I’m sure many equestrians will agree that is hard to talk about horses with most (non-horse) people. In rural areas, it is common to see horses in pasture and horse trailers traveling, yet some would be surprised at the level of equine ignorance there is even in what seems like horse-friendly areas of the country.
A few years ago my horse needed a wound cleaned frequently, and I was out of iodine. I headed to Wal-Mart, about 5 minutes from the boarding barn, to buy some more. The pharmacy tech was roaming the aisle and wanted to help me. I said I needed a large bottle of iodine to clean my horse’s hoof abscess. I stood there with stained fingers, dusty boots, breeches, ball cap (with horse on it), and an Ariat polo. He looked at me stunned. He kept repeating, “This is for your what?”
I don’t live in an urban area. There are over 50 horses in a barn not 5 minutes away. There are even cattle on the edge of town.
It is hard to understand how people could be ignoring what we horse people look for: barns, trucks with hitches, trailers, equestrian fencing, hay fields. So, fellow horse people, how do we help the non-equine educated among us? Understanding non-horse people’s perspective could be the key to bridging the non-horse and horse-people divide.
Non-horse people see horses in movies and on TV more than in real life, except for the occasional circus vaulting act and pony ride at the county fair. TV and movies generally place horses on race tracks, pulling buggies, and in Medieval Europe or the Old West. I mentioned to some non-horse people that I went to Kentucky to watch a horse show and they asked me if I went to the Kentucky Derby.
I was in Kentucky in July.
It is our charge, then, to help the non-horse people among us. Here are 10 ways to educate colleagues, coworkers, and classmates about the variety of equine sports.
1. Offer to do a horse-themed talk at a neighbor’s school or at a place of worship.
2. Recommend a horsey novel for the next book club choice at the library.
3. Create an Equine Pinterest board and invite non-horse people to pin what they find.
4. Post that winning barrel run on Twitter.
5. Google “dressage freestyle,” and share a video with a friend.
6. Host a horsey movie night: The Black Stallion, Secretariat, National Velvet.
7. Leave a copy of Equus at the dentist’s office.
8. Organize trail ride for charity.
9. Wear barn clothes proudly in public.
10. Bring a non-horse person to the next local horse show.