Jenni Nguyen: Dinner and a… horse show?

New blogger Jenni shares the story of a recent horsey date night with her unsuspecting husband.

From Jenni:

If you have kids, you know what I mean when I say that planning a night out can be a feat of Olympic proportions. Unless you have access to a full-time nanny/über-generous babysitter, lots of time can span in between dates with you and your significant other or even just hanging out with friends. So believe me when I say I was REALLY excited when hubby and I planned a night out to the Washington International Horse Show, courtesy of the super-awesome Equiery! Horses and a night out with my man? I hit the date night jackpot! (For the record, he was not involved in the planning. I said, “we’re going.” He said, “OK.” Gooood hubby.)


We decided to make the trip to D.C. on Saturday night for the President’s Cup. My parents graciously agreed to watch our little future equestrian, so we dropped him off and drove to the nearest Metro train station to head into town. After a nauseating ride (I don’t handle train travel very well. Actually, any travel. Can’t I just teleport?) we finally got to the Verizon center and I was, well, chomping at the bit. Poor hubs (I’ll call him J from now on) trailed behind me like an owner being dragged by his amped-up rottweiler. I couldn’t help it; I was so excited to show him how much fun horse shows of this caliber were! But I would be lying if I said I wasn’t also really nervous. My biggest fear was that he really, really wouldn’t like it.

We caught the last half of the equitation finals–the portion where the riders swap horses–and saw Maddie Durst win. The awards ceremony did take a little while, though, and I could tell that whatever enthusiasm J had brought with him was already waning. Panic started to set in. Crap. This was a terrible idea. We would have been better off going to Macaroni Grill. At least then I could unabashedly stuff my face with tiramisu.


Just when I started to lose hope, the Nationals’ presidents (google them: they’re hilarious!) swooped in to save my poor, sorry sap of a dear husband from the jaws of boredom! This was followed by barrel racing and the terrier races, both of which were extremely exciting to watch. But wait, is that… yes! A smile! A chuckle! He’s laughing and having a good time! Huzzah!

During the terrier races, J and I shared a romantic dinner of an overpriced concession stand hot dog and some French fries. Ahhh… this is the life. I think the terrier races were easily his favorite part of the entire show, to be honest. Who could blame him? Those little pups were so darn cute with their little stumpy legs and ferocious little yaps!

Last year’s terrier races:


After the races, they began to set up for the President’s cup Grand Prix. During this time, I realized I was the only moron in the arena without a fancy program and I wanted one, darnit! I turned to J and batted my eyelashes so hard my mascara flaked clean off. After a groan, he complied, squeezed through the other folks in our row and went to find me one. What a sweet husband! After about 10 minutes, he returned. Empty-handed.

“I couldn’t find them.”

“Did you ask anyone where they were?”


Ugh… men.


Whatever. It’s just a program. Anyway, the Grand Prix was about to begin. This was the part I was most looking forward to J seeing. The jumps were high, the horses unpredictable. I think I might have hyped it up a little too much to J, but hey, it’s still pretty dang exciting. He humored me and watched as each of the competitors gave their best shot at a very tough course, even groaning as rails went out and giving a “yes!” when a rider cleared a tough area. The entire course was very challenging and as I’m sure you know by now, only two riders cleared the course. As they were setting up for the jump-off, I turned to J and saw that he was definitely looking a little worn out. I assured him that we could leave as soon as the jump-off ended. Man, was that so exciting, though! I personally was rooting for Brianne, but both she and Kent put in stellar rounds! J cheered and I could feel him tense up as each of the horse and rider pairs left the ground. At least he was paying attention!

Kent Farrington’s winning jump-off round:

[Jenni Nguyen]

After the jump-off, we booked it out of the arena before the crowds started to get bad. Once we got settled into our seats on the train, I had time to sit and think. What a lucky gal I was. My husband so willingly accompanied me to an event that he almost certainly would not find all that interesting. I know for a fact that the horsey side of me is not easy to deal with–yakking non-stop about some horse I saw on some website or what the horse I was riding did today. I can only imagine it’s exhausting. It means the world to me that he puts up with my shenanigans and lets me have my time doing the things I love.

When we returned home, our petit garçon was sound asleep. We loaded him into the car, with the careful precision of a mad scientist holding a nuclear rod, and went home. I asked J what he thought. “It was pretty cool,” he said. “Pretty cool” is just fine for me. I got to see gorgeous ponies and have a night out on the town. What more could a horse girl want?


Jenni Nguyen is a full-time mom, wife and horse freak. Though she does yet not have an equine companion of her own, she enjoys spending her time in the company of some very patient horses who are subjected to her frequent follies. She hopes to become an eventer, as soon as she can stop being such a spaz. Please don’t ask why her car smells like a barn; she gets enough of that from her mother.


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