Neu Perspectives

The Three Types of Horsepeople

Cowgirl walking down barn aisle

There are three kinds of people in the horse world: those who know nothing, those who know just enough to get by, and those of us who know way too much.

I’m starting to believe that there are really only three types of people in the horse world. 

There are those who are not involved with animals, know absolutely nothing and act accordingly. 

There are those who know somewhere between a little to a lot about our equine friends and work hard to use common sense, good judgment and follow proper safety guidelines for themselves, their equipment and their animals. 

And then there are those who know a ton—professionals, lifetime owners, competitors and the like—whose actions sometimes mirror those who know absolutely nothing. 

Cowgirl walking down barn aisle representing horse people
Photo by Ross Hecox

I see it all the time, and it makes me laugh out loud. If there’s a horse tied up by the bridle reins, it’s either by someone who doesn’t have a clue or by someone who spends every day with horses. Have you ever passed a pickup and trailer stuffed full of colts without shipping boots, hay nets or dividers? I can almost guarantee it’s driven by someone who knows what he’s doing. If I walk by a grooming box at a show full of different types brushes and detangling products, I would bet money that it does not belong to a professional. I can honestly state that my daily grooming routine consists solely of a metal curry comb to knock the mud off of where the saddle goes.

Yes, I have an arsenal of antibiotics, wraps, treatments and ointments to cure anything that ails my mares and geldings, but I couldn’t confidently say that I’ve touched a hoof pick in the last 12 months. (Hey, what are flat-head screwdrivers for anyway?) 

Some “ignorant” behaviors are actually gained from experience and education. I was told to never cut a horse’s tail when I was younger. And now? I’ve got scissors handy to keep those puppies trimmed to the fetlock. I’ve seen so many horses pull tails out backing up, loading out of trailers and turning around. I’d take a short, thick tail over a long, thin one any day. I’ve heard 100 different theories about how to properly feed a horse and change their diet safely, and I know each and every person has their own method and way. And I think that’s okay. 

Of course, I categorize the horse folks with a dose of humor and a grain of salt. I know there is a lot of timing, feel and judgment that separates the know-nothings from the professionals. When a trainer walks behind a horse, he or she is reading body language of the animal and assessing the situation to be sure no one gets kicked or startled. Someone who doesn’t have a clue wouldn’t understand the subtle cues that a horse uses to communicate.

And to those who don’t have an understanding of how a rope halter is tied or what side to mount a horse from, never fear! With the proper help and time invested, you will learn and grow with your horses and have fun doing so. 

So, to those of you who tie gates shut with whatever’s nearby, don’t keep whiskers trimmed to perfection, don’t oil headstalls every two weeks, and tend to stuff your trailers full of using horses, I’m right there with you. 

And to those of you who have remained disciplined and diligent, with organized tack boxes and nary a flip-flop or haphazard gate latch in sight, I salute you. 

But if you really need a hoof pick, you’re probably out of luck at my place.  

4 thoughts on “The Three Types of Horsepeople”

  1. I had a misspent youth where I rode horses that didn’t really want to be ridden chasing cows that didn’t really want to be chased. Well that lasted till my 40’s and learnt that once the job was done you stopped annoying your horse and let them get on doing what they did best, eat and sleep.
    That was a lesson well learned as I went on to working in the horse stud industry with multi million $ stallions owned by very prominent breeders.
    These stallions had a job to do and they were maintained to do that but once their five minutes of passion had finished, four times a day, seven days a week we stopped annoying them and let them do what they did best, eating and sleeping

  2. I fully agree. We all start knowing nothing. But until you have thrown your favorite horse fully saddled and tacked up into a stock trailer of loose horses to go out into the middle of no where. You just haven’t lived.

  3. I would add a forth type even at 60 I am still learning to be a better horseman … I learned to be humble in my knowledge and care of the horse a long time ago, I still listen to others maybe there is a better way to detect thrush than by odor…
    I always kept a pick in my back pocket or boot… also good for cleaning the crap out of my boot before I get in and drive.

  4. You left out Those who simply talk horses, those who simply own. There are those are owned by their horses and haven’t learned anything. Then there’s the dreamers who listen to none buy all and haven’t learned to control their impulses, but they know everything about what You are doing wrong. These categories are all in the avoid at all costs category. So I always shut the gates behind me. As long as my horses tail is swishing behind me I’m never lonely.


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