How to be a Better Horse-Show-Boyfriend

From my favorite horse-show boyfriend himself, here’s Manfriend’s instructions on how to survive as someone who loves a girl who loves horse shows:

Alright gents.

If you’re reading this, there’s a fairly decent chance that you’ve been to a horse show. If you’re reading this and you haven’t been to a horse show, then: A. Why are you here? and B. You’re a terrible horse-girl significant other and she’s probably mad at you.

Being a horse show boyfriend/husband is unlike watching any other sport because quite frankly, there’s not a lot of spectating going on. It’s a relay race of hauling, holding, schlepping, reacting, and then maybe a little bit of watching. Being around your woman while she’s competing means that for the next several hours, the horse is the center of her universe and you are essentially Pluto. You have to be barely seen, not heard, but if she needs a planet then it’s handy that you’re there.

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I was actually there for this show, I just wasn’t allowed close enough to show up in any pictures

Now, before I’m made out to be a hater who dreads going to shows, you must know that watching Olivia compete, win, and win some more is an absolute joy for me. Frankie is an awesome horse and equestrian sports (once you learn how it all works) are a blast to watch. Having said that, I felt compelled to post my “Crack Commandments” as it were so my other dudes in the game can survive and thrive as well.

Here’s a man’s guide to surviving a horse show.

  1. Embrace the smells. I think there is something wrong with Olivia’s olfactory receptors. She seems to think that horse manure, hay, urine and general barn smells are like a Yankee Candle burning softly in a cinnamon factory. This is the same woman who will get in my car and gag at the Febreze air freshener. Barn smells aren’t something I’ve gotten used to and probably won’t for a long time, but it’s something you’re just going to have to suck up- figuratively and literally.
  2. Become “The Invisible Mule.” After your lady has walked her course, she is in the zone. She is Eminem before facing off with Poppa Doc at the end of 8 Mile. She will need things like water handed to her, someone to hold the reins while she takes care of something, or someone she can hand her phone off to when it’s go-time. If you’re one of those guys who rocks flip flops and those Chubbies shorts, you’re gonna have a bad time. You’ll need something with ample pocket space to hold water, gloves, her crop, etc.- a hoodie at the bare minimum. You will have to be silent and unseen until your services are needed. Also, you’re going to be walking alongside her while she’s mounted quite a bit, so flip flops are a bad idea. Actually, no man should ever wear flip flops in public for any reason so write that down.
  3. Learn to be a cell phone camera expert. Unless you’re a step ahead of me and you have a nice camera, learn how to film a round. You need to get good at keeping the horse in frame and zooming in and out as you go (without making it a shaky Cloverfield J.J. Abrams-esque mess). Olivia has this blog in which she posts her video/picture content, but trust me, your horse lady would love to (and should) watch her rounds to review her technique. Not only does it help her progress, but it also equals mad likes on Instagram. And as we all know, if you can’t post it on Instagram then what’s the point? Does it even count?
  4. Bring water. Seriously. Half of you people are dehydrated throughout the entire day. This has a bit to do with horse shows and being outside and everything to do with not being a moron and wondering why you have a headache around 1:30PM. Sure, it may not look that cool to be having to make a bathroom stop more often, but it’s even lamer to be a grown man who passed out because you forgot to drink a beverage that keeps you alive.
  5. Learn the sport. As cool as it is to watch your girlfriend/wife pilot around a 1 ton beast that has a mind of its own; it’s MUCH more fun when you actually know what’s going on. Imagine going to a hockey game for the first time and wondering why all the figure skaters with shoulder pads are hitting each other. That’s what watching the jumpers without knowing the scoring system or rules is like. Once I learned what I was watching, I found myself muttering “sh*t yea” a lot more when I watched Olivia nail the last fence. Also, if you’re like me and curse like a 14-year-old on Call of Duty when mom’s not home, watch your language. There are lots of kids at these things, I’ve probably gotten stared at.

Hopefully by now you’ve learned a few things from a guy who has committed nearly every faux pas in the horse show universe and learned from it. Have fun at these things- they’re seriously a great time if you like competitive spirit and watching your loved one be better than other people.

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After all, in the words of Coach Reilly from the first Mighty Ducks: “it’s not worth playing if you can’t win-WIN!”

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Setting the Record Straight

Manfriend has been dragged along to lessons, shows, XC schoolings, and countless other barn outings over the last few years. It was time to give him a turn to talk.

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Greetings to all you equestrian enthusiasts and faithful readers of this awesome blog. I have been asked to post as an outside guest, and the best thing I could think of was to debunk some myths that I have had in my head for years about the world of horses. Here are the 5 top misconceptions I’ve had, and the facts behind them.

Myth #1: Girls love horses because horses are beautiful creatures.

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Disgusting.

Fact: FALSE. I actually have zero idea why girls love horses because they are disgusting. They poop on their own tails, they fart extraordinarily loud when they jump, and they spew green foamy slobber from their mouths. And that’s just the first 10 minutes of a riding session.

Myth #2: Horse girls are crazy and high maintenance.

Fact: This is a big one. I know a lot of you guys out there have heard that you should avoid horse girls because “they’re crazy and their whole world revolves around horses”. This is absolutely false- I’ve heard my horse girl mention time and time again how much she cares about things that truly matter like friends, food, a good home, blankets, shoes, saddles, water, bits, turnout time…wait.

Myth #3: Horse races are for the cultured and those of high society.

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Darling, looking at the camera is for sober poor people

Fact: Oh MAN have you guys been found out. You thought you could fool me with your fancy hats, your pretty dresses, and those long glove things that reach up to your elbows. You people are the biggest bunch of goddamn phonies I’ve ever seen. You see, my only experience with horse races prior to dating Horse Girl was what I saw of the NBC coverage of the Kentucky Derby on TV, where everyone is wearing a watch worth more than what I make in a year turning tricks down at the docks. When Olivia took me to my first steeplechase event, we pulled into the lot and I thought we had gotten the wrong directions and wound up at an outdoor frat convention.

You see, it was at that exact moment that I realized horse races are an excuse to drink liquor at 10AM and maybe, if you feel like it, glance at a horse or two. My eyes are forever open, I’ve been unplugged from the matrix, and I’ll be taking my red pill straight up with a whiskey back. What? No thanks…no I’m good on food, I had some from the taco truck. What? Yea, yea the one right next to where the girl in the sunhat was puking a few minutes ago.

Myth #4: Horse shows are where they trot the horses around with bows and do their manes up like my little pony.

Fact: This is literally what I thought a horse show was before actually going to my first one. The fact is that shows are competitive, sometimes dangerous and downright dirty. I didn’t fully realize this until I saw a rider fall off a horse straight into the muck on her back only to pop right back on like nothing even happened. Just a close call to a spinal injury, no big deal, that only happens to newbies and Superman right? Don’t even get me started on the cross country stuff. Barreling down an open and uneven field at top speed and launching over fences that are usually sufficient enough to keep rioters at bay? Keep on truckin’, ladies, you’re making it look easy and reminding the rest of us uninitiated folk that we would probably scream like Thad Castle (look it up) if we went half that speed.

Myth #5: She probably loves her horse more than you.

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Pick a favorite face.

Fact: She lets me sleep inside, the horse has never once been invited over to her apartment (I have, lots of times), and she doesn’t smack me on the rib cage for not holding still. Usually. Besides, has Frankie ever had a slice of her homemade coconut cream pie? I think not. Who’s the clear winner here? Thought so.

Myth #6: Riding is easy because the horse is the one doing all the work.

Fact: This time I’m only talking to the men. Guys, in the 2 years I’ve been involved with the horse world, I’ve learned one simple tip if nothing else. If you have ever thought about even THINKING about maybe entertaining the thought of saying this………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

………………………………………….go for it, you’re absolutely right.

Raccoon