In the 9th episode of the The Crown, Queen Elizabeth II shows her interest in horses … and it’s implied she has a interest in her horse’s trainer as well. Prince Phillip is not amused.
I have to say this won my sympathy. After all, horses are a passion of mine — and I feel the Queen’s interest in Lord Porchester, or “Porchey,” the trainer, is natural. Why my first effort at writing a novel concerned a woman who fell in love with a horse trainer. It’s a female fantasy of some type.
But the truth is, in real life here in America, young single men are a rarity at the stable. We have a lot of young women in breeches, some middle aged women in jeans, and some older men in baggy clothing, helping wives daughters and girlfriends. But by and large, the men at the stable don’t ride, and they’re not single. Not really. I’ve only ever seen one or two actual young men riding at my own stable in my horsemanship history. One of them was Mike K., who was, like me at the time, a 7th grader. He had a fast dun quarter horse and claimed he had had lots of relationships with girls, due to his own natural charm, not to mention the positive-math situation of being a horseman … he claimed to have had some kind of tryst in the feed cabinet, a long low wooden box with a lid that you could have lain down in. I steered clear of him. His sincerity was wanting. Then there was another guy at another stable; they say he served 8 years for murder. No, I’m not making this up. The point is, if you’re looking for an eligible bachelor, the stable is about the last place to go.
Until just recently.
I have been taking my 17 year old daughter for riding lessons. The other day we pulled up, and I saw him: “Look, Jo, it’s the French Guy.”
“What is the French Guy?” she asked, not understanding.
“There’s this guy, his name is Girard or something, and he’s a man, he speaks French and he’s taking riding lessons. And he’s not ugly!”
She looked at me like I was rather nuts. “So?” She has only been riding for a few weeks, she doesn’t know the actual odds of a decent looking young man, let alone one with a French accent, washing up at a boarding stable.
“There he is!” I said. “Riding on that big sorrel horse!”
Jo dismissed me with a wave of the hand. Not yet a committed horsewoman, she didn’t understand the rarity of the phenomenon. And I suppose she had a point: she’s too young, and I’m too old.
As for Elizabeth, although she’s the right age, the show makes it appear that everything was on the up and up except for a few midnight phone calls. I have to admit, I sympathize. It’s not every day one meets a man who’s your same age and enjoys riding horses, and is presentable and single. In fact, for more horsewomen, it’s never.