I have something to admit.  I love Hallmark Channel movies.  Even though it is the same plot line every single time, I get sucked into them!  Every time, the small town girl is losing the family farm and falls in love with the town’s hottest guy who helps her get the family farm back, all while he teaches her the meaning of Christmas.  (insert daydreaming sigh).  I digress… while the majority of the world does not actually fall in love and choose a spouse this way, many people fall for this dreamy lie and attempt to search for their partner in this manner.  The same goes for people buying horses.  I have seen countless buyers purchase horses that were not good matches for them.  Some claim they purchased their mount because of some mystical connection, others because it was the most beautiful horse they had ever seen.  Either way, we make the same mistakes in both of these areas of our lives and I think it is important to take a look at 6 ways buying a horse is like finding someone to marry.

  1. “The One” isn’t always the prettiest or the fanciest.

Because of media today, we have this idea that the person we will marry will have the perfect hair, body and never have the go to the bathroom or have gas.  Or we might want the person who makes a gazillion dollars per year and drives a Lambo.  Perhaps, though, you forget that you really like wearing your hair in a messy bun and dawning your black leggings with your oversized sweaters while you watch Friends reruns.  Having someone down to earth is way cozier than money will ever make you.

I cannot tell you how much this applies to purchasing a horse! (insert one million exclamation points here) Listen, if you are a beginner, please oh please, for the love of all that is safe and wonderful, do not… I repeat, DO NOT… buy an OTTB or a young warmblood or anything under age 12.  It is just a bad idea.  This whole idea of “awe, we will learn together” is a myth and dangerous.  

  1. It is more important to become “The One” than it is to find “The One.”

This is perhaps the most important thing to note when trying to find either a new horse or a spouse.  As you are readying yourself to marry or purchase a horse, work on yourself.  Waiting is an active time.  Use it!  You will never get this much time to yourself ever again.  As a rider, take lessons, ride as many school horses as you can to improve your ability to ride different horses, help out around a barn to learn what goes into horse management, go to clinics, read a lot of books, etc.  The more you learn and improve, the more you become the kind of horse owner that is ready for any horse.  

Ditto for becoming a spouse.  Pray a lot, grow in your relationship with God, read personal growth books, travel, do more of what you love.  Remember, you will never have as much time to yourself as you do when you are single.  Soak it up and become your happiest, healthiest, and best version of you.  And when you find your spouse, you’ll be giving them a huge gift when you are healthy, wise, and emotionally ready for that commitment.  

  1. “The One” isn’t always what you envisioned.

Sometimes what we need is not what we thought we wanted.  For me, I take myself pretty seriously a lot and I am always trying to accomplish things, so naturally I looked for a partner who was high powered and driven.  As I searched for this type, however, I discovered that the men I was choosing lacked integrity.  It wasn’t until I found my husband, Mark, who is super goofy and silly, that I found a man with integrity.  While he is accomplished he does not take himself too seriously and loves to be playful.

Same goes for our horses.  We might have envisioned a certain color or breed, but perhaps what we need it not the one we thought we wanted.

  1. Getting to know the people who know your potential partner is really wise.

No one will know the horse or potential partner better than their friends and people who see them day in and day out.  Ask a lot of questions, observe their behavior, listen to what they say about him or her.  They will tell you everything you need to know.  If it is a horse, ask people who have been around the horse, who have seen the horse work, show, etc.  If it is a person, ask his or her friends what kind of a friend he or she is, how their family is, etc.  You will gain valuable information from this.  

  1. Understand that it will take about a year to truly know your partner.

You will be growing together – and it won’t be perfect from the start.  Over the course of that first year – with both dating partner and horse – there will be disagreements and that is ok.  Its all a matter of how you BOTH handle those disagreements.  Are you both respectful?  Do you work it out?  Are you establishing a good relationship dynamic?  Things to think about…

6) Love is a choice.

Plain and simple.  It is not a feeling.  Feelings come and go.  Love is a decision and a verb.  Once you decide to marry someone, choose to marry them and love them every day.  

When your purchase a horse, you make a commitment to that horse.  It doesn’t mean that things don’t happen, because they do, and sometimes we have to sell our beloved partners (I am talking only about horses here lol) but once you choose to commit to a horse it is your responsibility to make sure that horse goes to a loving home if you need to sell.