Some years ago our young friend Bryn was accompanying us to see Bud and Pepper. I don’t remember exactly how old she was, but somewhere around eight or nine. In the car on the drive she posed this question to us:

“Are Bud and Pepper married or just living together?”

It surprised us a little and we weren’t sure how to best respond.  After an awkward moment I got my wits about me. “Horses aren’t like people,” I said. “They don’t get married.”

“Oh,” she replied, completely satisfied with my answer.

I think Rick was majorly relieved that he wasn’t going to have to explain even the tiniest version of the birds and the bees. Even if it was just the horse version!

In truth though, we’ve thought of Bud and Pepper as being married.

With my proclivity to give human traits to animals, (I’m sure you’ve noticed!) it was an easy assumption. They’ve been together since 1991, when we added Miss P. to our family. Twenty two years is a long time for any couple to be together these days.

For the most part, they were a herd of two.

I remember when Bud was in training for the Northern Colorado Mounted Patrol. An all day Saturday event was held at the same facility where Bud and Pepper lived at the time. Rick took Bud out early in the morning, leaving Pepper to pace the paddock until he returned.

It was a long day for our Bud, loaded with many stressful events. He had to endure having bicycles rolled toward him, hear firecrackers explode around him, keep his cool even with all kinds of noise and uproar going on. He passed all the tests with flying colors, but at the end of the day, he was one worn out Appy.

When we returned him to the paddock where he was living with Pepper, she greeted him with a nose nudge. And then Bud collapsed on the ground, too tired to do anything but take a nap. And Pepper settled in right beside him on the ground. It was clear she’d spent the day worrying about him and was just as tired.

Providing Comfort

Pepper provided Bud’s security, especially as they got older. We wouldn’t dream of doing work on Bud with our farrier or vet without Pepper accompanying him.

She kept him calm.

In many ways, it was a good thing that Bud left us first. We’re not sure how he would have done without Pepper.

They were like eggs and bacon, salt and pepper, peas and carrots – they just went together. Oh sure, there were a few dalliances. Those of you reading the blog for a while know that Miss P. is  a bit of a flirt. She’s had her boyfriends, but has always returned to Bud.

And he always accepted her.

Loved her really.

Sometimes Bud would nose into Pepper’s feedpan. And without fail, she’d get a little huffy and walk away, not the least bit interested in sharing. On the other hand, when she might stick her nose into Bud’s feedpan, he would scoot over and allow her to eat with him. Ever the gentleman, our Bud.

On this Valentine’s Day I’m remembering these two sweet horses and what they taught me about love and being in a committed relationship.

And my wish for you is a relationship that is as safe, trustworthy, dependable, and loving as that of our two old sweeties.

Hug someone special today.

Tell them you love them.

Be grateful to have them in your life.

It goes fast.