It was the worst possible time to buy a new horse, in retrospect.

Late March 2020, the world was in a very uncertain place.

But for me, with the doors to my office job firmly closed to the public, it meant a lot more free time—and internet deep dives. I was also halfway through writing my debut equestrian fiction novel, which would surely bring in at least a little extra horse money.

So, in my defense, this whole thing seemed a lot more logical at the time.

I guess you could say it was actually New Vocations Racehorse Adoptions fault. They were posting endless videos of adoptable horses on their social media for weeks, including one of an adaptable four-year-old, dark bay Thoroughbred mare.

She had a stunning, forward, and naturally uphill canter that made me weak in the knees. The New Vocations trainer sat the canter with ease—like it was as comfortable as it looked. The description of the mare checked every box I could possibly have for an OTTB show jumping and eventing prospect. She had even successfully been on a hunter pace.

I fell in love with that bay mare sight unseen.

My fingers quickly typed a lengthy email to the head trainer with every question I could think of. Maybe she would respond back and tell me something about the mare that would convince me that I didn’t actually need a second mare in the middle of a pandemic.

I had other reasons for wanting a second horse, too.

My Warmblood mare Tilly was staring down her 20s and she wouldn’t be able to compete heavily like we had been for many years longer. I wanted to have several years to bond with and slowly retrain my new OTTB prospect without the extra pressure that would come if I waited until Tilly was retired.

Plus, having two horses would be a dream come true! One came up lame two days before a show? No problem, I have another! My brain buzzed with all the exciting possibilities of two horse ownership as I hit the send button on my email.

The next day, I eagerly showed my trainer, and any of my barn mates within in shouting distance, the horse I had my eye on. They watched the video, commenting on how nice of a prospect she was. They read the email response I received from the New Vocations trainer.

“She sounds perfect for you!” my barn mate said.

“You’ll regret it if you don’t get that one!” my trainer added.

That was it. The nail in the horse-buying coffin.

I was mildly obsessed with the horse before. Now, with the affirmation and impulse buy encouragement from my barn friends, it was inevitable. I could already imagine myself cantering up to a cross-rail for the first time, or our first show, or galloping through the woods on a hunter pace.

I guess it should have crossed my mind to talk to someone other than my barn friends about such a big purchase, but I had horse buying fever and my mind was elsewhere. Before I knew it, I was hitting “submit” on New Vocation’s online application for the mare whose jockey club name was Netti’s Legacy, or Netti, as they called her.

I leaned back in my office chair beaming, pondering whether I should change her barn name or not.

Then, it hit me like a ton of bricks. I would have to go home tonight, look my husband dead in the eye, and tell him I had applied to purchase another horse—without discussing it with him first.

The blood drained slowly from my face. I whipped the calculator from my desk drawer and began crunching the numbers one more time. Of course, I had double, and triple checked my finances before applying to adopt the mare. My husband and I had good jobs, no kids, and I would soon have some extra money coming in from book sales once I published my novel.

Of course, that didn’t make the number I circled with the total amount of how much it would cost to full board two horses look any better on paper.

How mad would he be? I think on a subconscious level, I had applied to adopt this horse knowing it would be more or less a done deal by the time I told him.

Did I think that would be better somehow? I didn’t know now.

As I drove home, my mind raced. Did I really need a second horse? I was re-thinking everything now. I was panicking.

I sat in my driveway and pulled the Facebook post with the video of adoptable mare up again. I took a deep breath as I re-watched it. Yes, this is the horse I wanted.

And yes, I had my reasons for wanting a second horse now rather than later. Not that those reasons didn’t feel suddenly flimsy as I walked through my front door.

“Hey hon, how was your day?” I asked, sounding overly cheery.

He paused a minute before answering. “Fine…”

He was eyeing me suspiciously. My cheeks felt like they were on fire. Rip the Band-Aid off or wait it out?

“Um… want a drink?” I pulled a beer from the fridge and handed it to him before pouring myself a glass of wine. If any situation required some liquid courage, it was this one.

My husband raised an eyebrow. “Ok, what is it,” he said.

Busted. I had no choice now. “Ok but… promise you’ll keep an open mind and remember you married a horse girl.”

He let out a sigh. “Are you buying a new saddle or something?”

If only! I could easily compare the price of golf clubs to a new saddle and talk about how much longer a saddle holds its value to justify my purchase.

“Not quite… I’m adopting a horse,” I blurted out. “A Thoroughbred… off the track. You know how I love off the track Thoroughbreds and…”

My husband’s beer hit the table with force. “Wait… a horse? You already have a horse. You do not need a second horse!”

I scowled in his direction. “Actually, I already filled out the adoption paperwork this morning. I’m getting her!”


I immediately knew that was the exact wrong thing to say, but the word vomit came tumbling out before I had time to stop it. I knew I had just crossed the line from discussion to fight—but it was too late to back down now.

“You can’t afford two horses!” my husband rebutted.

But I knew that one was coming. I whipped out the pre-filled out budget sheet I had made earlier and tossed it in his direction.

Yes, I can! See?” 

His eyes scanned the information quickly. I crossed my arms over my chest, ready to tell him “I told you so.”

He set the paper down on the table. “You still don’t need another horse! One is plenty expensive!”

Ok, so he wasn’t completely wrong. One full-boarded horse was expensive—let alone two.

“She’s perfect for me!” I said a little too loudly as I pulled my phone from my pocket and clicked play on the video I had watched far too many times by now.

My husband’s features softened ever-so slightly as he watched the video. He could be stubborn, but deep down, he was an animal lover and I knew it. If I could just get him to see how cute her little face was, maybe, just maybe, I could sucker him in.

His features returned to a slight scowl as he handed me the phone back. “She’s cute… but you don’t need her.”

It was time to back track a little. I had been married long enough to know by now my horse girl logic was not the same as horse husband logic. The budget and video had worn him down a little, I could tell, but not enough.

I slumped into the couch next to me and patted the seat beside me. My husband side eyed me, like this was a trap. Which it was. A second horse buying trap that I was hoping to finally snap shut on him.

I sighed audibly.

“I’m sorry—I know I should have talked to you first. But this horse is perfect for me and I didn’t want her being adopted by someone else first. I showed my trainer the video and she said I would regret not snatching her up. Did I mention it’s the March Mare madness sale so she’s half off?”

Before my husband could add in a comment about how board wouldn’t be half off, I dove into the long-winded version of why I did, in fact, truly need a second horse sooner than later. It seemed to be his biggest hang up.

Twenty minutes of explaining later, I wasn’t sure if I had convinced him.

My husband stood up from the couch. “I’m going to go to mow the grass… I’ll think about it,” he said.

Sometimes I wonder if horse husbands truly know what they are getting themselves into when they marry horse girls. Because really, they will never understand how deep-seeded our love for horses goes. There are no lengths we won’t go for them—or to acquire them.

My husband probably didn’t know what he was getting himself into when he married me. But it’s to late now, right?

And if you’re wondering whether I won the battle and got the second horse? Well, let’s just say he’s now the proud horse father of not one, but two mares.