The Horse Show World…

Erin Schaden
5 min readJun 17, 2024


I am only a itinerant participant, so I say all of this with a novice voice and only a budding experience…

First, I am amazed at the amount of effort and time and money women spend on their horses. Women work tirelessly for them all day long, making sure they are comfortable, fed, watered, brushed, groomed, manicured, coiffed and exercised. I mean, to some degree it is all so the animal will perform well when they ask it fly over death defying jumps at amazing speeds. But if you ask any equestrian, they will tell you that they do all they do for the horses because they LOVE them and would do it no matter what.

It is an amazing connection, this human/equine bond. And it is mostly a female dominated sport, at least at the lower levels, the higher up you go, the more men there are, as it appears men follow or come with money. And the higher up you go, the more money is involved.

I haven’t written in three days because that is how demanding the horse show world is…I am up at day break, and then going all day long until about 9 pm when I fall into bed, totally and exquisitely exhausted.

We got home late last night and I have to say, I haven’t been that tired in a long time. But what an experience!

The weather was good and no one got hurt! YAY! Successful show in my opinion. My daughter did great at her first three day event and even placed! YAY Grace!

I have a lot of thoughts about the show, some of them actually nice. Just kidding, everyone was lovely, even me. But what I started thinking while I was there, in this female dominated sport was why? Why is it so many women at the lower levels? And why do men dominate at the upper levels? I have a theory…

I think women are born loving. We just are filled from birth to love other beings, sometimes to the exclusion of ourselves, but hopefully that is changing and we are now including us in that loving plan. I know for me when I was a young girl, there just seemed to not be enough things for me to love: stuffed animals, actual animals, friends, my family, errant dogs and cats and some other people, and later boys. But the easiest thing in the world to love for me was animals. They were the welcoming recipient of all my love and smothering. They let me dote on them and just adore them…and this way of being was not so wonderful when heaped later on men, I mean, sure sometimes they seemed to like it but they didn’t appreciate it or me. It was like loving men was kind of like pouring liquid down the drain, I could just keep doing it, and they would just keep allowing it but there was never anything left for me, I was just the person responsible for keeping the love elixir flowing. There was never really any return.

Now that is not completely true of course, I know there was a return…I mean, I am not so dumb as to keep doing it if I got NOTHING back, but I sure don’t feel that I ever got back what I put into it. Really, ever.

So the amount of love and care and concern and attendance makes sense with horses. It is a very mutual relationship. The women/girls can heap on all that love and attention, and the horses give it back twenty fold. It seems like in the horse world, anyway, there is a symbiotic interdependence between the women/girls and the horses. Like finally there is a place in the universe we can throw all our love and loving and it is and can be reciprocated.

I am not sure why it seems to go so sideways with men, and I am also not saying that men are not loving and incapable of sustaining this same kind of relationship, I am saying that it is no accident that as the money increases, so do men’s buy in. This is just what they have always been taught to value. Perhaps that is changing now…and maybe men will get a chance to dedicate themselves to love and loving in new ways that were never really available to them before…we shall see.

This weekend I saw hundreds of women, and a few very dedicated men (mostly fathers and husbands) dedicate their entire weekend from before sun up until long after sun down all to the cause of ensuring the horses were well cared for, were fed, groomed, loved, walked, bathed, amused and happy. And it seemed, at least to me, that it was a good combination, this whole women/girl horse thing.

For the most part there was no aggression, or really mean spiritedness. I did see a woman beating her horse to get in the trailer yesterday, which was hard to watch. But that was one woman, one time. Other than her, I didn’t see one woman or girl fail to appreciate her horse or the amount of work and energy caring for one of these delicate beings takes.

I am not saying I am going to run up to the stables today and spend the whole of my evening all in the care of my daughter’s horses…but I do see the allure. And I see that perhaps, horses are just one avenue for us women to love and have it reciprocated and appreciated. I know, I know, a lot of people are going to be pissed off by my perspective…I get it. I am not talking of your perspective about women and love, I am simply reflecting on my own.

I know that I have always had move love in my heart and mind than I know what to do with…and I also know that I have yet to find a man who is capable of absorbing all of it without taking advantage or being turned off by it…so maybe there is a future in horses for me after all. Perhaps horses are the perfect co-dependent relationship…because instead of the usual dynamic, this one allows for there to be just as much love given as received.



Erin Schaden

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