Here are the answers to those “specifics” about my controversy that Professor Malesh asked for us to define. My topic is the exclusionary, therefore elite, equestrian community. Here are some of its vital and defining factors explained (with one or two things that aren't in here due to more tweeking that needs to be done) :
My role: I have been a part of this community ever since I was little. My family has two horses and we live on 13 acres, almost half of which is for the horses and their different areas. However, I am not as active as I used to be due to my living away from home now.
Geographically: It is a necessity for members of this community to have access to or even to own land. Land is a necessity for the horses as well as the riders. The horses feed, graze, and have plenty of room of exercise and run around freely. The riders use the land to ride, train, groom, wash, and sometimes just watch their horses. And due to this, the barns and other open areas that are used for this sport are often times not in the city, but instead in the surrounding suburbs or country.
Shared history: Mostly, one will become interested in being apart of the elite equestrian society when members of their family, or even their friends are horse enthusiasts. Also it is much easier to get into the sport when you know that you are able to handle all of its needs financially. When one’s parents, siblings, or friends are not horse enthusiasts and are afraid of the animal, often times it is more likely that due to the reaction of those around you, you yourself will not want to participate in this activity.
Age: I’d have to say that this sport is all ages. From the littlest of kids to the seemingly too ‘in shape’ elders, there is an enjoyment made out of the equestrian lifestyle by all. However, it is with the older riders, where often times you can find arrogant and even rude remarks and actions being made to those whom the elders feel are not “good enough” to be within their league.
Interests: Within this community there are many different interests that the members are apart of. Just to name a few there is breeding, racing, showing, buying and selling, just to ride, or even just for the love of the animal. This community also represents a certain style, grace, and eloquence that many people join to be apart of such a group.
Ethnicity: It is mostly white females although it used to be a sport where it was mostly men who rode, due to the danger factor. However, if the group in which you are apart of is not one that is discriminatory, then it is not odd to find both boys and African Americans riding along with the girls. But on the other hand, there are many different groups of riders that do discriminate against people who try and be apart of their community, and feel as though that’s the way that every elitist group should be.
Membership: In this community, other than the limitations that are mentioned above, it is fair game to anyone that wants to try and be apart of. It is not by invite only, but in order to be taken seriously, you must be able to show that you are into the sport as much as the already existing members are as well as wanting to be apart of their community with them, not just to do it for the reputation it entails.
Rewards/ Costs: The rewards here are the discipline that you retrieve, the good form, the good reputation for being apart of a nice, well respected community of people. The costs for this community can also be part of the rewards. For example, when being an active part of this group, the costs are outrageous. Between the horses itself, all of its proper attire (bridal, bits, saddles, shoes, blankets, etc), along with any type of money used for land use or boarding fees, it can become quite expensive. Due to such expensiveness, it limits the number and type of members that can join. And though this might limit some, the ones that are able to proceed with all of the necessities in hand, it creates a reward for that person, a spot in the elite community of (rich) riders.
Language: As far as language is concerned, the only things that I believe you can consider ‘language’ is that everyone that is in this community knows all of the specific terms that relate to horses, the barn, riding euipment, grooming equipment, along with many more miscellaneuos terms that every person with a sport or hobby would know about something that they are routinely involved in.
Appearance: I would say that the dress, rituals, and behavior, all depend on what type of riding style you prefer. But as far as the way I was taught, along with many others who prefer the more prestigeous English riding, every owner must have a few things. Every English rider should own at least a saddle or two for every horse that they owned, everyday “out in the fields” leisurely attire for their horses (like blankets whens it’s cold, comfortable cloth bridals, cotton lead lines, fly masks, etc.), as well as the nicer bridals and fixings that one would use when riding at the barn or maybe even a show. As for the rider, it can be predetermined that they own a whole wardrobe of ‘barn clothes’ which consistes of those jeans and t-shirts and sweatshirts that you don’t mind getting filthy and smelly from being out with the horses all day. They would also have many pairs of the various riding boots that are expected for the different types of working and riding that they do. Right above these fabulous boots would, accordingly, be “jodfer” pant which are very tight tights that usually have the suede patches on the insides of the knees. If one were to be showing or wanted to dress up to ride, they would accompany the tights with patches with a collared oxford shirts, long with a nice navy or black blazer. And the last two items that I find every rider, no matter what style they prefer, will own a pair of chaps and of course a helmet! Riding isn’t fall proof, therefore there are certain saftey precautions that must be taken.