At national horse shows, all over the country you see the female population overpowering the few males that are competing. Some young women might dream of marrying an international show jumper or a highly known derby rider, but statistically, most women end up partnering outside the circle of riders.
For the select few who do keep it in the equestrian family, they share a common language, knowledge base, and drive. Someone who understands “we have to go to this horse show this weekend to get more points in that division,” and that this isn’t a regular 9-5 grind, but a 24-7 marathon.
In this two-part series, we share an exclusive Q and A with two high-level show jumping power couples that both have a hand in the industry to give the full layout of life in an equine-centric family.
Part one shared the story of Kathy Frame-Dewar and Kyle Dewar — head trainers at Chestnut Hill Farm of Oconomowoc, Wisconsin and Ocala Florida. Part two connects us with Aaron and Mallory Vale of ThinksLikeAHorse inWilliston, Florida.
“How did you meet your spouse?”
Mallory- “We met at the Kentucky Summer horse show. My best friend in college was friends with his best friend actually. He managed to get my number from my best friend. After, that we became mutual friends and were stabled across one another.”
Aaron- “It’s kind of a funny story actually. My friend was telling me I needed to meet this girl at the horse show because she really liked me. I laughed it off at first, but then I got interested. Later on, we ended up meeting with her and her friend. But, instead of being interested with the girl that liked me, I liked her friend and she really didn’t like me at first. Which is funny now, since I won over Mallory after a few months and started dating after.”
“The best positive aspects?”
Mallory- “It’s great having someone that understands the ins and outs of the sport. They understand what everything is, and what it takes to be in the sport. We’re always together, so it’s very family orientated.”
Aaron- “With all the travel and stuff it allows us not to be gone from each other a whole bunch. It’s nice to spend time together.”
“What would you say are some of the drawbacks?”
Mallory- “We don’t really compete against each other, so it’s not competitive with us. It’s hard to get him to ride my horses for me, because he knows I can fix most things. If I take lessons with someone else I’m usually a better student since I’ll listen more.”
Aaron- “Well, for me, there are none.”
“Has there ever been a fight over horses?”
Mallory- “We don’t really fight in general, especially not over horses. I do truly respect his opinion on everything. He never forces me to sale or lease my horses.
Aaron- “I mean nothing terrible. We’re pretty good at not fighting. Over the course of our relationship I only got her to the point of not talking to me twice, so that’s good at least.”
“What’s it like to watch your spouse compete?”
Mallory- “I don’t really get nervous anymore, I used to though, but it’s a lot more exciting now. You see how much thought and effort he puts in and you just want him to do well. There was one time I had gotten a new horse and competed in the 1.10 class, I was leading too. Until, Aaron went in and beat me. He never lets me win, he makes me want it and work for it.”
Aaron- “It’s quite fun to have both of us showing together. I always keep her on her toes, making her work for the win. I’m always cheering for her when she goes in.
“How do you separate yourself from the horse world every so often?”
Mallory- “Since we live on the farm I love having the horses here, the biggest thing we do that other people don’t do is we take Sundays and Mondays off. We started doing that when were traveling so much I didn’t feel like we actually got any time off. You can do fun stuff, we take one vacation that’s not horse related at all.
Aaron- “We go on mini vacations every so often, like Disney world. We’ve gone there several times this year.”
“How did you first introduce your kids to horses?”
Mallory- “The day we brought her back from the hospital she was on a pony. We have two right next to the house.”
Aaron- “We have horses and we live on the farm, so Kinser’s around it daily. It’s become normal for her. She’s really into winning, and loves getting a prize.”
Thanks so much to both of the couples for sharing their stories of love and laughter with us!