I was recently serving a table of young attractive lawyers, when it came up in conversation that I was an, ahem, "Horse Girl". The one lawyer shook his head and said to me, "Man, I dated a #crazyhorsegirl once, and it sucked." He looked around at his friends, and continued, "One time, she got me up at THREE AM to go to her horse show and we literally stayed there ALL DAY and ALL NIGHT. I even had to help her clean up horse poop." The table gasped, I shrugged, seemed normal to me. Undeterred, he continued even more, "and let me tell you guys - if you date a horse girl, you are always number two, number one is always the horse. You have an important business dinner? Too bad, girlfriend is out at the barn because her horse blew a shoe." I snorted, he was so right, where would you be in that situation? At the barn, duh, of course.
& that, right there, is some of what every 20-something #crazyhorsegirl will face, when they jump into the dating pool. Now, I've put a lot of thought into this (it doesn't help my mother is a relationship and life coach... big sigh...), some days I think I want the cowboy, other days, I want the doctor who doesn't even know what a "forelock" is. Most days though, I know it takes a special man to still want to hold your hand when it's covered in MTG, and your entire dinner conversation revolves around what winter blanket you should be buying your horse, but still loves you.
Let me introduce you to some of the men that I have met in my quest to find someone that will get/accept/love/be indifferent too my equine passions..
1. The "0% Clue About Horses" Guy
These guys are usually sweet, but.. they can get annoying, real quick. They generally want to go riding with you, and does this ever become a double-edged sword really quick. First off, you have a hot jumper, a massive dressage horse, a quick and catty cutting horse... you're new beau can't just... "ride them", but he doesn't get that. Furthermore, when he was 6 he rode a pony named "Sparkles" at a birthday party, so he thinks he's got it down.
A friend recently recounted to me a story where she brought a guy that "grew up riding" out to the barn. He didn't even know how to hold the reins, let alone ride a horse and ended up getting in a big wreck because he was spurring his horse in every which direction but the right one. That about sums it up. If this is the guy for you, just steer him as far away as the barn as possible. OR, tell him your horses aren't rideable, and just allow him to feed them cookies whenever he wants to come out.
2. The "Why Are You Always At The Barn?" Guy
This one, let me tell you, is not the one for you. Sure, we as women need to balance our time, and spend some time with our significant others. (I use some very lightly here, we all know our horses are our significant others) BUT, the guy that's constantly questioning your whereabouts? Ugh. When you tell him you were out at the barn and he rolls his eyes? Nah. When you tell him in advance that you need to be at the barn and he still won't accept it? Bye-Bye. See ya never.
3. The "Country/Redneck" Guy
Take note of leg/hand placement, and shoes... not a rider.
This one... he's a sneaky guy. At first, you think he's perfect, he "gets" your lifestyle. He loves the outdoors, he has a dog he loves, he seems interested in horses - you know why? Because every country song he's listened too, (the ones that don't talk about chewing tobacco, and getting wasted atleast) have preconditioned him to "want" a cowgirl. He also probably thinks that he can ride a horse really well, and maybe he can, but chances are... he'd rather ride his quad/dirt bike. So does he really want you, and your "horse life" or does he really just want a cute skinny girl in camo short-shorts that likes to sit on the back of his truck? That's for you to discover my friend, god speed.
4. The "City" Guy
Ah, maybe you've found it, the perfect balance. The City Guy has his own friends, his own life - maybe he plays hockey in the winter, maybe he just has his own passions but enjoys that you have your own. He'll come to your shows, and cheer you on, but you know not to ask him to clean stalls at three am, because that's just not his thing. If your particular "City Guy" offers anyways - he's probably a keeper. The downside to the "City Guy" boyfriend, is that if he ever becomes the "City Guy" husband, it may be hard to get him to move out to that acreage you've always dreamed of. The "City Guy", unfortunately, may be stuck in the city.
5. The "Financially Stable City" Guy
Let's get real, let's have a #realtalk moment right now, you are a 20-something #crazyhorsegirl and you probably don't have your shit together. In your life, but mostly in your financials, and don't worry girlfriend, no judgement here... i'm right there with ya.. but you know who isn't? The "Financially Stable City" Guy... he is not down for how you spend your money. This particular suitor definitely has a very impressive job, he's a stock broker, an accountant, an engineer... he makes a very nice salary, and he saves a lot of it because he's smart. So when he see's how much you spend a month on your horses? He's going to deem that not smart... and he's going to remind you of it, every day. When you wake up in the morning, and he asks you where you are off too, and you respond "Just for a walk, babe!" but realistically it's more like "off to the tack store to drop a quick, easy, and dirty $300"... you know it's time to end it.
6. The "Rider" Guy
The "Rider" Guy, may or may not work for you. The fact is that you guys are probably very similar in your riding abilities, or maybe you are a little better. Can you show/tell him that? Maybe not all the time, maybe not ever. It may work great for you guys, you may trail ride together, and have a great time. You may show together, and cheer him on. Or, it may not, you may show together, and he might start winning, and you may not like that, he may constantly give you unsolicited advice on the trail, and it might drive you INSANE... it can go a myriad of different ways. Essentially, it's up to you, and how crazy competitive you are, to decide if you can date a guy that is in the same riding ability realm of you.
6. The "Horse Trainer" Guy
Oh... the "Horse Trainer" guy. We all know the stereotype of horse-trainer's wives, they are fricken insane, and you know why? They are married to the "Horse Trainer" Guy and he has led them down that crazy-train road. All jokes aside, there can be a lot of perks to being with a horse trainer - namely, nice horses, constant guidance and help, someone to tune on your horse and has to do it for free. There can be downsides too, of course, maybe you guys don't mesh well when it comes to him giving you advice, maybe he talks down to you, maybe he gets easily frustrated with your riding. Similar to the "Rider" Guy, it all comes down to how the two of you work together - it can be great, but oh man, it can be bad too. Case in point, me asking my ex reining horse trainer boyfriend how he begins to ask his two year olds for lead changes and he snorted, as if the concept was way over my end... you know what's way over your head, why the hell i'm dating you... goodbye.
7. The "Perfect" Guy
So, what's the answer, my sweet 20-something #crazyhorsegirl? Sigh, quite obviously, since i'm writing this post, I don't know either. I think it falls into your hands to know what you want, how you want it, and when you want it. From there, you'll be able to find the guy that falls in to all those categories. Each #crazyhorsegirl is different, maybe your guy is punchy as hell, maybe he's never stepped foot near a horse, nor does he ever want too - whatever he's like, just make sure he treats you right, and treats your horses right too... with cookies and cuddles!
&, finally, don't even get me started about "Horse Husbands"
I have no experience with that category...
That is a whole 'other ball game my friends.
But atleast, even if the search for a man goes from rough, to rocky, to downright, #singleforever, we always know we have our ponies to get us through all of it. Because, as any horse girl knows, if your horse has a fit and kicks you... it's naughty, if your boyfriend does.. well, get that loser to pack his bags, and get out.