I started at 50, after spending much of my adult life strapped in ejection seats. That may or may not have been good preparation for riding horses...
Yes, recreational riding is dominated by women. I have never noticed any discrimination AGAINST me by the females. Most, if anything, seem glad to see a male - even an aging one with bifocals and a taste in T-shirts that run to those under $2.50 - riding horses.
I rapidly grew tired of horse magazines. Not only are they a terrible source of information, but there were too many advertisements of the "Does this saddle make my butt look big" sort.
Don't take lessons from a cute 17 year old girl. They are too distracting. But a 40 year old woman will treat you as a student, not a date.
If someone thinks riding is too feminine, tell them to get on 1000 lbs of muscle and give it a try. They can borrow my mare.
Statistically, it is "20 times as dangerous as motor cycling" - (Spinal injuries resulting from horse riding accidents
). Male or female doesn't matter. It is a sport that requires nerve, a clear head, good balance, and the understanding that you can be severely injured or killed at the strangest times. I honestly have been more scared on a horse than I was being shot at flying combat sorties.
This morning, the mini-trail ride was pretty relaxing...until 3 terrified horses galloped full speed opposite direction of us. OK, the horses were not terrified. They were cantering relaxed and content and passed about 200 yards off to the side. But my mare fears strange horses like she fears nothing else, and getting her to go into the area they had obviously been fleeing in terror was a challenge. And it didn't help that they passed somewhere behind us, since she then felt like 3 wild, crazy horses were likely to attack us from behind!
Take a look at Painted Horse's thread on Robbers Roost (Robbers Roost
). For a taste:
Yep! That's a sport for wimps!
Now, will anyone outside of the horse world figure it out? Probably not. But that is part of becoming an adult - learning to follow YOUR dreams, and to trust YOUR judgment. If riding interests you, give it a try. You may find you DON'T like it, and that is OK. Or you may find it more challenging than anything you've ever done. You probably won't be able to explain it to a lot of people. I can't. At 55, I don't even try unless the person asking is serious.