Five Types of Horse Owner


There are different kinds of parents. There are different kinds of dog owners. There are different kinds of cat owners. And there are definitely different kinds of horse owners.

Maybe you identify with one of these types, or maybe your style of horse ownership is a style all your own. Either way, there’s definitely no wrong way to be a horse owner. The differences are what make our equine world so unique and special (and difficult to understand by the non-horsey person).

Sunrise on the Ranch

My horse is an animal.

This type of horse owner loves animals, but animals have their place. Hand feeding doesn’t need to happen, and the horse doesn’t need three different halters. A horse needs food, shelter, water and exercise to lead a healthy and positive life. You love seeing your horse in his element, grazing in the field and occasionally running across the pasture to play with his pasture mates.

My horse is an investment.

This type of horse owner is often involved in horse racing, but not exclusively. This horse owner is enamored with the power of the animal and wants to see it succeed in whatever discipline it’s been bred or conditioned for. You give your horse any opportunity it can to work with the best trainers and riders so you can see him become the best equine athlete he can be.

Woman with Horse

My horse is my best friend and a member of the family.

This would be the category I fit in to. This type of horse owner loves her horse and includes him in holiday cards, celebrates the horse’s birthdays and treats him with all the hugs and carrots he could ever need. You talk about the horse like the he is a person. You narrate his thoughts and opinions, and you can’t wait to bring your friends out to the barn to meet him. You know he can’t wait, either. That means more hugs and treats!

My horse is a workout partner.

This horse owner has found that horseback riding is an enjoyable way to get exercise, and while it benefits the rider, it also benefits the horse. You both get to stay in shape! You may or may not have show aspirations, and you enjoy your time grooming and caring for your horse, but the workouts are what drive you to come out to the barn as often as possible.

Performance Horse

My horse is my teammate.

This horse owner has a competitive drive. Whether your sport is eventing, endurance riding, reining or a different competitive discipline, your horse is part of a team. Through long waits at shows to long drives to different competition venues, you and your horse stick together. Without that adrenaline rush, your relationship would lack its pizazz.

So, which one are you?

Allison Griest is a freelance writer based in Texas. Follow her on Twitter: @allisongriest.


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Allison Griest is a freelance writer based in Texas, and a former assistant editor of Horse Illustrated and Young Rider magazines. She has a passion for horses, dogs, hiking, and...


  1. My horse is far beyond a pet. She’s my best friend, my partner in crime, my therapy both physical & emotional. I’d be lost without her. I find it a real privilege to be able to have her in my life.

  2. I’m definitely in the “horse as best friend” category! I think there are some other types of horse owners, too. These include people who use horses as a status symbol, as an occupational tool (working cowboy, carriage driver, logger, the Amish, and even horse trainers might fall in this category), or as therapy.

  3. I am a combination of two. My horse is my best friend & family member, but she is also my workout partner. The exercise I get from taking care of her & riding her is what keeps me going both mentally & physically. When she is off, so am I.

  4. Love the article. Anyone who doesn’t experience their horse as their best friend is missing out on one of the greatest experiences in life.

  5. My horses are far more than just my best friends. They, in fact, we seem to know what the other is thinking and feeling.

  6. My horse is my “Best friend and family member”, but at the same time he is an “animal” I love giving him treat and fondling over him, but for me there is a limit. He’s still a horse and thinks differently from humans.

  7. “Nice” article. Missed at least one other type. The horse is “my” piece of machinery such as a pulling vehicle or racing vehicle. This type of person has little emotional attachment to the horse. This type only care about getting work done and when the horse can’t withstand the demands, is disguarded.

  8. We started as a workout team, grooming and riding. But now that I have had too many crashes and a foot that doesn’t work, and I can no longer ride (breaks my heart), I guess he has become an investment; sucking up every penny I can find to train and show!

  9. What owner I am to my horses is an owner who treats her horses like family memmembers, a workout partner, and a little bit of an animal

  10. All. An animal who I love to watch being a horse. Definitely family, they are my babies. A workout partner in that taking care of them beats a gym any day and anyone who says riders aren’t athletic has only ridden a slug and never handled a hot 900 lb two year old. An investment in my mental health as they bring me great joy and empty pockets.


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