byEditorial Staff| Oct 19, 2017
There are ups and downs to every relationship, and certainly, every profession comes with its own stress points and difficulties. But when you date a man who makes his living riding horses at international shows around the world, the challenges you face are as unique as they are all-encompassing (because what are horses if not all-encompassing?).
As it happens, most women who end up with professional riders tend to be riders, themselves. And while you may never get a day off from late nights, early mornings, and round-the-clock competition drama, at least you can help to shoulder the burden.
Just what kind of burden, specifically? We catch up with Gabrielle Kuna—show jumper Chris Chugg’s longtime girlfriend—to find out. Here are Gabrielle’s 10 truths about dating a rider.
1. You’ll have good & bad days.
You will see the best side and the worst side of him fairly early in the piece. Like any sport, you have highs and the lows, so being able to accommodate for both those factors is pretty important to sustain a proper relationship. If he has a fall, or just a bad day in general, for example, it’s probably best to stay in the VIP or the bar and wait for him to approach you!
2. You’ll live like a gypsy.
Maybe this one is a little more glamorous for some than for others! Equestrian athletes are on the road for most of the year going from show to show, and country to country, so all those comforts of home are few and far between. Living out of a suitcase and in a horse truck (or hotel, for those lucky ones)—often for weeks at a time—soon becomes our home away from home!
3. There’s a hierarchy (you’re #2).
Horses will and most likely always come before you.
4. Your manicure days are over.
For those non-horsey women who fall for this breed of guy, be ready to get your hands dirty. Even if it’s just petting the horses, endeavoring to stay as spotless as you left the house that day just isn’t reality (because you know even if you seem to stay clean, a stray bit of hay or shavings will most likely end up somewhere). Word to the wise: It’s probably best to avoid wearing white and those new Jimmy Choos around the stables!
5. There’s only one topic of conversation…
Horse talk… yep, we are ALL guilty!
6. He’s likely self-obsessed.
…In a riding sort of way. Most riders strive for perfection and are guilty of watching the rounds that they absolutely nailed (or, then again, didn’t) over and over again, dissecting every detail—because once is never enough—or going straight online to look at what photos the photographers managed to capture from the show over the weekend. He’ll probably be zooming in on every one to make sure he and his horse are in good enough form to post to Instagram or Facebook (it’s not just a girl thing!).
7. Hard work.
There will always be a lot of blood, sweat and tears involved…both happy and sad!
8. Plenty of Groundhog Days.
‘Same thing different day’ is a common feeling, but one that he lives for and is passionate about.
9. There’s no such thing as a horse-free vacation.
Thinking you are going on a nice European holiday, with no horses, will almost always turn into looking at one, two, or 10 horses along the way! Go somewhere like Bora Bora if you don’t want horses to pop up on your “holiday”.
10. There’s no such thing as “work hours”.
The standard eight- or nine-hour working day? FORGET IT! You need to look elsewhere.
-Photo credits: Kristin Lee Photography; Lucio Landa (2).
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