Why do girls like horses? - > my "theory" - Page 3 - The Horse Forum
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post #21 of 52 Old 01-29-2011, 01:19 PM
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I agree with you, Ina. And bsms, and thesilverspear, lol. Just want to comment on some things.

I do think socialization has a lot to do with who loves horses. However, coming from a household that very much did not like horses, I still had hundreds of toy horses. Even when I was volunteering at a therapy barn from 11 to 18, my father hated it. They were dirty, it made me dirty, it took up so much of my time, why don't I play real sports. My mom didn't hate horses, but she doesn't get the appeal. I am the only person in my family, as far back as I know of, to have horses, much less like them. So where did my love for horses come from, if socialization wasn't a big part of it?

There are exceptions to every rule, so I have to ask silverspear what she thinks of that. I was not pushed into horses. I had no one in my life that even really liked them, so why did I?

bsms may have been on to something, as well. In this country, men go out and work hard and a lot of women are "housewives." Nothing wrong with that, by the way. But if the man's work doesn't involve horses, I can understand not wanting to go and pursue a hobby that requires so much work.

On the other side, most men who's work does involve horses are not focused on any relationship. Most men will see the horse as a means to an end. I need meat, I buy cattle, horse helps handle cattle.

Basically, I think there are many depths and layers of the "correct" answer, and we can only begin to dabble in the surface.

Another thing to consider is that a lot of horses prefer women. I imagine for the softer, more nurturing nature of the woman. So perhaps the horse plays a significant role in why women like horses.
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post #22 of 52 Old 01-29-2011, 02:42 PM
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I have absolutely NO doubt that there are powerful biological differences between men and women. Socialization does not and cannot account for the way men and women react differently to horses, or anything, for that matter.

Going a bit farther from the original point of this discussion, the problem has arisen in past centuries when that which tends to be inherently female was thought to be an abheration of the norm, which of course was maleness.
That is like saying white is an abheration of black, or vice versa. Women have had to push against the general attitude that everything that they ARE is somehow a thinner, weaker, lesser shadow of the true Humanness; maleness.

Let us find some balance and realize that evey man has some womanness in him and every woman some malesness and neither is a pale shadow of the other.
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post #23 of 52 Old 01-29-2011, 02:50 PM
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Originally Posted by riccil0ve View Post
...Basically, I think there are many depths and layers of the "correct" answer, and we can only begin to dabble in the surface.

Another thing to consider is that a lot of horses prefer women. I imagine for the softer, more nurturing nature of the woman. So perhaps the horse plays a significant role in why women like horses.
Synaptic Self (http://www.amazon.com/Synaptic-Self-How-Brains-Become/dp/0142001783/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1296328434&sr=8-1) and Deep Survival (http://www.amazon.com/Deep-Survival-Who-Lives-Dies/dp/0393326152/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1296328652&sr=1-1) are both good books that wrestle with why we do what we do.

My sister and I were raised in a no horse home. She is by nature very emotional and very in touch with her feelings. I'm very goal oriented and not much concerned with feelings. She's a teacher. I was an F-4/F-111 WSO/EWO - NOT a warm and fuzzy profession.

I've always liked horses. She wouldn't care if all the horses died. So my 'relationship' theory dies, when applied to us. I still think it is a useful ROT, and I think it is a valid one sentence explanation for things that go deeper than any man understands. God may know the heart of a man, and the Shadow may know "what evil lurks in the hearts of men", but I know neither.

I will say that my approach to riding differs from my wife and daughters. They like horses that are friendly and reassuring. They find Mia a bit scary and indifferent. I rarely get on Mia's back without an idea of what I want to work on. Maybe it is for Mia, or maybe for me, but I almost always have a goal for our riding. Friendship wasn't a goal. It was something that happened as we worked together.

I think most horses are more in touch with their emotions than humans, and respond well to a human that can give and take at the emotional level. Not all horses are like that, and a dominant, goal-oriented horse Like Mia can become a nightmare for someone who isn't her match. I don't write Mia poetry. I don't go to her corral and read her books. I don't have daydreams about her, and I'm certain she doesn't dream about me.

I dunno. Maybe someone smarter than me can figure it out. For me, I'll have to quote the King and I:

There are times I almost think
I am not sure of what I absolutely know.
Very often find confusion
In conclusion I concluded long ago
In my head are many facts
That, as a student, I have studied to procure,
In my head are many facts..
Of which I wish I was more certain I was sure!

(Spoken): Is a puzzlement!

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post #24 of 52 Old 01-29-2011, 03:29 PM
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Everyone has a very interesting theory about this, but I particularly agree with bsms.
I think that guys just don't tend to get the rewards out of horses or riding. For example, I enjoy the feeling of achievement when I ride well or try something new, but I'm not sure that guys take it the same way. The whole topic seems very complicated.
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post #25 of 52 Old 01-30-2011, 06:45 AM
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This is part of my theorie!!! me and my sister absoloutly adore and love horses!!! were as my brother loves bulldozers and tracotrs(although he used to ride horses he has since "grown out of that") we always have arguments over which is better :) his argument is always "tractors are more powerful and strong" and i always say "horses have feelings and they look out for you"(something like that anyway) ..................anyway what i am trying to say is i think that he finds horses intimidating and he has to be in full control the whole time!!! which is impossible with horses because they do think for themselves!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!! :)

Pocket - 8 yr old, 15.1hh Thoroughbred Mare
~You know you're a horse person when you say 'whoa' to your dog~

Last edited by Caitlinpalomino; 01-30-2011 at 06:47 AM.
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post #26 of 52 Old 01-30-2011, 06:48 AM
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sorry guys mine might not make sense i came in mid conversation!!!! hehehehe

Pocket - 8 yr old, 15.1hh Thoroughbred Mare
~You know you're a horse person when you say 'whoa' to your dog~
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post #27 of 52 Old 01-30-2011, 08:46 AM
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Oh, well. Someone has to stand up for the social constructionists. :)

I'm not saying there are no physiological differences between male and female brains. There are, and a lot of them are measurable (although if you read the scientific literature, what's measurable and how significant the differences are between the brain structures being measured varies immensely). The problem with extrapolating behaviour from the physiological data is that behaviour and our perception of behaviour is mediated through layers and layers of social conditioning. You can't get away from it. Social interaction supports the continuous reconstruction of gender and crucially, the discourse used to discuss it emerges from this kind of gendered normativity. Concepts like "goal-oriented" or "relationship oriented" or even "empathy" do not exist in an a priori vaccuum -- they are social constructs, not biological facts. What does "goal-oriented" mean? Bsms has given us a definition of sorts through his mare, who he says would rather just be ridden and not have poetry or books read to her. He even genders his description of the mare, saying how this is a masculine trait of hers. Interesting. This sort of discourse has little to do with the horse herself, but how her owner constructs her through the gendered lens of how our society views men and women. But horses can't be so easily gendered that way. Whether a horse like being fussed over and getting cuddles, or not, does not seem to have anything to do with whether it's male or female. I digress. Back to the language itself. "Goal-orientation" is something with socially-derived meaning and in our (by this, I mean Western, English speaking) culture, it's become associated with "maleness." Women can and do behave in ways intended to attain a goal, but it's not given the same label. Same with empathy. I think it's quite unfair when people claim that women feel more empathy than men. Women *express* empathy in different ways than men, but I maintain that this empathy-expression behaviour is socially learned, not inherent. After all, in different cultures, men and women would express this in different ways. This kind of thing is learned and constantly reconstructed and enforced in everyday interaction.

The odd thing is how this cultural belief in inherent difference disagreggates the experience of interacting with real men and women. No one, ever, has met a person who is just a man, or just a woman, and is not affected in some way by their cultural, racial, or educational (to name a few) background.
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Last edited by thesilverspear; 01-30-2011 at 08:51 AM.
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post #28 of 52 Old 01-30-2011, 11:07 AM Thread Starter
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I totally agree, silverspear, thank you for coming back on the thread and an important fact that I missed in my "theory" was to remember that society starts working on us since we are born. By the time we are sent to school, we are already shaped in a form or another.

So perhaps we could replace my initial genetics hypothesis with "various causes, including society influence as a preponderant factor".

What about the other half, did I get that one right?

About little girls relating to a horse considering it a large protector or a supersized teddybear or...both, while little boys might regard the size and force of the same animal as an unfair competition to their own attributes and their impredictability as a dangerous, risky factor.

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post #29 of 52 Old 01-30-2011, 12:26 PM
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I am probably way out there compared to your scientific thoughts on this. But I have thought before that people can somehow be "born" with a strong tendency to develop a passion for something in this world. For instance, I have a photo of me on my first birthday and I'm holding a book. It is opened to a picture of a horse and I'm looking at it. Now some would say I developed my love of horses from early exposure to pictures of them. But there were many other photos in that book, and I had many books. My parents were not horse people, they never encouraged my love of horses at all. Neither did they discourage it particularly, so I didn't decide to like horses because they disapproved.

Some girls get horse crazy, but when they hit a certain age they move on to other things. That interest in horses to me seems like it could have been influenced by society and what girls are supposed to like. When they find out who they are in life, their interests change. For me it has always been a passion. There has never been a time in my life when I didn't think about horses every single day. I went for many years without being able to ride regularly or have my own horse, but my love for them never wavered or changed. I worked toward the goal of owning a horse from the time I was in kindergarten until I got my first horse at 18. One of the first things I told my husband when I met him was that I was always going to have to own a horse.

None of my three siblings have a single passion in life that they live for. Neither do my parents. But I do know other people who seem to have been born with something that they have always loved and lived for. Not horses, but flying or travel or playing the violin.

I know there are lots of people who work with horses who pick it up later in life. It isn't a "grand passion" for everyone. But for some of us I believe it was not something society told us we should do, or even consciously chose. It was more like imprinting. When I first saw a horse, it became part of my soul.
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post #30 of 52 Old 01-31-2011, 04:41 PM
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Well this is an interesting thread that I think has a more simple explanation.

First off though I would like to say that where I am from riding horses is almost completely male dominated and those few females that ride are nothing like what has been said of females being loving and relationship building with their horses. I do think that most young men are drawn more to motorized vehicles and I would say that is because they go faster and jump higher, more powerful, etc. Around here if your going to ride a horse it isn't something scary its more the fact that it is less exciting, not as much of an adrenaline rush.
I also would say that women are more intimidated by a horse. When a woman works a horse she will rely a lot on the tools to control the horse and try to convince the horse do what she wants where a man gets more physical and makes the horse do what he wants. Atleast it is that way for the men I see, fear of the horse is not even in question and neither is this competition of strength. Men are just typically stronger and can get out of a horse what they need easier through that.
The main reason I think women might be drawn to horses is through empowerment. women feel a great sense of power when they can make 1300 lbs or raw muscle move where and how they want it.

But back to the main debate of which gender likes horses more, well I tend to believe that it is neither. Honestly it is probably very equal, you either like horses or you don't and if your seeing more women in a stable or arena riding horses come to the country and you'll see the opposite men out on steep rough terrain blazing trails where none were before.
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