Once upon a time, long before there were MILFs and "Yummy Mummies" (and all of the other sexy and exciting titles which are now bestowed upon women in their 30's saddled with whiny children to make the gig sound much more glamorous than it really is), poor Mrs Curmudgeon used to take my sister and me to ride our ponies at a boarding stable on the edge of the burb of Bramalea. (If you are not familiar with the place, I will say that although the "lea" part may make it sound romantic and full of green rolling hills... Bramalea is neither).
For the most part, I remember it being cold and damp, and I cried a lot. I still cry a lot, even when I am neither cold nor damp so I am pretty sure it was not entirely the environment. Regardless, I am confident that there were a lot of nights Mrs. Curmudgeon would have rather driven a spike through her left eye than sit in the clammy tack room one more time, then listen to me cry about my stupid pony on one more drive home. But she persevered, and one day, an amazing thing happened. A sexy horseback riding guy showed up. Let's call him... Senhor Cavaleiro.
Now don't get me wrong, there was - and still in fact is, 30+ years later - a Mr. Curmudgeon. However, who can argue that a little bit of eye candy might brighten up yet another dull night sitting and shooting the proverbial breeze with the other suburban moms at the barn.
Now not only was Senhor Cavaleiro a adult heterosexual man, which right away made him interesting and unusual at your average boarding stable in Bramalea... but he was European. With an Accent. And, he wore a cool cap - this tweedy wool number with a little pointy peak. But wait - there's more.
He was... a bullfighter. Yes, my friends, he showed up at Derryvue Acres not only with a horse (a man showing up there to hang out with the kids without a horse would not be sexy, he would just come off as a creepy pedophile). But also with his own bulls.
(For the life of me I am not sure how he found the place. These days, you can't even find boarding for a cribber, let alone your Lusitano road show, complete with stallion and bulls. Can you imagine the "LF: boarding" post on EMG?)
After all the kids had finished up whatever it is we did when we were riding, Senhor Cavaleiro would take over the arena with his stallion and bulls, and a long stick, and do some sort of something that I recall just looked awkward to me at the time, but I guess it was really.... Classical Dressage. Like - really classical dressage. From a time when people taught their horses to go sideways and spin around on their hindquarters not to pull off some impossible feat like putting a smile on the face of Linda Zang - but for practical reasons, like to avoid being gored to death.
After some period of time, Senhor Cavaleiro got his shit together and moved the road show out of the stable of suburban housewives, to a place of his own. We actually went there with Mrs. Curmudgeon after he left, to see how he had settled in. I remember nothing but "the pillars". There was no horse in them or anything, but their mere presence seemed just way cooler than upended oil drums with a pole across them, or brush boxes made out of old skids, the kinds of things I was used to in terms of "arena adornments".
So anyways, what does all of this have to do with the journey of the now middle aged Dressage Curmudgeon? Well, when I started looking for my magical "longe lesson"... guess who I found! It must have been fate, right?