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5 Things to Know When You’re Friends With an Equestrian

We, as equestrians, are the first to admit that the horse industry is a crazy world to be wrapped up in. On the outside looking in, we know our friends and family think the sacrifices we make to show our horses are almost over the edge. Equestrians are the first to tell people that showing horses is not just a hobby, but a lifestyle.

GoHorseShow asked a few exhibitors in our industry to share the top five things to know when you are friends with an equestrian.

First, we spoke to the 2018 All American Quarter Horse Congress Queen and current amateur exhibitor, Taylor Foster. Taylor resides in Lebanon, Indiana, and currently shows her horses A Lazy Cowboy and Certainly Well Made in the western all-around events.

We also spoke to youth exhibitor, Olivia Koontz, who shows her horse Zippin Hot Harley in the Youth Hunter Under Saddle and Equitation. Koontz, who attends public school, has to remind her friends and teachers that she will be missing a good chunk of school for horse shows every year. Olivia also resides in Indiana, and she and Taylor both keep their horses in training with Chris and Melissa Jones of Reelsville, Indiana.

No, I don’t race my horse.

Olivia (pictured right) addresses her frustration of a commonly heard phrase amongst us in the performance arena: “Did you win your race this weekend?”

“No, I do not jump and race my horse every weekend!” Olivia answers. “All of my friends think the only thing you can do with horses is jump or race. They don’t understand what the AQHA shows truly entail.”

We have all heard this question amongst the others, such as, “Did you win your horse show?”

Sure, we can take my car…

“If you need a ride, I will gladly give you one, but I will need to move my boots, spurs, saddle, makeup, napkins, hot sauce packets, fast food trash, a hat can, receipts, and a small dog out of my front seat first,” Taylor laughs.

We can all relate to having horse related items in our cars at some point in time, even when we were not doing anything with horses. In fact, can we even recall the last time we did not have a horse-related item in the car?

Yes, it is a sport.

“No one understands how competitive showing your horse is,” Olivia (pictured right) explains. “Many of my friends did not know that showing horses can get you an NCAA Division l scholarship to ride at a lot of elite colleges until I told them.”

This is another common misconception we have all had to deal with. No one truly understands the time, money, and physical and emotional aspects we put into showing horses. It is our sport, and our passion, just like football and soccer would be to other athletes.

I am running late, and I am dirty.

We all know what it is like planning our lives around horse shows and the barn. Sometimes, we miscalculate how much time we will need at the barn, riding, or getting home from our most recent horse show.

“I will probably be the one late to dinner because I did not realize how long I had been at the barn,” Taylor admits. “And if you see me rolling up covered in horsehair and dirt, mind your business.”

A statement every one of us can relate to. We can all recall a time showing up late to an event, or even going into McDonald’s after a long weekend at the horse show. We know the judgmental glares we get at our dirty jeans and loud spurs.

Planning get-togethers may require two months’ notice.

Taylor (pictured left) shared how she planned to get together with friends around her busy schedule. “Planning any kind of get together with friends takes about two months to plan because I am gone for what seems like half the year,” she says.

Olivia agrees by sharing, “Yes, I am going to be gone ALL summer. My friends think I’m crazy for traveling to Georgia, OKC, and other states for the two-week-long runs. My summers are so different from normal teens because I am on the road showing and at the barn practicing for over half of my summer break,” she says.

There is a lot about our industry most people cannot understand. No one can truly, honestly describe precisely why we do the sport that can bring us so much heartbreak and frustration, but also so much joy and happiness into our lives.

We equestrians have a lot of different things in our lives to juggle, but we all share one thing in common…the passion of showing our beloved horses.

About the Author: Ellia Aguayo has been an equestrian for fourteen years. She is currently a senior at the University of Findlay, majoring in Western Equestrian Studies and Animal Science-Industry. She is originally from Lebanon, Indiana. She has spent the past two years showing in the amateur western pleasure and horsemanship with her horse, Lopin On The Rocks. After selling her horse in August, she is looking for new ways to stay involved in the industry.