Internet dating for horse lovers

People often ask why Charlotte Martin hasn't got a boyfriend.She's an attractive 31-year-old from Hungerford in Berkshire with a successful career as a three-day event rider and a busy social diary.When I moved back to the country it occurred to me how hard it is to meet people.As soon as everyone starts to couple up and have children, meeting new people gets harder," she says.Party-goers stay in nearby hotels and can join a pre-ball activity and a hearty walk the following day.This year's ball in Sywell, Northamptonshire, on May 22 has a "black tie with a muddy twist" dress code.Muddy Matches is an online community designed to bring together rural lonely hearts (see below).

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"I'd never go to one on my own," Charlotte says, "but as long as I have a wingman, I'm fine." This is exactly the right approach, according to dating expert Mary Balfour."The fuel bills are horrendous sometimes but at least you can get easily from door-to-door," she says."In London, it's so stressful; trains get delayed and if you drive, you can't park. Driving to parties in the country became one of my best pulling techniques; everyone wants a lift home." But what's the point of falling in love with someone who lives miles away from your house?But according to Patricia Warren, a farmer's wife from Derbyshire who runs the Country Bureau, a rural introduction agency, the country dating scene can be bleak, whatever age you are."Communities are small and people work long hours," she says. "I've gone to so many hunt balls this year, I've become a bit of a joke among my friends.

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