The horse industry is driven by horsewomen’s involvement, period. Equestrians may have once been primarily horsemen, but that trend has long since become a thing of the past.
Love it or hate it, horsewomen are what makes the horse industry what it is today.
And despite this, those same horsewomen are often put down and instead any man who happens to wander into the barn is idolised.
I know you know what I’m talking about — a barn full of horsewomen is suddenly populated by one solitary male rider and the horsewomen just fawn over him and he becomes the next best thing since sliced bread. Not every horsewoman succumbs to this, but too many still.
Men who walk into a barn and put horsewomen down for not being rough enough with their horses, or for spoiling their horse. As if this is a female-only trait, or some genuine short-coming.
And an industry where even the equipment is not proportionately intended for a female audience — saddles designed for the male pelvis can be found in any tack shop or swap meet; how often do you find the few specialty saddles engineered for a female pelvis? You don’t, and instead typically have to custom order them.
Thankfully we’re not at a complete loss and some of the following brands provide saddles specifically engineered for the majority of equestrians, aka women:
Don’t sell yourself short in the barn, believing any hand-job that walks in and feels the need to spout all kinds of bs.
Societal bias and habits are already stacked against us, but in an industry we dominate there is absolutely no excuse for it being perpetuated any longer.
I’ll tell you I was very lucky, learning to ride. I was surrounded by many strong horsewomen who didn’t give two cents for anything a man had to say on the simple basis of his gender. If what he had to say was quality, then it counted. If not, he could take a hike along with anyone else being foolish.
This was a great example I was able to grow up around; but I’ve see many more horsewomen chase around clear idiots like dogs in heat. Second guessing themselves or believing some put down they received and losing more and more confidence. Waiting on some man to tell them the right way to ride or train. Hell, I’ve even seen horsewomen become nervous about how to pick out their horse’s hooves because of some drivel of a man throwing out a shit remark that didn’t matter.
Horsewomen thinking they need to beat on their horses because a man told them they were being too soft.
Horsewomen owning and handling stallions they have absolutely no business being around because some man told them it was sexy.
Horsewomen chasing after the latest male clinician, claiming he’s the second coming of whatever famous trainer their discipline worships, just because he wears a tight pair of Wranglers.
Horsemen vs. Horsewomen
Ever question the fact that while rough estimates show 80-90% female demographics in the horse industry, the majority of clinicians booked at events are men? A disproportionately large number actually.
- This year, the Midwest Horse Fair in Madison Wisconsin booked 26 male clinicians, and only 13 female clinicians according to their website (see page 1 and page 2 of their schedule).
- Equine Affaire Ohio booked 17 male clinicians and again only 13 female clinicians (see Equine Affaire’s 2016 schedule).
- Illinois Horse Fair booked 7 male clinicians and only 4 female clinicians (see Illinois Horse Fair’s 2016 schedule). However it’s important to note that of those 4 female clinicians 2 of them were paired with their husbands.
- Iowa Horse Fair was better with a 50/50 split of 3 male clinicians and 3 female clinicians (see Iowa Horse Fair’s 2016 schedule). Still not quite proportionate with the level of involvement women play in the industry as a whole but at least they’re seeing a more even playing field here.
Do You Value Yourself, and Your Horse?
Who are you really? At this very moment, who are you? Do you value who you are, or do you wish you were something different?
There are a lot of times we might spend wishing out horse was something different. Better behaved, better trained, better a trailer loading, didn’t balk at that one spot in the corner of the arena they’ve walked past A MILLION-FREAKING TIMES BEFORE.
When will your horse ever be just enough in that moment? Is it ever okay for them to be a work-in-progress? It’s one thing to know your horse isn’t perfect, but another to accept it and value your horse none-the-less.
So if you’re feeling that way about your horse, how is that a reflection of how you feel about yourself?
Today I can say I value my horses 100%. They’re flawed in various ways and I’m okay with it. I don’t feel the need to explain anything away to other people, because what do they matter? Nothing, absolutely nothing. The only thing that matters is the quality of the relationship I have with my horses.
But it wasn’t always that way. I’ve previously felt a need to give excuses why all of my horses aren’t 100% perfect every waking minute of the day. Basically, why they’re live horses and not stuffed. Also not suffering from Stockholm Syndrome.
That was also a time when I didn’t always value myself and the opinions other people had about me – men and women – cut deep. I thought some people were just better than others. More talented, more brilliant, more deserving.
You’re valuable, and if to nobody else you’re valuable to yourself. Take that value to the barn, and pass it along to your horses when you get the chance.
Also, in case you’re interested in our stats:
- Approximately 83% of your fellow readers are female
- Approximately 89% of our Facebook followers are female