You don’t have to spend very long on a yard to start to know your ‘gossipy rider’ from your ‘reluctant rider’. Vanessa Fletcher rounds up some of the more common types of equestrians you’re likely to have come across — and the faux pas to avoid on meeting them
1. The Uber-keen Novice
This type of equine enthusiast is typically the first to arrive at the yard and the last to leave. Usually found covered in hay and straw with their heads buried in a horsey book or magazine when they aren’t riding or doing jobs, they soak up horsey trivia like a sponge. They want to know all there is to know — NOW.
2. The Laid-back Lady of Leisure
This individual has learnt enough to enable her to enjoy riding her horse, and doesn’t aspire to anything more. Rarely seen in the arena; this laid-back individual (who could equally be a man, but the alliteration isn’t as good…) is far more likely to be found ambling along on their horse, taking in the scenery at a leisurely pace while exploring the beautiful British countryside.
3. The Been There And Done It
This type of rider has not just been everywhere and worn the T-shirt… they have worn it out. They have experience in every discipline, including point-to pointing and polo. The time they won at Hickstead is usually only the starting point for their well-rehearsed script. Name dropping of adequately famous riders tends to pepper their conversations.
4. The Nervous Rider
Easily spotted due to their ashen faces and trembling limbs, the nervous rider is something of an enigma in the horse world because even though they’re terrified, they come back every day to go through the whole ordeal once more. These riders have incredible leg muscles from repeatedly producing the ‘grip of death’ when things start to go pear-shaped.
5. The Gossipy Rider
This type of rider finds out things of interest and shares them with everyone, whether they want to listen or not. They are usually found astride their four-legged friend while spreading the news because they’ve found gossip is more believable when it comes from the horse’s mouth — or on horseback. They like to be the first to know everything and anything about anyone, and be the first to tell everyone else.
6. The Reluctant Rider
This rider will use any excuse not to ride. The reasons will range from it being too hot/too cold/too windy/too early/too late with ‘I’ll ride tomorrow’ being their favourite saying. Usually, once they’re sitting in a saddle they’ll regain their enthusiasm, but the moment they slide off their horse’s back, it disappears again.
7. The Undeterred Rider
These riders are born with nerves of steel. No matter how many times they fall off (and it’s a lot), they heroically get back on. They’re easy to spot as they have a determined expression and bruises overlapping bruises. Even though they know they’ve no chance of being placed at a show because they usually get thrown off in the lorry park, they go along for the ride anyway. The pairing have their own fan club who turn up in droves to watch them attempt to enter the ring.
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8. The Ambitious Rider
This rider will stop at nothing to win. They insist on setting their riding hat at the highest level of whatever discipline takes their ambitious fancy. Money is no object in their efforts to procure the perfect horse and level of fitness/training to secure them a place on the team. These riders can be found in the arena at dawn in driving rain and gales, working on perfecting their latest movement.
9. The Brand-Obsessed Rider
These riders are obsessed by brands. They take making a good first impression seriously, and I mean seriously. No hand-me-downs or budget ranges for these guys, they have expensive tastes and only that the latest collection from the must-have brand will do for them and their horse. The new season’s range means yet another spending spree. If you are not adverse to the odd hand-me-down or wearing last season’s colours, this person can be a great person to know.
10. The Immaculately Turned Out Rider
Similar in nature to the brand-obsessed rider, these individuals take things a step further. Brands can be mixed and matched, but everything, and I mean everything, must be immaculate. If an eyelash dares to be out of place, they go into meltdown. A tiny stable stain on a white sock has them sprinting for the shampoo. Not content with relying on buckets, they have a portable hot horse shower for their horses’ use. Their tack room is more like a show room and they’re usually found in there cleaning something, while impressively managing to remain immaculate themselves.
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