It’s the question no one dares ask: do you love your horse more than your spouse?

Relationships between a rider and their horse last longer than many marriages, according to a survey conducted by Petplan Equine.

Results from a survey last spring of 1,700 owners, showed many people will have a longer relationship with their horse than their partner.

“Like humans, horses are living longer and are increasingly being seen as part of the family,” said a Petplan spokesman.

More than 90% of owners expected to own their horse for the rest of its life. But with divorces now taking place on average after just 11.5 years (and with approx 45% of British marriages ending in divorce), it looks like commitment to a horse, rather than a partner, may last longer for some.

“Most horsey people would probably consider their horse is for life, while their partners may or may not be there for Christmas,” said dressage rider Anna Ross Davies.

“And they might also find that they need to be in a relationship with another horsey person, otherwise serious negotiating skills may be required!”

This news story was first published in the current issue of Horse & Hound (27 January, 2011)