Where is my prairie son
Where is my happy ending
Where have all the cowboys gone?"
I'm not much of a country music fan but once in a while a particular song catches my attention. Most of the time it's the lyrics that get to me. That's the case with Paula Cole's song, "Where Have All the Cowboys Gone."
Before you get the wrong idea, I'm perfectly happy with my "cowboy" even if he is a retired schoolteacher. Ron has never even worn a cowboy hat except for the time he was coerced into modeling for a photo shoot on western wear for Horse Illustrated.
But right now I can think of four female friends of mine who are growing weary of The Dating Game. Their undying love of riding and horses just complicates matters. The small pool of men that are desirable gets even smaller when those fellows must also accept that horses are a permanent part of any possible love affair.
Believe me, I know this from personal experience. Before I was fortunate enough to cross paths with Ron, I was also caught up in the dilemma of finding a guy who didn't object to my horses. It was tough.
Let's see... I had a crush on Stan, one of my supervisors when I worked at Disneyland. Both of us even worked in Frontierland, the section of the amusement park developed around a pioneer town theme. But one day over lunch he made this remark: "I don't date girls who have a horse because all they ever want to talk about is their horse. 'My horse this, my horse that'... I just get sick of hearing about their stupid horse."
Alrighty then. So much for Stan.
Then there was Ken. His ego would not allow him to be less than an expert in anything, so he persisted in going riding with me. Unfortunately, he couldn't ride. At all. His lack of balance on the back of my mare caused him to yank on the reins and bounce on her back. He was offended when I began to offer him tips on How Not to Get Bucked Off of My Mare. And that pretty much ended my relationship with Ken.
Later on I was engaged to Karl. He rarely came to the barn. He grudgingly tolerated my horse, an off-the-track Thoroughbred I'd retrained as a hunter and trail horse. But as the time approached for us to set a wedding date, he began to demand that I choose between him and the horse. He actually said these words: "I think you love that horse more than me."
Uhm, what was I supposed to say to that?
Since I had a diamond ring on my finger, I did something totally out of character: I actually sold my horse just to appease Karl! But soon I realized I had also sold a part of my identity. I wasn't happy and I began to resent Karl. Our engagement ended and soon afterwards I bought another horse. In fact, I bought two!
My luck changed with the last guy I dated before I met Ron. Farrin was a cute but poor surf bum. I didn't envision him as a potential lifelong soul mate, but at least Farrin had a passion for an outdoor physical activity. He knew what it was like to be involved with a group of people who had their own lingo, who wore specialized clothing, and who woke up each morning with one purpose in mind: "How much time can I set aside to enjoy the one thing that gives my life meaning?"
Farrin gave me two gifts while we were dating. One was a gold pendant of a galloping horse. The other was a crystal horse made from blown glass. See? At least he understood how much horses meant to me.
That experience made me realize that I didn't necessarily have to find a man who loved horses or riding. I just needed one who thought it was perfectly fine for me to indulge in an activity that might not include him.
That's why when I met Ron I snapped him up. Because he has his own interests and hobbies, he understands mine. In fact, right before we became engaged, he went off on a scuba diving trip to the Caribbean. I was headed out of state to a horse show. When we re-connected two weeks later, our relationship was not only intact, it was stronger, because we shared the photos and memories from our respective adventures. That's when I knew I had found Mr. Right.
Some of my horsey women friends also found their Mr. Right. Leslie's husband willingly helps her out at horse shows. He couldn't bridle or saddle a horse if he had to, but he's perfected the art of applying hoof polish and Show Sheen at the backgate. Jennifer's husband wasn't a horseman, but he took basic western riding lessons from me, got his own horse and began trail riding. That gave him a better insight to his wife's love of horses. Debbie's husband is a confirmed animal lover, so her horses were simply incorporated into his menagerie. Liza is one of Southern California's top professional trainers, but her husband has a career in the construction industry. Their jobs have nothing in common, but they make use of their own talents. That leads to healthy mutual respect.
So, you see, there are some Mr. Rights out there for horsewomen. They just don't always look like cowboys. While I grant you that they may be hard to find, once they're discovered they're worth the effort.
Share your experiences-- good or bad-- by clicking on "comments" below or emailing me at: firstname.lastname@example.org