Are Horse People Crazy? or Just Obsessed?

I was at lunch last week with some of my friends from my Masters Swim Team. I was trying to explain to them why I’d missed the last six weeks of practice: spring fox hunting had taken up most of my free time and a pulled lat muscle (from a fall) had made the thought of 3,000 meters of freestyle too painful to attempt. Even though it had not deterred me from fox hunting or from riding my green TB.

They rolled their eyes at me and muttered something about yet another riding injury. It’s true. Last year, I suffered a broken rib (and I wasn’t even riding!), and I’m almost always sporting a bruise or three that tend to be highly visible when you’re wearing a swimsuit. Thinking back, there was the summer when my husband forbid me to go to the pool because I had been kicked in the thigh and the bruise was so appallingly purple. Or the time when I could only wear sandals . . .

Let’s face it, for many of us, horses are an obsession. We’ve loved them since childhood, dreamed about them, read about them, spend every spare cent on them, and devote hours and hours of time to them. I’ve always enjoyed Cookie McClung’s articles in the Chronicle of the Horse, later collected into several books — Horsefolk are Different and Horsefolk are Still Different are the two on my shelf– because I could completely relate to her stories and the way she’d rearranged her life (and her family’s life) to foxhunt. My husband has found me chuckling over them several times but never finds the stories funny; rather, he shakes his head because he cannot understand how my passion for horses has lasted since childhood. My parents certainly hoped I’d outgrow it!

I do believe that having a passion in your life is, for the most part, a good thing. The time I spend with my horses, both riding them and caring for them, is usually relaxing and rejuvenating.  The total focus that is required when I ride is one of the few times during the day when I’m not multi-tasking in my brain, trying to solve business problems and figure out what to cook for dinner.  When I ride, I am almost in a meditative state. If I haven’t ridden for several days, I get irritable and cross. Usually, at that point my family begs me to go to the barn!

There’s been a lot written about the special bond that exists between humans and horses; a partnership that started when horses were more integral to our daily lives. But I think that what equestrians experience today is different. Our horses are more like pets (or in some cases, children) with whom we share an adventure. There’s a thrill to riding a horse that doesn’t diminish with age and a sense of freedom and joy that is unique to my riding experience.

I hear people say that riding is less expensive than therapy. I’m not sure that’s necessarily true, but I would wholeheartedly agree that it’s a lot more fun.

5 thoughts on “Are Horse People Crazy? or Just Obsessed?

  1. What a very nice comment by this reader…bless her heart…it’s always a treat to find someone as crazy as I am…and she’s so right, riding is the best therapy in the world…NOT the least expensive perhaps, but the longest lasting and most satisfying. Good to find a kindred spirit!

    1. Hey Cookie,
      I have been trying to find you… Haven’t seen you since Palm Beach horse show many years ago,,,,
      Hope you remember me. I had asked you to let me know if you have written any more books. In the Xmas post card you sent me , you mentioned you had written 3 more. !!!
      Hope we can keep in touch…

  2. Hey Cookie – it’s Molly Pew – we talked some tine ago when I lived in Chestertown – have a book which belonged to you at some time, by
    Raleigh Burroughs – how it got to goodwill in PA I don’t know, I’d love to touch base with you agaIn.. I am My daughter Lisa is animal welfare manager at Ryerss Farm for Aged Equines in Pottstown – almost 89 four footed fuzzies who think they are so much younger. Hope this gets to you. With best wishes – Molly

    1. Well, if we are crazy, it is a good crazy. When my kids were in 4-H, their projects were horses. I knew where they were and what they were doing when they were with their horses. I learned a lot about horses from their advisors. Had always wanted a horse as a child, but parents couldn’t afford. Have had ponies and horses since my oldest child (now 56) was 6 years old. My co-workers had said that I had horses in my blood. Better to have than some of the stuff people are putting in their bodies, besides my horses have been my confidants. I can talk to them and they seem to understand. They love unconditionally.

  3. I can say horse people are some of the most stupid people i have ever met. They think the world spins around them. They have no awareness of time and are always late. Money is no issue even when they can’t make their house payment b/c they are trying to keep up with the others at the barn! Little spoiled rich white girls and there stupid parents being rude and sticking their nose up to everyone they think they are better than. 12 year olds getting into arguments at the events b/c one finished better than the other and the parents in the back ground fighting with the judge, setting a fine example I might add! Yeah they talk to their horses b/c they have no skill to talk to anyone else or have some type of disorder. They let this hobby control their life, that’s right hobby! Horse riding is not a SPORT! Sex would be a sport for riding something before horses would! Horse people would know this to be true to but they get off on the four legs only! They would rather brush an animal or play in its crap than working on saving their marriage!

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