Thursday, July 9, 2015

Why Riding Has Changed

Every so often, I read a FB post or an article from some old fossil master of the sport or some upper upper upper level person pontificating on the tragedy that American riding and/or horsemanship has become. And I think to myself that they are really missing the bigger picture.
I think in order to understand where we are, we have to really look at how much society has changed, and how that has changed the face of riding and horses today.
I bet if you looked back on the demographics on riding and showing before 1970, they would look A LOT different then they do today. My guess would be the demographics would skew more towards the young, the rich and the male.
My reason for this is that LIFE looked a lot different for women prior to the late 1960s.
The majority of women were getting married early and raising large families on less money than most of us today. A few major developments in the 1950's, 60's and 70's led to seismic shifts in the roles now available to women. The invention and availability of Birth Control gave women greater choice over their reproductive destinies.
Greater opportunites for education and the introduction of women to the workplace meant greater financial freedom. 

 But what does that have to do with riding? Well to me it means that larger numbers of older women are free to pursue their dreams of achievement in horses and riding. For many of us, in order to do that, it has meant sacrifices - such as not having children or working 40 hours+ per week in order to afford poopykins.
You, too, can grow up to work 40+ hours a week in a cubicle under florescent lighting!
So the next time some BNT pontificates about the tragedy that is dimishing fence heights and classes over 3' no longer filling at local shows, I secretly laugh a little inside.
Because I will take this life ANY DAY:
Over this one:


  1. yesssssss!!!!!! what an awesome point and i seriously never even considered this before

  2. Agreed! Betty Draper did randomly ride horses for like two episodes...then she went back to her chain smoking vapid self.

  3. I want to rub several old codgers' faces in this very post because you are so, so right.

  4. too true. If you want some fun- go to the Gutenberg Project and download the 'Riding for Ladies'. It's awesome.

  5. Oh man. Betty Draper life would SUCK. I definitely prefer classes under 3'!

  6. Such a great point! I too have heard/read the grumblings about classes under 3'.