As someone who has been riding horses for more than half of her life, I'm here to unveil the truth about common misconceptions and generalizations of an equestrian. First off, what I mean by horse girl is the stereotypical image and idea that pops into people's mind when they hear the words "horseback rider" or "horse girl" and what that all entails as far as visuals and actions. Now, being that I'm a girl, I'm unaware of the male equestrian myths; and while I'm not familiar enough with them to offer my insight, I would like to take a moment to acknowledge their existence. Anyway, here are some of the questions and generalizations that come up when you're an equestrian.
1. We have horse posters lining our walls
True and False. Most of us didn't have horse posters plastered across our rooms, however, I'm sure that some little girls indulged in the horse posters they could get their hands on. It really depends on the person, but for me and my friends, horse posters were a hard no, no matter how young we were.
2. "Have you ever fallen off?"
Haha. This one makes me laugh. You bet your bottom I've fallen off; in fact, I have fallen off more times than I can count. No, really, I honestly have no idea. Yes, it hurts and yes, even though I may legitimately eat dirt occasionally, that doesn't deter me from getting back on my horse.
3. We were crazy little horse girls
True. I won't lie I was a crazy horse enthused little one, but I like to think I had average enthusiasm. I didn't talk solely about horses or have posters everywhere. instead, I played Horseopoly (It's a great game. Don't knock it till you try it.) and I would jump courses, on my own two feet, in my house or in the backyard with my riding buds. In hindsight, I was really just preparing myself for my junior high cross country and track careers; hurdles are a breeze with previous jumping habits.
4. We are obsessed with horses
False. Although there may be the occasional outlier, the majority of us (horse gals) aren't obsessed with the horses, but more in awe of them. Their beauty (as weird as that sounds), their gentle nature, and their power, which makes them capable of so much, is what really amazes equestrians. This may come as a shock, but most of the horse girls' favorite animal is not the horse.
5. We smell like horses
True, and more often than not. It really isn't intentional, it just kind of happens. Our poor cars experience the worst of it. You have now been warned, and when you get into an equestrian's car, don't pinch your nose or make a comment. We understand it might smell to a foreigner like you, but we don't notice the stench.
6. We wear our riding clothes everywhere
False. Most equestrians dread having to go out in public in riding clothes. We usually avoid it, however, there are the few that will sport the attire to school, the store, or around town. To those few, the rest of us are silently judging you and in awe that you are brave enough to go out in public when you reek of horse and sweat.
7. We only post pictures of our horses
False, even though it may seem like it. Of course, there are those people where the majority of their posts are of horses or horse related, but at the same time there are those that rarely post a horse picture. We understand that not all of our friends on social media are as in love with our horses as we are, so we will integrate some normal pictures into our posts.
8. "Isn't it easy to ride a horse?"
If I could answer this with an emoji it would be the one with a straight-lined mouth and straight-lined eyes, so... NO! To ride effectively and correctly, all while looking effortless, it takes time, skill, education and strength. To walk a horse around or sit there is the easiest thing one can do.Those that have never ridden a horse don't understand the difficulty there is in just those simple maneuvers. Simply put, it's much harder than it looks.
9. "Do you have your horse(s) at your house?"
What might come as a shock to the general public is that, no, the majority of us don't keep our horses in a barn behind our homes. Instead, we live in houses in neighborhoods just like you! We pay to board our horses at a stable where they are looked after and fed. Also, it's not like all backyards are equipped with arenas with good footing and turnouts, so boarding is typically the way we all go.
10. "Did you win your race?"
I'm always asked this question and at this point, I just usually say "yes," rather than explain what they should be asking. First off, not all equestrians are jockeys, and thus we don't partake in horse racing.
Here is a brief explanation that will help anyone better understand and communicate with an equestrian: In general, there are two disciplines: English and western. English riding uses smaller saddles and might include jumping, dressage, eventing, cross-country, racing and polo (feel free to Google any of these for a further description). Western, on the other hand, is completely different. Western riding uses large saddles with horns in the front (typically what you sit on if you go on a trail ride) and different breeds of horses. Barrel racing, reining, working cow, horsemanship and trail (not trail riding through the forest) are all disciplines of western. In the future, just ask how their show went and you will get a less confused and irritated look in response. Plus, the equestrian will appreciate that you know that not all of us race horses. You're welcome.
LIES! It's in the summer Olympics and a Division I sport at many colleges. Ask our horses if they think that being an Olympic athlete is a walk in the park. I bet you they would say no, if they could speak English.