When I wrote the post 9 Myths about Horseback Riding, I knew I’d have to follow it up with a post about horsewomen and their love of horses.
I also wanted to make the list a little shorter!
There could be a sequel one day, but for now, let’s check out 4 myths about women who love horses.
1. WE DON’T CARE ABOUT ANYTHING BUT HORSES
Many horsewomen have lots of stuff going on in their lives that they care about: family, work, hobbies, politics, volunteering, education, global warming, world peace, and so on.
Our horses might take up a lot of our time, and other times not so much, but they’re still part of our lives. We spend a lot of time thinking about horses. It’s just who we are as horsewomen.
2. WE’RE ALL RICH
Many horsewomen are critter rich and money poor!
It’s like anything else in life. You figure out what you want and then you figure out a way to pay for it. Usually by working a job.
Sure, there are horsewomen who come from wealthy families and they call down to the barn and ask the groom to saddle their horse because they want to go for a ride. Those rich horsewomen are not reading this blog!
Rich horsewomen have hired staff to take care of the daily responsibilities that go along with horse ownership.
The rest of us are DIY when it comes to our horses!
The horse has to be fed.
The horse has to be groomed.
Stalls need to be cleaned.
Fresh stalls need to be bedded down and wheelbarrows dumped.
If you’re rich you can hire staff to do the dirty work. If you’re not rich, you do the work yourself!
Real horsewomen who love their horses aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty!
3. WE DON’T WORK FOR A LIVING
Oh how I’d love not to work a job and to spend as much time as I wanted with my horse.
Most horsewomen work real jobs to support themselves and their horses.
Our paychecks? Spent on our horses!
Some of us love horses so much all we want to do is find a job working with horses.
Now if you want to make a living working with horses, here’s a little secret. Horse jobs don’t pay that well. And sometimes they don’t pay at all. There are a lot of sleazy characters who run all kinds of horse businesses – racing, training, boarding, lessons, and trail rides. They’re not all making money at it and sometimes there’s no money to pay the hard-working staff.
Here’s another thing. Many women who work in the horse industry, especially if they’re self employed such as training racehorses, often have a real job “on the side” to help pay the real bills.
I’ve worked my whole life, usually at one dead end job after another to support myself and my horse. In my twenties I even worked a few horse jobs, and it’s not as glamorous as you might think. And how long can you keep it up? One of the many downsides of getting older is that physical labor jobs get harder and harder on the body.
The only women who love horses and don’t work for a living are heirs to huge family fortunes.
The rest of us women who love horses? We work for a living so we can support our horsey habit.
4. WE DON’T KNOW WHAT PHYSICAL LABOR IS ALL ABOUT
There’s people out there who think us women who love horses are just doing all the cushy stuff and don’t know what physical labor is all about.
Some of the hardest working people around have jobs in the horse industry.
It’s hard, physical, back-breaking work.
When I worked in the horseracing business I had to wake up at 4:30am. The track opened at 6am for the horses to be exercised and closed around three hours later.
You have to be crazy to get up at that hour!
Horse crazy that is!
Ever tried tossing bales of hay around? Bales weigh 50 pounds and up. Tugging a few around? Probably no big deal. Moving 25, 50, 100 or more bales and stacking them 4 bales high? Not so easy.
How about pushing a wheelbarrow loaded down with manure through a mucky path in the pouring rain to dump it in the manure pile? Or struggling to push that full wheelbarrow through the snow? It’s not easy!
After working in the horse industry for a few years, a 9 to 5 job in a dry, temperature-controlled office started to sound pretty good to me.
That doesn’t mean my days of physical labor were over.
Every day I haul buckets of water, move hay around, brush my horse and lift it’s legs up so I can clean out his hooves. If I went to the feed shop, that means I’ll be carrying 40 pound sacks of grain into the barn.
I have no one else who can do these things for me. At my age I’d rather not do physical labor, but I’m cowgirl tough. I’ll get it done. Just don’t try to tell me I know nothing about physical labor. I’ve spent a lifetime around horses.
My therapist eats hay. How about yours?