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I have a confession to make: I am a horse girl. Throw all the shade you want, but I am very proud to be one.
My fellow PGP writer Josh penned a great column last week giving 30 pieces of advice, and number 19 stated not to date a girl who has had a horse. This isn’t the first time I have heard this statement and I know it won’t be the last, but I am tired of being publicly shamed for my background/lifestyle. We have been coined as crazy, entitled, weirdos and I am here to speak out on behalf of my fellow horse girls. Let me draw back curtain, the tack stall curtain to be specific, and explain a bit about why we are the way we are.
First, some background on the origins of the infamous horse girl. There are a couple ways in which one can become said horse girl. There is the standard little girl dreaming of a pony wherein she harasses mommy and daddy until they concede and give in to her wishes. Then you have the girl who was lucky enough to be born into a horse family where all the pieces are already in place. And finally, you have the later in life moment where a girl decides she needs a new hobby and begins her journey of taking riding lessons at the local stable.
Personally, I fall into the middle category of being born into a horse family. If you must place blame, please direct it to my mother for antagonizing my grandpa into getting her a pony, which lead to a horse (because the pony needed a friend), which lead to a barn of 13 horses. Which TBH isn’t that many in the grand scheme of things. So, you see it really isn’t my fault. I didn’t choose the horse girl life, the horse girl life chose me.
Stereotype #1: Horse girls are crazy.
Horse girls have a bad rep for being extra, extra crazy. But if you have lasted this long in life without realizing that all girls are some form of crazy, I really don’t know what to tell you. Simply put, you do have to be a bit crazy to get involved in the horse game. It’s hella expensive, not glamorous like you see on tv and movies (unless you’re really loaded), and you’re dealing with a giant animal that can at any point decide to do whatever it wants. It’s early mornings, constant dirtiness, and being outside in every kind of weather. You sacrifice weekends to compete in a couple classes where the prize winnings don’t come anywhere close to covering the cost to participate. Basically, lots of things a normal person wouldn’t tolerate. You say crazy, I say passionate.
Stereotype #2: Horse girls are entitled.
I grew up on a farm and part of my chores involved cleaning out horse stalls every week, helping move hay into the barns, and daily feeding/watering. I’m not sure if you have experienced the joy of shoveling shit, or dripping sweat in your jeans as you toss 70 pound hay bales in 95 degree heat, or being pulled out of your boots into the mud because the horse you were leading decided to leave your ass behind, but these are not situations that make you feel special and above the Average Joe.
You could argue that there are a few one offs where rich parents have afforded Britney the luxury of someone else doing all her grunt work and Miss Princess shows up once a week to ride her pre-saddled horse, but most of us are out there getting our hands dirty and our egos kept in check by 1000-pound beasts. And it’s also hard to feel important when your sassy mare is throwing a fit and you end up on the ground in the middle of the show ring. The only entitlement I feel is when I’m successfully getting a horse or multiple horses to cooperate with me. Yes, I am in charge here!
Stereotype # 3: Horse girls are weird.
I could write you a list of reasons I’m weird that have nothing to do with horses. For example, people like to comment that my picture is one where I’m wearing blue lipstick. Not weird just fashion, but I digress. Sure, we get overly excited about things that probably don’t make sense to those out of the loop like a new bucket or hoof polish, but that doesn’t make our hobby anymore weird than anyone else’s.
I didn’t spend my youth greeting strangers by whinnying or my teenage years being angsty about horses being better than a boyfriend. I don’t call myself a Horse Mom nor do I have stickers on my car showcasing an equine outline. I’ll talk to you all day about horse related stuff, but I can also talk to you about any other topic without focusing on something cute my horse did that day. As with any group, there are the few who make the collective whole look bad and I can promise we are not all weirdos who “ride” stick horses over fake jumps in our free time.
Horse girls are normal people who have simply been given a bad name, guys. Let’s not let this discrimination and harassment continue. With a little understanding, together we can work towards a future of tolerance and maybe even someday acceptance..