Friday, May 17, 2024

What is a Horsewoman?

Oh, T, you make my heart sing. You make everything…groovy.  (Yesterday was Tweed’s 6th birthday.)

All that work at home with T Boo, with all those distractions and craziness, paid off big yesterday at the equestrian park. 

We didn’t have to spend hardly any time in the round pen, and he was able to maintain vertical flexion and move off my rein and leg. Then we opened and closed the gate, something he has always done well, but now does better. Then, off to the obstacles and trail work, where he was tuned in, balanced, and forward in a working frame of mind, but not nervous. 

I felt more confident on him, like we were a team. This is a reminder that it’s not about “training our horse.” It is about training ourselves and our horse, together, to work as a partnership. Those short, consistent lessons we’ve had were as much about me as Tweed. 


The last post was about Atomic Habits and that we are more likely to continue the habits we want if they are not goal oriented, but systems oriented, and express our identity. 

We all have many parts of our identity, but this is my horse blog, so I’m concentrating on one: being a horsewoman. 

The author, James Clear, tells us to ask ourselves what are the qualities of the person we think could accomplish what we want to accomplish. For me, what are the qualities of a horsewoman

I brainstormed a few qualities off the top of my head, attributes that I will need, but not in order of importance:

Observant caretaker
Brave not stupid
Independent thinking
Good balance and agility
Good boundaries
Sensitive listener

I’ll probably write more about those things and what I mean by them in another post. 

I did an internet search for the qualities of a horseman, and found some very elaborate, difficult to attain descriptions. Most of the descriptions sounded more like the very best professional trainers, which explains why so few people are willing to embrace the term for themselves, always feeling that they haven’t attained that “goal” yet. 

Then, I did a search for horsewoman, and the definitions became much more general and attainable:

Trainer Katrina Silva

“Core values of good horsemanship cluster around calmness, consistency, and fairness.”

At my lesson yesterday I asked my trainer what 3 qualities she thought were most important in a horsewoman. In the setting we were in, of course, she was probably assuming that it was in reference to a riding relationship. She answered:

Patience (I hadn’t told her about The Compound Effect, but patience is at the core.)

Lots of quality time (she explained that by this she meant that when we spend time with our horses we should tune everything else out and be solely focused on our horse.)

Observation (she observed that I need to take T Boo off the green grass.)

Developing my list of the qualities of the horsewoman I want to become is still a work in progress, but the next question is what would the habits be of the person who has those qualities. 

Those are the habits I want to incorporate and become. 

I would also like to invite you to share your own thoughts. 

What are the qualities of a horsewoman?

What are the habits of that horsewoman?


  1. Thought: I am not training Tweed, I am training WITH Tweed.

  2. Another quality that any good horse person has is humility. That has to be #1. No one knows everything about horses or always gets it right. Even the best miss things or get their timing wrong.

  3. Humility is key in so many things in life. There is no room for inflated egos around horses. I have seen so many who are ego driven around horses and it's always detrimental to the horse.
    I like "observation" but I'm going to qualify it by adding understanding. To observe and understand what you are observing and to move forward accordingly.

    1. Yes to both. Humility is the first thing I think about when it comes to horse people I admire. If you don’t have it, you soon will. Horses humble you. Observation and understanding link to so much. Health. Timing in training. We are constantly playing detective, constantly becoming better observers.

  4. Great post and lots to consider. I often think of balance when it comes to horsemanship. Balancing listening with the need for boundaries, staying balanced physically and emotionally, helping the horse to stay balanced physically.
    I would also put in the desire to learn. To never feel you know all you need.

    1. That’s a good way to look at “balance.” I was thinking of the physical balance and agility of the rider, but that’s much more insightful.


Please feel welcome to join our discussion by telling us about your own thoughts and experiences.