Have you noticed how much time and effort we put into finding just the right horse? Yet when it comes to finding just the right man—one who’ll put up with our blind devotion to a 1,000-pound animal—we’re nearly helpless. Usually we sort through men like shopping for a pair of boots, flinging open box after box, quickly casting aside those that are an ill fit or that are apt to fall apart when wet with barn muck. Ultimately we’re left with a pile of discarded boxes… and no boots. In my opinion, what horsewomen really, truly need is a checklist of criteria to help them shop properly for boots—I mean a man—so they aren’t wasting their time on bad dates when they could be at the barn, riding.
I am horsewoman. See me track dirt wherever I go.
So when it comes to helping my fellow horsewomen find a decent representation of a horse-man, just think of me as dispensing some wisdom based on personal experience. If you happen to be “shopping” for a man who’s apt to be horse-friendly, here are my suggestions.
First, the ideal horse-man cannot have an aversion to:
- fly spray
- alfalfa leaves on bed sheets and linens
- animal hair on places other than animals
- late dinners (due to your evening riding lesson)
- microwaved dinners (due to your extra long trail ride)
- no dinners (due to the horse show running over time)
Second, the ideal horse-man should never ask any of these questions:
- “What on earth do you do at the barn that takes three hours?”
- “If your horse only ate one bell boot, why do you have to buy a pair?”
- “The mustangs seemed to survive just fine without their hooves being trimmed, so why does your horse need a farrier appointment every eight weeks?”
- “Can I try jumping your horse over that oxer, just to see what it feels like?”
- “Why do you want another horse?”
Finally, the ideal horse-man should possess certain desirable qualities. They include:
- Physical traits that deem him worthy of wearing snug jeans.
- Access to a tractor.
- The ability to back a fully loaded horse trailer into a tight parking space. At a show. In the dark. With all your friends watching.
- A certain handiness with power tools and woodworking equipment.
- Susceptibility to what I call The Invisible Stud Chain. If he steps out of line by, for example, uttering something cringe-inducing like, “That dressage horse sure has a crummy lope,” you can make him shut up, shut down and back up by shooting him one piercing stare. This is vitally important if you intend on trotting him out at public events like horse shows and riding clinics.
I know that the perfect horse-man may not exist. Yet I believe I came pretty darn close in lassoing mine, despite his reluctance to embrace the dust cloud that follows me wherever I go. For those of you horsewomen still out there shopping around, I wish you luck. Be sure to keep the checklists handy!
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