Keeping the romance alive

The initial spark of chemistry is a truly blissful sensation. Priorities change, falling asleep becomes lovely, and songs find new meaning. But as time passes, this romantic high tends to drift into a somewhat comfortable feeling of routine. How do couples, once so vibrant and full of passion, keep the  spark of romance alive? It’s not impossible. In fact, happy couples have been doing it quite successfully for quite some time.

Make Time for Each Other

It’s easy for all of us to get trapped in a vicious cycle of eat, sleep, work, repeat, but when the love of our dreams enters the picture, a certain level of maintenance is necessary for this new relationship to thrive. Schedule a standing appointment once a week to do something dedicated to one another. It could be as simple as a before-bed phone call or taking turns reading to one another in the few minutes before sleep. Whatever you and your partner choose, make it a mutually enjoyable experience, and do it for each other. Build happy memories.

Celebrate Personal Successes Together

Whether your partner has earned a promotion, rediscovered a long forgotten passion, or simply cooked a successful meal, celebrate it together. Open a bottle of wine or rent a favourite movie. Share your excitement with one another and make a special time to recognise the importance of each others’ successes. Take the time to be happy.

Work Through Personal Problems Together

Alternately, if your partner has been laid off, had a flat tire, or simply is just having an “off” day, be there together. Sometimes reassurance and quiet time together is enough, and other times you may have to be the light at the end of the tunnel. Whatever downfalls may occur – and they will – discuss the issue, hold hands, find a distraction; whatever you decide, decide to work through it together. Strength can be found in hard times.

Build Mutual Relationships

Being recognised as a couple, a unit, is a marvelous thing. Finding other couples and individuals with whom you both can find pleasant company can take time and energy, but is well worth the reward. Scout for new friends doing activities you love: a couples cooking class, the gym, a book club-the possibilities are only limited to your personal interests.

Stumped for how to break the ice? Why not a simple invite to a dinner party at your place? You just happen to have an opening for two and would love to enjoy their company. Simple, and done. Finding that special someone is difficult in itself, but resist the urge to kick up your feet and relax, thinking your work is done.

Making a relationship enduring and worthwhile takes effort, patience, and dedication, and often requires venturing out of your own personal needs and valuing those of another. However, don’t be dissuaded and view it as a tedious chore. With the right balance, a new relationship can grow into a beautiful love that is rewarding in more ways imaginable.

Gifts a woman should never give a man

While it is essential to put time, effort, and thought into gift giving, it is always important to double check that you did not purchase anything that your man may not enjoy to the fullest. Below is a list of gifts a woman should never give to a man.

Flowers are a lovely gift for women to receive and a kind gesture, but they should never be given to a man. For a woman, flowers have a sentimental value and provoke thought and warm feelings.

However, for a man, flowers are a serious jab to one’s masculinity. If you want to express your love for your man, choose to do so with a more practical gesture – find something that your man will use everyday like cologne or aftershave that will remind him that you were thinking of him. Scrapbooks piece together memories of wonderful times the two of you have spent together. They contain photographs, ticket stubs, quotations, pictures, stickers, etc of your most special times as a couple.

While it is great to collect all of these documents in one place, it is never appropriate to give your man a scrapbook of all of these memories. He’s not going to pick up a frilly scrapbook and flip through its decorated pages with the same warm feelings that you will. With that said, you can always opt for creating a collage or shadow box, choosing one theme to be most prominent.

If your man has a favorite sports team, you can put some effort into crafting a display of memorabilia along with ticket stubs and photographs, depicting moments that you may have shared together. In this way, you are putting together memories in the same way that you would a scrapbook, but you are presenting the collection so that it could proudly be hung on any wall of the manliest man cave.

Last, it is important that you never, ever give your man an unwarranted change in wardrobe. It may seem like a good idea at first to give your man some new clothing outside of his typical wardrobe, but generally this is a bad idea. Men usually establish a barrier between their working gear and their casual clothing, and if this is the case for your man, do not attempt to blur the two.

Sweaters, expensive denim, scarves, moccasins, etc all may look good on store models and in advertisements, but if you give your man an article of clothing that is outside of his comfort zone, chances are he’ll be uncomfortable wearing it. If your man is willing, offer to take him out on a shopping excursion to pick up some new items that may make him more stylish and up-to-date. This way, you can work together toward a compromise about acceptable fashion. Giving your man new kinds of clothing without considering his feelings will result in either a confused face or the look of extreme discomfort while wearing the garment you’ve given him.

While there are many appropriate gifts to give your man, these are just a few that can often go awry. Men often like useful gifts, so always think about practicality in addition to sentimentality when choosing the right gift for your man.

Gifts a man should never give a woman

It may surprise you to learn that on the list of gifts that a man should never give a woman, there are none! Given the right circumstances, even a sack of manure could delight an avid gardener in need of fertilizer.

It is not the physical, tangible gift that must be avoided as much as it is a gauche and tactless manner of presentation. Nearly any gift will be appreciated if the conditions are right and if you have the finesse to pull it off. That said, there are many gifts a man must think long and hard about before presenting them to his beloved:

Gifts that make her feel like a maid

Vacuum cleaners, dish towels, cleaning supplies, and small appliances are normally gifts to avoid. On the other hand, if she shows more affection toward her dog than she does toward you, giving her a pooper-scooper may establish you as a fellow with a droll sense of wit.

Gifts that make her feel like a strumpet

Avoid obvious sex toys in favour of gifts that subtly hint at romance. You want to let her know you find her sexy without making her feel used. Give gifts for her happiness, not yours.

Gifts that remind her of your mother

This can be a veritable minefield because such a gift could be most anything. If your mum is better at something than your sweetheart, avoid gifts related to that area. The trick is to make sure that your gift doesn’t make her feel like you expect her to live up to your mother’s standards.

Gifts that make you look clueless

Nothing screams that you’re clueless and oblivious to a woman’s penchants and tastes louder than a gift card. Even if you spend less than five minutes purchasing her gift, it ought to appear as if you had put a lot of thought into it. Other errors in this category include wrong colours, wrong sizes, and tickets to the tractor pull when her heart is set on the ballet, or vice versa.

Gifts that make her feel ugly

Only an extraordinary relationship can survive and thrive after a gift of membership to a weight-loss club. Avoid self-improvement books and gifts of exercise equipment unless she has hinted that she wants them. Giving acne cream is usually a no-no. A gift card for the pharmacy/chemist would be safer!

Gifts that make her see you as cheap

Thrifty is good. Cheap is not. Until you know a person well, it can be difficult to foresee which reaction an otherwise economical gift might elicit. Never buy gifts of inferior quality, no matter what the price. If she is special, the gift should be too.

Valentine’s Day – A lover’s delight

Men love being remembered on Valentine’s Day just as much as women do. Men are just less inclined to be vocal about it. And, they are usually busy trying to find the best gift for the love of their lives.

Women with finesse know that their men deserve something special on this day for lovers. Valentine’s Day gift ideas for men abound. Buy early. Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and you will want to have the best possible selection of gifts for the man in your life.

How To Choose A Valentine’s Day Gift For Men

Unlike women, men prefer less fuss and bother in terms of gifts. Take note of the personality type of the man who will receive a Valentine’s Day gift. It does make a big difference in gift ideas for men.

Also, you will want to make a determination on just how romantic the gift should be. Too flowery a gift might be a tad too much for your guy. Too plain and the Valentine’s Day gift sends the wrong message. So, make sure you have an idea of the intensity of the message your gift will send.

Gift Ideas For Men For Valentine’s Day

Men love the unexpected. A real treat for the special man is a gift of a day at a men’s spa where he can loll about in a sauna or whirlpool to relieve stress or have a wonderful, relaxing massage. Wrap this gift in something sexy like a Valentine’s red men’s speedo. You can be sure he will get the message and the massage as well.

Of course, there are other more extravagant gifts for the elegant man. Just be sure he is the jewellery type before investing in a man’s ring or tie tack in gold and encrusted with diamonds. The casual man may think you are a real Valentine’s Day sweetheart if you plan a trip to one of his favourite sports events with a group of friends. This is one gift that scores points.

Valentine’s Day Gifts For Two

Spending quality time alone with your man is often difficult to arrange. For Valentine’s Day, time together is especially important. This is particularly true of married couples with children who can never seem to get away for a few hours much less a whole day. Plan a special evening alone with the love of your life.

Choose a quiet place where you can gaze into each other’s eyes in candlelight, over a sumptuous nouvelle cuisine meal with a glass of finest champagne and a promise in your loving eyes of a Valentine’s Day date he will remember for a very long time.

February 14 – Valentine’s Day

February 14 – Valentine’s Day – is the day of dreams for every girl and a chance to play Mr Wonderful for many guys. For thousands of singles, Valentine’s Day is the chance to declare those feelings of love that they may have secretly harboured over the festive season.

For country singles, V-day offers a host of great romantic opportunities. The weather may still be cold and frosty, but that’s just an excuse to snuggle closer. For country lovers who want to indulge their passion, try picking a fun outdoor activity like clay pigeon shooting, riding or rambling.

After a day out, you could warm up with a pub meal and a few drinks in front of a roaring fire and retire for a nightcap. Other more expensive activities include a 4×4 day driving through mud and streams. Maybe the ultimate ‘I love you’ for singles for whom money is no object is buying your own small tract of woodland where you and your partner are king and queen of your own domain.

There, you can enjoy camping out in your own private love-nest and creating your own kingdom round a wooded glade. One guy I know had a favourite woodland walk with his lady love and cut a branch from a tree to whittle a wooden engagement ring that he slid on her finger one Valentine’s Day.

For the guys, the point is you don’t have to spend a lot of money to say ‘I love you’ on Valentine’s Day. Country lovers, horse riders, walkers and ramblers can find inspiration is all around and true romance is in the heart and soul, not in your wallet. If you have a date or partner, the worst thing a guy can do is mark the occasion with some filling station flowers and chocolates that are just a last-minute thought. It’s not a good way to impress a lady.

Valentine’s Day may seem weeks away, but start planning now because the best restaurants soon fill up and you don’t want to be left on the outside looking in with yet another chance to kick start that relationship passing by.

Country lovers

Country lovers looking for that right person from an online dating site with millions of members might as well search for a needle in a haystack. If you are a country lover, someone who loves walking or looking for equestrian romance with other like-minded people, big dating sites and the fees they charge can be a waste of time and money.

You are better off looking at smaller sites with members looking for people like you. Understanding a country or equestrian lifestyle can be a stretch for a lot of city folk. Their days are often 9 to 5 and revolve around work, and shopping, including hours sitting in traffic. Country people have a different day, especially if they have animals to look after. Out in the country, the day starts earlier walking dogs, seeing to horses and ponies and if you are a farmer … well the list just goes on.

The day generally finishes earlier as well, especially in the winter, because riding or walking in the dark in remote rural areas can be dangerous. Then there are the weekends. Country people still have to look after their animals whatever the day of the week or the weather, so no lie ins there! A lot of country socialising is based around equestrian events and country shows. The lifestyle is alien to people who don’t live isolated in the countryside or in a small village.

That’s why dating and introduction sites like this are so important – because although the list of members may be smaller than the big matchmaking sites that advertise on TV, at least you are more likely to find someone who understands your lifestyle. This means you are less likely to waste time and money on pursuing unsuitable partners who don’t understand your needs and restrictions caring for animals can put on your life.

Love Horse is a free registration site offering the chance to link up with horsey people, country lovers, walkers and farmers looking for romance or companionship. Special features include a profile coach to help you show yourself at your best, email and chat. You can also search other profiles to see if some other country lover catches your eye

Why do I ride horses?

Why do I ride horses?  Here’s why.  We all have at least one close friend that does not share your love of horses. You know the type.

She has perfect nails, and by perfect I mean there is no stable dirt underneath them. She has perfect hair, with no trace of a crimp circling her head where the riding hat has sat for hours.

She owns clean, open-toe shoes, jewellery not in the shape of snaffles or horseshoes, and more long gowns in her wardrobe than you’ve owned since childhood. Take pity on this friend. She must be a sad little creature, spending her days shopping or decorating.

Maya is that friend for me. She was born in the city and has lived there her entire life. For her, the countryside is any piece of land that isn’t paved over. The closest to livestock she has ever been is her house cat.

She asked me once why I ride horses. In her words they are big and smelly and their hair gets everywhere. My explanations always sound inadequate when I hear the words spoken aloud. I love the outdoors, I tell her. “Then take up walking“, she’ll say. “I enjoy the competition“, I’ll counter. “So play chess“, she’ll recommend. “It’s the quiet time I enjoy“, I smile. “Read a book then“, she’ll smile back.

It was after one of these conversations that I had an epiphany. I asked myself, why do I ride? Is it really the quiet ride in the countryside? Is it really wanting to get a better score on my Dressage test? I thought about what types of horses I have ridden and owned.

Was there something similar between them? I have always loved Andalusians. I have owned two. Why did I choose this particular breed? What are the traits that drew me to them? First of all, they are beautiful. The long wavy mane and tail. The gorgeous line of the arched neck. The graceful movement of their paces. They are athletic and excel in all disciplines, it’s true, but I had discovered why I loved horses and riding. I always felt like an ugly duckling as a child. I was large, clumsy, and shy.

Horses were my polar opposite. Beautiful and graceful, they possessed the traits I wanted for myself. I realized how much attention I got for my horses’ beauty. I was taking those compliments as my own. I was living vicariously through my horses, becoming a swan any time I was with them. This self-reflection put me at ease. I love horses because they are beautiful. I wasn’t embarrassed to tell Maya this and I knew it was the truth when she said, Oh, that makes sense.

We all have our reason for riding. Maybe it’s power, strength, or speed. Maybe it’s the rush of the cross country course or the thrill of winning. Maybe you just look good in your riding clothes. Whatever the reason, the universal truth is that for horse lovers, you know you can’t live without them

Synthetic show saddles

Show saddles are designed more for use in the show ring rather than for endurance riding or other equestrian events. There are two main styles of saddles in general, Western or English. Depending on the discipline or style of riding one wants to do, one can choose either a Western show saddle or an English saddle. Several significant differences exist between English and Western saddles. There’s no padding between the tree and the external leather and fleece skirting in a Western saddle.

Where the Western saddle generally has a horn, the English saddle lacks one and is not as deep-seated. The English saddle is also distinguished by its panels, pads attached to the underside of the seat. The English show saddle is built on a solid tree, with leather and padding materials added. The tree is made of laminated layers of top-quality wood reinforced by spring steel and riveted gullet plates. These trees, called ‘spring trees’, are adjustable.

The traditional show saddle is minimal and has a close fit, with straight-cut flaps. The stirrup is further forward with the cutback pommel behind instead of over the withers. The rider has little support. In comparison, modern-style English show saddles have a dressage-like form, with vertically cut flaps to give the rider a deeper seat. Western show saddles are constructed on an all-purpose tree, but have extra tooling and adornments, such as silver or crystals.

The adornment ranges from light to highly elaborate. Because the silver is both weighty and expensive, these saddles aren’t the best for everyday riding. Show saddles come in both synthetic materials and leather. Leather is traditional, holding its value well over time, but synthetic saddles have several excellent advantages. The price of a quality synthetic show saddle is much less than that of a leather one. Synthetic saddles are lightweight, half the weight of a leather saddles. They are also easier to maintain, needing only to be wiped with a damp cloth.

Synthetic side saddles

Leather and synthetic side saddles come in a range of different styles and materials. They are used for a wide range of purposes, as well. Side saddles are often called lady saddles because they are and have most often been used by women to ride in a side saddle position more easily and comfortably.

They can be made to customize to a client’s personal preferences and specifications. Side saddles can differ in grade, size, pattern, style, texture, and color. It all depends on what material is used. Most often, leather is used because of its durability and comfort.

A synthetic side saddle can also be a comfortable and durable saddle, but is less commonly used. There are many high quality side saddles that are available. They are still more widely used than most people realize.

Side saddles have changed greatly over the years. They started out as a saddle used to carry women in a modest way, but they weren’t very good for doing much more than a slow trot. Side saddles of today have been specially formulated to help with special jumps and strategic moves.

Even the military has a special side saddle that is used for special operations. Sometimes a side saddle can be more effective with certain types of equestrian jumps. Just keep in mind that a horse has to be taught to become accustomed to using a side saddle. Once it has grown accustomed to a side saddle, a horse will excel in its use.

An ill fitting saddle can cause back problems, and this is especially true with an ill fitting side saddle. Make sure to get a high quality side saddle that keeps the horse and rider both as comfortable and functional as possible.

Synthetic endurance saddles

If you are going for endurance riding, then you need more than just an ordinary saddle! ‘Endurance saddles’ are especially designed for the equestrian sports involving regulated long distance races. Since endurance riding pertains with the coverage of long patches of rough and challenging terrain for multiple days, it is essential to confirm that the rider is well-balanced on the horse.

Synthetic endurance saddles provide exceptional comfort to both the rider and the horse. To make it easy for the rider, the saddle seat is padded or quilted, and the stirrups are fitted with a broad foot tread that allays fatigue. As for the horse, the exhaustion suffered by it depends on the intensity of the pressure inflicted by the saddle on its back. To counter it, the saddle’s area of contact with the back of the horse is enlarged by extending its panel skirts.

A saddle design like this facilitates the load on the horse’s back to spread evenly, while dispersing the sweat on its body. The concept of floating panels also works well with endurance saddles as it enables the riders to have their seat out of the saddle, in order to lower the stress on the horse’s back.

Although, traditionally saddles were only made of leather, a lot of innovation has been brought about in the modern way of manufacturing endurance saddles. Synthetic saddles, which are light and easy to maintain, are being widely used for the purpose of endurance riding.

These saddles are mostly made of the following materials:

  • Cordura: It’s a durable fabric that’s resistant to scuffs or abrasions, and is easy to clean.
  • Equileather: It’s a low maintenance material with a leather-like appearance. It repels sweat and remains elastic in cold temperatures.
  • Equisuede: It is non slippery foam that offers a good grip while riding.
  • BioThane and Beta BioThane: ‘Biothane’ is comprised of nylon draped in thermoplastic polyurethane whereas ‘Beta BioThane’ is vinyl coated ‘BioThane’. They are both durable and water-resistant.