What Happens to the Horse Girls?

21
2460


Note: This is day 20 of my 30-day blogging challenge. What the heck is a 30-day blogging challenge? Read about it here.

There was a meme going around Facebook for a while that said something like, “Every school has that weird kid who’s obsessed with horses. I was that kid.”

I was that kid too. I bet many of you were as well. I don’t know about you, but at the time, I was unaware that it made me weird. In hindsight, I probably annoyed my non-horse friends at school by talking about horses a lot, but they remained my friends, so it couldn’t have been too offensive.

I didn’t even realize that “weird horse kid” was a well-known archetype in American youth culture until I was out of grade school. A college friend once talked about how boys in her high school—high school!—would walk up behind her and whinny or make threats against her horse as they passed by her in the hallway. I was in disbelief that anyone above the age of 12, would delight in tormenting someone else for something as seemingly inoffensive as riding horses. But then other friends nodded knowingly and shared their own experiences of being shunned or made fun of for their equine involvement.

There’s a great essay over on rookiemag.com written by a woman who grew up being loosely acquainted with, but not really understanding, a Horse Girl. In it, the author admits to looking down at Horse Girls with derision because of what she now realizes was a lack of understanding and even a hint of jealousy. Go read it—it’s not too long and I am pretty sure any former weird horse kid will appreciate it.

I was thinking recently about how if Horse Girl is such a well-known personality, there must be a lot of them within every generation of American youth. But how many of them grow up to be active horsewomen? When I think back to my elementary school days, I can remember a handful of kids who rode, or at least really wanted to ride. I can think of about three other girls (and one boy) in my class who still rode by the time we were in high school. Do any of them still ride? I have no idea.

There’s a fair amount of fretting in the horse world about how there aren’t enough boys in equestrian sports in this country. People talk about how boys lose interest before they’re even out of elementary school because other boys make fun of them. What about girls, though? Sure, some kids just grow out of the horse phase, but how many girls get peer-pressured out of a sport and lifestyle they truly love because their friends gave them the idea that Horse Girls are dorks?

Weird Kid

Case in point: the comments section of that Rookie article. The article itself is great, and many of the comments from Horse Girls and sympathetic friends are reassuring, but some of the other replies from its young readers are telling.

“I was a horse girl. Its my shameful secret. My obsession came to an abrupt end when I moved from a small country town in to the city and suddenly realized owning a pony was not cool.”

“I always found Horse Girls weird and now I feel a little guilty about that haha.”

“I WAS A HORSE GIRL AND REGRET EVERYTHING IN THAT PHASE”

It makes me sad to think that there are girls out there who have been given the impression that there’s something wrong with being enthusiastic about horses. The only thing worse than going through life without any true passion is having a passion but hiding it in order to remain in the good graces of some social circle.

Final thought: the Horse Girls who grow up to do 100-mile endurance rides or compete in upper level eventing or train unbroke and unruly horses are undeniably, objectively bad ass. My wish for the current generation of weird horse kids is that they can find a role model in the equestrian world who defies everything their peers are telling them, and aspire to follow in those footsteps. Here’s to the Horse Girls.

< < Previous Entry

Back to The Near Side


Leslie Potter is Sr. Associate Web Editor of HorseChannel.com. Follow her on Twitter: @LeslieInLex.

 

21 COMMENTS

  1. I still am that same weird “horse crazy girl” I was as a kid, but now with more responsibilities and less time, but still the same dream of flying bareback through the fields on my horse.

  2. I think its sad that people criticize what we love to do and that people stop riding and loving horses just because people say its weird. Half the kids at my school say its dumb, or its weird, or its not a sport. But I don’t really care what they think because I love the sport and I’m not gonna stop being the weird horse kid because people make fun of me!

  3. I am still weird, and people often ask if I have not out grown “that horsey stage”, and I just grin and say I will when I grow old…..and if the calendar and the mirro do not lie, I am there, and still weird. Love it!!

  4. I think too many kids are driven away from horses by their own parents. My parents never pushed me to do anything but I knew kids in 4-H who were made to ride in 10 different disciplines just so they could rack up points and impress everybody.

  5. I was that crazy horse kid, shund, reticuled, it was awful. After my kids reached 18 and 16, I was given a horse. It’s the best thing in the world for me.
    I had forgotten what the horse meant to me, how linked to my soul they were. I can never be horseless again.

  6. I’ve alway been known for my obsession with horses and I’m proud of it. But sometimes it gets anoying. I had people come up to me saying “are you that girl that loves horses?” I’d say “yes and don’t you know I have a name to”. I’m a freshman now and non of the teaches know about my past. I stay quiet about my horse life. Kids in my home town now are known to be more horse crazy then me. Even though I’ve always been the most horse crazy. I feel that people underestimate me because they never see me ride.
    A little about me. I only get to see my horse in the summer. That ment I only get to ride in the summer. But I’m proud to be known for my skills. I’ve been to state and people know about me. It just all sucks because when I leave to go home for school, it’s hard to say goodbye to my horse knowing I’m going to be gone for 9 months. Also yes I own this horse I just have no place to keep him so he stays at my aunts all year.

  7. I guess I was a weird horse girl as a kid. My folks gave in and I got to take riding lessons one year, and occasionally go on trail rides, but I didn’t get to live like a weird horse girl until I got a horse at the age of 48! Unfortunately, my family still considers me a weird horse girl because no one else in my family has ever really liked horses. They still don’t understand the passion!

  8. I was that horse girl growing up- and still am. Through middle school and highschool kids would make noises at me, make fun of me, and would even make jokes about horses being better as dog food or glue. When I got my first horses, the glue jokes continued. Since I’m in college now, it doesn’t matter and people actually think it’s cool. Some immature people still make those jokes- but they know that I’d prefer my horse over them any day. My mother linked me the meme going around, posting it on my fb page, which at first it sort of made me feel bad about myself. But, it’s just a meme. I own four horses currently, and I know for certain I will never grow out of it.

  9. I knew there were “horse girls”, but I had no idea they were weird or dorky! I wanted to be a horse girl, but my mom put a firm end to that! No horse for you! When my daughters wanted to ride, I was so happy. I actually started riding again with them. I am so proud of them for being “horse girls” and would encourage them even if it were uncool, but thankfully it doesn’t seem to be a problem where we live. And yes, I am that horse girl. Better late than never!

  10. I was never made a brunt for anyone’s jokes, at least not to my face. Maybe it was because most of my friends were “horse girls” too. Maybe the difference was living in small town Midwest. I never outgrew it, but life intervened for many years. However I am now a 65 year old horse girl, and proud of it.

  11. I was that wierd horse girl and I was bullied unmercifully. I started riding english in grade school, got a job guiding trail riders after high school but had to give it up with marriage and children. Introducing my daughter to horses thirty years later brought me back to the original english stable that I started at and now at 52 I have happily returned to riding there with my daughter. I may never own my own horse but I’ll be that weird horse girl until I die.

  12. Was, am and always will be, a horse girl. Didn’t care if others made fun of me, my horses were my life. I still have them at age 50, and still ride and take care of them on my own place. I couldn’t live without them. Had them with me all except when I lived in the city for 6 months. Too bad those that had negative experiences and comments about being a horse girl. They missed out….

  13. I’m still a crazy horse girl. I don’t think a truly horsey kid would leave horses just because it wasn’t cool. How many of us reading this article would leave our horses because someone said it wasn’t cool? No one!
    Some kids probably go through a horse crazy fad but it doesn’t last because it’s not based on anything realistic. Get those kids doing something with their dreams and it might stick better.

  14. Im still a horse girl. Have been since I was young. I didnt get picked on. I had other friends and such always wanting to come ride my horses. Now I have 4 horses for now. 🙂

  15. I was the “weird horse girl”. I was tortured by my peers in grade school and it only got worse as I got older. My parents prayed that I would grow out of it. It was horrible to endure such hurtful comments for doing something that is harmless. Well, I am 36 now. I have never “grown” out of horses. They are more a part of my life and family now more than ever! We have 2 horses and 1 pony. I married a horsey husband, have horsey kids and couldn’t be happier! Not too bad for the strange horse girl…..(Wonder what all of my former peers are up to??)

  16. Stilla crazy horse girl at 60 and will be till I take my last breath………..really did not care if others liked me or not, staying true to your passion makes for a much better life. I team rope and barrel race and pole bend. Even old people give you ___ . They say you still doing that, to which I reply and what I am I supossed to do sit around and wait to die!

  17. I’ve been a horse girl since I was 5. Got my first horse at 12. Still have him at 32 plus another. If anyone made fun of me I don’t know about it. Like someone else said I had horsey friends or people wanted to ride. Plus horses are my joy. Talk to me for five minutes and it’s obvious. Maybe that’s why no one was ugly? I’m not sure but all I know is I cannot live without horses. Ever.

  18. I agree! Was made of all throughout school for riding. Now that I’m older, I see on social media these same friends that would whinny when I walked into a room now are sending their kids to riding lessons. I never understood what there was to ridicule. These experiences just made me like people less, and horses more!

  19. I was that horse crazy boy who got teased and bullied because I liked horses. Growing up it seemed that no boys liked horses. I was always friends with the horse crazy girls though! Had a lot of female friends! Still do! Did not own a horse or start riding until I was an adult. Was the only guy at the barn where I boarded my horse and my Dressage Instructor’s only male student. Heard a lot of horrible stories from other girls growing up liking horses and being singled out for it. Most just rolled with it like I did and moved on. As an adult horse owner I am now teased from the guys I work with for having a “girly hobby” or because I ride English I am gay. I think that is why people become secretive about their horse passion. It is not worth the time trying to explain to non-horse people. They just don’t get it. Horses are not like other hobbies. It is lots of work and a different sort of passion because you have a living, breathing animal to take care of. There will always be those that do not see themselves doing what you do, so they feel they need to make fun of your interests to make themselves feel better, especially when they have other people around them to boost their ignorance.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here