Those Snobby Riders

In the world of English riding, there are many stereotypes floating around. One “popular” belief is that all English riders are “English”. Once, when I was visiting Hawaii, I went on a riding excursion and was asked if I ride horses at home, to which I replied yes and that I ride English. Immediately, I was pounded with questions asking if I was from England, why I didn’t have an accent, etc. Other stereotypes that surround the English riding world are that they are all snobby, over privileged, petite, women, gay men, rich, spoiled by parents, white, etc.

While those are all just stereotypes, the typical rider could, in a way, be unconsciously representing those traits. The clean, classy, tall boots, crisp edges of the typical show riding attire could easily give off the impression of wealth and high class. 

This picture represents the typical show rider. A moderately young woman, small in height and body size, and white. While this is not always the case, this picture is what would commonly come to mind to most people when asked to picture an English rider. The same goes to men who also participate in this sport; the clothing remains relatively the same but the ideas about the men differ in one way, sexuality. Many people assume that a man who chooses to wear tight leggings/pants, high boots, and a tight blazer can not possibly be straight. Any man that would choose to send his days around horses couldn’t possibly be attracted to women, since horses are a “girly” animal.

Where it does get a bit tricky is when it comes to riders being seen as wealthy, over privileged, spoiled brats. To be involved in this sport, you do have to have money. It is expensive to buy/lease a horse, pay for the training, farrier, show fees, stabling fees, and buying show attire. I faced this issue when it came to wanting to join the English team here at UCSD, I could no longer afford to pay the team fees and practice fees along with all the other fees I have to pay for here.While the financial part is true, this does not make all riders snobs or spoiled. The expense of the sport is just a part of the lifestyle. I challenge the popular type around this sport in the fact that I am not white nor am I “rich”. I do my best to ride when I am able to, but that has not been for at least a year due to the fact the costs become too much and the time has become too demanding.


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1 Response to Those Snobby Riders

  1. Sarah McCullough says:

    I really like your attention to the clothing of the rider as perpetuating the stereotypes of the sport. This is good close analysis worthy of further exploration. Consider how particular styles of clothes become classed. Why is this outfit classed in a particular way? (and perhaps racialized…) You do a good job of showing how the outfit is gendered/sexualized for men. But be careful when you extend this to human-horse relationships. After all, isn’t one of the most iconic images of masculinity in the U.S. also one demonstrative of human-horse relationships–the cowboy? The site you seem to take most issue with seems to be around this attitude of snobbery. It is worth thinking more about what snobbery is, how it is defined, etc. What makes a snob a snob? How is it different than just being rich?

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