I have long been disgusted with Disney's portrayal of 'Happily Ever After.' You know what I mean, the beautiful princess rides away with the dashing prince and they live (gag) happily every after. We all know it doesn't actually work that way in real life... There are dirty socks left under the coffee table, a sink full of dishes, garbage that needs taken out and financial issues that strain the relationship. That's life. A couple's 'Happily Ever After' ultimately depends on how well they are able to manage the not-so- happy aspects of day to day life with each other. 

This "fairy tale" extends to having children as well though I won't blame Disney for this one. Who remembers the hit show 'Friends?' Jennifer Aniston's character Rachel becomes pregnant and the show proceeds to take a step away from reality. Rachel has a trouble free pregnancy, (with all of the attention and drama typically associated with pregnancy surrounding her.) Gives birth and then, well then it is just smooth sailing. She doesn't make appearances in spit up stained sweats that she's been wearing for 2 days...her hair is flawless, her apartment is CLEAN, her child is cute, rarely cries and she carries on with her life as if having a baby was no more a life altering event than getting a new hair style. WE ALL KNOW ITS NOT TRUE!

Take one more step with me... As horse lovers most of us have watched movies like 'Dark Horse,' 'Flicka,' or 'Second Chances.' The summaries are just as gag worthy to anyone associated with REAL horse ownership as the Disney portrayals of 'Happily Ever After.'  This from the synopsis of 'Second Chances.' "Second Chances is about a young girl whose life changes after an auto accident that seriously injures her and kills her father. It takes the friendship of a lame horse named Ginger to help pull her from her sadness." The troubled/sad/"misunderstood" girl and horse theme is annoyingly common. Here's the summary from 'Dark Horse.' "The plot focuses on new girl in town Allison Mills, a teenager who recently lost her mother. When she hangs out with the wrong crowd, she gets into trouble and is sentenced to community service at a local stable. There she comes to love spending time with the animals until an automobile accident cripples her and her favorite horse Jet. The wheelchair bound girl learns to overcome her handicap through the indomitable spirit of the steed, who overcomes the odds and runs again." There is always the recurring theme of troubled teen girl meets "misunderstood" horse and together they beat the odds. IT DOESN'T (usually) WORK THAT WAY IN REAL LIFE!!! These "feel good" movies that present the horse as some sort of glorified Lassie do a big disservice to the horses that the later in life girl is likely to encounter. You mean even if I feed him treats, give him massages, provide the nicest stall and color coordinated halters and blankets he might still buck when I ride him, run from me in the field and otherwise act like a horse?!? Yep. 

Just as 'Happily Ever After' with a spouse or significant other depends on being able to deal with the less than pleasant day to day issues that come with an actual relationship, so too the reality of owning an actual horse. Are you in it for the long haul, for better or for worse? Or are you headed for divorce as soon as its not rainbows and unicorns? Happily Ever After does NOT apply to relationships or horse ownership. There are going to be rough spots, issues, and confrontations. To expect otherwise is unrealistic and unfair to your partner. 

To those of you that ARE pursuing your 'Happily Ever After' with your equine partner my hat is off to you. People have to choose to follow through on the commitments they make.  I'm sure every day is NOT a fairy tale, there are days you don't ride off into the sunset but you stay with it. That is awesome. I hope somewhere there is a little girl watching your resolve and determination along with those Hallmark horse movies...