THE HUNTER RIDER: Is slightly anorexic and trying her best to achieve the
conformation of a 17-year-old male in case she ever has a clinic with
George Morris. Field marks include greeny-beige breeches and a baseball cap
when schooling or mud colored coat and hardhat with dangling chinstrap when
competing. Forks over about a grand a month to trainer for the privilege of
letting him/her 'tune' up the horse, which consists of drilling the beast
until it’s going to put in five strides on a 60 foot line no matter WHAT she
does. Sold the Thoroughbred (and a collection of lunging equipment,
chambons, side reins) and bought a Warmblood. (Bought a ladder and a LONG
set of spurs). Talks a lot about the horse's success in Florida without
exactly letting on that she herself has never been south of the
Pennsylvania line.

THE DRESSAGE QUEEN: Has her hair in an elegant ponytail and is wearing a
visor and gold earrings sporting a breed logo. A $100 dollar custom jumper
(also with breed logo) is worn over $300 dollar full-seat white breeches
and custom Koenigs. Her horse, 'Leistergeidelsprundheim' ('Fleistergeidel'
for short) is a 17.3 hand warmblood who was bred to be a Grand Prix horse.
The Germans are still laughing hysterically, as he was bred to be a Gr and
Prix JUMPER, but since he couldn't get out of his own way, they sold him to
an American. His rider fell in love with his lofty gaits, proud carriage,
and tremendous athleticism. She admires him mostly while lunging. She
lunges him a lot, because she is not actually too keen to get up there and
try to SIT that trot. When she rides, it's not f or long, because (while he
looks FINE to everyone else), she can tell that he is not as 'through' and
'supple' as he should be, and gets off to call the chiropractor/massage
therapist/psychic, all of which is expensive, but he WILL be shown, and
shown right after he perfects (fill in the blank). The blank changes often
enough that the rider can avoid the stress of being beaten at Training 1 by
a Quarter Horse.

THE EVENTER: Is bent over from carrying three saddles, three bridles,
three bits, and three unrelated sets of clothing (four, if she is going to
have to do a trot up at a 3-Day). The hunched defensive posture is
reinforced by the anticipation of 'a long one' a ditch and a wall, and from
living in her back protector. Perpetually broke because she pays THREE
coaches (a Dressage Queen, a jumper rider, and her eventing guru, none of
whom approve of the other) and pay trailers/stabling/living expenses to go
600 miles to events that are spread out over 5 days. She is smugly
convinced that Eventers are in fact the only people in the world who CAN
ride (since Dressage Queen's don't jump, the H/J crowd is to afraid to go
OUT of a ring, and the fox hunters, a related breed, don't have to deal
with dressage judges). The hat cover on her cross-country helmet is secured
with a giant rubber band, so she can look like her idol, Phillip. Her
horse, who has previously been20rejected as a race horse, a steeplechase
(got ruled off for jumping into the in-field tailgating crowd), a jumper, a
fox hunter, and a polo pony (no bit stops this thing), has
two speeds: gallop and 'no gallop' (also known as stop 'n' dump). Excels at
over jumping into water, doing a head first 'tuck and roll' maneuver and
exiting the complex (catch me if you can!) before his rider slogs out of
the pond. Often stops to lick the Crisco off his legs before continuing
gaily on to the merciless over jump just ahead. Owner often threatens to
sell, but as he has flunked out of every other English-riding discipline,
it will have to be to a barrel racer.

THE BACKYARD RIDER: Usually found wearing shorts and a sports bra in the
summer; flannel nightgown, muck boots, and down jacket in the winter.
Drives a Ford 150 filled with saddle blankets and dog hair. Most have
deformed toes from being stepped on while wearing flip-flops. Has a
two-horse bumper-pull trailer, but uses it for hay storage, as her horse
hasn't been off the farm in 6 years. Can install an electric fence, set a
gate, and roll a round bale, solo. Rode well and often when she used to
board her horse, 5 years ago. Took horse home to 'save money' and has spent
about 50 grand on acreage, barn, fence, tractor, etc. Has two topics of
conversation - 1) How it's too hot/cold/wet/dry to ride. And 2) how she
may ride after she fixes the fence/digs drainage ditches/stacks 4 tons of

THE NATURAL HORSEMANSHIP DEVOTEE: Looks like a throwback from a Texas
ranch despite the fact that he lives in the suburbs of New Jersey . Rope
coiled loosely in hand in case he needs to herd any of those kids on
roller-blades away from his F-350 dually in the Wal-Mart parking lot.
Cowboy hat strategically placed, and just dirty enough to look cool.
Levi's are well worn. 'Lightning' is, of course, this natural horsemanship
guy's horse. Rescued from a bad home where he was never imprinted or
broke in the natural horsemanship way, he specialized in running down his
owners at feeding time, knocking children off his back on low-hanging
branches, and baring his teeth. The hospitalization tally for his previous
handlers was 12, until he was sent to Round Pen Randy. After ten minutes
in said pen, he is now a totally broke horse, bowing to the crowd, and can
put on his own splint boots. (With R.P. Randy's trademark logo embossed on
them). Lightning's favorite gait is the halt and can do it all day long with or without a rider on his back, with his head hanging low to release the endorphins in his brain, (talk about well trained). Most of his clients are 'ladies' who LOVE horses but are terrified of getting on them. His most popular course is "NATURAL HORSEMANSHIP WITHOUT A HORSE", usually sells out months in advance, (for a mere $40020for 3 days. get your deposits in early). R.P.R. says, of all this, 'Well, shucks ma'am, tweren't nuthin'!'
'It's simple horsemanship.' 'With this special twirly flickitatin' rope
($17.95 plus tax), you'll be round-pennin' like me in no time!'

THE ENDURANCE RIDER: Wears Lycra tights in wild neon colors. The shinier
the better, so the EMT's can find her body when her horse dumps her down a
ravine. Wears hiking shoes of some sort, and T-shirts she got for paying
$75 to complete another torturous ride. Her skin is tanned to a brown-purple hue and reminds one of beef- jerky. Her horse, Al Kamar Shazam, used
to be called 'you' until he found an owner almost as hyper as he is. Shazam
can spook at a blowing leaf, spin a 360, and not lose his big trot rhythm
or give an inch to the horse behind him.. Has learned to eat, drink, pee,
and drop to his resting pulse rate on command. He has compiled 3,450 AERC
miles; his rider
compiled 3,445 (the missing five miles are the ones when he raced down the
trail without his rider after performing his trademark 360. Over-heard
frequently: 'Anyone have Advil?' 'Anyone got some food? I think last year's
Twinkies went bad. 'For this pain I spend money?' 'Shazam, you - it's just
a leaf........ [thud]!'

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Comment by Carol Pullum on September 3, 2009 at 4:47pm
Oh my god, that is so funny!! I'm guilty of the backyard rider syndrome(as a kid), when I rode, it was with barefeet, daisy dukes and bareback. I can explain, I lived by a river and we took our horses swimming! Also, I always let the fences go and rode first! Only had my foot stomped on once. These days I'm older and wiser(maybe), but I still haven't invested in a pair of boots for riding, I need that money to pay for the horse!!
Comment by IrishRider on July 6, 2009 at 1:51pm
I ride hunters but I am not slightly anorexic. The part about the ladder and spurs made me laugh...I can't relate to that for sure. Where is the description for the Jumper? I think they are a different breed as well.
Comment by Ann Hatfield on July 5, 2009 at 11:16am
Oh, painfully true.
Am there, as an owner/breeder, "Yes, it's a perfect day to ride but I must go and get a ton of hay in my old truck and unload it and stack it."

Been there as an endurance rider.

Crept through 'real dressage riders' feeling most unfashionable, as a very occassional dressage-test entry (can't call myself a dressage rider).

And have bought a horse or two who were scared to death of anything that smacked of twirling lead ropes, carrot sticks- anything apparently related to 'natural horsemanship'.

Test rode a mare for a client the other day and could not look under her belly for hernias, or anything else, as she scuttled away from me sideways every time!

When I couldn't persuade her to do a turn on the forehand I was told to bend around and down and look at her stifle and then she would perform. Nice safe and balanced position that was! And just what I want to do with a horse when I next creep into a low-level dressage test!

The descriptions are great. Brightened my day before I go out and get hay as the summer is so dry the pastures are all turning brown a month early. Ann in the Okanagan, BC
Comment by Jill Williams Phinney on July 2, 2009 at 8:56pm
I fall "in character" of the hunter.
Comment by Jackie Cochran on July 2, 2009 at 8:31pm
So true about the backyard riders. Been there. But it also seems to be true of managers of barns, so much to do and not enough time to ride.
Comment by Barbara F. on July 2, 2009 at 5:57pm
p.s. Which are you?? :)
Comment by Barbara F. on July 2, 2009 at 5:54pm
Hahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!! All true - and a bit cheeky too!

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