Happy Sunday! I am very excited to have brewed myself a cup of tea, do not have to be at the barn for another few hours and have the opportunity to sit and read some blogs and finally get another post up for me.
At a barn that is largely dominated by female college students you would think that any man would love to join this horsey (female) community. Of course, like any community run by women, there is dramatics and there is gossip, but this barn has highly attractive, smart, wonderful girls who ride there. Enter: the change. Very recently we have received several inquiries for beginning men, aged in their 20s to start riding with us. And these are neither cowboys, nor kids who rode in their past, they are fresh faced beginners! The first was a guy willing to do hard labor in return for lessons, I put him on a big draft cross and off they went. This guy was not suited for english- but he had the greatest attitude and listened extremely well. Next, in response to a working add, we got another hard working individual who cleans and feeds for us.
Now in the last couple of months we have had 2 new beginning guys who are ready to try riding, brand new. I say good for them, but I also say, why? I have never seen so many guys willing to take lessons, and following their newfound passion so quickly! It is so awesome. For years I have just conceded to the fact that i needed to find a good natured guy who would just tolerate my riding and my horses, but in meeting these fellows, and the guys I am dating, perhaps there is hope!
I must admit, I met my wonderful boyfriend at the barn, although he was not there to ride, he was helping a mutual friend to the morning feed. This man is truly wonderful, not only does he come and help me do my chores, but he rides with me and is doing great!
The horse industry is following an interesting new trend, there is still a very big division (speaking in broad terms) from the east coast to the west, english to western. Cowboys and hunters. In the west it is still based on the cowboy way of life, western. Using your horse to sort, brand, ride the fences all of the activities from our past. This has always been a mans’ world, the Quarter horse industry, second only to the other male dominated industry, Thoroughbreds, is very much a man dominated industry. But yet, when I look at my equine science classrooms, the classes producing the new leaders, it is 98% women, and a rare man. Furthermore, the entire industry is seeing a switch to middle aged women working with horses, very different from the past. It is very interesting to hear the “old timers” the true bow legged, deep voiced cowboys talk about the changes they are seeing. They are trying to figure out how the horse industry is going to be able to support itself with the addition of this new niche. I found it interesting even looking through blogs and seeing that only two, out of dozens I looked at was written by a man, although I suppose women are more prone to blogging than males are.
I am still extremely impressed these guys took it upon themselves to join in our wonderful lifelong passions, I have the privilege of working with them and trying to teach them how to really love the sport. Hopefully we can keep them going and try to keep a balance in the horse industry.