Thursday, December 18, 2008

Little Boys Ride English, Too

As I shop for the holidays, I have looked for horsey things for my sons. And I have learned that this sport SERIOUSLY discriminates against little boys. The only toys and gear I can find for little boys is stuff for western riders. My children ride english. There are no little Rodrigo Pessoa playsets. There is not one boy rider doll out there. I can give them all my vintage Breyer horses and tack, but they have to use a cowboy with the english saddle.

When looking for gear, I would say 98% of all english gear is made for little girls. All the cute pony stuff comes in pink and purple. The stuff in blue is powder blue and obviously feminine in design. I looked for inexpensive, little kid's half chaps for them. They wanted the cute ones made of washable suede with a cartoon pony head embroidered on them. They came in pink, purple, powder blue, brown and pink, pink and purple, black and powder blue, and one set in two shades of brown. I had to settle with the brown. Even the black and powder blue looked girly. My kids would have LOVED red, or navy blue and red, even hunter green. Maybe if I'd gone for real suede I could have found solid navy or hunter, but the cost was MUCH more and I have to buy TWO of everything each time.

If you shop for riding clothes, jodhpurs come in "childrens" sizes, but many of them have styling features designed with girls in mind. Such as a low-rise waist. My boys don't need low-rise waists. Why doesn't some enterprising designer create some schooling gear in camouflage print or dinosaurs(and NOT in pink)? I'd snap that up in a second.

There is a catalog I love called Wild Horsefeathers which sells all things horsey for kids. But there is almost nothing geared towards little boys who ride english. I know the numbers don't support carrying an extensive line for boys but a few items more than nothing would get my dollars.

Every time I have conversation with professionals in the Hunter/Jumper world, when I tell them both my boys ride and ride english they are surprised. One Hunter/Equitation judge I know was glad my kids ride english and told me he'd like to see more boys in this sport.

Anyway, rant over. Good thing I'm an aggressive shopper. I'll find what little is available and if the price isn't ridiculous, I'll buy.


OnTheBit said...

You know when you said that your boys were riding English my first thought was they are going to get so many girls when they grow up. My second thought was...they are so never going to be able to find gear. It really is a shame, especially since there are a huge number of male professionals in the english disciplines. As for Breyer not having a male in dressage rider was Brendon Breyer I think his name was. And I was mad because I wanted a Brendon Breyer doll. Go figure. I hope you were able to get some good stuff anyway.

SolitaireMare said...

OTB, you made me chuckle with your opening sentence! My husband quickly noticed the girls to boys ratio at the english barns. When our sons started riding and took to it, he laughed and said finding dates on a Saturday night will NEVER be a problem for them. Have you ever noticed when there is a teenage boy at a barn who rides and rides well, he's basically a rockstar?

I wanted to buy them some coloring sets but all the stuff I liked for their age was of the pony princess variety. Even Breyers playsets are skewed towards all pony girly fantasy stuff. Maybe someone will read my blog and see an untapped market. There's a bit of money to be made here if done right, IMO. Hmm, maybe I should capitalize on this one!

dp said...

I rode with two teenage guys throughout the heyday of my eventing career. They were both fantastic riders and it was nice to have a little testosterone amongst the estrogen (one was very easy on the eyes to boot).

They used to complain about the selection of boots and clothing available to them compared to what was available for us.

When you consider equestrian sports at the highest levels there is about a 50/50 mix of men and women. This certainly isn't reflected in the younger riding generations...

Leslie Sealey said...

I really enjoy your horse blog; I used to ride and show English when I was growing up (in Maryland). I agree-boys don't have any selection in riding apparel! It is interesting, especially when you see plenty of men at the top levels of the sport, as dp mentions. Tell your boys to keep up the good work, and Merry Christmas!

Leslie Sealey (the hippo lady). : )

James Fuller said...

I feel bad that you didn't find gear for your little boys. Horse riding should be for everyone, gears for little girl dominate in the market and they offer very limited stuff for little boys. That is very frustrating.

Pics of the Horses

HB said...

This is a really old post but I was hoping that yo might share where you did find boy apparel. I am in Hawaii with no shops and I need to buy my son a hunter jumper show shirt and jacket. All I can find say Childrens with girls in the photo. Is it going to fit him weird or will it be fine? Thanks

Unknown said...

Dover has boys breeches. Shirts I buy long sleeve white dress shirt with the buttons at the top to keep a tie in place. I purchase dress shirt at Macy's along with a dress tie. The Hunt jacket I buy at the local riding shop although Dover carries them.