Rider Insider: Telltale Signs of a Rider


Woman walking horse
You’ve just had a great interview for a dream job. You wore your best suit, presented yourself professionally, and you feel optimistic about your chances. That is, until the receptionist whispers to you on your way out, “Ma’am, you have what looks like a piece of hay caught in your hair.”

You’re driving up the highway and pull up to a toll booth. You reach into your pocket to grab some change and instead find two peppermints and some pine shavings.

Your guests from out of town show up several hours early, before you’ve had time to clean out the spare bedroom. When they go in to drop their luggage, they have trouble finding a spot for it among the broken tack and out-of-season blankets you store there.

Face it; no matter how hard you may try to appear to be a normal person at times, you are, in fact, a horse person. Whether it’s the contents of your car (or “mobile tack room” as you lovingly call it) or your altered language (have you ever told your dog to “whoa”?), bits of your equestrian life undoubtedly seep into your real-world life.

How can people tell that you’re a horse person? Click “Submit a Comment” below and share your stories with other HorseChannel.com visitors. Some of the responses may be selected for a future issue of Horse Illustrated.

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  1. I have horse keychains on my purse, my face lights up whenever someone starts talking about horses, and even if I don’t know the person very well, I will go over and ask them about their horses.
    I’m not “scared” of mud, dirt, or manure.
    If I get started, it’s not easy to stop me.
    If you would step into my room, you could tell I’m in love with horses. Almost every wall is covered with posters, my cupboard is full of Breyer models, and I have stacks and stacks of horse books and magazines.

  2. You can just look at me and tell I’m a “horse person.” I always have mud on my boots and smell like a horse! Who says that’s a bad thing?! I always have crumbs from the treats I keep in my back pocket, and if you were to show up at my house you would be greeted by my saddle which sit in my breezeway (I’ve been meaning to sell it for a long time). Whenever someone asks me if I ride horses and I just make a “Are you stupid???” face at them.

  3. You can easily tell that I am a down-to-earth horse girl. I have a ton of horse magazines(most of them are HORSE ILLUSTRATED), lots of horse posters in my room, and some horse jewelry. But mainly, I have my own horse. I don’t care about getting dirty, don’t mind manure(or cleaning out barns, for that matter), and probably smell like a horse at times too. Whenever I see pictures of horses, I always stop to admire them. And whenever I hear other people mention anything about these animals, I am suddenly interested in their conversation. I love horses!

  4. When I’m walking through the mall with dirty boots, jeans, t-shirt, and my barn coat I go into the book store and find me a comfy place on the floor right in front of the horse section. 🙂

  5. I have a tendency to forget to wash the horse hair, dirt, and slobber out of my jacket before going to school the next day. Also when i dig into my pockets to find my gloves at my bus stop on a chilly morning i usually pull out a couple of broken horse treats instead! I don’t mind the treats but it sure doesn’t help a case of cold fingers!

  6. After riding I get a serious case of “helmet head” and my hair looks horrible until I am able to “fix” it. My winter riding coat had horse slobber on it and hay and horse treats in the pockets.

  7. I was on my way to school and was running a little late so, I told my mom to drive faster and without thinking I made a clicking noise like I always do with my horse. I’ll never live it down but I don’t mind.

  8. A nice, healthy, summer tan everywhere…except your legs, which are ghost white courtesy of consistant wearing of jeans and/or breeches!

  9. I’m always covered with feed. When I reach in my pocket, it’s full of hay or grain, which I sometimes eat. My hair is never really brushed, but is either up, from cleaning buckets, or in a ponytail, so it won’t get in my face when I ride. Also, whenever anybody asks me a question, I usually start with “Well, I know that with horses…”

  10. When you pull something (Not horse related) out of your pocket, jacket or jeans, and you have to sift through horse treats, a mane comb, rubber bands, hay, baling twine and a bit that you need to remember to switch out, you might be a horse person. Or you have leather strips in your purse bacause you never know when you may need to fix a bridle…. I don’t have many human friends. 😉

  11. I always have a good horse book by my bedside-always. I usually go to town wearing cowboy boots and western wear(even though I ride mainly english). I usually have a few horsey hairs stuck to me. Even so, I wouldn’t trade my horse life for a millon bucks. I consider it a blessing from God to be able to work around horses!

  12. You know you’re a horse person when think that smelling like a horse is your daily perfume and wearing a “horse hair” sweater is the only thing you own!

  13. People know you’re a horse person because your laugh starts to sound like a horse whinny and you cluck to people when they get in your way.

  14. I start my morning off dressing professionally, prior to work. Then – I get to the pasture I lease. Feed my Broodmare – groom her and get her hay. By the time I leave, I have hay in my hair down my blouse, sand dust on cloths and I always smell like buy spray. It’s like the wind magically picks up the second, I spray it and I get more on me then I get on her. Hahaha. I cluck at traffic. Red lights. Hahaha. And I say Whoa.. In meetings!! Yep they all know and laugh!! GUILITY!! And I wouldn’t give it up for nothing..

  15. Here is a true story! Was with a Kindergarden class on a field trip as a helping parent, had to take kids through a course safely..After the course was over the instructor came up and said oh you worked with horses..I asked if my daughter said so, she said no, every time you wanted the kids to go you said “Walk on!”

  16. Personally, I prefer to tell me dogs to walk, stand and whoa so that a common language is used by all. Oh, and i pair my cowboy boots with my pencil skirts for the office.

  17. I came into work one day with the lead rope still around my neck. Totally forgot to put it back in the tack room. Several times I’ve come to work with hay on my shirt, pants or coat. Its always something.

  18. I hardly ever tell anything to stop. I tell it to ho. And my biggest exclamation of surprise is always whoa!!! It’s so funny when people who’ve only known me for awhile (especially the nurses I work with) laugh when they hear me say it. I think it catches them off guard. It’s certainly not medical terminoligy!

  19. I’m always drawing horse pictures and I sometimes gallop instead of run. People ask me horse questions and when I answer it they stand with their mouths open. Plus, if you walked into my room you can see horse pictures everywhere and Breyer horses on the floor.

  20. When guests walk into the house first thing they see & smell are my horse clothes. When they ask to hang their coats they are directed to hang them in the spare bathroom,on hangers,on the shower curatin rod. Because the coat closet is my tack room complete w/saddle & bridle racks. Than going into the kitchen & dining room. A painting I did of my 1st pony hangs on the mantel w/ribbons & trophies.

  21. Well folks, I am a 72 year young horse lover all my life, I too enjoy the smell of those wonderful animals. Just recently my daughter gave me a birthday card that reads in part “Mother, The women who has the soul of a horse” I believe that with all my heart. I have photos of me as a baby on a horse taken in Idaho years ago. I laughed at the posting of the teats, hay, and other horsey stuff in our pockets, been there done that!! Love those horses!!
    Lyla, Utah

  22. You have a case on your phone to protect it from falling and breaking while at the barn. The cover is broken from all of those naughty, mouthy horses and you will forever find leftover grain, hay, horse hair, and dirt under your case. So much for keeping your phone clean, but it’s the thought that counts.

  23. Let’s see first I poke my kids in the ribs and say “over” instead of excuse me. I say whoa instead of stop. I love the smell of a specific jacket I wear, it smells like horses and I like to wear it when I am away from home. I have to keep shoes to wear at work in my locker, because I wear boots generally. I can talk all day long about my horses and their health, how to treat them,etc, but when it comes to my own I don’t know near as much as I should!! Hay in my pockets, bra, treats in my pockets. And the list can go on and on, but I shall leave it at that!

  24. Anyone who knows me well can tell I love horses. They see the horse drawings in my folder, Horse Illustrated on my shelf, and who knows but they might have heard about it when it squeezed out in conversation. Oh-and I sure hope they didn’t hear me neigh! My friends say it sounds so real.

  25. I was cleaning out the pockets of a jacket to wash it, what was in those pockets? horse treats of course! And I still laugh about the time (ok, times!) I have “clicked” get someone to move!

  26. I have really good posture since I ride all the time, and I have hay in my jacket pockets. I’ve caught myself saying “breed” instead of “brand”, I call calico cats “paint, and I use all my horse products on myself. =)

  27. You know you’re a horse person when you’re walking down the school hallway, and you click to the person in front of you, and say, “walk on!!” And when you’d rather shop at the tack store for clothing than the mall, when your room looks like a disaster, but the barn is spotless!

  28. You know you’re a horse person when you start telling you’re dog “woah”, or when you always have hay in you’re socks or shoes, and especially when you catch yourself rubbing you’re nieces head when telling her “good job”

  29. You know you’re a horse person when you walk into the mall, a restaurant, the library, etc. in your barn boots and the salesperson/server/librarian asks if you’re a “horse person.” You also know you’re a horse person when you can identify other “horse people” passing by you by their boots!

  30. You know you are a horse person,for me a Parelli student, when someone gets to close and you automatically put up your hands and proceed to ‘porcupine’ them out of your bubble! LOL!!! My husband and son are constantly telling me, Honey/Mom, you just ‘Parellied’ me, again! 😉

  31. You go to work and you have hey and alfalfa on your pants and in your hair and of course the horse hair because you gave your baby a hug and well deserved pat before you left and in my case she also gets her kiss on the nose everyone at work gives me a hard time sooner or later lol.

  32. You know you’re a horse person when:
    1)You involuntarily click to your four-wheeler when it has trouble getting up a hill
    2)You go out in public proudly wearing your dirty boots and go into a bathroom and realize you forgot that your horse was cleaner than you when you got done grooming
    3)Your room is full of horse tack,treats,books and tack store bags used as trash bags…and your mom complains that the barn is cleaner than your room.
    Well,I did ask Dad if I could put a loft and mattress in the barn.There wasn’t enough room.

  33. Besides wearing my favorite riding boots all the time, one day I got to school and took off the coat I had been wearing and a body brush fell out of the pocket. I had worn the jacket when I groomed the previous night and shoved the brush in my pocket. Before I could pick it up, all my friends (I go to school in the city) had to ask what it was and why it was in my coat pocket! I

  34. I am constantly having to apologize for why there is no room in my car. I ride numerous horses in different barns so my saddle, boots, helmet etc is constantly traveling with me along with jackets and other odds and ends. I have known some people to also comment on the smell which I dont even notice anymore. I hope I don’t smell like it…. 😉

  35. There are a couple reasons why people notice I am a horse person. Number one: I never have clean jeans. They are always stained and/or discolored from barn work, which makes me somewhat of a “barn model”. Number two: whenever someone asks me “What have you been up to lately?” I always respond to ‘Horses’. I am either always at the barn or doing schoolwork. Lastly, I can never keep up a good conversation unless it has to do with horses, which gets me nowhere. But in the end, I am horse crazy.

  36. Everyone knows I’m a horse person because I’m always wearing my boots,when people ask me”What are you doing this weekend?”I always respond by telling them the whole story about the funny little thing my horse did.

  37. You know your a horse person when there’s hay in your purse (from quickly feeding your babies at 5 AM before your rush off to work) and your workout room has been turned into a tack room.

  38. You know you are a horse person when you’re fleeces are stained from days at the barn, you have leftover treats in your pockets, you’re mom always complains about how her car has dirt and hay in it right after it was cleaned, and your non-horsey friends have learned to tune you out whenever you say the word “horse”.

  39. You know someone is a horse person when they aren’t afraid to get nice clothes dirty. We had a party at my trainers barn/house and we all got gussied up and looking pretty; by the end of the night we were all out riding bareback in dresses and nice clothes. Then to top it off we went out to a restaurant afterwards, dirt and all!

  40. One thing that always tells me if someone is a horse person, is by the way they smell. It sounds weird, but one of my riding friends room has that horse smell. It is a dead giveaway.

  41. The one give away that tells you someone is a rider is by their apparel. Some people just wear equestrian themed clothes (such as boots) for fashion, but the way to tell the real rider is from the horse hair scattered on their pants, the mud on their well worn boots, and the barn logo (or dust)on their shirt.

  42. If it were me; hay pieces in hair or clothes, telltale lovely “horse” smell, manure smell forever ground into well-worn boots, dry wind-raked calloused hands from working outside, chapped lips, tan lines on legs from wearing boots or on face from cowboy hat, and a good pair of high rise Levi’s.

  43. Horsey plate or stickers on car. Well-worn flannel shirt, hat with horse barn logo, tan lines for work outside, horse belt buckle, and chipped nails from outside work. Oh yeah, and cellphone that rings with a whinny.

  44. You know your a horse person…
    1. Just about every pair of shoes reeks of urine and manure.
    2.When you spend more time getting your horse ready than you.
    3.Bits of hay and feed collect on your clothes and in the bottom of you pockets
    4. When your your car holds a saddle, a winter blanket and a bag of feed.
    5. When you husband has to bribe you with a trip to Dover saddle shop to get you to clean the house.
    6. When you wish they made more clothing featuring horses
    7. When you start using horse training methods with people e.g. pressure give release
    8.Your fingernails never seem to stay clean or in good shape.
    9. You own mud boots, cowboy boots and gross tennis shoes
    10. The people next to the place you board ask if you live there
    11. Your husband thinks the only thing running through your head is horses, horse,horses
    12. You finally graduated from Breyer models to a stick horse named smoky fast, to a beautiful cranky aged gelding to a sleek shiny thoroughbred mare.
    13. Realizing you will never stop learning to be a better rider and horse owner

  45. You know you are a horse lover when your whole house is decorated completely with horse related things and the barn is cleaner than your house.

  46. One of the many ways people know i’m a horse person, is my horse butt…There is nothing better than riding bareback and having the famous brown butt from your horse’s back! When people make comments such as, “You’re butt is all brown!” I just laugh, nod my head, and thank God for horses!

  47. Horses as screen saver and horses pictures on office walls, agenda with reminder to call the farrier between cutt off dates for containers ,…

  48. My mother always tells me that all my conversations come right back to horses, and periodically she will turn around and give me a “look” letting me know that I need to change the subject, that does not mean that I never talk about horse I just do it when she is not looking.

  49. People can tell I’m a rider when..
    I go out in public in my breeches and tall boots, and of course with hay in hair.
    I cluck and go in a half seat when driving up a big hill.
    I cluck and “whoa” at the dog.
    Every inch of my room and my phone is “horseified.”
    Friends have given up asking me if I can hang out because “I’m always at the barn.”
    I get offended when people ask me to skip the barn to hang out with them.
    My boyfriend is jealous of the attention my horse gets.
    And finally, I never stop talking about them!

  50. 35 Reasons to tell when your a true horse lover…
    1. Cantering through the house pretending your riding your imaginary horse
    2. Reading only books that are about horses
    3. Coming up with ten thousand different ways to be able to own a horse
    4. Asking Santa for a pony every year
    5. Collecting Breyer horses
    6. Don’t mind eating with dirty hands and stating that you’re building your immune system
    7. Not being able to draw anything but horses
    8. Your room is covered in horse posters
    9. You hate shopping unless its a spree to Dover Saddlery
    10. Being mocked at school because of your love of horses and not caring
    11. Finding that horses are all you talk about in a conversation
    12. You could spend hours just brushing your horse
    13. Having a special connection with horses that you just can’t explain
    14. Dreaming of growing up to be an Olympic rider
    15. Having a farmer’s tan on your arms and being ghostly white everywhere else.
    16. Winning lots of blue ribbons at horse shows
    17. Falling off and getting right back on, and stating that you weren’t holding your leg enough
    18. Wishing that they made a perfume that smelt like horses
    19. Turning down a sleepover with your best friend because you have a riding lesson the next morning
    20. Watching old western movies and only looking at the horses
    21. Wishing you could run away with your horse
    22. Wondering what your horse would say if he could talk
    23. Surfing the web for horses for sale
    24. Wishing upon stars for your perfect dream horse
    25. When you realize the only reason you became friends with someone was because they love horses as well
    26. Hating the rain because it cancels riding lessons
    27. Wanting to live in a barn
    28. Wearing your new tall boots to school in order to break them in
    29. When you never admit that you are tired and hungry until after you leave the barn
    30. Finding your horse’s favorite spot to be scratched
    31. Realizing that cleaning tack is your favorite pastime
    32. Disliking people who say horses are smelly, and saying that people can make a lot worse smells in one trip to the bathroom than a horse could in a week
    33. Defending your old horse when someone says they’re a sack of bones
    34. Writing stories about horses
    35. And above all, through all the troubles and problems, expenses, and great joys, knowing your destiny is with horses, no matter what!!!!!!

  51. 1. Putting a long leash on your dog and ‘lunging’ her instead of taking her for a walk.
    2. Being made fun of because your hair is flat from wearing a helmet for the last hour and a half.
    3. Walking into the mall proudly sporting dirty breeches and tall-boots.
    4. Laughing at the horrified look your friends give you when you bite into a slobber covered apple after you’ve shared the first half with your horse.
    5. When a guy tries to insult you and says you look like a horse, smiling and thanking him for the compliment.

  52. I cluck to all my animals, people and cars.
    My favorite shoes are my riding boots.
    I gallop around the house like I’m riding an imaginary horse.
    I alway am saying something about horses.
    I’d rather muck out stalls then clean my room.
    I always have hay in my pockets.

  53. My friends know i’m a horse person from my clothes and boots and the fact that I always talk about my horses when i’m around them constantly reminding them how much there missing out on without horses but when I go to there place for a family dinner and I wear my straw covered coat and boots there parents say “Honey do you work with horses?” because you got a bit of a horsey smell coming from your coat I said is the smell that bad?

  54. My mother always has to inspect me.
    I leave the car,”Brush the dust off your pants”
    I sit down for dinner, “There’s hay in your hair”
    I go to a friend’s house,”Let me smell your jacket”
    I was even sent to the Dean of Student’s office once because my PE teacher was standing in my way and without thinking I poked him in the ribs and said, “Over.” He had this utterly confused look on his face while I hasteily tried to explain.

  55. Every time I go out to ride I always give my horse lots of hugs and kisses. If he is very well behaved I give him an apple or carrot. My mom grew up having horses around so she knows why I always smell like my horse.

  56. You can always tell when my wife had been spending time or even just thinking about the horses; because she will sit on the couch and “kiss” or “click” 4 or 5 times to call our toddler’s attention.

  57. I poked my mom in the ribs and smooched at her when she was in my way… Whoops. I always find extra feed and broken down treats in my pockets. There is a saddle in my room because I ran out of space… my boots cannot be worn in public, or on nice carpets/floors.

  58. Having to stop at the store on the way home from the barn wearing shorts & muck boots and not thinking anything about it until I get a couple of weird looks. Or when my daughter is walking slowly in front of me and I cluck at her. Or the time a friend borrowed a coat and reached in the pocket and pulled out a hoof pick and a peppermint wrapper.

  59. I think my most tell tale sign that I am horsey is that at whenever I buy a school lunch, I always buy an apple to give to my horse. Whenever the principal asks me why I am bringing my apple upstairs I tell her it’s for my horse. She gives my a funny look but lets me be.

  60. My tell tale sign is that I always find myself clucking to my dog when I’m trying to call him! I’ve gotten the weirdest looks from my neighbors!

  61. Well…I am constantly in riding boots and shirts with barn logos on them,and I cluck to people all the time to get them to move. I am constantly drawing horses on my paper or talking about horses. I also find random bits of hay and treats in my pockets.

  62. My signs of being a Horse Lover is that if you ask me about Horses, I will give you a detailed explanation of where horses came from starting with the Eohippus all the way until I reach the current horse, Equus ferus Caballus. My thighs and calves are much bigger and stronger than the rest of my body to to having ‘Iron Legs’ that help me stay on a rampaging horse. I live with hay all over my body from inside my clothing to my nicest clothes, I will smell of fly spray, sweat and manure,that is my perfume. I have all of my achievements and ribbons hung up in my room. My life revolves around horses and it’s quite obvious too.

  63. I half halt my husband and or daughter if they are walking too fast next to me. If I am holding their hands I will squeeze their hands like I was squeezing the reins with the same feel as if I were riding. Then I tell them,”Half halt.” My husband still doesn’t understand what I am talking about.

  64. I have a gallon ziplock bag in the fridge filled with apple cores that have bite marks all over them. People just think I’m really environmentally friendly and like saving my apple cores when I’m done eating them, but that’s not exactly true. The way I see it: why would I waste the perfectly good core and lose a chance of getting horsey-made applesauce on my hands? …Horses aren’t for everyone.


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