The world would be a very boring place if we were all alike and this is as true in the equestrian industry as anywhere. And while variety is the spice of life, as the years pass and people come and go, you learn to identity certain ‘types’ of horse owner.
To celebrate our diversity, here are just a few that you might recognise.
The owner who likes a change
This person changes horses like some people upgrade their cars. Every 18 months to two years she fancies a new challenge or is convinced it’s time to take her riding in a new direction. So far she’s had a cracking Connemara for M&M showing, an exciting ex-racer for eventing, a big-moving warmblood for a spot of dressage, a fancy pants German-bred showjumper, and a pure-bred Arab for endurance riding. The latest addition to her stable is a solid Irish-bred hunter, who arrived just in time for the start of the season. Tally Ho!
The horse collector
This person has many more horses than she has time to exercise and is typically found running from pillar to post to keep up with their needs. There is her ‘old faithful’, one or more competition/riding horses, quite possibly a broodmare (with or without foal at foot/in utero), at least one ‘project’ who is looking unlikely to be sold on anytime soon, one she ‘saved’ from a life worse than death and a small pony who is just ‘useful to have around’. Quite how or why he’s useful is anyone’s guess, but she says it with such conviction that everyone believes her.
The ultra-competitive rider
Born into a competitive family that excels in everything they do, this rider has been winning red rosettes since before they could walk and sees no reason to stop now. Their posh warmblood with a name so long and convoluted that it causes even the most experienced commentator to weep into their coffee, has an ultra impressive CV, although the consistency of his performances is not what it once was. You’ll know how their day has gone as soon as they arrive back on the yard from a show, either full of joy or with a dark cloud hanging over their head.
All the gear (ATG)
This queen of ‘matchy-matchy’ is always dressed in the latest season’s colours, and wouldn’t be seen dead riding without her co-ordinating saddle pad and fleece bandages while she enjoys her 20min hack around the block. Whether it’s the latest saddle technology or a new bit that her hero was pictured using on their horse in the latest issue of Horse & Hound, ATG has an impressive collection of kit. As much of this has only been used once or twice, if you want to try something on your horse before investing, she’s a great person to know.
The make do and mender (MDAM)
The polar opposite of ATG, this owner hasn’t been able to afford to go way on holiday for as long as she can remember, and she knows the value of ‘make do and mend’. While her horses and their kit may not be flashy, her horse glows with good health beneath his multi-patched rugs. Equally her ancient tack may be made up from mismatched originals, but it fits well and is in great condition thanks to her excellent care of it. And you know that when that tatty 20-year-old old jute rug finally comes to the end of it’s life, MDAM will take time to recycle the straps and fastenings for future use. Want to know how to keep your horses on a budget? MDAM is the person you need to talk to.
The box-rest owner
We all feel sorry for this owner, who is on ‘grab a coffee’ terms with her equine vet’s receptionist. For no obvious reason, their horse is always in the wars and they spend more time walking out their horse in hand, than riding him. Every time it looks like they’ve turned a corner and might be able to look forward to enjoying more than a quiet hack, he comes in from the field hopping lame again. While it’s enough to put some people off horses for life, luckily this stoic character seems able to shrug it off by simply saying: “That’s horses for you”. She is, of course, right.
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