Ok, I’m not really saying that girls like horses more than they like men (although sometime it can seem that way!) but rather that there are a great many more horse owners who are women than their male counterparts. What is this about? Why do girls like horses? What is it about the horse that attracts women more commonly than men?
We are here to delve deep and solve that mystery! If you are a man and feel like your wife has been stolen away from you by a four legged interloper, or if you are a woman and wonder about the lack of male riding companions, then read on.
What You'll Learn Today
Why Do Girls Like Horses?
It’s a really interesting thing to think about, when you consider that 90% of horse owners are women. What is it about horses that women love so much? Why are so many women out and about on horses, and why are men missing out?
Interestingly, although the majority of horse owners tend to be women, in the top levels of competing you will see far more men than you will do hacking about the lanes or down at the stables on a Saturday afternoon, which is a question probably answered by levels of testosterone and competitiveness.
If you are asking these questions you are far from alone. It was actually one of the many things that the psychologist Freud wondered about, and he went to his go-to answer for everything by saying that girls like horses because they had penis envy. Apparently the act of riding gave girls the impression they had sexual power – which is very far from the first thing at the front of the mind when you get on a horse, believe me!
This outdated view came around the same time when bicycles for women were frowned upon because cycling might make them too, er, erotically charged, by the way.
Now that we have dismissed Freud’s ridiculous ideas, maybe we can look at why girls like horses in a more sensible way.
It could be the freedom. Horses are wild animals that can run very fast, and by proxy humans can run very fast on them so they represent total freedom. And there really is nothing like the carefree, wild feeling of the wind flying through your hair as you gallop along!
Power is another factor – not in the way that Freud thought – but it is a fact that for thousands of years women have been considered the lesser sex, or thought of as weak. It could be that horses give us a sense of their power and strength – try telling a woman she is weak as she charges towards you on a 1500lb steed and it may be the last thing you tell her!
3. Spiritual Connection
What about the spiritual connection? Being in such close contact with a creature that has the power to turn and run at any moment, or to buck us off and kick us in the head, yet chooses not to because of the bond we have with them, is a great feeling. Also, riding out gives a fantastic opportunity to connect with nature as well as the creature that you are riding.
4. Friendship And Kinship
Friendship and kinship with animals is something that starts very early in life, and having such a bond with a horse is a special, magical thing. Here is a creature that is designed to roam wild, in large herds, and run at the sight or smell of danger, choosing to spend its time with one other member of an entirely different species. There is something so special about the sight of your favourite horse lifting his head at the sight of you, and galloping across the field for a cuddle.
5. Taking Care Instinct
Looking after a horse is another huge part of horse ownership. Even if you don’t own one, if you’re into horses (or your little girl is) then chances are you or she will spend hours at the stable yard, grooming the horses, mucking them out, or simply spending hours staring at them. Women generally have the instinct to take care of things, born from millennia of taking care of babies, so it could be that we see horses as an extension of the family who need to be looked after.
6. Innate Natures
It may also be partly due to our innate natures. Women tend to be more nurturing, while men are more competitive, so it has been discussed that when faced with an enormous creature who could do us some real damage, women feel the need to get to know and love it, thus ultimately gaining its protection, while men feel the need to master it, or somehow defeat it so it is no longer a threat.
7. Gender Weightedness
It could be that there is a lot of gender weightedness in our early years, and that a lot of toys for girls are dolls, animals or horses, while a lot of boys’ toys are more car and action based. But I have been observing this from the outside, as it were – I have an 18 month old girl who is quickly becoming obsessed with horses, and a friend with an 18 month old boy who is quickly becoming obsessed with tractors.
Neither my friend nor I give our children gendered toys – they both have cars, and dolls, and are free to decide what they want to play with. Without exception, the girl gravitates to the horses, while the boy makes a grab for the cars and tractors. This shows us a clear preference from a very early age, with no interference from adults telling them what they “should” like.
I am all for equality. I believe that there is nothing that men and women can’t do equally well (apart from maybe peeing standing up), but there is a definite difference between us in many ways – and the love of horses seems to be one of those ways. Why do girls like horses? Maybe we just do, and that can be a good enough answer.