They say that owners grow to look like their pets. Hopefully that isn't true of equestrians! So, we should perhaps steer clear of horse face jokes when discussing what it is that makes a horsey person so readily identifiable. Because us riders do seem to stick out like a sore thumb, or a sore something else in my case as I don't get the chance to take to the saddle very often these days. Why is it so obvious when someone spends their time with horses?
Is it a Biker or a Rider?
There have been many occasions on which I have found myself asking this question, perhaps because I have been both a biker and a rider in my time. It's the hair, you see. Hair that assumes an unusually flat style with bizarre kinks in all the wrong places. Riding helmets and crash helmets do equally terrible things to your barnet.
The Chelsea Tractor
The outdoor lifestyle in general and riding pursuits in particular demand the use of practical, rugged transportation. Now, you might think that it would still be hard to spot an equestrian when even city streets, including those in Chelsea, are clogged up with 4 x 4 vehicles. But look for the mud on the cars because it is a liberal spraying of muck which distinguishes those who need an X5 or Explorer from those who merely like to have them for the school run.
The Body Beautiful
With gym membership at an all-time high, it comes as no surprise when you see a beautifully toned body. But what if you know that the person in question has never entered such an establishment in their life? There's a big chance that they are of the equestrian persuasion and in any case, most people with a gym membership don't go near the place from one week to the next. When you ride, you don't need a gym and it's a great deal more satisfying than 10 miles on the treadmill.
It's a bit of a cliche but there's no denying that those horsey aromas, especially the ones of the manure variety, tend to linger. Spend enough time at the stable and you will leave again with those tell-tale scents clinging to you stubbornly. The trouble is that your nose is so acclimatised to them that you won't even notice. But other people generally will!
There are numerous other hints of a horsey lifestyle that give the game away. The silly neighing ring tone, the lived-in look to what appear to be skinny jeans but are nothing of the sort and the propensity for wearing boots are all signs of a horse lover. But so are a friendly nature, an enthusiasm for the great outdoors, an appreciation of nature and a passion for animals. It might be relatively easy to spot an equestrian in any setting but that is a good thing, isn't it?