The Equestrian Community – A scruffy old jacket, the jodhpurs covered in questionable stains, the outrageous long socks, finished off with a very worn pair of trainers or muddy boots. A look that is universally known to the equine community. It’s almost like an unspoken uniform we all conform to. With our equestrian clothing, you can spot us from a mile away and if not spot us certainly smell us! We’ve all been there, after being with the horses going down to the shops to grab something to eat only to realize everyone in the shop seems to be avoiding us due to our certain aroma.
However, if you were to bump into a fellow equestrian outside of the stables you’d probably receive a welcoming smile or a small chuckle as you both realize you’re both wearing similar outfits. This to me is the definition of the equine community. Happily recognizing each other, and your shared equestrian lifestyle, even though you’ve never met. The equestrian community is huge and spreads across the globe. But as anyone will tell you, it would seem, that everyone knows everyone within the equestrian world. The equine network is vast but is well connected making it such a great community to be part of.
How does this happen though? How do we all connect with each other over such a vast space? The community we’ve all built seems to but most apparent when at horsey events. When at shows, I see people communicating with complete strangers and helping where they can, despite the competitive environment. It’s a concept that is often lost in the wider world but due to our shared passion for our sport and horses, we can all relate to each other, making it easier to connect. It’s difficult not to sympathize with someone when you see them struggling to load a horse. Or when they’ve forgotten a piece of kit. Or even when they’ve had a bad round. We all think a similar thought “I remember when that happened to me”. This empathy leads to us engaging with other equestrians. And that doesn’t just happen at the showground.
We build smaller equestrian communities at the stables or riding clubs as well. These smaller horsey communities are the people we rely on more and value their opinions and equestrian recommendations. When looking for your next dressage instructor or a local farrier these are the people we turn to for recommendations. This is when the small equestrian communities expand into the larger one and two become intertwined. Again, showing how this vast network can be effective and so well connected.
Much of this connectivity is done through word of mouth but how has modern technology affected the equine community? Social media is in nearly everyone’s pocket nowadays. In 2017 there were 2.46 billion people using social media, making it a massive online melting pot for us all to connect on. The equine community has certainly joined in. We love posting pictures and updates of our horses and equestrian activities across many platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. It has never been easier to find and connect with fellow equestrians, especially on an international level.
Not only does it offer a platform in which to connect on, but it also opens an expanse of opportunity for learning. Coming up with ideas of what to do next with your horse or trying to figure out how to make your horse go better is always difficult when you’re alone. But social media creates a vast network of experienced equestrians to turn to in your hour of need. Caution should be taken when considering advice though. A Horse & Hound article talks about this – “Facebook ‘experts’ and keyboard warriors” and how to respond.
Good social media enhances our lives and adds value to our equestrian lifestyle. Further connecting us all. Allow us to share all the wonderful moments we capture with our four-legged friends and without how would we all have our daily fill of cute foal photos!
I’m not naïve to issues that also circulate within the equestrian community and there is plenty we need to do to improve it. However, it’s easy to forget what a fantastic network it can be. This shared passion connecting people across the world and connection is only becoming easier as technology moves forward.