There is something to be said about dating a muggle. Sure, they might not know much (or anything) about horses, but I find it refreshing. It can be fun to teach them the basics and they open up your world to other interests and hobbies. I know all horse girls dream of dating a fellow equestrian, but after dating a few, I can safely say that the muggles are where it’s at.
My significant other took it upon himself to learn more about horses. It started as a desire to be more useful at horse shows and has now taken on a life of its own. Sometimes I come home to see him watching videos from William Fox-Pitt’s groom discussing her grooming routines, or the vet box process, or why not to take it personally when the rider feels the need to double check everything. Don’t get me wrong, it’s very sweet that he wants to learn more, but this is uncharted territory for me.
First it was learning to take my horses on walks at horse shows. I warned him that they were very temperamental and difficult to deal with. His solution: stuffing his pockets with treats. At first I laughed, because while all horses love treats, we also know that’s not the answer to good behavior. I was wrong. Whenever my horses see him, they walk right up to him and not only check his pockets, but also snuggle him and walk quietly alongside him wherever he goes.
Fine, it doesn’t take a genius to learn how to bribe and walk a horse. Next up: learning how to tack up. He was very adamant that he learn how to groom a horse, put on boots, saddles, and bridles the correct way. While we aren’t quite there yet with the saddles or bridles, I am thoroughly impressed that he can look at a pair of boots and know exactly how to put them on. Not too shabby for a muggle.
My muggle boyfriend took a big step off the deep end when he said that he wanted to learn how to ride. At this point, I had to step in. I told him how much I love him and that he doesn’t need to know how to ride for me to care about him and want a life with him. His reply: I want to go fox-hunting in Ireland for my future dream honeymoon and he refuses to be left behind in that dream. Challenge accepted.
So I tacked up my ornery preliminary event horse and prayed to whoever was listening that he would be kind in helping me teach my boyfriend how to ride. Mind you, my horse also hates men with a passion (though he has accepted my boyfriend as the candyman) and is not an easy ride under any circumstances. Unfortunately, there are no lesson horses at my barn and my other horse has questionable braking and steering, so we went with the horse that at least was trained.
I led my horse to the mounting block and hoped for the best. I explained how to get on and he swung himself into the saddle like an old pro. After teaching him the basics about how to go forward, steer, and stop, we were off! Like any man, he quickly grew bored with his pony ride at the walk and wanted to trot. I clipped on the lead line, and off we went. He even managed to learn how to post the trot and go through a series of poles on the ground.
We are still working on our balance and the basics, but I can proudly say my muggle-turned-equestrian can now trot around the arena on his own. Sure, he really doesn’t know how to go from trot to walk and my horse likes to pretend he’s not there and go off on his own, but overall I consider it a success. My boyfriend stole my horse, and I couldn’t be more thrilled about it. Who knows, maybe one day they’ll even go beginner novice together one day… after I’m done trying make it up the upper levels.