From the outside looking in, we horse girls might seem all prim and proper and lady-like — but suitors who buy into that stereotype are in for a big surprise. Lila Gendal explains.
Photo: Flickr/David Merrett/CC
A lot of us horse girls are cut from the same cloth, or at least a similar cloth. We take our riding and our horses very seriously and we prioritize slightly differently than the regular human. Who would want to date a grown-up barn rat? And, for those insane enough to consider it, what qualities should they possess to coexist with our crazy lifestyle? Here’s a tentative list of the top five criteria one should meet before heading down that road.
The ideal prospective partner should be…
1) Supportive. Most relationships require support, but equestrians may require slightly more emotional and financial support than your average Suzie and Bill. Our horses consume our minds, bodies and wallets. We stay at the barn until 3 a.m. because we think our horse might be uncomfortable. We enter yet another horse show we can’t afford because we JUST HAVE TO! Eligible prospects beware: We need your support!
2) Patient. Not all of us are routinely late, nor do we intend to be running behind, but horses are unpredictable. Example: Our horse loads on the trailer like a pro 364 days a year, but that morning when we need to get to the house for a family brunch he decides he has had enough — NO WAY is he getting on that trailer. Two hours go by and we finally arrive late, dirty and frazzled. Therefore, patience is a must!
3) OK with a little grunge. Surprise, surprise — horse girls are usually quite disgusting-looking at the end of a long, hot day. We may or may not have hay stuck in our hair, dirt under our fingernails, and sweaty helmet hair stuffed under grimy baseball hats. Looking gross isn’t our intention, but it comes with the territory. This is us. Take us or leave us!
4) OK with letting us drive! Some of us enjoy driving machinery and large trucks. We get our own trailer ready and drive duallies and four-horse goose neck trailers on a regular basis. We move a thousand bales of hay like it’s nothing and we are pretty strong. We don’t mind when you lend us a hand, but don’t be intimidated by our strength and our need to get stuff done on our own!
5) Agreeable. “I’m leaving for the show tomorrow and won’t be back till Sunday night. Hold down the fort, OK?” Or, “That wasn’t a bad dressage test, right?” We are working day and night. We have little energy at the end of the day and go right back at it the following morning. We need partners who are agreeable and understanding. We have crazy busy lives and need someone to help fit into these lives.
So… what’s your criteria?
My name is Lila Gendal and I am 27 years old. I am from Vermont and have been riding horses since I was 6 years old. I have been eventing since I was 10. I have been riding and training with Denny Emerson for the last 7 years. My goal is to compete at the upper levels someday. I currently have a 2005 Holsteiner mare, “Valonia” (Contester X Parlona), who is currently going training level, and I am riding one of Denny Emerson’s horses, a 2005 Selle Luxemburg gelding, “Beaulieu’s Cool Skybreaker” (Beaulieu’s Coolman X Une Beaute by Heartbreaker) who will be moving up to training soon! When I am not on a horse or in the barn I am likely working in my office on what I like to call Equine Media, or social media for equestrians and equestrian websites.
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