After our initial blip at the first group dressage lessons, He and I had been enjoying the challenge and continued to attend them for the next few weeks (thankfully, the title of falling-off girl hadn’t stuck as there had been some other victims over the weeks…). Sadly, my ‘wonky egg at C’ had shown little improvement, but as ever, I lived in hope that it would soon lose its corners.
One week, it transpired that after the lesson we had a social engagement — casual drinks to celebrate the end of a project that we had both been working on in one of the departments. We were both keen to attend, because it was the last time the department would all be together before moving on to other things. Thankfully, the timings seemed to work out, and we would be able to go riding, rush home, shower, change, glam up and make it to the drinks. So as usual, we hopped on the train in our riding gear and headed to the stable.
When we got to the yard, we found that no one else in the usual group had booked into the lesson, meaning it was just the two of us. So now there was nowhere to hide from the beady eye of the instructor.
An hour of blood, sweat and stirrup-less pain later, we exhaustedly headed back to the station. Checking my phone, I saw I had a text from one of the girls at the drinks, asking: “Where r u? x”
I was confused — the drinks didn’t start until 8pm. Frantically scanning through my emails, I stared in horror as I realised I had misread the invitation, and the drinks ENDED at 8pm. And had started half an hour ago.
Oh no. We would never be able to get home, and still make it to the party before it finished. Neither of us had brought a change of clothes, we only had our riding club polos, cream jodhpurs and riding boots that we had worn in the lesson. The options were to either miss the whole thing, or go straight there in our post-lesson state.
In our desperation we reasoned that everyone might laugh at our equestrian attire, but hopefully they wouldn’t even notice. And the drinks were being held at the department, so at least we weren’t having to venture to any trendy bars. Plus, the emphasis on the invite had been casual, so people wouldn’t be too dressed up anyway… Surely He and I wouldn’t attract too much attention?
Rushing to the drinks, I braced myself as we walked into the room. I couldn’t help but mentally lament that the one time we had an immensely tough lesson was the one time we were also having to see people straight after. Picking up a much needed drink, I went to go and find the friend who had sent the text. Her eyes widened when she saw the state I was in and I readied myself for her reaction.
“Oh my goodness, you guys are soooo cute — you came in matching outfits!”
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My face fell as a number of other people made the same comment and I realised that most people there HADN’T recognised we were in sweaty riding kit and instead thought that we had purposely picked ‘his and hers’ matching outfits. This was worse than I thought. In my panic, I tried to explain that we had just been to a horse-riding and…
You know the situation is bad when trying to make people notice that you are sweaty and smell of horse is the better of two options.
I soon gave up when I realised my explanation triggered more questions than it answered. He, thankfully, took the lead and embraced the humorous side to the situation, laughing along with everyone. Internally, I couldn’t help but sigh that once again, He and I had proved to be the ‘odd couple’ and that THIS was our final impression on the team.
I did, however, have a giggle at the number of times I was approached by ladies wanting to find out where my boots were from or where they could find “such nice-fitting trousers”.