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What do YOU say to people when they tell you horseback riding isn't a sport?

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  • What do YOU say to people when they tell you horseback riding isn't a sport?

    It always annoys me when non horse people ask if I play any sports and when I say that I ride and they come back with "oh, well horseback riding isn't really a sport" What does everyone else say in this situation? I usually say, "ok well why don't you go tack up my 17 hand gelding, use the d ring snaffle, bump pad under the saddle, go jump a course, make sure he get his changes, don't catch him in the mouth, leg towards the oxer and don't get bucked off if you land hard on his back" That usually leaves them with a puzzled look on their face
    Then the response that follows is usually "whats an oxer?"

  • #2
    My kids are homeschooled and the "school" they used to go to insisted that riding did not fulfill the gym requirement as it was not a sport. By whose definition? I also love the people who say it's not a sport because "the horse does all the work". Oh really?
    Ridge Farm Inc.-full care retirement


    • #3
      Well, in the common vernacular, horseback riding isn't "really a sport", at least in the USA.

      Perhaps some equestrian disciplines waver just over the "sport/not sport" line, but most fit in better with the "not a sport" category.

      How a culture comes to define "sport" seems to be some weird, arbitrary formula mixing competition, physical activity, spectator fan following -- and public awareness among those who do are not "fans".

      It is the public awareness department that drops the USA out of the "horse stuff is sports" inclusion. How many non-horse people can name even ONE famous horse from history, ONE famous horse of the present, ONE famous competition, ONE famous traditional competition venue, and ONE famous rider? The average joe/jane can do that for at least a few of the activities-we-call-"sports", even if they are not a participant or a fan. For myself, I'm appalled at how many of those items I can name for sports I have no interest whatsoever.

      ETA: We don't do so good in the "spectator fan following" department either.
      Last edited by greysandbays; Jan. 15, 2009, 01:26 PM. Reason: had another notion.


      • #4
        Why argue? "Throw not your pearls to swine for they shall trample them asunder" Matthew 7:6

        You won't convince them, you can't argue with ignorance.
        "Sic Gorgiamus Allos Subjectatos Nunc"


        • #5
          a) It is (or was) in the Olympics

          b) it is third only to swimming and xc skiing as far as whole body use of muscles, but adduction and abduction
          InnisFailte Pinto Sporthorses & Coloured Cobs

          Bits are like cats, what's one more? (Petstorejunkie)


          • #6
            I never volunteer information about my horse life to people. The only way I'll admit to having a horse life is if someone flat out asks "Do you ride?" or "Do you have horses?" and then I say "Yes" and politely change the subject as soon as possible.

            That way, I avoid aggravating conversations like the OP had. TOGM, I can see why you'd bring it up to the powers that be over homeschooling, so your kids could get gym credit. But unless I have a good reason to discuss horses with "lay" people, I don't.

            ETA: But to answer the question in the OP, I think the best response is to point out that since the person doesn't ride, they don't really have the faintest idea what they're talking about. Be sure to smile sweetly and use the phrase "well, bless your heart."
            I'm not ignoring the rules. I'm interpreting the rules. Tamal, The Great British Baking Show


            • #7
              I don't say anything, I don't really care if they don't think it is a sport.
              Originally posted by barka.lounger
              u get big old crop and bust that nags ass the next time it even slow down.

              we see u in gp ring in no time.


              • #8
                Laugh, slap your thigh, and say, "Oh, that's a good one." Then go on to something else.
                "Uh, if you're going to try that, shouldn't you unplug it first?"


                • #9
                  I've only had one person say this to me. He was a co-worker, into working out at the gym and cycling, and we were at happy hour when he said it.

                  So, I swiveled my bar stool around, and told him to put his leg out bent at the knee (while he was sitting). Then I squeezed his leg with both of my legs. The look on his face was priceless! He never again said that you would not get a good workout from riding.
                  There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams


                  • #10
                    Hard case to argue unless you want to invite them out to take a spin on your horse I agree, though- it's frustrating. And it's usually from people who have no problem considering NASCAR, golfing or skeet/trap shooting and bowling sports. Which they are, but so is riding.
                    see my ribbon quilts at: www.ribbonquilts.com


                    • #11
                      I know-a lot of people in my work seem to think horseback riding is exercise only for the horse!


                      • #12
                        A while ago, someone on this board had a great response to "the horse does all the work". She said "yeah, it's just like skiing--the mountain does all the work"

                        Fabulous line!


                        • #13
                          Most of the time when people say that they are trying to get a rise out of you. Why let them take you down that path?

                          If they persist, offer to put them on a horse. If they have the balls to actually try, they will figure it out the first time you get the horse to shuffle off in a jog, with them clinging to the pommel like a lemur.

                          If they don't try, it's because they are weenies who don't want to be proven wrong, and you won't be able to convince them otherwise no matter what.


                          • #14
                            I usually tell them that you burn as many calories riding as jogging, and point out that when you are jogging, you are only using muscles half the time, because the other half your leg is in the air. When you ride a horse, you are using your muscles all the time -- there is no break.

                            Then I ask if they have ever been on a horse for a significant period of time. If so, you can point out that you are sure they hobbled around for three days afterwards -- and they inevitably did. Horses use muscles that no other sports use, so even the fittest newbie will suffer after a couple hours in the saddle.

                            I am always happy to talk to people about riding. Most people are moderately interested and think I'm a total badass after my husband makes me tell a few war stories involving near-death experiences.


                            • #15
                              it is an Olympic sport actually.


                              • #16
                                I generally don't discuss my riding or horse involvement to people I don't know so therefore I don't have to deal with their ignorance. My friends that do know I ride realize the time & effort I put into it and wouldn't be so rude to me.
                                "I'm not crazy...my mother had me tested"


                                • #17
                                  I don't think people are being rude when they say that horseback riding isn't a sport...they are just clueless. All they see is the horse doing all the work, and if you're not into riding, I don't blame them for seeing just that. They don't realize the amount of work we have to do to get the horse to move in a certain way, etc.

                                  I run and cycle in addition to riding horse, and so far, I haven't had any of my fellow running/cycling buddies tell me that riding isn't a sport. They usually just say: Cool, I wish I could ride!


                                  • #18

                                    My 9 yo niece was down at Christmas. She does gymnatics and is on two competitive cheerleading squads. She wanted to ride so I decided she would REALLY ride. With her mom leading, I taught her about two point and worked on her leg and hand position. She had to turn, stop, and start the horse or it wouldn't get done and do several second of two point at a time. After a few seconds of two point, she was moaning. I asked her if she would ever make the comment that the horse did all the work. She was adamant that she would not.
                                    Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Goethe


                                    • #19
                                      I would invite them to ride my horse on the longe for half an hour. Or maybe just shoot them

                                      although this is also a good response:

                                      "the horse does all the work". She said "yeah, it's just like skiing--the mountain does all the work"
                                      "The Threat of Internet Ignorance: ... we are witnessing the rise of an age of equestrian disinformation, one where a trusting public can graze on nonsense packaged to look like fact."-LRG-AF


                                      • #20
                                        How hard you "work" at an activity is has no corrolation to it's "sport" status. There's tons of things that are harder work than riding that aren't considered "sports". And there's lots of things that are less work than riding that are considered "sports".

                                        How "dangerous" an activity has the potential to be has no corrolation with it's "sport" status. There's tons of things that are more likely to get you killed than riding that aren't considered "sports". And there's lots of things considered "sports" that you couldn't get killed doing even if you wanted to.