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So I have a non-horsey other half. Sometimes known in the trade as an NHOH. We met in a bar in Manchester and he found it very amusing that I couldn’t believe he’d never ridden a horse in his life.
It has to be said that having seen my credit card statements lying around (I was only this careless once) and having accompanied me on several trips to A and E, I am no longer surprised he has no wish to sit on a horse.
He has nonetheless, over the course of 15 years together, accompanied me to around 15 or so events – an average of one a year! – and these are my top five tips to keep your NHOH happy at shows.
How to keep your NHOH happy at shows
1. Enter shows where there is a good coffee/bacon butty provider. Given the likely early start and possible bad weather (shows in the pouring rain are particularly challenging), a good way to get the day off to a good start is to point out the bacon butty stand and send your bleary-eyed partner off while you get the horse ready. They always look much less peaky after a bacon sandwich and a coffee. So far so good.
2. Try to minimise actual horse contact. I have had complaints when my teeny tiny, light as a feather, six month old foal stepped on my NHOH’s foot. He’s very proud of his shoes you see. Even more vocal complaints when my horse blows his nose in my NHOH’s vicinity (horse snot on jackets is not appreciated). The smell of your beloved horse’s poo doesn’t seem to be welcomed either. I can’t think why...
3. If you do ask your OH to hold the horse, make sure it’s your quietest horse and ensure it’s for the minimum length of time. They will hold them at extreme arms’ length, as if they were allergic to them. I do know of other halves who can put studs in. This seems a nirvana which I have never reached. And I think these qualify as HOHs – horsey other halves – and so are beyond the scope of this article.
4. If possible, ask for late times. I find the likelihood of your NHOH coming with you and providing helpful moral support increases if you don’t shock them to the core with the idea of getting up at 4am. The first horse trials my partner came to with me, we got up at 3.45am to drive three hours to a place in the Cotswolds and then the ancient Land Rover discovery blew its head gasket on the way down. He didn’t come again for a long time after that.
5. Don’t dawdle around at the end, looking at your score, checking out your photos, watching other people jump and browsing the saddlery stores. Although these are brilliantly fun activities that finish off the day, sadly your partner is probably itching to get home and watch Match of the Day – or some such. So do him a favour and get driving home quickly.
And since it has to be said, you are more likely to keep your other half happy if you let him stay at home and do what he wants to do, here are my top five tips for home NHOH happiness.
How to keep your NHOH happy at home
1. Always add on an hour to the time you say you are going to be home from the stables. That way expectations are managed and there will be no earache when you drag in ages after you said, as you had to work on a thorny leg yield problem or simply lost track chatting to all your friends at the stables about said thorny leg yield problem.
2. Try to change out of your jodhpurs once in a while. Such a pain when you are tired and home late. But for some reason they find the idea of lounging next to you on the sofa in horse clothes, with the Eau de Horse and hay in your hair to add to the mix, less romantic than you would hope.
3. Go for minimal transparency in what the horse costs. Having heard the ear-piercing shriek when my partner picked up my credit card statement thinking it was his and then couldn’t believe the figures he was seeing, believe me, it’s best to keep these things hidden. Likewise the receipt for the new saddle, They just don’t need to read that sort of thing.
4. Try not to put every single photograph of you from shows up around the house. If you do, brace yourself for the inevitable…”but they all look the same…isn’t that the same fence/same horse”. Same goes for rosettes.
5. Act hazy when pressed as to how many horses you actually own. This allows for a sneaky new addition without the drama. If you always buy horses in the same colour, it also helps, as they can’t tell if it’s a different one. Sorted.
Being happy together
Of course, the big bonus to your non-horsey boyfriend is that if they do come down to the yard or attend shows, they are often quite happy to take pictures of you on your beloved horse! This is an activity that you love and taking photos or video means they can indulge their love of tech and keep a safe distance from your dangerous horse. Everyone’s happy!
The author of this article, Lisa Simpson, is a freelance advertising copywriter and amateur event rider, who currently competes her 17hh horse Jack at BE and BS. Find out more about her and her copywriting work on her website > https://lisasimpsoncreative.co.uk/