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Unfortunately, not everyone in the world is horsey. This means even the most avid equestrian will have to interact with non horsey folk at some point. Whether that be, friends, family, colleagues or acquaintances. But here are some questions horse owners are pretty tired of hearing.
So do you race?
The vast majority of non horsey people seem to assume that everyone races their horses. I’m not sure if they mean actual racing or if they don’t know the names of any other equestrian disciplines.
A quick explanation of what you actually do with your horse seems to satisfy them. But be prepared for follow up questions!
How do you feel about the Grand National?
With horse racing, the Grand National in particular, dividing animal lovers up and down the country, this seems to be quite a common question among the non horsey folk. They either believe all horse owners will be strongly against the ‘cruelty’, or they will think that because we ‘use’ our horses, we won’t see a problem with racing.
Needless to say, horse racing also divides horse lovers around the world. Some see it as a welfare issue, whereas others believe it is good for the industry. Equestrians have lots of different opinions on controversial subjects!
Crickey I bet that’s expensive to feed! How much does it cost to feed a horse?
I always struggle answering this question… largely because I don’t want to start adding up what I spend feeding Scottie! Staying vague and saying it really depends on the horse and what the horse is doing is a great way of avoiding the realisation of how much money your horse eats!
So is he/she a hobby or a pet?
If you compete your horse, many of your friends will be confused by whether your equine partner is really your pet, or more of a living piece of equipment allowing you to enjoy your hobby.
Us horsey people know that these things are not mutually exclusive! We can spend ears developing and managing our horses to turn them into the perfect athlete and competition machine. But also spend hours giving them cuddles and considering if they would fit in our gardens!
Do they like being ridden? I wouldn’t want someone on my back making me do things.
Lots of horses do enjoy having a job yes. I doubt being ridden is their first choice of things to do each day, but they are usually happy to oblige. And anyone who has been around horses will no how difficult it is to get a half tonne animal to do something they don’t want to!
Do you think I could have a go?
The answer is usually no! Despite how easy we make it look, riding isn’t easy and it isn’t ours or our horse’s jobs to teach you how to ride!
I saw <Insert Horse Item> the other day. What is that all about?
This is very common from my dad who happened to see a horse wearing something funny in the field (such as a fly mask) and wants to know what it is, why they are wearing it and most importantly – if the horse can see. The best part about these questions is that they often also struggle to describe what they saw, so you have to start making wild guesses of what it could have been!
Why do riders take horses on the road?
Non horsey folk do not understand why we take our horses on the road just to complain about drivers on the road. Explaining that no one really wants to ride on the road and that virtually all riders only use the roads to get to fields and bridle paths helps them to understand that we are not just being stuck up and arrogant. It’s also a great time to educate them on how best to pass horses!
Is it true men and women can compete against each other?
Yes! Unlike other sports men have no physical advantage over women. Plus with temperament being a bigger factor in a horses competition success than gender, means that mares, geldings and stallions can all compete alongside each other too.
What questions do you get asked about horses from non horsey folk?