URBANDICTIONARY.COM is an irreverent online slang encyclopedia that crowdsources its definitions. The ntry for “horse people” states: “Those that are in love with their horses and prefer interaction and intimacy with their horses to actual people. Also are snooty and inevitably annoy all those around them.” Ouch.
If you’re surprised at this
perception of “horse people,”
think about how many topics you
can’t even bring up among your
riding buddies without causing a
nasty argument. Horse slaughter.
What “ethical breeding” means.
Wild mustangs. Barefoot
versus shod. Even something as
seemingly innocuous as whether
to pull manes and clip whiskers.
Most horse people have at least
one thing they can and will rant
about until they’re wild-eyed and
frothing at the mouth.
Add to this the cliques: die-
hard barrel racers, dressage divas,
breed snobs. There are coat color
cliques, organization cliques, and
fans of insert-trainer-name-here
cliques. Then there are the know-
it-alls. Somewhere out there are
thousands of self-proclaimed
experts in all the minutiae of the
horse world. And while most horse
people are quick to acknowledge
they’re not perfect, secretly we are
all also pretty sure that others are
more wrong than we are!
Into this steps the newbie,
who’s just trying to learn about
horses and riding. Confronted
by cliques, barraged by opinions,
bewildered at the socio-political
subtext of every tiny choice, it’s no
wonder she soon hightails it out of
the horse world. And that’s awful.
It’s awful for her, and it’s awful
for all equestrians, because we
need newbies. We need new
competitors, volunteers, clients,
customers, and friends in order
to keep our hobby, our passion,
alive and growing. “Passion” is
a key word here. Horse people
are opinionated because we are
passionate about doing our best
for our horses and in our chosen
disciplines. That’s not a bad thing,
but we do need to refocus that
passion a little more positively.
Here are seven things we can
do to get more people involved in
the horse world.
1 Do outreach at non-horsey venues to attract new riders.
Contact local organizations and
o;er to do a little talk for them.
Chances are your public library
would love for you to help with
a horsey story time, or to speak
to a small group about how to
get involved in riding. Does your
town’s Lions, Rotary, or Kiwanis
Club have an annual picnic?
Do the senior or community
centers need help with activities?
Volunteer to bring a pony to pet.
RIDER RANT » BY LAURA ROSE
It’s hard to get new people into the horse world.
Have you ever wondered why?
Ways to Encourage New