Women who ride horses are just like women who own a lot of cats… just richer and crazier. I feel it’s necessary to explain “why” we are crazy, or extremely misunderstood depending on your viewpoint. I have ridden horses my entire life, therefore, I feel I have the necessary qualifications to explain why we are all psychotic, myself included.
1. We were treated like the center of the universe growing up.
My younger cousin puts it perfectly — “I had to be funny growing up because all everyone talked about at family gatherings was either our brothers’ football team or your horse shows.” Growing up, conversations with these women centered on horses and showing. That’s all anyone ever talked with them about. Whether it be because they cared and were interested or were just being polite, it didn’t matter. No one asked me about a boyfriend or break-up in high school but that event I competed in where I went Training Level for the first time was the talk of Easter my junior year in high school.
“Oh wow you jumped how high?”
“What was your time show jumping/cross-country?”
“Your mom showed me the video you guys looked great!”
It was also the only thing my mom and I talked about growing up. Our lives became centered around first my hobby and then my sport. During mealtimes, my riding was the center of the conversation. Looking back, I do feel bad for my brothers, because his football games and golf tournaments were not discussed and dissected nearly as much as a simple riding lesson.
The moral here? The equestrian women grew up thinking the world revolved around her and her horse… and it doesn’t.
2. The money our parents spent on our passion is insane.
They say the average cost of raising a child in today’s economy is $245,340 not including inflation. My first reaction at that is to laugh. I hit that figure by the time I was in middle school and didn’t even own a horse yet. I was very blessed with parents who supported my addiction that makes a cocaine addiction seem as small as a caffeine addiction.
Horses and horseback riding is the most expensive hobby or sport known to fucking man. I would like to think my parents were also relatively sane when it came to buying horse things. I paid for half of my riding lessons, half of my expensive tack, and they refused to buy me a horse over $10,000. I have friends whose parents literally went bankrupt for their riding with multiple horses costing up to $30,000 plus board, tack, horse shows, traveling to horse shows, vet bills, and that’s just off the top of my head.
Equestrian woman probably grew up with daddy’s credit card memorized so she could order the whole Dover catalogue as a child. She has extremely expensive tastes and most likely doesn’t really live in the real world, still. She thinks that fancy dinners and gifts are a given. But they are not, because we live in a shit economy.
3. We were expected to act more mature than we actually were from a young age.
In this hobby, you are not often around lots of children unless you ride at a kid-centered barn. Most likely, you are riding with middle-aged, rich, white women with huge alimony paychecks. From a young age, I talked to adults better than my peers. I considered the older women my friends and listened to their salacious dating stories from the ripe, old age of 12. I also saw those women drinking wine on the barn patio more than occasionally and grew up hearing drunken rants about men. She, the equestrian woman you are crazy enough to date, probably thinks drinking boxed white wine every night is normal, and not a sign for help.
Say what you will, we can hold our own when it comes to throwing a few back… we were raised on it.
4. The responsibility that comes with taking care of a 1500-pound animal creates a lot of pressure.
“Did I cool him down properly?”
“He wasn’t eating when I left, I hope he’s not sick?”
“Do you think he’s off on his left hind?”
These fragile animals that we are allowed to ride tend to consume our thoughts. “Did my horse get turned out? Am I asking for that lead change correctly? Are my elbows flopping out?” Growing up, about 80% of my thoughts were about my horse, not my boyfriend. I didn’t even realize or really care that an ex-boyfriend was cheating on me with a friend. I was more worried about my horse show/ upcoming clinic/lesson, so when he broke up with me I was at first surprised, then extremely nonchalant about the whole thing. Truthfully, I cared more about my horse than him.
And I haven’t even mentioned the training aspect of the sport. I competed in Three Day Eventing as a teenager which is one of the most demanding sports in the equestrian world. I was also training my horse as I was learning, too, which led to some pretty intense moments. My thoughts were mostly focused on if I would fall off and break a bone cross-country, not why he won’t text me back. The pressure the hobby/sport takes is enormous.
The typical equestrian girl? She is completely oblivious to the most normal things but, if her horse doesn’t eat his hay, it will give her a panic attack. If she falls off….you will hear about nothing else. She is also the bravest person in her own mind. Yes, my horse was spooky and I could have been thrown and trampled. She will expect sympathy from a situation you can’t even comprehend how dangerous it was in her mind.
5. We trust no one (literally no one) at all times.
Even with all the adults around I had some great barn friends growing up. That being said, we were also each other’s rivals. You forgot the jump course before you were showing; ask your mom not your friends. Your friend will lie and stab you in the back. We grew up not even trusting our closest friends. Why would we trust you? Not to mention our horses probably betrayed us several times throughout the years. I trained an ex-racehorse ate a lot of dirt growing up. We are naturally suspicious women. The horse perks his ears forward – he’s going to spook or run out of that fence and you are flying over it solo.
Being in this highly competitive world, we grew up not trusting our trainers, friends and even or horses. We aren’t going to automatically trust you or anyone really. We have serious trust issues. I don’t have a funny quip or advice to fix this because I still have an extremely strong paranoia that the world is out to get me.
So overall, are equestrians bat-shit crazy? Yes, we are. However, we have a passion for something other than ourselves. We have learned from a young age that our needs take second to something else’s and that is a powerful thing. We give our heart and soul to our horses day in and day out. So yes we can be insane from time to time, but it will most likely be worth it because seriously have you seen a woman post to the trot or two-point… and you know we always like to be on top. .
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