As we well know, everyone has their strengths and weaknesses, and this includes those immersed in the equestrian world. Fortunately, the positive sides often outnumber the negatives. But we do have a tendency to dwell a tad too much on the downsides. Perhaps they're not even entirely true. In a bid to challenge these notions, here's a glimpse into some of the characters we inevitably come across in our horse-riding pursuits. What preconceived notions do we hold about these folks? And what should we remember amidst it all? Whether you concur with our sentiments, or recognize someone who fits one or more of these descriptions, you'll only discover by reading on.
He's a bit of a charmer and, by all accounts, it seems he's become a farrier to be surrounded by happy women all day. Every day, he's thanked for saving their horses from wandering about with a lost shoe or worn hooves. Truly, a saviour of equine conscience.
However, we should remember that the farrier might have a family too. Much like the rest of us, he works to support and spend time with them. A cheeky comment here and there could simply be a way to brighten up a monotonous week. So, could it be the riders who are the real flirts? Having said that, it's doubtful the farrier minds.
He or she is always in the centre or off in a corner, seemingly just directing students around. Some reckon it's the easiest teaching job out there.
But it's often not that simple. Being a riding instructor is tough graft. It's not just about ensuring beginners don't collide; one must also manage anxious parents on the sidelines, saddles placed too forward, and horses too keen on unseating their riders. Instructors have their hands full, for sure.
Often an older chap, he's always seen with a particular item of clothing he bought in his youth, be it from Kentucky or a market in Denmark's outlying areas. If he's not into western or endurance riding, you'll likely find him in his carriage behind his loyal steed. And he possesses a wealth of knowledge about horses, albeit perhaps a bit dated.
Yet, we shouldn't overlook the charm of the stable's senior. It's unlikely he'd judge anyone based on their riding or gear. And while one might need to take his words with a pinch of salt, there's still a lot to learn if one simply listens.
They either know too much or next to nothing about horses. Typically, they might be a low-paid Eastern European worker or an obsessive bachelor with not much else going on. And it's always slightly awkward running into them.
But is this a fair depiction? Most stable masters are indeed very helpful and welcoming. We reckon many horse folk secretly admire numerous stable masters out there. Busted?
Seemingly dull folks, all they care about are rules and plans, not to mention being adept at sipping tea and munching on pastries. Many don't even ride themselves. Most are parents of students, overly concerned about safety, while the rest are just keen on participating in their favourite categories.
Hold on a minute. Let's not forget the countless voluntary hours put into being on a committee. Without them, there would be no riding clubs. The more one puts in, the more say they have – and isn't that only fair? Maybe it's something you might consider.
Especially in dressage or show jumping, they seem to thrive on making riders nervous, keen on highlighting what riders are lacking. They might remind you of that strict examiner from your German A-levels.
But let's be clear: Without a judge, none of us could compete. While it might seem they're out to criticize, they're just pointing out areas of improvement for next time. We must remember that.
She's the queen of roast pork sandwiches, hotdogs, budget sweets, and sodas. At every event, she's behind the counter, serving hungry guests and riders alike. You might think she's just the oblivious grandmother of the chairman's daughter, but you'd be mistaken.
She's vital for the club's earnings and she knows it. So, be wary of what you say to her. Before you know it, your favourite drink might be off the menu.
Though it may feel like it, they're not just there to judge your every move. They're not assessing your latest gear or critiquing your horse and riding skills. Quite the opposite.
Many might not even know what it's like to ride a horse. And those who do, certainly don't know what it's like to ride your horse. We'd wager at least 30% of the audience were dragged along to support a grandchild or in-law in their first competition. So whether there are 2 or 200 spectators, remember, none know better about you and your horse than you, the one in the ring!
Who might this be about, we wonder? Of course, no names are mentioned. Equestrian journalists are those top riders at major events often avoid. Why? Because the most common thing heard from them is, "Can I quote you on that?"
While it's a tad prejudiced to think this way, it's not entirely unfounded. We, as equestrian journalists, are keen to observe and relay happenings from the horse world. But our team is always striving to show respect and understanding to all the dedicated and talented riders we encounter.