses on several occasions, such as when I broke my arm and when I had to go live with my mother because she broke her leg. Because I am afraid of heights, he knocks down all the hay. He also uses his muscle to help me stock up on bags of stall shavings. Let's not forget the awesome Tucker saddle he recently gave me as an anniversary gift.

The list really goes on and on. Horses are not his hobby. He has no interest in riding, so he really gets nothing out of owning horses except maybe a wife who is happier, more centered, and more relaxed than she'd be otherwise. Roger is very nurturing toward animals, especially Midge, our Corgi. While I holler at her to go back to bed, Roger dutifully wakes up multiple times throughout the night to let her outside to pee. Even when our children were babies, he'd get up multiple times a night to check on them. I am a very deep sleeper, so if I didn't hear them crying, he'd bring them to me for their midnight snack. He helped change diapers, helped with homework, taught the kids the majority of what they know, taught them how to play various forms of ball, and shaped them into the model citizens that they are today.

Quite truthfully, Roger has had to pick up a lot of slack while being married to me. He has never complained about the house not being clean. If he thinks something needs cleaning, he just takes care of it himself. He cooks too. He's taken care of pretty much every Thanksgiving dinner we've had as a married couple. To this day I have no idea how to cook a turkey. I can handle whipping up a side dish here and there, but I leave the serious culinary efforts to him. He thinks I don't notice all that he does, but now he knows otherwise.



Tammy said...

I'm thinking horses are Roger's hobby! Sounds like he enjoys them as much as you do, only in a different way.

A great tribute to a great horse husband. Happy BDay, Roger!

Andrea said...

Happy Birthday Roger!! He sounds like a wonderful man, husband, and Dad!! I hope he has a wonderful birthday.

Do you think Roger could talk to my husband about those horse trail ride gifts? Hours of quiet on horseback while my husband babysits the kids??!!! :)

Lulu said...

Gee Wiz!! Roger sounds like one in a million!!!

Jenn said...

I'm thinking I have to agree with Tammy...just because he doesn't ride doesn't mean he doesn't enjoy them.

Happy Birthday Roger!

ranchette said...

You snagged a great one there. Happy B-Day Roger!

Laura said...

Happy birthday!! He sounds like a keeper! ;-)

He sounds alot like my hubby - very generous and kind!

C-ingspots said...

Happy Birthday and God Bless you Roger!! It sounds like you have the real love thing downpat and are in the habit of putting those you love in front of your own personal wants and needs. Wish more of us could be more like you!
The world would indeed be a better place if each one of us were more selfless and less selfish.
And...I think Roger has a wonderful relationship with the horses - it's just different than the one you have with them.
Give him a big old hug and a kiss for me will you??
He sounds like a wonderful and good man.

What does he get for his birthday??

Katharine Swan said...

Horses may not be Roger's hobby, but making YOU happy definitely is. :o)

I need to make my husband read this...

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

I was going to say that Roger sounds a lot like my husband, and although John has done many of the things Roger has done, especially to encourage and help satisfy my dreams of horse ownership, he falls short of Roger on many other accounts. (He SO cannot cook! lol)

I still feel lucky and blessed to have my hubby, but you, my friend must feel like an adored and doted upon Queen.

I think Roger's hobby is seeing you smile and making you happy.

What a lovely smile he has and what a generous self-less human being he is.

Happy Birthday, Roger!!


sue said...

Happy Birthday, Roger.... you sound like a wonderful person, and the world is a better place because of folks like you....may you be blessed with many, many more happy birthdays!!!!!

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

When I asked Roger what he wanted for his birthday, all he could think of was the one Harry Potter movie we don't have in our collection, and pizza. I made sure he got that, plus more. Oddly enough, several of his gifts from me and others didn't arrive on time for his birthday, so we're telling him that his birthday is going to last through the rest of the month. Hopefully, he'll get another present each day to make his birthday last a while. One thing he can vouch for is that I didn't get him any bowling balls with my name on them.

One Red Horse said...

What a love story! What a man.

Cheryl Ann said...

Happy Birthday, Roger! What a wonderful man!

Pat and Abe said...

A belated happy birthday from Abe and Pat Lincoln. If this is the first time Abraham Lincoln has wished you a Happy Birthday, feel free to cut this greeting out and frame it.

Or, you could send me a check for, say, $5.00 and I will sign it, "Abraham Lincoln," and you can frame it.


Pat and Abe Lincoln

Vaquerogirl said...

Roger is a keeper! Happy Birthday to Roger!

Nor’dzin said...

Happy Birthday Roger. How wonderful to hear of such a happy marriage.

Netherfieldmom said...

Happy Day Rog! What a guy! You must have been separated at birth from my Handyman! He sounds just like you, only without the Christmas bonus. Us self-employed folks don't get those. But that's okay, we have corgis!

Horseypants said...

Happy Birthday Roger. What a wonderful guy. He also has a nice smile.

Shirley said...

Belated happy birthday Roger! You sound like a wonderful and caring person, kinda like my husband!

Fantastyk Voyager said...

Happy belated birthday, Roger!

He sounds like a keeper! Roger reminds me of my late husband. He loved making me happy and he enjoyed being around the horses although he only rode a few times. I always wanted to get him a big, good, ol' quiet horse but it just never happened. He was happy to be a ground man though. Thrilled him to no end just being an owner and watching me ride.