As a pony-loving little girl dreams of her wedding, it's hard to imagine it not including a magical unicorn, her own pony or horses being involved in general.
When I got married, our send-off was in a horse-drawn carriage. That's about the only equestrian-themed piece I could get out of my husband.
We've talked about the perfect equestrian proposal, but Jessie Ann Green got to live an equestrian dream when she married her husband Tyler at the Kentucky Horse Park.
I sat down with Jessie to ask her all about her equestrian dream wedding.
Tell me a little about yourself. Where do you live, day job, horse(s) you own/lease/ride, divisions you compete in, how you manage "real life" with riding and showing. What are your riding goals.
ANSWER: My husband and I just recently moved to Georgetown, Kentucky for my job. I am the Executive Office Coordinator for the United States Hunter Jumper Association. I also teach private music lessons virtually for Vibe Music Academy.
We currently own one horse together, "Perfect Cadence," aka Caden, a 16-year old chestnut off-the-track Thoroughbred (OTTB). I show Caden in the 3' Adult Amateurs and TB Hunters at the A shows. Tyler has been riding for a few years now too and has goals of showing in the jumpers.
Managing riding and "real life" can be difficult at times, but I will say it has gotten easier moving to Kentucky because the barn is much closer to our home and the Kentucky Horse Park (KHP) hosts so many large, rated shows. Living here will now help me reach my goals because before, every rated show was at least a two and a half hour drive away when we lived in Indianapolis. It was a large time commitment to leave for a week, have to use vacation days and a large monetary commitment when it came to paying for hotels. Now that KHP is in our backyard it will be much easier and cheaper to show, time and money wise. This year my goal is to compete in the World Champion Hunter Rider (WCHR) program. I also show IHSA Alumni in this region now and the shows are also much closer and more convenient.
How did you meet your husband and how long have you been together?
ANSWER: We met at a friend's halloween party and we were the only two that were not dressed up.
We have been together officially for 3 years but we were friends for a year and a half prior to dating.
Tell me a little about your husband. Is he an equestrian as well?
ANSWER: Tyler started riding a few years ago because we went to WEC Ohio and watched the grand prix one night and he thought the jumpers were super exciting. He is an adrenaline junkie, so he said he wanted to learn to ride and jump. His birthday present from me a few weeks later was boots, half chaps, and a helmet to get him started in his lessons. He is amazing with animals and all of the horses adore him. He has goals of doing the jumpers. Tyler is a full stack developer for PulseM and works fully remotely. This makes it easy to travel to shows because he can still work from wherever we are showing. He is a beautiful artist and loves hiking, camping, traveling, and the outdoors.
How did he propose? Did you expect a proposal or did it come as a bit of a shock?
ANSWER: Tyler proposed in the back of his truck under the stars in Brown County State Park in Indiana. We were laying in the back of the truck looking at the stars when he pulled me up (I thought we were leaving) and there he was down on one knee holding my ring. At first I thought he was not going to say anything, but he finally did and asked me to marry him. I proceeded to cry and kiss him and completely forgot about putting the ring on for the first few minutes. We took some of our engagement pictures at the barn with our previous 5-year-old bay OTTB Dolce Dajio and the rest in Brown County State Park since that is where we got engaged.
How did wedding planning go? Did you always know you wanted an equestrian-themed wedding? Was your then-fiance ok with this theme? If not, did it take some convincing?
ANSWER: Wedding planning was a process, especially with COVID happening. We got engaged on September 21, 2019 and had begun to plan our wedding for a date that included some of those numbers and landed on October 9, 2021. We had begun planning a normal wedding and had no idea we would have to navigate planning a wedding during a global pandemic.
Tyler knows that being an equestrian is a big part of my life that is very special to me. I have been riding since I was four years old and showing since I was six. My first horse (a chestnut OTTB of course) was my christmas present when I was seven and we had him for 18 years until he passed. He took me from my walk-trot days at local shows all the way through showing on the A circuit in my children's and junior days. I rode for my college's IHSA team and continued riding and showing after college on the circuit and as an IHSA Alumni. I have owned three OTTBs throughout my life, two with Tyler.
I don't even know who I would be without riding in my life so it was pretty clear my dream wedding was equestrian themed. Tyler embraced the idea and we settled on the Kentucky Horse Park as we had both been there as children. The ceremony was planned at the Man o' War statue because all of the OTTB's I have owned have had a little Man o' War blood in them. Little did we know at the time we would end up moving to Kentucky and my office would be at the horse park. We tried to make the details all equestrian themed; everything from the centerpieces being made out of old horse show ribbons, to custom ribbons from Hodges & Badge for the seating assignments and making a full-size personalized horse jump for our guest book. Horse show ribbons were even weaved throughout our floral vinery.
Tell me about your magical day!
ANSWER: It was absolutely perfect weather out at the park and honestly it was absolutely magical. I was marrying my best friend at my dream wedding venue. What more could I ask? We wanted the wedding to reflect who we are as a couple so we chose our favorite colors, our favorite shoes, our favorite music, and did things a bit untraditionally because that is who we are.
What was your favorite part of the wedding?
ANSWER: My favorite part of the day was our private first look where we read our personal vows to each other and the private carriage ride around the park between our ceremony and reception.