So, you’ve started to date a horse-crazy gal? First of all, congratulations. You have excellent taste. The Horse Girl is a unique and wonderful breed, and we want your relationship to be successful.
You might believe that dating a girl who is crazy about horses isn’t any different than dating somebody who crochets or collects folk art. But you’d be wrong. There are things you need to know about us, and it’s best that you know them sooner than later.
It is easy to identify a Horse Girl when you meet one. Just start a conversation with us. About anything. If we don’t find a way to mention our horse within the first five minutes, then we don’t have one.
Once we do mention them, be prepared to for us to pull out our phone and show you three dozen photos of said horse in various poses. And those are just the pictures we took today. (Years from now, when the garage is too full of extra saddles and feed for you to park your car, you can’t say we didn’t warn you. We practice full disclosure right from the beginning.)
The usual rules of how to impress a girl don’t apply. We won’t find your high-rise condo appealing. But you will pique our interest if you tell us that you have a house with some property in any area that is zoned for agriculture (it doesn’t matter if you know your zoning; we have this sort of stuff memorized). The potential for housing additional horses is a powerful aphrodisiac.
Saying you own a hot sports car won’t excite us. But you’d have to really screw up to not get a second date if we find out you have a truck. Before we even buckle our seatbelt we’re giddily calculating how many fewer trips we’ll need to make to the feed store. And if your truck has a hitch—well, land, truck, and hitch is pretty much the Horse Girl equivalent of hitting the trifecta.
Don’t worry if you think strawberry roan is a dessert and liver chestnuts are something you stuff poultry with. It’s actually better if you’re NOT a horse person yourself. We’d just as soon not have to deal with the inevitable disagreements—you claiming the horses are fine when the weather clearly warrants blanketing, for example. All we need is for you to be trainable in the basics.
If we’re meeting you somewhere for a date, chances are we are coming from the barn. Yes, we are going out to eat looking and smelling like this. If it’s really a problem for you, we’ll dab a bit of Belvoir behind our ears and run a tail comb through our hair. Keep a bottle of Febreze in the truck if you must, but we are not going to wear that pine tree-shaped “necklace” that you took off your rearview mirror.
Horse Girls prefer cozy, casual dates to formal social outings. We’re not much for small talk and aren’t good at parties. We’ll probably just hang out at the buffet table waiting for opportunities to sneak carrot sticks into our purse—unless we meet another horse person, in which case you’ll have to go entertain yourself until it’s time to leave.
Speaking of leaving, if there is an emergency at the barn any time of day or night, we are going. It doesn’t matter if we’re in the middle of donating a kidney to you. And we’re taking your truck.
Communication skills are important in any relationship, and Horse Girls have their own language. Because of this we will take you to the barn now and then to teach you some basic terminology. We can’t fully enjoy telling you stories about what cute thing our horse did today if you must continually interrupt us to ask what a word means.
Should our relationship progress to the point where you want to give us a ring—don’t. When you put it on our finger and tears well up in our eyes, it is not out of love. It is because we are agonizing over what a great saddle we could have bought for that much money.
If you need to make a grand romantic gesture, get us a two-horse slant-load. If you want to buy us something special to wear, wrap up a shadbelly. And surprising us with a weekend getaway is only advised if we can bring our horse with us.
When it comes to buying us gifts in general, your job couldn’t be easier.* If it comes from a tack store or a feed store, you’re golden.
But if you really don’t know what you’re looking at, it’s safer to opt for a gift certificate. There is no kind way to tell you why we’re returning the orange plaid blanket you got for our hunter. Your argument that “it’s hunter orange,” will not hold up here.
*Exception to gift rule: Do not ever buy us anything with a title like “The Horse Owner’s Vet Book.” In it, we will find hundreds of conditions we never knew our horses were susceptible to. Our horse-mom paranoia will reach manic proportions. You will be sorry. The vet will be sorry. Our horse (who we will probably end up wrapping in bubble wrap) will be sorry. If you must get us a book about horses, we recommend Black Beauty.
You never have to worry about a Horse Girl turning into a different person once you marry her. After the wedding, very little is going to change—for us. As for you—you will get used to horse hair in the dryer and blankets stretched out on your workbench in the garage to dry. You’ll learn how to back out of the driveway blind when hay bales are blocking the back window of the truck. The good news is, you’ll never, ever have to ask us ‘where have you been all day?’ You’ll always know where we are.
There will be hard realities to face. We will do things for horses that we would not dream of doing for a human being. No matter how much we love you, we’re not going to hold up your leg while you bleed on us until the doctor arrives. If you wake at night with a stomachache, you can get up and walk your own self around. We do not want to be alerted when you poop. It’s in your best interest to suffer silently. If you make too much noise we’re going to get out the tube and the mineral oil.
There are benefits to living with a Horse Girl, though. We’re hard workers who are not afraid to get our hands dirty. We’re not squeamish. You can count on us to do whatever it takes in a pinch. And give us duct tape and Bondo and we can fix about anything.
Just be careful not to play the ‘’Ooooh, I’m so sick,” card when you want our sympathy. Do you really want us to get the thermometer?
This column originally ran on www.coth.com on March 26, 2015.
After years of trying to fit in with corporate America, Jody Lynne Werner decided to pursue her true passion as a career rather than a hobby. So now, she’s an artist, graphic designer, illustrator, cartoonist, web designer, writer and humorist. You can find her work on her Misfit Designs Cafepress site. Jody is one of the winners of the Chronicle’s first writing competition. Her work also appears in the 2013 and 2014 Amateur Issue print editions of The Chronicle of the Horse.