A Letter To Everyone Who Thinks Equestrian Isn't A Sport
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A Letter To Everyone Who Thinks Equestrian Isn't A Sport

How about you ride the horse of my choosing and then I'll let you say it's not a sport?

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A Letter To Everyone Who Thinks Equestrian Isn't A Sport
USA Today

Dear Non-Believers,

Horses have been in my life since I was a little girl. I started riding at the age of 5 and bought my forever horse at 10-years-old. I rode on a team throughout high school and was part of my college team for three years. There are many disciplines within the broad spectrum of equestrian. There are English and Western style and many others. In my life, I have tried many, but I always stuck with hunter-jumper (for non-horse people, I jump over obstacles).

Not only are horses your partner in the show ring, they are a piece of your family. Since I started riding I've always heard the opinions of others thinking that being an equestrian doesn't make you an athlete. I usually just brush it off and move on with my day, but with the start of the Olympics there have been many people saying Eventing (an equestrian sport in which competitors complete three contests consisting of dressage, cross-country and show jumping) doesn't deserve a spot in the games. I think it is finally time to clear up people's misconception of this sport.

[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2Ffiles%2F2016%2F08%2F09%2F636063666908774817-216537165_636063644209852768-384741029_tumblr_inline_nii7ihD1BM1qzr95p.gif&ho=https%3A%2F%2Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net&s=629&h=ade0b5b741d424f8f02da4bf13dc256f7ee1775dfa5e83272929bfa091316d2f&size=980x&c=2694513808 crop_info="%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252Ffiles%252F2016%252F08%252F09%252F636063666908774817-216537165_636063644209852768-384741029_tumblr_inline_nii7ihD1BM1qzr95p.gif%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net%26s%3D629%26h%3Dade0b5b741d424f8f02da4bf13dc256f7ee1775dfa5e83272929bfa091316d2f%26size%3D980x%26c%3D2694513808%22%7D" expand=1]

One of the most common insults to an equestrian is, "You just sit up there and the horse does all the work." Once a person says this, I'm automatically fuming.

Many of the people that decide horseback riding isn't a sport are the ones who get on a bomb-proof horse and go on a trail ride with family or friends. Now, doing that I can understand why you would think we just "sit there," but I can assure you it is much more than that.

Horses, unlike the tools in many other sports, have a mind of their own. When mounting a new horse, or even the same one you've been riding forever, the rider has to remember that this animal is putting their full trust in you. You are the leader of his mind until you get off... or so you think. Since we are working with another mind, you can truly never know what they are thinking and this is where the hard part begins. We have to try and control a 1,000-pound animal with a bit (metal bar placed in the horse's mouth to help assist the rider) and the weight of our bodies.

What you don't realize when you are on a trail ride is that these horses can feel every little thing you are doing up there. While the horse is just walking this is not a big deal, but put a large obstacle in front of them and things get a bit more tricky. Not every horse will just go over the jump.You have to pay attention to steering, the horse's pace, your legs, how your body is positioned and basically just about everything else.

[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2Ffiles%2F2016%2F08%2F09%2F636063666910493752-564153821_636063648698129527981179494_giphy.gif&ho=https%3A%2F%2Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net&s=684&h=acdeadfcab7bfde6cfffb05fb80eb678f35ac4aaa5774af0ad3fe8abd8ed9fad&size=980x&c=2817421472 crop_info="%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252Ffiles%252F2016%252F08%252F09%252F636063666910493752-564153821_636063648698129527981179494_giphy.gif%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net%26s%3D684%26h%3Dacdeadfcab7bfde6cfffb05fb80eb678f35ac4aaa5774af0ad3fe8abd8ed9fad%26size%3D980x%26c%3D2817421472%22%7D" expand=1]

Now, the horse you rode has probably been doing this for their entire life and is trained to be a saint and save your butt. We get lucky every so often and have those, or we have the joy of riding one with no background information, no training or even right off the race track. Trust me, these horses usually don't know what you are asking of them and if they start getting a little fresh, sometimes the most experienced riders can't control them. How would you feel as a new rider hopping on a horse that has no training whatsoever and loves to leap through the air?

Now, I'll let you be right for a minute -- horseback riding isn't a sport because it's much more. While you are taking care of your soccer ball, baseball or football (now don't get me wrong these are definitely sports) we have to care for a living breathing animal. This is a lifestyle, one that many people cannot handle, but the people involved are stuck for life.

So thank you for sharing your opinion all of my life. This is mine.

Sincerely,

An Equestrian

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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