The Washington Post

Date Lab: A horseback ride through Rock Creek Park

Interviews by Amanda McGrath

James Lee, 26, Geospatial analyst, and Maureen “Mo” Earley, 23, Federal consultant. (Courtesy of Daters)

She describes herself as “a down-to-earth yet fiercely curious individual who is able to create my own happiness just about anywhere” and is in the market for a guy with a rugged side who likes live music and local food. He says he’s a reliable, hardworking, all-American guy who “gives willingly of [his] time” and wants a woman who shares his love of outdoor activities. We took their mutual love of adventure to heart and sent them for a horseback ride at the Rock Creek Park Horse Center (followed by dinner at Ardeo + Bardeo in Cleveland Park).

Date Predicto-meter

Our highly analytical tool for determining whether our daters will hit it off.

Mo: [When Date Lab suggested horseback riding], I was all for it. I like the idea of any sort of adventure. I rode a bit when I was little.

James: I’ve done a few trail-riding things, and riding camels and mules. But that’s all the experience I had.

Mo: I walked in, and James came in right after. He seemed like a great guy right off the bat. I got a good vibe about it and knew we were going to get along.

James: She’s pretty cute, seemed very friendly from the start. She’s definitely someone I would gravitate toward. Her confidence I could see right off the bat . We found out in the first five minutes that we had mutual friends, so that was kind of funny. [It] was comforting, that someone could vouch for her and vouch for me.

Mo: We grabbed helmets and walked around to see the horses. We started riding. It was a great tour with facts about Rock Creek Park, and you really felt like you weren’t in the city at all. It was surprisingly easy to hold conversation while riding a horse.

James: I love being outdoors, so it was a great way to be comfortable in a place I love and getting to know someone new. It was a gorgeous evening. It was five or six degrees cooler inside the canopy, so we got a little break from the humidity.

Mo: We went around for about an hour, took some photos and then drove over to the restaurant.

James: We wondered if Date Lab had somehow gotten the inside scoop on both of us. She’s very outdoorsy; I am, too.

Mo: We both love a wide variety of outdoor activities. I would say he’s an outdoorsman in the city who can live in both places.

James: I’d describe her as energetic but relaxed and smart. And just a really good people person.

Mo: I felt like we were laughing the entire time — not like a laugh track, but just enjoying the conversation.

James: We talked the night away and then realized it was 10:45. Since we both like to be at work before 9 a.m., we didn’t want to stay out super late. Plus I’d just gotten back from a weekend away, and she was gearing up to move apartments, so were both a little more tired than usual.

Mo: He was very sweet and offered to help me move this weekend, but I told him he really didn’t have to do that.

James: She let me drive her home. We had bonded a lot on music, sharing our concert experiences and stuff. I asked for her number.


Mo: This is the most vulnerable part of the whole thing! I would say 4.5. I had a really good time. I’m not afraid of putting that out there. I hope to see him again.

James: I think I would rate it around the 4-ish range. It was a wonderful date. I’d like to get to know her better.


As of press time, Mo and James had locked down plans to watch a World Cup match together just a few days after their Date Lab date.

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