Cats     |     Dogs     |     Horse Care     |     Horse Sports & Training   |     Small Pets

Women & Horses

fit together like

Currier and Ives

Help Rescue Homeless

Pets with a Gift

of One Dollar

Horseback riding is a sport at which women excel. One can try
to explain their success because they are lighter than men and
have obvious anatomical advantages for the saddle. This is
certainly not everything. After 70 years of riding and close
association with riders, I am convinced that the most important
reason for feminine preeminence in the sport is their ability to
relate to horses. It is partly a matter of sensitivity and
patience. It is also a matter of willingness to trust in a real
partnership where the whole is far more powerful than the sum of
the parts.

Men are often too preoccupied by the need to show their macho
strength in dominating a horse and are less willing to seek a
harmonious relationship. They often seem to feel they must
overpower a horse and make it totally subservient to their
will. Many of them would be pleased if a horse reacted in the
same insensate way as an automobile to a turn of the wheel, a
foot on the brake or a push on the accelerator. Some people are
just more at ease with machines which will always obey even
suicidal commands unquestioningly.

For 25 years I have owned one of the world’s largest riding
tour companies and we have found that about 70% of our clients
are female. They tend to find an easy rapport with horses which
most men have more trouble achieving. At our own dude ranch the
majority of our wranglers are women. They love working with
horses and are invariably patient, friendly and understanding
to both horses and guests without showing off. They have taken
the time to study equitation and horses in depth and many hold
degrees from the British Horse Society or similar American
institutions. Our wranglers care passionately about the
physical and psychological welfare of their horses and are
extremely conscientious. We have seen few situations where
great strength is an asset although men do have an advantage
with shoeing.

For 20 years Linda Tellington-Jones has been doing a clinic at
our ranch each year to teach people how to start young horses.
During the week she starts our four-year-old Arabians who have
not yet been backed although they are used to being around
people from the time they are born. These clinics using
non-confrontational techniques have been immensely successful
with clients (90% women) and they have given our horses a
wonderful start. During the week the young horses are slowly
prepared for a rider without being pushed too much. It is a
long process demanding considerable patience which few men seem
willing to offer. They prefer crash programs, much in vogue
these days, which overwhelm the horse in a short time and give
quick results, but do not work so well to make a trusting
partner out of the animal in the long term.

Women are also frequently the leaders of the riding tours we
handle around the world so our own ranch with its 180 horses is
not an exception internationally. From Botswana to Argentina
there are women leading rides and doing a first rate job. It
does seem to be true, however, that most Western dude ranches
still adhere strongly to the masculine cowboy mystique with
Marlboro hats, coiled ropes and jingling spurs. It depends on
one’s priorities and many of these ranches are focused more on
the trappings of a Western experience with barbecues, hay
rides, square dances and sing-along’s rather than riding in the
equestrian sense.

Many patriarchal societies of the past in the days when horses
were such a symbol of power (it was not so long ago) tended to
keep a near male monopoly on riding. It appears that this has
not always been the case. The ancient Greeks, who knew a lot
about human nature, have such a rich mythology about women
riders that it seems to me there is very likely some reason to
believe in the existence of early women equestrians. Certainly
the image of the fierce Amazon horsewomen belonging to a
matriarchal society is a powerful and pervasive tale. These
fearsome equestrian warriors were reputed to have cut off a
right breast so that they could better handle their bows and
spears. If so, they must have been mighty serious about what
they were doing. It is interesting that in Mongolian society
today women participate in riding for work and sports right
along with the men.

Women have come into their own with horses in much of the world
now that men no longer monopolize them. They find enjoyment and
fulfillment in achieving a harmonious relationship which
empowers both horse and rider. One can find somewhat the same
kind of pleasure in teamwork with a working dog. Herding cattle
with a willing horse is a good example of the kind of thing
people and horses can do together. Whatever it is that makes
women and horses such a good match, it has been a great delight
to me over the years to see the happiness which this
relationship has brought to both and I celebrate this

About The Author: Bayard Fox and his wife, Mel, own the
Bitterroot Dude Ranch and Bayard
is the owner and founder of Equitours Worldwide horseback riding

Plush Stuffed Horses for most breeds

Horse Calendars


Site Map

Custom Search