Depending on your father’s demeanour (silent is as unnerving as abrupt), introducing them to your boyfriend is enough to turn any well-meaning boy into a quivering wreck.
But that’s the least of their concerns. Here’s why meeting your horse should be at the top of their list of new relationship worries:
1. Horses can sense fear (and will act on it)
While your father might notice a slightly clammy handshake or flustered expression, he’s unlikely to do anything about it. But when your horse senses fear, his ears will go back and…
2. Polite conversation isn’t going to cut it
Your horse doesn’t care whether your boyfriend has a first class degree in economics or is doing well in the City. Economics means nothing to him (and he doesn’t know where the City is).
3. Your horse has no qualms about making your boyfriend look like a fool
When you flippantly suggest that your boyfriend (who has never ridden) hops on for a ride, his face whitens and his fists clench. The next 45 minutes will involve an ill-fitting hat bobbling around on his nose and a very uncomfortable variation of sitting trot.
4. The lingo is a minefield
While your boyfriend might share some common language with your father (football, rugby and cricket…) once he arrives on the yard, he’s stepped into another world. And there’s only so long that you’ll tolerate him referring to Badminton as “the races”.
Is your new significant other being slightly coy about their hobbies and interests? Here are some subtle yet key signs
5. Mucking out
Being asked to unload the dishwasher when your boyfriend comes to stay for the first time is expected, but being asked to muck-out calls on an entirely different skill set. This is when you work out just how helpful (or not) he’s going to be around the yard.
6. Meeting your horse is just the beginning…
Once the intitial introduction is over, weekends standing ringside holding bits of tack, being wowed by the Derby bank and familiarising himself with the Badminton tradestands are on the horizon. A lunch being quizzed by your father about promotion potential seems increasingly appealing in comparison…